May 3, 2018
Yorkshire is in the limelight this year as the county celebrates the bicentenary of the birth of acclaimed author Emily Bronte. Explore the best of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales on foot with this brand-new route from Ripon Cathedral to Austwick. Walkers will trek from east to west, vale to peak, into classic limestone country to a final climb with stunning views to the Irish Sea. England: Yorkshire Dales costs from £725 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ B&B, luggage transfers and route information. Available May to October. Shorter versions of the route available (six nights from £635 pp, five nights from £555 pp and four nights from £500 pp). Call AITO* member On Foot Holidays on 01722 322 652 (www.onfootholidays.co.uk).
Hike to the summit (2,257m) of Phou Louey (Forever Mountain) a rare Laos cloud forest visited by just 400 people each year. Stay in unique accommodation en route, from traditional rural homestays to rustic jungle huts and a hanging nest in the tree canopy above the National Protected Area. This is an adventure lover’s paradise, with dense jungles, endangered wildlife, hill tribes and stunning mountain scenery at every turn. Priced from £1,175 pp (two sharing), the trip includes nine nights’ full-board, transfers (including luggage transfer), activities and sightseeing tickets as per the itinerary, and expert guides. Flights extra. Call AITO* member InsideAsia Tours on 0117 244 3380 (www.insideasiatours.com).
The charming, little-known Cycladic island of Kythnos is a fascinating setting for exploring on foot. Visit traditional village festivals, Byzantine ruins, archaeological sites, museums and more. Enjoy Greek cuisine in delightful tavernas and relax at the island’s many beaches. Stay at the Messaria Hotel in the stylish village of Chora, just a short walk from the village centre and its tavernas, cafés and bars. The Kythnos Walking Holiday costs from £895 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick), seven nights’ B&B, six dinners, four packed lunches, four full-day and one short-day of guided walks, and a Kythnos hiking guide book. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4758 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Enjoy gentle walking, wonderful gastronomy and delicious local wines on a relaxing holiday that follows part of the ancient ‘Way of St. James’ (Camino de Santiago). Choose from two routes: Le Puy-en-Velay to Figeac or Figeac to Cahors, travelling in a small group led by Francophile, James Tamlyn. At the end of the seven-night walking trip, you’ll be whisked by private car to Toulouse for a two-night stay at the four-star Grand Hotel Opera. Departing 1 or 8 September, the price is from £3,448 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick) to Toulouse, private transfers, nine nights’ accommodation, most meals and tour leader. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Experience the walking holiday of a lifetime in the Torres del Paine National Park, an otherworldly location boasting dramatic glaciers, glassy lakes and fascinating wildlife – from llama to puma. Begin in vibrant Santiago before journeying to the heart of Patagonia for guided hikes through its icy habitats. Retreat to the stylish Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa to enjoy breathtaking views and soothe aching limbs in the pool, sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi. The cost is from £4,470 pp (two sharing), including BA flights (Heathrow), internal flights, transfers, seven nights’ B&B (three in Santiago, four in Patagonia), four half-day and one full-day guided small group hikes. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4774 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Take in the superb panoramas, sweeping valleys and charming mountain villages of the Vanoise National Park on a spring or summer alpine hiking holiday. Walkers of all ages and abilities will be able to make use of the excellent network of free hiking routes in the area, from fun and sporty circuits ideal for families, to exhilarating and rugged trails for experienced hikers. Stay in the heart of the charming alpine village of Champagny en Vanoise, where one week’s self-catering costs from €239 pp / £207 pp, based on four sharing a studio apartment. Return flights (London-Geneva) cost from £60 pp with easyJet. Call La Plagne on 33 (0)4 79 09 79 79 (www.la-plagne.com).
Sant Carles, in the north east of this breathtaking Balearic island, offers a rich network of easy-to-navigate walking trails taking in lush green pine forests, flower-dotted meadows, charming white-washed villages and dramatic coastal paths. After a day’s walking, retire to the rustic hilltop Villa Casita Sant Carles (sleeps five) to enjoy its awe-inspiring panoramic views, private swimming pool, sun terrace and stylish furnishings, or stroll down to the famous Anita’s Bar for a relaxing sundowner and a spot of tapas. A week’s stay at Villa Casita Sant Carles) is from £312 pp (£1,559 total). Flights extra. Call CV Villas on 020 7261 5400 (www.cvvillas.com).
Kate Kenward, Executive Director of AITO*, says: “Walking is in the top three holiday activities offered by our members, and there are over 700 holidays that include walking listed on www.aito.com. AITO’s consumer research shows that walking holidays have been highly ranked for the past three years, alongside culture, arts & history, and city breaks. Interestingly, our research also shows that women enjoy walking holidays more than men, with the exception of men aged 75 plus.” Search www.aito.com by destination or holiday type, or go to walking holidays to see the diverse options worldwide from AITO’s specialist travel companies. All AITO members’ holidays are fully financially protected.
*AITO is the Association of Independent Tour Operators: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.