With the news that more than half of adults walk a mile or less each day, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by the charity Cancer Research UK, it seems that we’re increasingly stretched for time to use our bodies the way they were intended – moving, and not hunched over a desk.
Modern day living can be exciting, busy and vibrant, but it can also be stressful, hectic and draining. When four in ten adults don’t manage to fit in 10 minutes of brisk walking a month, breaking a sedentary routine by striking out on a long-distance walk could make all the difference to your wellbeing.
Walking is the easiest, most natural way of boosting endorphins, as well as finding that empowering sense of achievement that comes with taking on a challenge.
We’re all aware that anything that gets us moving and out of a car or office seat is great for our wellbeing, but simply making some time for yourself with the space to completely clear your mind is more valuable than you could imagine. Throw in some fresh air, wildlife, historic sites and vineyards and you have the perfect formula.
Stepping out of your normal routine can do the world of good. So, why not get out in the open air about and explore?
We’ve put together itineraries perfect for getting away from it all, where you can walk with a sense of purpose, and experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a long-distance trail from start to finish.
Featured Wellbeing Walks
The wild and isolated landscape of the Cabo de Gata Nature Park provides the ideal setting to let go and immerse yourself in the boundless horizons and empty beaches of Spain’s largest conservation area. It’s the only location in Europe classified as a desert, with long stretches of unblemished natural beauty that is home to a population of flamingos among other wildlife.
Following the coast between the coastal towns and villages San José and Agua Amarga, you’ll follow the clifftop paths linking quiet coves and bays with rocky inland routes to the village of Rodalquilar and the nearby abandoned gold mine. Explore Destination
Getting away from it all has never been such a vibrant and hearty experience with a walking holiday that is just as much about the lively culture and warm welcome as the spectacular, wild Atlantic coastal hiking. Europe’s far-western reaches hold some dramatic scenery – discover it for yourself in the mountains and windswept beaches of Ireland’s rural heartland.
Much of this route takes place over rural paths known locally as “Boreen”. On your route you’ll find evidence of human life here stretching over thousands of years, as well as the Irish language in common, everyday use. Explore Destination
Nestled deep within the ‘heel’ of Italy, the hiking routes of Puglia offer an insight into an authentic Italian way of life, long since lost elsewhere. In a land that has changed little over the ages, you’ll be walking out among a picturesque, restorative natural setting scattered with historical and cultural artifacts dating right across the annals of history.
With the Adriatic on one side, and the olive groves and lemon orchards of the Mediterranean on the other, follow old traturri or shepherd’s paths that were used to link the quaint villages of the region to Puglia’s rugged coast. We also offer an optional extension on this break to the distinctive UNESCO heritage town of Alberobello. Explore Destination
For those seeking solitude, The Isle of Arran is ideal. You’ll find the calming effect of time spent in a natural environment, surrounded by sea on one side and the vertiginous peaks of Goatfell inland. Following the path around the Island’s edge, you’ll stumble upon empty beaches, herds of wild deer and caves nestled within the coastline.
Located just North of the Island, off the Firth of Clyde is the Buddhist retreat of Holy Island, its status as a place of sanctuary stretching back to the 6th century. Explore Destination
Miles upon miles of uninterrupted Welsh coastline, have it all to yourself while walking the Llŷn Coast Path. Stretching out into the Irish sea, the Llŷn feels like a refuge for a certain outlook and way of life lost elsewhere. Here, you’ll find a landscape, tradition and language left largely unchanged, a place of incredible beauty, where each turn in the path seems to peel back a new quality of this pristine and multifarious landscape.
The Island of Bardsey lies just offshore, west of the peninsula, was the former site of a remote monastery, the island of “20,000 saints”, as it was known was a popular place of pilgrimage for travellers. Today the island is a haven for wildlife, with scores of seal, porpoises and seabirds flocking to its shores. Visitors can visit the island from Aberdaron, a former fishing village and small, picturesque community on the western tip of the Llŷn. Explore Destination
Tune out of the frenetic buzz of the city and rediscover the simple pleasure of walking out in the unspoilt countryside, with this horseshoe route around one of the most tranquil areas of Wales.
Fresh air, rolling hills and views that stretch for miles on this trip out in the Welsh heartland, an invigorating journey that promises the walker room to breathe, stretch their legs and let their thoughts wander. You’ll cross paths with many sleepy villages on this route, staying the night in old farmhouses before setting out the next day to discover more of this remarkable, peaceful landscape. Explore Destination
Put your best foot forward and discover quintessential Highlands scenery, following trails known to the notorious outlaw and Scottish folk hero, Rob Roy. There’s a peace of mind and calming sense of space with scenery on a grand scale, from the verdant forest tracks (beautiful in Autumn), to the sprawling Lochs found en route.
Close in terms of geography, but leagues away from the much busier West Highland Way in terms of walking experience. Though secluded by nature, the walk itself is fully way-marked, with very few sections that you could call strenuous. Explore Destination
Fresh air, activity and stunning natural views – this route is exemplary of what the walking holiday offers. From the pastoral settings of Ilkley to the shores of Lake Windermere, take in the quiet, understated beauty of the Yorkshire landscape, an iconic setting that has figured as an important place in England’s rural identity.
It’s an easy route to follow, with not many sharp gradients en route – ideal for a novice walker, but worth taking for the stunning views and sense of seclusion alone. Explore Destination
For over 5,000 years, travellers have taken Britain’s oldest road, a route across chalk downs and gentle fields where you have far-reaching views of the surrounding area from the ridge. If you’re seeking England’s “Green and Pleasant Land”, this route is an ideal way to spend a long week walking in the tranquil countryside.
The route itself shouldn’t prove too taxing underfoot, and navigation is quite easy to follow on this National Trail with wide, open scenery. Explore Destination
For more information on how walking can affect your wellbeing, read our collection from the blog below: