Discover the magical shorelines of the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas... Nicola Green shares her experiences of European walking holidays.
"What’s wrong with relaxation, anyway? The question occurred to me while I was sipping a glass of crisp grk white, lazily counting the islets dotting the bay beneath my terrace. The sun was still warm as it slipped down over my left shoulder, setting the waves sparkling on the Adriatic before me. The vineyards hugged my base, the village of Lumbarda, like an emerald scarf, so close I could almost reach out and pick the grapes from which my wine was made.
Part of me felt almost guilty. In the office, I’m surrounded by folk for whom the summit is everything. But I love to celebrate what’s wonderful about Europe – and especially the chilled-out vibe that permeates every aspect of the Mediterranean. For me, a holiday is less about head-down hiking and bagging peaks, and more about drinking in the scenery along a coastal trail, cooled by a soft, perfumed sea breeze.
Don’t get me wrong: the walking is as important as the wine – I just don’t see why I can’t have both. Which is why my visit to Korcula, a delightful island just a short ferry ride from Dubrovnik – and reputedly the birthplace of Marco Polo – ticked all the right boxes. Over the course of a week, I was able to roam the island’s trails, passing olive groves and vineyards, exploring the old town and its striking St Mark’s Cathedral, and stopping off at quiet coves for a picnic and impromptu dip. The legs enjoyed a proper stretch with several hours’ walking each day, but always at a leisurely pace. And there was plenty of time to nose around the terracotta-roofed medieval centre of Dubrovnik itself, as well as taking off to explore nearby islands and villages.
The same ethos applies to our other coast-based holidays in Turkey, Corfu and Italy. Rambling and relaxation get equal billing. Slow travel? This is the very epitome – local food, local wine and a very local sensibility."
By Nicola Green, Marketing Manager
Experience it for yourself
Pick from some of our self-guided European trails for boots, beaches and bliss...
Experience the best of Adriatic island life. Based first on the beautiful island of Korcula, you’ll discover traditional villages and the fascinating walled old town of the island’s capital, as well as encountering lovely coves, beaches, forested hills and vineyards. Back on the mainland, roam the walls and marbled streets of Dubrovnik, and amble the delightful trails running from the peaceful village of Cavtat across the bay.
Cut and paste your choice of sections from the route named among the world’s ten best walks by Sunday Times Travel, setting out each day from your base: a boutique hotel in the Bay of Adrasan. Marvel at the eternal flames at Chimaera – believed to be a monster’s burning breath – on the slopes of Mount Olympos before cooling off in the hotel pool!
Taking in the best of east and west, this magnificent trail zig-zags between the coasts on its route through the finest areas of the Ionian island. Walk cobbled paths through willow, cedar and juniper forests, alongside rivers and through lush pastures.
The views from Mount Vesuvius over the Bay of Naples are nothing short of explosive – and the hiking on the volcano, as well as on nearby Capri and along the ‘Path of the Gods’ above the Amalfi Coast, are just as terrific. There’s also the chance to explore the long-buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
See all of our self-guided options in Europe here.