Taking up walking is a great way to stay healthy and get in shape, but it’s also an excellent way to explore some of the most iconic natural wonders around the world. From a Kenyan safari to the glaciers in Patagonia, these 10 walking tours are the kind of dream getaways that combine fitness with beautiful scenery.
1. CONNEMARA & GALWAY BAY, IRELAND
Exploring Western Ireland by foot is an experience you will not soon forget. Included in the seven-day adventure with Country Walkers is a tour of the Maumturk Mountains and the rolling grassland vistas of Omey Island, which features everything from ancient monasteries to golden beaches. You’ll also get some time in the city of Galway, too, where you can enjoy Irish culture with lots of live music and historic architecture. The duration varies, but expect to cover 2–7 miles per day.
2. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
At the southern end of the Appalachian Trail, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park spans more than 500,000 acres and 900 miles of walking trails. While the surrounding forests and peaks provide the opportunity to witness some of the most beautiful scenery, the terrain can be tough and rugged if you’re inexperienced. A Walk in the Woods is one of many guided hiking companies in the area that can show you the surroundings in a safe and informative environment. The company offers a variety of options depending on ability, ranging from two-hour strolls exploring the wildlife to full-day options visiting hidden waterfalls.
3. KENYA, AFRICA
Wildlife lovers looking to explore Kenya by foot won’t find a safer, more unique experience than this walking safari hosted by World Walks. Lions, leopards and rhinos are just of few of the species you’ll see as you trek along the many lakes, grasslands and acacia forests that make the area one of the most beautiful in the world. The nine-day tour varies in distance but features moderate-level walks daily and includes all accommodations, meals, transportation and guides. Airfare is not included.
4. KRKA NATIONAL PARK, CROATIA
Located in one of Croatia’s gorgeous national parks, this eight-hour guided walking tour from Split is offered daily. In addition to stopping by a massive 400-meter wide waterfall (and crystal-clear pool beneath you can cool off in), the trek passes over the Krka River along wooden bridges and beautiful green scenery, making for a truly active day and memorable experience.
5. MAUI, HAWAII
While you’ll still want to enjoy the beaches in Hawaii, when you’ve got a trip planned to Maui be sure to do some walking, too. Hike Maui offers a wide range of options, from full-day hikes through the rainforest to shorter waterfall hikes suitable for most kids. If you’re thinking big, one popular seven-hour day trip takes you up Haleakala, a volcano that offers stunning views, especially if you get up early to see the sunrise.
6. MEIRINGEN, SWITZERLAND
The town of Meiringen in Switzerland is an ideal destination for walkers looking to take in the panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. It’s centrally located and you can reach high peaks quickly without having to endure long climbs from low-lying valleys. This eight-day tour from Sherpa Expeditions is suitable for a variety of ability levels and can be altered to make your daily walks as easy or hard as you like (i.e., 2–8 hours per day). The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau are among the peaks you’ll get to hike beneath, while gorgeous lakes, glaciers and alpine scenery surround you at every turn.
7. PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA
While there will be plenty of walking on this Backroads nine-day tour in Los Glaciares National Park and the surrounding Andes Mountains, this epic adventure also includes a cruise among the aquamarine icebergs in the Upsala Glacier channel and horseback riding through the legendary Argentinian landscape. When you’re not on the move, tour guides share the geological history of the area and show you some of the ancient artifacts that lie on the Fossil Canyon Trail.
This seven-day tour by Macs Adventure begins in the city of Lagos before winding down to serene beaches, towering cliffs and panoramic views of the Atlantic in the Algarve region, covering 6–10 miles per day. You’ll also head inland, walking through orchards and vineyards before the final portion of the trek, which takes you to the beautiful peninsulas, turquoise seas of and famous lighthouses of Sagres and Cabo Sao Vicente.
9. VENICE, ITALY
While Venice is known for its canals, if you want to take in the city by foot, this guided tour by Walks of Italy is your best bet. From St. Mark’s Basilica to local piazzas and the Rialto Bridge, you’ll discover hidden treasures on back streets that most tourists miss. Of course, you’ll also get a gondola ride on the Grand Canal and take in most of the other storied landmarks in Italy’s floating city before the day-long (7 1/2-hour) trip is complete.
10. ZION, UTAH
If you’ve got a group of four or more and are looking for a true outdoor adventure, this three-day getaway organized by REI lets you explore all of the natural wonders of Utah’s Zion National Park with roughly 5 miles of walking per day. Trip highlights include guided hiking tours of Angels Landing, The Narrows and Watchman’s Trail among others, and when you’re done for the night you’ll get to rest at a private signature campsite complete with all the amenities — including a camp host. Since the trip features some difficult terrain, select the family option if you’re bringing the kids.