We've narrowed down our top 5 places to go walking this year, from the lesser known areas of Eastern Europe to the coastlines of Portugal. Find out below why they're our favourite destinations to walk in 2018.
Whether it’s the ‘Levison Wood effect’ (his recent Channel 4 television series saw the serial adventurer ‘Crossing the Wild Frontier - from Russia to Iran’), the introduction of new and cheaper flight options or simply a hankering for the different, the Caucasus is proving a massive hit right now. Stretching all the way from the Black to the Caspian Seas, the attraction for walkers comes in the form of two major mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus. Snow-capped peaks, glaciers, gushing waterfalls, high altitude lakes, remote monasteries and mountain villages with their own distinct language and culture await those prepared to travel to Europe’s easternmost outposts - Georgia and Armenia.
It’s almost three years ago that parts of Nepal were rocked by two powerful earthquakes. Very much fully open for tourism, Nepal’s visitor numbers have continued to rise each year since and 2018 looks set to see increasing numbers of travellers trekking among the world’s most spectacular mountains. Sri Lanka has also been flying as a holiday destination, a trend set to continue this year. With the whole country now open for travel, many new places to stay and ways to explore have emerged. With a cool mountainous interior, virgin rainforests, and ancient sites surrounded by jungle, it’s a great destination to explore on foot.
Eastern Europe is rising in popularity, with plenty to offer in 2018. The area has a wonderful mix of medieval cities, snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, and forested national parks coupled with delicious (and inexpensive) food and beer! The walking trails in the Carpathian Mountains are well marked and take you through some of the most spectacular mountain trails that Europe has to offer; they are also quieter than the Alps. Soak up the fascinating cultural heritage on foot visiting UNESCO World Heritage cities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Eastern Europe also has a wide array of wildlife, including brown bears and beavers in Slovakia which you can search for on our trips. Most tourists head to Dubrovnik or Split in Croatia but there is much more to this beautiful country, from the emerald lakes in Plitvice national park to the dramatic gorges of Paklenica and the pristine islands off the coast.
It is safe to say that Jordan is a destination on the rise and is as welcoming as ever. This small country is well known for the spectacular monuments and the fascinating Wadi Rum Desert. Jordan is making a name for itself and is now being recognised as an up and coming adventure activity hot spot. Traverse the country following the historic Spice Trail that the ancient Nabataeans once took, travelling across copper sands to spend the night under the stars in Bedouin-style tents. The historical sites will take your breath away and they really are best appreciated on foot, taking the time to discover hidden treasures and ascend ancient staircases to be rewarded with panoramic views of the desert.
The unspoilt coastline, sleepy traditional villages and verdant hills make Portugal the perfect setting for active breaks. Unlike some parts of Western Europe Portugal still remains untarnished by mass tourism and the coastal towns of Sagres and Tavira in the south make for a pleasant base for a week of relaxed walking along often empty trails. The scenic coastal paths run along impressive cliffs and across deserted sandy beaches and the long distance path ‘Rota Vincentina’ cumulates at Cabo Sao Vicente, the most south-westerly point of Europe. In the centre of the country explore the lush rolling hills in the Douro valley stretching from inland Spain to the Atlantic Coast, stopping at small wineries, known locally as bodegas, where you can sample the regional varieties. Some of the most stunning landscapes can be found offshore, on the autonomous islands of Madeira and the Azores.