Spring has sprung – step out amid its glory with On Foot Holidays
Temperatures are pleasant once more, rainfall levels have dropped and the countryside comes alive with springtime flora and fauna. Walking holiday specialist On Foot Holidays highlights its top self-guided springtime walks to kick off the season:
For spring flowers and wildlife – Andalucia, Spain – seven nights from £645 pp
This seven-night walk offers glorious hillside hiking in the rugged Grazalema National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve near Cadíz, taking in the region’s fabled White Villages along the way and ending in the Moorish citadel of Ronda. The region is a haven for birds and wildlife, boasting one of Europe’s largest expanses of cork-oak forest, along with olive and almond groves. Walkers can expect to see an abundance of flora and fauna in the meadows, mountain pastures and lush river valleys, from honeysuckle and iris to wild peony and periwinkles, and from ibex and deer to eagles and griffon vultures. From £645 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ B&B, one evening meal, five picnics, luggage transfers between hotels and all route information. Graded medium to hard. Departures recommended in April and early May.
For a challenging climb – Corfu, the Vikos Gorge and Meteora, Greece – seven nights from £675 pp
Set in Zagoria, a scenic and little-known corner of northwest Greece, the dramatic Vikos Gorge – arguably the world’s deepest – offers an awe-inspiring valley walk before a rewarding ascent to pretty Papingo village nestled in the shadow of the towering Pindos Mountains. For experienced walkers, there’s also an opportunity to climb even further to the remote Astraka refuge where it’s possible to stay in a basic dorm (payable locally). This unusual trip is topped with gentle walking in Corfu, and tailed by a carefully devised route amid the stunning world-famous Meteora monasteries perched atop towering rock pinnacles. From £675 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ B&B, two evening meals, three picnics, luggage transfers between hotels, all route information and some taxi transfers. Graded medium to hard. Departures recommended in late May.
For lazy hikers – Bohemian Paradise, Czech Republic – six nights from £450 pp
A new and improved amble that soaks up the bucolic ‘Bohemian Paradise’ region in the north of the Czech Republic and offers an exhilarating mix of extraordinary rock formations, cool pine forests and fairytale châteaux and castles. Walkers will test their shimmying skills up ladders and through narrow rock passageways, enjoy a two-night stay at the grand Château Hruba Skala, and discover a fascinating microcosm of rural life in central Europe. Two historic castles can be explored en route, including Kost, a well-preserved 14th century fortress complete with gruesome torture chamber. Hearty food and top-notch beer are readily available at lunchtimes and in the evenings. From just £450 pp (two sharing) including six nights’ B&B, luggage transfer between hotels, and all route information. Graded easy to medium (it is only the odd short climb that tips it into the medium category). Departures recommended in late April and May.
Each walk has been designed by a ‘Route Adviser’ – a person who lives locally and has painstakingly developed an itinerary through varied countryside, packing in as much culture as possible en route and seeking out the most welcoming small hotels, farmhouses and village rooms. There is often a strong emphasis on good food and wine after a day’s walking.
Local back-up assistance is available when required on all of On Foot Holidays’ walks. Flights are excluded.
For further information, for expert advice from someone who’s walked the route, and to book, call On Foot Holidays on 01722 322 652 (www.onfootholidays.co.uk).