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The latest travel news, interviews, traveller reviews, inspiration & advice on cycling and walking holidays in the UK and Europe..
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When & Where Can I Travel In the UK?

Travel information on England, Scotland and Wales

Many of you are likely to have questions on when and where you can travel again within the UK. As the situation evolves, we will provide you with the answers to the most frequently asked questions on where you can holiday in the UK this year. 

We’re all sadly aware that currently travel is limited with foreign travel banned even. Many of us here in the UK will be in anticipation for Monday 12 April when the government’s Global Travel Taskforce will come with its report on how and when travel can resume.

The roadmap for travel within the UK is clearer with preliminary dates set for England, Wales and Scotland. With all optimism building around travel for the summer, find some of the best walking and cycling opportunities in the UK. Now is the ideal time to plan ahead for when travel is permitted again with our Reduced Deposit Promotion and flexible booking conditions still valid.
 

England

When can I travel in England? Sherpa Expeditions
From mid-April, travel within England will be partially allowed again setting the pace for UK-wide and international travel. It is hoped that this will be with lesser restrictions from mid-May and June. 
So, whether you'd like to tackle the popular Coast to Coast Trail, walk or cycle along the Cornish Coastal Path, explore the Isle of Wight or immerse in the Yorkshire Dales, your options are plenty. 

Dates for your diary: 
  • 12 April, and no earlier: allowed to reopen is self-contained accommodation such as campsites and private holiday lets – indoor facilities for one household only
  • 17 May: expected date for international travel to be allowed again under a traffic light system and with testing & quarantining in place
Find official information on travel by the English Government, including the roadmap out of lockdown, here
Visiting England from abroad? Find official government information on travel in England here
 

Scotland

When can I travel in Scotland? Sherpa Expeditions
Scotland is on its path to ease travel restrictions from April. What’s more: 2021 is the Year of Coasts & Waters in Scotland; cyclists on the Tour of Britain will be culminating in Aberdeen this September; and outdoor destinations are in the midst of preparations for increased visitor numbers.
So whether you want to follow the Great Glen Way, complete the Scottish version of the 'Coast to Coast', or take in the majesty of the great outdoors from the Inner Hebrides to Scotland's 'Big County', browse all walking & cycling holidays in Scotland or have a chat with our team to discuss your wishes.

Dates for your diary: 
-    26 April: plans to permit travel within mainland Scotland and tourism accommodation to reopen with general social distancing restrictions in place

Find official information on travel by the Scottish Government, including a timetable, here
Visiting Scotland from abroad? Find official government information on travel in Scotland here
 

Rebook Free of Charge

Plan your active holiday now! We are currently offering you the flexibility of changing your dates up to 70 days before departure – free of charge*. On top of that, if within the 70 days before your departure there is an official government reason due to which your trip cannot run, you can still change your dates without paying any fees. Or you’ll have the option to change to an alternative trip or get a full refund.
 

Wales

When does Wales reopen? Sherpa Expeditions
Wales is set to reopen its borders to UK travellers from mid-April allowing people to take in again Britain’s largest archaeological monument – Offa’s Dyke. The path gives access to the pristine Welsh-English borderlands where way marked trails lead hikers through idyllic villages, along ancient aqueducts, ruined castles and striking rocky outcrops.

Dates for your diary: 
-    27 March: travel within Wales is permitted in self-contained holiday accommodation – including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service – for one household. 
-    From 12 April: travel restrictions within the UK and Common Travel Area (open borders area comprising the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) will be lifted

Find official information on current restrictions by the Welsh Government here.
Visiting Wales from abroad? Find official government information on travel in Wales here.
 

Travel in Europe

Where can I travel in Europe? Sherpa Expeditions
The British government has announced 17 May 2021 as the date that international travel should reopen again. Although the government is working on plans that include a traffic light system for destinations based on their COVID infection rates and vaccination progress, a final decision on non-essential foreign travel is yet to be made. 
With pre-departure and post-arrival testing to stay with us for a little longer, it is anticipated that if returning from a green country, no self-isolation would be necessary. 
 
Questions?
Our team of travel experts is at hand by phone or email on weekdays between 9.00 - 17.30 hours GMT. 
This article was last updated on 6 April 2021.

England’s Coast to Coast Walks Cheat Sheet: A quick guide to choosing your walk Part I

stunning views on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk - Sherpa Expeditions

 

England's Coast to Coast Walks Cheat Sheet: Planning Your Coast to Coast Walk

 

When you’re planning a walking holiday on one of the UK’s most epic trails, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, you’ll probably start with doing research on general information on the trail. For instance, you may wish to know a bit more about the walking conditions on Wainwrights’ coast to coast walk, the remoteness of the routes, the presence of signage, and who Wainwright actually was. Another aspect of your coast to coast walk planning will likely be the grade of the walk and how challenging or comfortable Wainwright’s walk can be. To help you answer all these questions, we have prepared  a detailed cheat sheet on things to know before you begin your Coast to Coast walk planning.

 

Which Coasts Are Linked On This Walking Trail in England?

The Coast to Coast walk in the United Kingdom crosses from West to East on one of the narrowest parts of the island. The route begins in St Bees on coast of Cumbria near the huge red sandstone cliffs of St. Bees Head, which overlooks the Irish Sea. From here it crosses the three national parks, the Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park, to finally reach Robin Hood’s Bay overlooking the North Sea.

At Sherpa Expeditions you can choose from a number of travel options along the Coast to Coast trail that differ in duration (15 up to as many as 18 day trips) and that are either guided or self-guided walking tours.

 

Completing the Coast to Coast walk in England, Sherpa Expeditions

 

Who Is Wainwright?

Alfred Wainwright is the author of a well-known series of mountain-walking guide books on the Lake District among which is the first guide ever written on the Coast to Coast walk. Wainwright was an illustrator as well. His most famous publication is the series of seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells of the Lake District and in which he describes 214 fells, today known as The Wainwrights.

He lived and worked most of his life in Kendal, a few hours south from Patterdale, which is on our route of the Coast to Coast Walk.

 

What Are the Walking Conditions Underfoot on the Coast to Coast Like?

  • St Bees to Ennerdale 23.5km / 14.5 miles: mixed walking mainly on farmland
  • Ennerdale to Rosthwaite 26.5km / 16.5 miles: a hard day and rugged underfoot
  • Rosthwaite to Grasmere 13.5km / 8.5 miles: steep walking and it can be boggy depending on rainfall
  • Grasmere to Patterdale 12km / 7.5 miles: steep and rocky underfoot
  • Patterdale to Shap 26km / 16 miles: the hardest part but easier underfoot apart from the long step section down from Kidsty Pike
  • Shap to Kirkby Stephen 33km / 20.5 miles: a grassy trail
  • Kirkby Stephen to Keld 24km / 14.5 miles: can be boggy
  • Keld to Reeth 20km / 12.5 miles: good underfoot
  • Reeth to Richmond 20km / 12.5 miles: good underfoot
  • Richmond to Osmotherley 39km / 24 miles: easy underfoot but a long distance
  • Osmotherley to Blakey 34km / 21 miles: a hard walk and quite rocky underfoot
  • Blakey to Egton 16km / 10 miles: can be boggy, but it is on grassland and goes largely downhill
  • Egton to Robin Hood’s Bay 25.7km / 16 miles: through heath, woodlands and on roads

 

Varied walking conditions on Wainwright's Coast to Coast

 

Break at Coast to Coast England

 

How Remote Are the Routes on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast?

Even though most parts of the region you are walking in are relatively thinly populated, you will still find plenty of infrastructure to make sure you don’t have to camp or bring your own food. You can walk for a few hours without coming across any settlements, but then you’ll walk into one of the charming British villages for a bite and a break before continuing on.

If you are on a self-guided trip, you will need to concentrate on your map much of the time because of sudden changes and twists and turns of the route.

 

What’s The Most Challenging Coast to Coast Walk?

That would be the shortest version of the walking holidays we offer, which is our 15-day Coast to Coast Walk (available as both escorted and self-guided). It’s the most challenging version of the Coast to Coast Walk because you do the full length of the route in just 13 days of walking. The walking distances and times are longer than on any of our other trips.

 

What’s the Most Comfortable Option to Choose When Planning the Coast to Coast?

As opposed to the shortest trip being our most challenging option, the longest 18-day version of the Coast to Coast Walk is the most comfortable option. Walking distances are shorter so you have more time to rest and take in the scenery. For those of you who like to take it even more relaxed, you can decide to split up the route in two different sections that you can cover independently of each other. Of course it’s also always possible to customise your trip and add in extra resting or sightseeing days, just ask our friendly team.

 

Deer on Wainwright's Coast to Coast

 

Birdlife on Wainwright's Coast to Coast

 

Sheep on Wainwright's Coast to Coast

 

What About Signage Along the Coast to Coast Route?

The Coast to Coast trail varies in its signage. The walk is not an official long distance footpath and because of that there are no official waymarks. When you pass through the towns and villages, most often you will find wooden sign posts. In the Dales there are some Coast-2-Coast signs and in the Cleveland Hills you can partially follow certain waymarks. However, especially in the Lake District and in parts of the Dales you must be prepared as there are no waymarks whatsoever. This means that you do need to be able to navigate with a map and compass, especially when visibility is poor.

The Coast-to-Coast crosses a number of other routes such as the Cumbrian Way and Herriot Way so you can’t assume the person in front of you is going the same way.

 

What Do I Do If I’m Short On Time?

If you’re short on time and still like to enjoy the Coast to Coast Walk in England, we advise you walk the first part of the route in eight days. This stretch shows you the Lake District and is considered the best part of the Coast to Coast Walk. The first few days will take you over some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain of the Lake District. You will pass Helvellyn (950m), England’s third highest mountain. You can decide to walk to the summit on a detour and on a clear day you may be able to see Scotland and Wales from its top.

 

 

We hope that this information will provide a good start to your Coast to Coast walk planning. Of course there's always our background information on the Coast to Coast trail as well and our team of travel experts is available to answer any questions from our London office. 

If you are interested in more information on Wainwright's Coast to Coast, you may want to bookmark this page and Part II of this cheat sheet with even more questions on planning the Coast to Coast walk answered.

 

Break in English ruins on a Sherpa Expeditions Coast to Coast walk

 

Traveller’s Tale: The Pennine Way with Ann

On the 4th September 2020, a day after Ann’s 63rd birthday, Steven and Ann started their Pennine Way adventure. Steven unfortunately had to give up on his walking trip on day 5 at Gargrave because of blisters. He got a taxi to the B&B in Malham while Ann walked there on her own. The next day Ann continued the adventure while Steven used public transport to get to Horton in Ribblesdale for the night’s accommodation and then picked up their car at home so they could join each other in the evenings at the charming B&B's.

 

Couple walking the Pennine Way _ Sherpa Expeditions

 

It has given me so much confidence completing the Pennine Way.

 

Why did you choose to walk the Pennine Way?

Some years ago Steven, my husband and I were on holiday in Yorkshire with friends staying at a B&B. In the morning at breakfast a couple told us that they were walking the Coast to Coast. As soon as they told us about their adventure I wanted to do it. We have had walking holidays ever since, starting in 2015 with the Coast to Coast walk, followed by Offa's Dyke, Glyndwrs Way, the West Highland Way and in 2019 I took on Mt Kilimanjaro on my own. I am pleased to say that I made the summit of 5,895 meters; the toughest thing I have ever done. After Kilimanjaro I needed another big adventure and for 2020 the Pennine Way, all 268 miles in one trek, was chosen. Steven contacted Sherpa Expeditions and with the help of Tali made the arrangements. We had decided to walk the Pennine Way over 18 days, which included a couple of shorter days – considered rest days.

 

How did you prepare for your walk?

I joined my husband Steven in retirement in 2018 at the age of 60 to look after my Dad who was 91. Dad and I would go for miles, Dad in his electric buggy, me walking. The electric buggy had a battery life of 20 miles and we tested it.
My friend and I had completed the Capital Ring Walk and we were just getting going on the London Loop when COVID-19 Lockdown started in March 2020. During lockdown I would walk the local footpaths near home nearly every day, I was walking over 50 miles a week. Steven would join me for a walk a couple of times a week.  Before COVID-19, Steven and I planned to go on holiday to the Lake District to train for our walking holidays so I hoped that the mileage we were walking in flat Essex instead would be enough for the Pennine Way.  

 

How often does a granny from Essex get to climb a waterfall...

 

What was your favourite place along this UK National Trail?

I found all of the Pennine Way amazing, the solitude of the high moorland, the rain and blustery wind, the very boggy moors with wet feet most days and the amazing people I met on route. I have more than one favourite destination. 
The lights of Tan Hill Inn after a very wet and windy walk over the moor. It looked so cosy and inviting . I had walked from Keld to Tan Hill with another Pennine Way walker and his friend who was doing a few days. I had bumped into them a few times and enjoyed dinner with them at Tan Hill. They did get a day ahead of me and I missed knowing they were on route. 

 

High Cup Nick - highlight on the Pennine Way _ Sherpa Expeditions


Climbing Cauldron Snout was another favourite, how often does a granny from Essex get to climb a waterfall. Then Cauldron Snout to be followed on the same day by High Cup Nick.  I just sat there with my flask of tea and took in the scenery. Walking along Hadrian’s Wall was beautiful; it took some of the tiredness out of my legs. 
And my last day to Kirk Yetholm: I sat under a finger post indicating “Kirk Yetholm 4 miles”, drank my tea and knew I had made it, although I was swearing to myself up that last hill.

 

Best food & drink of this part of England?

I don't have one favourite place for eating, everywhere we went provided for walkers really well. I think my best meals were my lunch time sandwiches with amazing views with half or some of the days’ challenge completed. I usually stopped late afternoon too, for me a cup of tea and a snack tasted extra good knowing I didn't have far to go before I could rest.

 

What aspect of walking the Pennine Way did you find most challenging?

The biggest challenge was the Cross Fell day of 19.5 miles from Dufton to Alston. I left at 8am from the B&B and the never-ending lung busting slog up to Cross Fell took until nearly 1 o'clock. Here I had lunch, but still had 11 miles to go. It was late afternoon by the time I got to Garrigill where I had my afternoon tea. Steven had walked out to meet me as it was 6.30 before I got near Alston. 

 

Sherpa Expeditions walker Ann gives a review on Walking the Pennine Way

Biggest surprise of walking the Pennine Way?

My navigational skills are not as good as Steven's, so the biggest surprise for me was that I managed to complete the Pennine Way on my own. I didn't want to give up. I was so nervous as I walked out of Horton in Ribblesdale that first day on my own, but was determined to give it a go. I did have the GPX app that Sherpa Expeditions recommended and had managed to download all but 2 days routes. 
I recorded my mileage every day, the Pennine Way is 268 miles. I did 290 miles, this includes the walks to and from the B&B's and the times I went wrong. I think you need to be fit to walk the Pennine Way but you also need to be determined. It has given me so much confidence completing the Pennine Way.

 

Would I do it again? YES   

 

Want to do it too? Find out more about your options of walking the Pennine Way with Sherpa Expeditions or contact our team to discuss your wishes. 

 

 
 

UK & European Spring Walking Holidays

With Spring coming up soon again, many of the Sherpa Expeditions holidays are great to enjoy at this time of year. Often you're first to return to the trails and with the popping up of flowers, birdsong and longer days we believe spring is one of the best times of the year. The list of options is long, offering you plenty of choice in coastal walks, hiking the Swiss Alps, traditional English walks and even cycling around the UK.

 

To find a trip that best suits your interests and requirements, why not use the Holiday Search Wizard on which you can narrow down per destination, price, duration and start or finish dates. Now is the time to start planning for your UK or European spring walking holiday!

 

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep the Spring from coming."   - Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet-diplomat, politician & Nobel Prize winner 

 

>> To the Holiday Search Wizard

 

Traditional English Walking

England walking holiday travel deals - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Exploring the Cotswolds (8 days)

A delightful short walk through quintessential English landscapes and villages in the charming Cotswolds -- A week long walk in the picturesque Cotswolds of southern England.

Or opt for the 5-day version or walk the 12-day Cotswold Way

 

Coast to Coast: St Bees to Kirkby Stephen 

Follow the Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees to the historic villages and beautiful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. Choose for the guided or self guided option.

Or find one of the other guided or self guided Coast to Coast trip options

 

The Dales Way 

Walk through the Pennines and Lake District in the Yorkshire Dales staying at inns and farmhouses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

 

Cumbrian Way: Crossing the Lake District 

Walk from Ulverston to Keswick in the English Lake District, with views across Lake Coniston and Derwentwater. Visit Langdale and Borrowdale two of the prettiest Lakeland valleys.

 

Coast to Coast Classic Guided Walk - 15 Days

Cover 190 odd miles and traverse 3 national parks with our guide on the classic Coast to Coast walk, enjoy magnificent scenery with rolling hills and charming little villages with cosy pubs. 

Or choose the 17-day guided option of Wainwright's Coast to Coast

 

Isle of Wight Coastal Walking

A beautiful walk circumnavigating the Isle of Wight. For those who prefer two wheels, check out the stunning Isle of Wight Cycle trip.

 

Scotland

scotland travel deals - Sherpa walking holidays

 

West Highland Way (8 days) 

Walk through the stunning Scottish Highlands from Loch Lomond to Ben Nevis on this iconic route.

               Or choose the 10-day version of this walk in Scotland

 

Great Glen Way 

Walk through the heart of the Scottish Highlands at your own pace on the 8-day The Great Glen Way or 5-day trip covering the Highlights of the Great Glen Way. Cyclists will enjoy taking in beautiful Scottish scenery from 24 March along the 5-day Great Glen Cycleway.

 

Lochs and Bens (cycling in Scotland) 

Cycle the picturesque Scottish Highlands along lochs and bens from 1 April to enjoy spring at its best.

 

European Coastal Walks

Europe coastal walking holidays travel deals - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Coast to Coast: St Bees to Kirkby Stephen 

Follow the Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees to the historic villages and beautiful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales.

Or find one of the other Coast to Coast trip options by bicycle or on foot

 

Cinque Terre Villages 

A coastal walk on the Italian Riviera with a centre based stay in Monterosso. Choose from a selection of walks or just saunter around the beaches and clifftops.

 

Cornwall: South West Coast Path

Walk England’s longest and, many would say, finest trail: the 630 miles long South West Peninsula Coastal Path from Poole to Minehead, of which almost half is in Cornwall.

 

Exploring Crete 

Discover Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands. Walk in Samaria and Imbros Gorge and hike in the White Mountains. This trip allows you to enjoy spring in Greece from 1 May.

 

Isle of Wight Coastal Walking 

A beautiful walk circumnavigating the Isle of Wight.

 

European Mountain Walking

centre based travel deals - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Meiringen: Panoramas of the Swiss Alps (5 days) 

Walk beneath the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau for unrivalled panoramas of the Swiss Alps during a selection of daily hikes on this centre based, self guided walking tour.

               Or check out an 8-day version and all other trips in the Swiss Alps

 

Walking in the Apuane Alps

Escape the crowds with remote mountain walking in northern Tuscany. It's a fantastic region to experience in spring with our first departure being on 1 April.

 

Madeira Island Walking

Follow the levadas to discover the dramatic and rugged mountain scenery on the Portuguese island of Madeira. This trip runs year round, so if you can't wait for spring, there's always the option to head out now and enjoy the island's mild climate.

 

Secret France: the Ardeche (8 days)

A charming walk off the beaten track in the Massif Central in France. Face the Alps from a walkers' paradise of hills where the Ardeche, Loire and Haute Loire regions meet. Departs from 10 April for stunning spring walking.

 

The Troodos Mountains & Akamas (8 days)

Discover the Troodos Mountains and Akamas Peninsula of Cyprus on foot in 8 days or choose for the extended version of 11 days, travel from mid-March. 

 

Cycling in the UK

cycling holidays travel deals - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Lochs and Bens (cycling in Scotland) 

Cycle the picturesque Scottish Highlands.

               Or find the complete offer of holidays in Scotland

 

Cotswolds by Bike 

Cycle through the heart of England in the Cotswolds. Discover quaint stone built villages, ride across rolling hills between village pubs and old coaching inns.

               Or check out all active holidays in the Cotswolds

 

The Cyclist's Coast to Coast 

Cycle across England through the Lake District and over the Pennines to the North Sea along the popular C2C cycle path that was inspired by Wainwright's Coast to Coast path.

Or find the complete offer of Coast to Coast holidays 

 

Great Glen Cycleway

Departing from 24 March to take in the best of spring, the Great Glen Cycleway is a Scottish coast to coast route largely following the walking route of the Great Glen Way National Trail.

 

Hadrian's Cycleway

Prepare for great coastal and country scenery as you cross England by bike following close to the line of the Roman frontier during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD).

 

For the complete offer of cycling and walking holidays in Europe, use the Holiday Search Wizard, or if you like to speak to one of our travel experts for tailored advice, contact us by email or phone

 

Traveller's Tale: Cow Bells & Marmots in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland

Campbell and his partner made their way to Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland in the peak of summer 2019. Advertised as “A fantastic introduction to the delights of Swiss mountain walking through two famous regions”, read here how he experienced his walking holiday in Switzerland. 
 
Review walking in Switzerland with Sherpa Expeditions _ Jungfrau Railway
 
My walking history is relatively pedestrian (pun intended), my partner and I have had many walking adventures including Madeira’s Pico Ruivo, Snowdonia, Amalfi’s Path of the Gods and the Peak and Lake districts in the UK. The last of these being a personal favourite. 
 

Why did you choose to walk in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland? 

Like all walks, we liked the appeal of nature above all else. The idea of walking through Swiss meadows with nothing but the blue sky, alpine peaks and cow’s bells to keep you company was appealing on every level. 
 

How did you prepare for your walking holiday in Switzerland? 

To be honest, poorly. We were walking the Capital Ring Walk in London leading into our walking holiday, but it by no means prepared us for the grinding uphill in the hot weather that we endured on the first day. 
 

>> Find out more about The Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls trip that Campbell completed

 

What was your favourite destination? 

This would have to be Lauterbrunnen. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first being the accommodation had a bath looking out over the waterfall that I could sit in at the end of the day and enjoy a nice glass of port. Also great was the fact that it was nestled away in a valley downhill from Wengen. It has a nice village feel as you walk into it with the paragliders making their way up and down the valley. 
 
Lauterbrunnen on Bernese Oberland walk with Sherpa Expeditions
 
Reward after challenging hike in Switzerland - Sherpa Expeditions traveller review
 

Best food & drink? 

This would have to be at Onkel Tom’s in Grindelwald, due to the atmosphere and hygge factor. It was cold and unrelenting outside, yet here we were with a lovely pizza, wine and roaring fire. It was perfect after a hard days walking.
 
A close second would be the hut on the route out of Zermatt which serves a brilliant homemade apple cake with fruit tea. It makes for a perfect pit stop after arguably the hardest ascent of the trip. It was the only time we were swayed by a treat and I’m so glad we stopped. 
 

Biggest surprise of walking in the Bernese Oberland? 

The Marmots. They were just everywhere. I jest, I didn’t see any Marmots. 
The main surprises for me were actually twofold. The first being the just the scale and breath-taking beauty of the Alps and the valleys, it was quite humbling to be walking through and over such incredible landscapes. 
 
The second would be the wildlife. Living in London, aside from the odd squirrel, there isn’t much else. It is mainly livestock over this walk in Switzerland, but they are all equipped with bells, which lets everyone know where they are at all times. It was almost unusual to walk through a field or slope without the cacophony of dings to keep you company. 
On the higher plains outside of Zermatt keep an eye out for goats and black-faced sheep. The sheep are especially friendly and are typically found snoozing near any rocks that might heat up in the midday sun. In the summer and spring months, there will be a host of butterflies that will constantly distract you from the potentially gruelling uphill legs. 
 
Walking in Switzerland review_Sherpa Expeditions
 
Sheep abound around Zermatt in Switzerland_Sherpa Expeditions traveller review
 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging? 

While the first day was physically challenging, I don’t think this was the most challenging aspect of our walking trip. I think that the most challenging aspect was dealing with the weather involved. As is the case with all mountain weather it is largely interchangeable and I was perhaps not as adequately prepared as I should have been. 
 
Also, we were very keen to do the Jungfrau railway, so choosing when to do this was a key decision, especially due to the cost. Luckily, they have a detailed weather service in the station that will give an update as to what the weather is expected to be at the summit. We ended up with a fantastic blue-sky day in the end and would definitely recommend walking out to the hut past the glaciers for soup or mulled wine.
 
Walking around from Jungfrau Railway _ Sherpa Expeditions traveller review
 
Review walking in Switzerland_Bernese Oberland with Sherpa Expeditions
 

Did Campbell inspire you to go walking in the Swiss Alps? With Sherpa Expeditions you have a selection of options to choose from in the Bernese Oberland, but also other highlights of Switzerland such as the Tour du Mont Blanc, Wildstrubel Circuit and Haute Route. 

 

What Size Walking Boot Do I Need?

Read our walking boots size guide with all your FAQs answered

How to size your walking boots, depends on a number of factors. Your ideal choice of walking footwear ultimately depends on its fit and the activity that you intend to do, as well as the type of terrain you are planning to cover. In rocky, wet terrain you will need a boot with more support and waterproofing than say if you are going to walk on made up tracks or on roads. In these last instances, a lighter more cushioned boot will be more appropriate. For hot-weather-walking, eg. Italy in summer, you will prefer even lighter, open and breathable fabrics. Materials range from full grain leather through to suede and synthetic, with or without Gore-Tex or other linings to make them more waterproof.

 

Need a new pair of walking boots? Read our FAQ on sizing - Sherpa Expeditions

Once you have decided on a style or function, the important thing is that the footwear should not only fit correctly to prevent blisters. The boot should also support your feet and ankles enough to help prevent walking fatigue and ankle or tendon injury as much as possible, for example from twisting or jarring. Once you know the sort of activity and thus the type of shoe you need, go and try some on at your friendly local store taking into account the below FAQs on sizing walking boots.

 

1. Boot length

Push your socked foot into the boot with loosened laces, with your toes going to the front and with your foot flat on the ground. Insert your index finger down the back of the boot, along your Achilles tendon down the inside heel without having to force it. If you can't do this or your finger, or toes are squashed, the boot is too short. Similarly, too much space may mean the boot is too long.

 

2. Width and pinch points

Whilst seated, with your foot flat to the ground and heel pushed to the back of the shoe, lace the boot and you will soon discover if the there are any pressure / pinch points which may indicate that there is not enough width especially if the laces are tight.

 

>> Find your ultimate walking holiday in the UK or Europe

 

3. Weight shifting

Now with the laces tightened, stand up and bow, your feet spread under your body weight. You will now notice whether your toes are touching the front, and when you move shifting  from foot to foot, if the heel or tops and sides are rubbing and if the shoe or boot is bulging. The latter may be a sign it is too tight. You can run your hands over the boot and find the obvious tight points.

 

Walking boots size guide - Sherpa Expeditions

What size walking boot do I need? FAQs by Sherpa Expeditions

4. Toe flex point

Although this won’t work so well if you are buying stiffened boots to use with crampons, most walking boots will flex at the point that is located between the ball of the foot and the toes. Attention! This is a usual blister pinch point that can be avoided by choosing the right size of walking boot. So, make sure that you use a step in the shop to see if there is any pinching when you go up the step or lean forward against a wall with your booted feet flat and flex forward. Remember that on a hill or in the mountains (eg. on the Tour du Mont Blanc) this move will be repeated thousands of times and so you don't want anything too tight.

 

5. Other Considerations

If you use orthotic insoles and you intend to use with them with the boots, then take them along to the shop and replace the original footbeds and see how you cope with them.

Also bear in mind that your feet will often swell up slightly with heat, when they are wet or sweaty or with a bit of altitude. You may want to try double socks or one sports sock liner and a loop stitched walking sock over that to help correctly sizing your new walking boots.

 

6. After Purchase

After you have purchased your new footwear, take it home and wear it indoors for a few hours to check if there is enough support and no pinching. Boots are usually quite a bit heavier and more supportive than the usual shoes we wear and it may take a while to get used to them. In the UK at least, most stores will replace the new boots if you are unsatisfied with their sizing as long as you haven’t used them outside and that you have all the original packaging and receipts etc.

 

If you are having fitting problems with current boots, we know they do change over time, then see our article on footwear micro adjustment with the help of... laces.

 

 

Traveller’s Tale: Alison’s La Gomera Walking Holiday

Review walking in La Gomera - Sherpa Expeditions

Traveller's Tale: Alison's La Gomera Walking Holiday

Alison Carr, a very skilled watercolour painter from the UK, took a walking holiday on La Gomera with us in November. Below, she shares some of her experiences – plus wonderful works of art that she produced along the way. 
 

“The first word that comes to mind about this walking trip on La Gomera is contrast.”


The harbour town of Los Cristianos at the southernmost tip of Tenerife [red: where the nearest airport is] is so busy but then the ferry takes you away to the quiet and quaint San Sebastian on the island of La Gomera, near enough to be seen  but, in some way, a rather different world.

The first walking day takes me up to the hamlet of El Cedro. The road tunnel catapults me into one of the famous rain forests of La Gomera...it’s like a portal! On the other side is steamy, dense woodland with the light coming through in misty shards. It’s truly magical. Flowers and fruit grow in rich abundance and lizards scuttle about in the dry leaves as I walk past.
 
Being up so high affords sweeping views of the coastline below. It does also put you in touch with the elements, on occasion with a stiff breeze and atmospheric, swirling mists that frame glimpses of dramatic rock formations above and below. 

Descending to the little town of Vallehermoso, I hear music and discover that the local bar in the square is a place where people congregate to sing (very heartily) with enthusiastic local guitarists and it’s so cheering to sit amongst them. Another contrast to the quiet of the day in the mountains above the town.

Highlights of the rest of the trip include the hill top village of Chipude with the zigzag path that takes you on up to the highest point of the island, into the National Park and its visitor centre with a comprehensive history of this fascinating place.
 
Playa de Vallehermoso - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays
 
Chipude in La Gomera - Sherpa Expeditions walker review

There was also an extra day to walk along the coast, a hot and dry walk with little pockets of green in the coves, such as the one at Playa Del Cabrito. Here, a banana plantation (the first I’ve ever seen!) completely takes me by surprise. A dip in the sea on the way back is most welcome.

Returning eventually to San Sebastian, there is a buzz of excitement. It may be a small place with a tiny harbour, but it’s also the place of choice for many great seafaring launches and today sees the teams for the challenge to row across the Atlantic getting their boats ready amongst all the media attention that goes with it. Even a Hollywood film, In the Heart of the Sea, was shot here. By contrast, I board the steady, safe and slow ferry back to Tenerife and home after a really amazing walking tour of this lovely island of La Gomera.


Want to find out more about our hiking options on the Canary Islands or in particular walking on La Gomera? Then contact our team of experienced travel experts or read more on our website here
 
Parador on La Gomera - walking with Sherpa Expeditions
 
La Gomera hiking trips with Sherpa Expeditions
 
© Words & artwork by Alison Carr

A Traveller’s Tale of 4: Walking in Italy’s Apuane Alps

Review Self Guided Walking in Apuane Alps Italy - Sherpa Expeditions
 
Amy and her husband randomly had a conversation with a man who spoke highly of Sherpa Expeditions and decided it sounded like a great company. Together with another couple from Idaho, USA, they took off walking in Italy’s Apuane Alps. Read here their review of the walking holiday with us. 
 

>> Find all details about the Walking in the Apuane Alps trip that Amy did. 

What is your walking history?

All 4 of us live in Idaho, USA, and regularly take advantage of the outdoors of our state including hiking and trail running. My husband and I had done a self-guided hiking tour in Ireland approximately 16 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We prefer to include some adventure and activity into our vacations and hiking / walking is always a great way to see a new place.
 
Self guided walks in Apuane Alps - Italy _ Reviews Sherpa Expeditions
 
Italian delicacies on your walking holiday with Sherpa Expeditions
 

Why did you choose to walk in Italy’s Alps?

As we looked at options for our next walking holiday, we knew we wanted to go back to Italy as it had been 18 years since we’d been. We also wanted a challenging route, the Apuane Alps checked both those boxes. The other couple from Idaho that joined us was ‘up for anything’.
 

How did you prepare for this walking holiday?

My husband and I had a busy summer of trail running events that set us up pretty well for the trip. On the flipside, our friend had an arthroscopic knee procedure about 2,5 months prior to the trip and did fine. We all had a solid level of activity from the start and really had no concerns. We opted not to do the “long” day as we also recognized we were on vacation!
 

>> Looking for a walking holiday in Italy as well? Find ideas now

Review self guided walking in Italy _ Sherpa Expeditions
Walking in Italy - Sherpa Expeditions Reviews
 

What was your favourite destination in the Apuane Alps?

We really enjoyed the three nights we stayed in Fornovolasco. We were placed in a freestanding apartment across the river from Rifugio La Buca. We were pleasantly surprised to find a washing machine and had plenty of space to spread out, dry out and enjoy ourselves. Paula is a fantastic hostess and cook and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
 

Best food & drink?

All the cappuccinos in the mornings to send us on our ways. The cold Italian bierra to greet us after the walk. And the house vino rosso to accompany all the delicious home-cooked meals. 
There was no bad meal. We particularly enjoyed the pasta and tiramisu from Paula in Fornovolasco and the breakfasts at Albergo Gorizia were delightful and had a slice of cheese as big as a plate.
 

What was your biggest surprise of your trip in the Apuane Alps?

The complete lack of tourists! We were at the end of the season and knew this was not one of the more popular hikes, but we truly did not run into any other hikers on the trail. We opted to go to the Wind Cave outside Fonovolasco and did see people there, but otherwise we just enjoyed our interactions with owners of the lodgings.
 

What aspect of this walking trip did you find most challenging?

The answer to this must be the unrelenting rain on the first day as we set out from Fornaci di Barga. It made for a challenging day with slick trails, some difficulty with way finding and energy level. However, Manuel and Sylvia, the owners of Agriturismo Summer (our lodging for the night), welcomed us with a place to dry out and arranged for some sunshine as we enjoyed some beverages by their pool!


Amy and her husband together with their friends did our self guided 'Walking in the Apuane Alps' trip. Learn more about it today or talk to our experienced team to discuss any queries you may have about walking in Italy
 

Pleasant European Winter Tours for the Active Traveller

If you are after an activity break with a dose of some salty sea air this winter, consider the great islands and coastline of Europe’s seas and oceans. From windswept cliff-top bicycle rides to more leisurely seaside strolls and walks off the mainstream tourist radar, you will be surprised of the options for a pleasant break during the so-called off season. For the active traveller wanting to visit Europe, winter tours are a great option to consider.

 

Europe winter tours - Sherpa Expeditions

 

walking trips - winter holidays europe - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Popular year-round holiday destinations because of their excellent conditions for outdoor activities such as walking and cycling, these places do tend to attract a fair number of travellers during the winter season. Here is an overview of our favourite active winter trips in Europe.

 

Active Europe: Winter Tours

  • Southern Trails of La Gomera | Relatively short walking days exploring the southern trails of La Gomera & leaving time to relax.
  • Madeira Island Walking | Year round self guided walk following the Levadas and trails through the dramatic and rugged mountain scenery on the island of Madeira.
  • Exploring La Gomera – 11 Days | Experience La Gomera's lush plantations, mountains and whitewashed villages.
  • Walking in the Canaries | Year round walking opportunities exploring the mountains and coasts of Spain's most exotic islands.
  • La Palma Island Walking | A walking trip on the Canary Island of La Palma that is designed to make the most of the wonderful natural features of the island based from the two main towns: Santa Cruz and Los llanos de Ariadne.
  • Lake Como Rambling | Discover the attractions and beauty of Italy's Lake Como with a selection of walks, ferry crossings and variety of hotel locations.
  • Hiking the Vermillion Coast | Discover the coast and mountains along the edge of the Pyrenees. Walk through beautiful seaside towns enjoying famous Banyuls wine and seafood.
  • Rambling in the Luberon | Enjoy open fields laden with poppies & wildflowers; centuries old stone huts and beautiful trails of Provence, far from the beaten track.
  • Exploring La Gomera – 8 Days | Experience the lush plantations, mountains and whitewashed villages of exotic La Gomera.
  • Cycling in Sardinia | Cycle along the spectacular southwest coast of the island biking past white quartz beaches and towering sand dunes, Phoenician Ruins and Ancient Mines.
  • In Van Gogh's Footsteps | This walk traces the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh through some of the places that he painted and would have known well. More specifically you will be strolling in Les Alpilles.
  • Dingle Peninsula Walk | Experience on foot the history and natural beauty of Ireland's Dingle Peninsula.
  • The Portuguese Road – Coimbra to Porto | Walk the quieter trails between historical Coimbra and Porto on stage two of the Camino Portuguès.
  • Rota Vicentina – the Fishermen’s Trail | Traverse the Atlantic coastline of Portugal to reveal a landscape of deserted beaches, fishing villages and dramatic cliffs on foot.
  • Winter Walking in Cyprus | Away from the cosmopolitan towns and beach resorts you will find large areas of natural, unspoilt countryside. Discover woodland, orchards & vineyards interspersed with tranquil, timeless villages. 

 

Or How About these..

 

Especially during the Christmas period accommodation is in high demand. We therefore advise to secure your winter break as early as possible. To discuss any special requirements or to chat about the best options for you, please feel free to give us a call or send us a message.

The Best UK National Trails

Best UK National Trails to walk with Sherpa Expeditions
 
Scattered around England and Wales, you may have come across a so-called UK National Trail. Marked by the iconic acorn symbol, these are walking (and sometimes cycling) routes designated by the British Government. The conditions along the trail are looked after by a dedicated officer and are kept maintained to a standard that truly sets them apart. 
 
They are a fantastic option to discover some of the best that the UK has to offer to outdoor enthusiasts as they wind their way through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks. All being long distance walks, allow yourself a week or two to step into the outdoors and soak up the British countryside.
 
With nine out of the 15 trails to choose from, let Sherpa Expeditions be your guide when completing a UK National Trail
 

Cleveland Way

The 110 mile Cleveland Way follows a walking route from Helmsley to Filey. What stands out is the experience of half a walk over hill and scarp edges and half along the hilly coastline of the Yorkshire seaside.
 

Cotswold Way

 
The Cotswolds is the epitome of the English countryside. It is no wonder that this is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as rolling hills meet with quaint villages that are all preserved in a glorious state.  
 

Hadrian’s Wall Path

Hadrian’s Wall stretches from the aptly named Wallsend in Newcastle Upon Tyne to the quaint village of Bowness-on-Solway in the west. The 84 mile (135km) Hadrian’s Wall Path takes hikers across the rugged countryside of Northern England, following the world’s largest Roman artefact.
 

Offa’s Dyke Path

Crossing the border between England and Wales more than 10 times, the Offa’s Dyke National Trail path follows some of the finest scenery in both countries for 177 miles (285 km).

Pennine Way

 
The Pennine Way, a mountain journey across the backbone of England, became the very first UK National Trail on April 24th 1965. It is a long, 268 mile (429 km) hike from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It crosses some of the finest upland landscapes in England and down into Scotland.
 

South Downs Way

Exactly 100 miles of chalk downland walking separates the Victorian seaside town of Eastbourne and the ancient Saxon Capital of Wessex and England – Winchester, forming the South Downs Way. Stretching over a rare large Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Southern Britain, the walk generally follows the chalk (soft limestone) ridge just to the north of the popular seaside towns on the Sussex and Hampshire coast. 

South West Coast Path

Follow the South West Coast National Trail with Sherpa Expeditions
 
England’s longest and, many would say, finest trail is the 630 miles long South West Peninsula Coastal Path from Poole to Minehead, of which almost half is in Cornwall.

Thames Path

Following the Thames Path will help you to understand not only the Thames but also why it is the key to the history of London. There is a lot to see: the palaces such as Hampton Court and Syon Park; castles such as Windsor and the Tower of London; multiple bridges each with their own history; and wildlife reserves.  And always as the backdrop to it all is the life on the river. 


Contact our team to organise your UK National Trail walking holiday.