DREAMSCAPES Spring/Summer /2018
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TRAVEL SLEUTH - EXPLORE THE WORLD ONE STEP AT A TIME
 
(2018 - Spring Issue)

Writer: JANE STOKES



True, a walking regimen keeps you fit, but all of your senses are going to have a whale of a time.

Curiosity leads us to new destinations, so whenever we can switch from a car trip to using our own two feet, every observation becomes more personal because we hear, see, smell, taste or touch more.

A walking holiday, for instance, could take us along shady paths through quiet hills, ancient vales and riverbanks or into vibrant villages and markets for folk festivals to see antiquities and sample local treats. Walkers say getting up close and personal just can’t be measured for the learning value.

Around the world, a handful of specialists offer multi-day organized treks in countless countries on every continent. You can choose a self-guided or fully guided experience and select an itinerary to your liking. Some programs are designed for several hours of walking per day, while others combine it with different modes of transportation. As a rule, the price charged for the less expensive self-guided holiday includes a full itinerary, nightly accommodation, luggage transfers, plus suggestions for sightseeing, museums, restaurants, festivals, and special-interest recreation. Air transportation is extra.   

Are you going solo, as a couple, with a few friends or with children of various ages? Take some time to compare programs that match your needs. Pricing, as well, is often in a currency other than the Canadian dollar, so consider that first, especially if the plan is for a walking holiday in Canada.   

On the other hand, Canadian hikers often opt to go it alone, confident with the selected terrain. Moreover, most provincial pathways are now linked to the whopping 18,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail.  

So where in the world would you like to walk? Here’s a snapshot of ideas from leading names in this field:   

AUSTRALIA

Butterfield & Robinson

Australia East Coast Walking, 14 days, USD

Australia is friendly, safe and riveting all at the same time. On this southeast slice, you’ll hike on nature trails, cycle, mountain bike, snorkel and dive as well as hop onto a few quick flights to cover more ground. Tasmania is a highlight, along with other islands of local acclaim, and, on this upscale itinerary, you can be assured of exquisite cuisine each day and luxurious places to lay your head. butterfield.com 

CANADA

Exodus Travels

Walking the Canadian Maritimes, 12 days, CAD

On foot and by road, this is Canada at its finest. With skillful guides, you’ll explore Prince Edward Island plus Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy, and even cross the border for a couple of nights in neighbouring Maine. The walking component covers around 40 kilometres in total (around five kilometres per day) and popular it is. Participants say they come here mainly for the stirring scenery only to find they go home equally stirred by the strong cultural identities of the Maritimers themselves. exodustravels.com

ENGLAND

Backroads

Bucolic Cotswolds, 6 days, USD

In this dreamy piece of the English countryside, you’ll follow twisting trails into tidy hamlets framed by fields of wildflowers, sheep-dotted pastures and by towering trees that have stood here for centuries. In the villages, however, it’s the colour that many find unusual. A golden wheat-coloured building stone—one seen and used in every community across hundreds of square miles—is going to make you think this is different, this is the Cotswolds. On a self-guided itinerary, amble leisurely, explore landmarks, mill about with the locals, and after all that fresh air and energy spent, sit down for yet another tasty pub lunch or for a jolly good afternoon tea. backroads.com

GREECE

Walks Worldwide

Corfu Trail, 10–15 days, USD or GBP

Greece is essential on any must-see list and the famed Corfu Trail is sensational. This self-guided itinerary takes you along well-worn tracks and mountain pathways, descending into valleys of farmland and forests, and for dips, at whim, into the Ionian Sea. Afternoons in Greece are siesta-sleepy, but the evenings wake up. At dusk, even if you arrive at an empty taverna, soon the ouzo gets poured, the Mavrodaphne red is popped, bouzouki music starts on a jukebox, the waiters link arms over sturdy shoulders, and with that first confident kick, they glide across the floor perfectly in sync making the rest of us just crazy enough to join in. walksworldwide.com

ITALY

National Geographic Expeditions

Tuscany and Cinque Terre Hiking, 9 days, USD

Set out on a hiking adventure to see two of Italy’s most scenic regions: the fabled countryside of Tuscany coupled with the sea breezes of coastal Liguria. First, meet Chianti. In this region you’ll hike on the hills of braided vineyards, meet and greet villagers with your masterful buona giornata, and then slow down for just the right refreshments. This guided itinerary on foot, road and rail takes you into the medieval grandeur of Siena and San Gimignano, before a grand finale in the Italian Riviera where you’ll simply soak up the harmony of this lively culture. nationalgeographicexpeditions.com

UNITED STATES

Country Walkers

Colorado & Utah — Mesa Verde, Arches and Canyonlands, 6 days, USD

Being overwhelmed by nature is a rare experience on this developed planet. But here in the silence of the desert sunshine, when your entourage is permanently dwarfed by the surrounding red-rock towers and illuminated canyons, all of which are high above and as far as the eye can see, chances are you will stand in awe at this geological phenomenon every moment for six days. Among all the fascinations you’ll come across en route, you’ll look up at the rockface at cliff dwellings. Built into caves, these long-abandoned, multi-storied villages are a reminder that millions of tribal people once lived and died right here for thousands of years. Hikers say they do feel energy in the silence. countrywalkers.com

 
 
 
 
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