Exploring on foot is the best way to discover any continent
Time Out Dubai staff
The walk around the Tarn and Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales (13 miles and 1,400 feet of ascent) takes in four classic features: Janet’s Foss, Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn and the spectacular Malham Cove. Hike gently through magnificent limestone scenery and you may also spy peregrine falcons and owls.
Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast (www.thecoasttocoastwalk.info ; complete trail 190 miles, with daily ascents of between 1,000 and 2,400 feet) is the most popular long-distance trail in the UK. It follows Alfred Wainwright’s classic walk crossing England and taking in three of its National Parks, from the Irish Sea at St Bees to the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay.
Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Swirral Edge (8 miles, 2,850 feet of ascent) is a classic ‘horseshoe’ walk around and to the top of Helvellyn – the Lakeland’s most visited summit, with its cross-shaped shelter and memorial stones. Striding Edge is a well-known arête – or sharp rocky ridge – with views down to the Grisedale Valley and Red Tarn below; and the views are truly spectacular.
Europe’s most popular long-distance trail is the Tour du Mont Blanc in the French Alps (112 miles, 4,692 feet of ascent), which goes around the majestic Mont Blanc massif, providing plenty of opportunities to look up at the mountain from great vantage points. This is a journey through France, Switzerland and Italy, with awe-inspiring panoramas of glaciers and snow-domed summits. The trail can be busy but there are enough interesting alternatives to avoid the crowds.
Turkey’s Lycian Way (51 miles, 8-13 miles and up to 1,800 feet of ascent per day) is the country’s first long-distance footpath. Opened in 1999, it’s a classic coastal trail along the edge of the mountains of the Lycian peninsula, which drops steeply into the Mediterranean. You pass through remote but friendly villages and ancient Greco-Roman ruins, with a few stunning beaches to refresh you along the way.
Camino de Santiago, Galicia, Spain (www.caminodesantiago.me.uk ; 73 miles, 9-15 miles and up to 2,100 feet of ascent per day): this is the final leg of the thousand-year- old pilgrimage to the Baroque cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of St James the apostle. Meandering through medieval villages, passing castles and stately fortresses, this trail evokes an extraordinary spirit among fellow walkers.
Corvara and the Sella Group, the Dolomites, Italy (7 miles and 1,550 feet of ascent, 3,900 feet of descent per day). This walk traverses the southern and eastern sides of the huge Sella mountain group in the stunning coral-hued Dolomites range. The terrain is rocky but the via ferrata views (or ‘iron ways’, a network of ladders and fixed cables that are a legacy of World War I) are worth the effort.
Amalfi Coast Path sections, Sorrento Peninsula, Italy (35 miles, 6.5-9 miles and 3,800 feet of ascent/descent per day). The highlights of this coastal walk are views of Naples and the beautiful journey up to the ridge of Mount Faito by cablecar where you get to look down on Vesuvius.
Routeburn Track, South Island, New Zealand (148; distance 24 miles, 6-9 miles and up to 1,000 feet of ascent per day). The Routeburn was first mooted in the 1860s as a route over the Southern Alps to New Zealand’s west coast. Leading through the majestic Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks, it traverses scenic mountain country, taking in waterfalls and lakes and staying in mountain lodges.
Contour Path via Mushroom Rock, Drakensberg, South Africa (ten miles and 2,200 feet of ascent per day). From the Cathedral Peak Hotel you follow a network of paths through a dramatic mountainscape. A steep start leads to a winding path that passes waterfalls, fields and grasslands, with views of the Cathedral range throughout.