February 1, 2018 | On Foot Holidays
Discover Spain’s wild Galician Coast, the Costa da Morte – or the Coast of Death – on an exhilarating trek along the Lighthouse Way (Camino dos Faros). Although perilous to ships, the coastal path makes a breath-taking walk, taking in numerous historic lighthouses, shipwrecks and thriving little fishing villages as well as rugged cliffs, coves and capes. Feast on fresh seafood, including the local speciality of goose barnacles, accompanied by excellent Albariño wine, before finishing at (and staying in) the Cape Finisterre Lighthouse. On Foot Holidays is the only self-guided walking specialist offering this route in its entirety without transport – you’ll only step off the trail very briefly to reach the accommodation.
Galicia – Lighthouse Way costs from £830 pp (two sharing), including 10 nights’ accommodation, seven breakfasts, one dinner, two picnic lunches, taxi transfer to the start point, luggage transfers and route information. Departures available from April to June and from September to October. Graded medium-hard (14 to 25 km per day), but options to shorten daily walks are available. Shorter versions of the route are also available (a seven-night trip costs from £660 pp and a five-night trip is from £555 pp).
Rather than sticking to the well-trodden paths of the Dales Way and the Pennine Way, On Foot Holidays has gone back to first principles to design a walk that links the highlights of the Dales in a rewarding journey from vale to peak. The new route seeks to show walkers the two sides of Yorkshire’s rural heritage. Walkers will trek from Inn to Inn, east to west, with steadily increasing ruggedness, into classical limestone country and a final dramatic climb with stunning views across to the Irish sea.
Starting in the eastern lowlands at Ripon, the first day passes one of the most important centres of medieval England, Fountains Abbey, where monks owned vast tracts of the county before Henry VIII decided otherwise. There are reminders of the vast pre-reformation estates further along the walk, as the route passes through farms that once provided the Abbey with its wealth. Walkers then climb through the sheep country of the Dales, the pretty villages of Pateley Bridge, Hebden, Grassington and Kettlewell, before reaching limestone country via Malham Cove, Settle, and Austwick, nestling in the dale below the gaunt massif of Ingleborough. Staying in small B&Bs and pubs in delightful villages, food is a focus throughout the itinerary (including cream teas galore and stop-offs at two French chef-run restaurants).
England: Yorkshire Dales costs from £725 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B, luggage transfers and route information. Departures available from May to October. Graded medium-hard (15 to 24 km per day), but options to shorten daily walks are available.
Shorter versions of the route are also available (a six-night trip costs from £635 pp, a five-night trip is from £555 pp and a four-night trip is from £500 pp).
This walking trip introduces walkers to the glory of the Italian Lakes – specifically Lake Maggiore (the first Italian stop on the European Grand Tour) and its lesser-known companion, Lake Orta. There’s the chance to see the glamorous lakeside spots as well as off-the-beaten-track areas, while burning off all that delightful Italian cuisine. The vistas are sublime – for the middle part of the walk, guests head up to the mountain top for an overnight stay in Mottarone, with stunning views of Monte Rosa, the Alps’ second highest mountain, before heading back down to the charms of Orta, which include a fascinating collection of Franciscan chapels on Sacro Monte. Simon Scutt, MD on On Foot Holidays, strongly recommends sampling the little-known Alto Piemonte wines and savouring the region’s slow-food creations.
The Italian Lakes – Maggiore and Orta costs from £820 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B, luggage transfers and route information. Departures available from March to November. Graded medium (9.5 to 18 km per day).
Shorter versions of the route are also available (a six-night trip costs from £760 pp, a five-night trip is from £685 pp and a four-night trip is from £600 pp).
The Camino de Santiago, in north-western Spain, is the most famous group of pilgrimage walking routes in the world, but this version of the trip has a few key points of difference. Firstly, the route focuses on the oldest and most remote part of the Camino (Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela via the Roman town of Lugo, through Salas, Tineo, Arzua and O Pedrouzo); it is based on the Camino Primitivo de Santiago and follows in the footsteps of King Alfonso the Chaste of Asturias, who reputedly followed the route in 814 AD, just a year after the bones of St James were discovered in Santiago. Secondly, the accommodation includes charming and comfortable small hotels, rather than the normal more basic hostels. There is also a range of properties to which to upgrade, if wished, in the latter stages of the walk.
Camino Primitivo de Santiago costs from £1,050 pp (two sharing), including 14 nights’ B&B, five dinners, luggage transfers and route information. Departures available from May to October. Graded medium-hard (14 to 33 km per day), but options to shorten daily walks are available.
Shorter versions of the route are also available (a 12-night trip costs from £970 pp, a 10-night trip is from £765 pp, an 8-night trip is from £690 pp and a 5-night trip is from £590 pp).
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)
NB Travel arrangements to the departure points are not included. Local assistance is always available if required.