Want an autumn walking holiday but not sure where to start? For those based in the UK you don't need to look too far afield. Cooler temperatures and quieter trails than the summer months make Europe ideal for trekking at this time of year. Our walking experts Caroline Philips and Jude Berry have chosen their top six (they couldn't limit it to just five!) Europe treks for this autumn...
Levada Trails of Madeira
Famous for its mild year-round climate, the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira is a great place for autumn walking. Originally volcanic, its mountains, fertile valleys and jagged coastline offer enjoyable hiking and wonderful scenic views. Many of the walking trails follow the old network of irrigation channels known as levadas which contour the slopes of the island, making the sometimes steep mountainous terrain more easily accessible. On our ‘Levada Trails of Madeira’ tour we travel around the island to take in some of the island’s best walks, staying in four different coastal locations including Funchal, Madeira’s capital.
Exploring Skyros and Evia On Foot
Greece and its islands also offer great autumn walking as the intense heat of the summer begins to abate. Easy to access from the mainland and wonderfully relaxed, the islands of Evia and Skyros are best explored on foot. As well as walking along ancient trails, through pine forests and down to beautiful coastlines, you'll also learn about local mythology as you climb Mount Ohi on Evia and discover the mysterious Dragon House there. Starting with a walking tour in Athens this hiking holiday offers a view of ancient, modern and rural Greece.
On Foot in North Cyprus
North Cyprus has almost year-round sun and is a great place to enjoy some autumn walking. Walking in the Besparmak Mountains with their wonderful coastal views, and hiking to rural villages, you'll get a wonderfully off-the-beaten track insight to North Cyprus. Many of the area’s ancients sites, such as the Crusader castles at Buffavento and Kantara, and Bellapais Abbey, are also incorporated into our walks. Based just outside the village of Bellapais our hotel has sweeping views down over the port of Kyrenia and to the coast, and is a great place to relax by the pool after a day's walking.
Amalfi Coast Walking
As autumn arrives on Italy’s breathtaking Amalfi Coast both the heat of summer and its attendant sunseekers start to disappear. It’s a fantastic time of the year to get out on the network of trails that weave up and over the cliffs and hills beyond the beaches. A hike on the island of Capri is included on our holiday here. As well as some first class walking, you can also visit the site of Roman Pompeii together with Vesuvius, the volcano that dominates the bay of Naples and which was responsible for burying the ancient city. Our base for the week is a family-run agriturismo (guesthouse on a farm) just a few metres from the cliffs from where there are stunning coastal views.
And because we couldn’t choose just one…two options for walking in Spain
Spain offers fantastic walking and trekking especially in the autumn as the heat of the summer begins to abate. While there is a great diversity of landscapes and areas to choose from, Andalucia is particularly rewarding. With Explore there are two options. The first is staying on the edge of the Sierras de Tejeda Natural Park in a 16th Century converted convent and hiking through the spectacular local hills, rural landscapes and white-washed Moorish villages. Alternatively, stay in a traditional village house in the little visited Sierra de Aracena; from here you can walk through the stunning scenery of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Based in charming rural villages both these walking holidays also offer an insight into the local rural culture and cuisine.