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Trekking on holiday: 5 hikes from around the world

October 2019

1. The east coast of Iceland

Unspoilt and little-known: this is the easternmost part of Iceland, and is the area less frequented by tourists. In just over a week, hiking enthusiasts can discover truly enchanted places: a walk of average difficulty will take you to Strútsfoss, a waterfall with a 100 m drop; the coast, descending to the south, offers huge expanses of black sand such as the famous Reynisfjara beach, while further inland you can visit the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, carved out by one of Iceland’s largest rivers. 
If you’re captivated by this breathtaking scenery you can travel as far as Kirkjufell, a snowy peak in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, famous for being one of the landmark sets in the highly successful TV series Game of Thrones. You can’t leave without taking a look at Vatnajökull ice cap (Europe’s largest by volume and the second largest by extension), and the Bárðarbunga volcano which rises up beneath the Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier. And if it’s Icelandic mythology you’re after, then Álfaborg, the City of the Elves, is a must-see. 

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2. Italy’s Amalfi coast

From Amalfi to Sorrento, taking in Ravello, Praiano, Positano and the Sentiero degli Dei (the Footpath of the Gods): the perfect tour for hikers who want to discover the wonders of Italy. How long does it take? About 10 days. Keen trekkers can spend a whole day on the Footpath of the Gods: almost 8 km long, it stretches from Bomerano or Praiano to Nocelle, close to Positano. There are two levels of difficulty, and different altitudes. Ieranto Bay offers you the chance of a panoramic walk lasting around four hours: starting from Nerano you follow a section of road overlooking the Faraglioni rocks of Capri, Punta Campanella (the outermost tip of the Amalfi Coast), and the Sirenusas (or Galli) archipelago. An easy option perhaps for less seasoned walkers, is the Valle delle Ferriere between Amalfi and Scala: tourists will encounter the ruins of historic paper mills and windmills set in the midst of lush vegetation, and little waterfalls.
Other must-see places include the gardens of Villa Cimbrone, the castle of Torre dello Ziro which dominates Amalfi and Atrani (legend has it that the tower is haunted by the ghosts of Joanna of Aragon, known as “Joanna the Mad”, and her children, who were imprisoned there in the 16th century), the fjord of Marina di Furore, and the abandoned monastery of St Dominic. 
 

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3. Spain: Santiago de Compostela

An ancient pilgrimage route dating back to the 10th century, the Camino de Santiago is a hugely popular itinerary. For cultural or religious reasons, each year more than 100,000 people undertake the journey to the sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela, and the tomb of Saint James the Great. There are several possible routes, of varying lengths and difficulty. The most popular route starts from the French city of Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port, then winds through the Pyrenees along the Lower Navarre into northern Spain down to the iconic cathedral. Some of the wonders you can see along the way include the city of Pamplona, the cathedral at Burgos, and the beautiful village of O Cebreiro. At more than 700 km long, the Camino de Santiago takes about three weeks for a trained hiker to complete. And when you get to Santiago de Compostela? At one time, pilgrims used to go as far as Finisterre, a promontory overlooking the Atlantic, which symbolised the boundary of the known world.




 

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4. Corsica: the Sea and Mountains tour

Corsica is more than just beaches: this French island in the Mediterranean Sea offers beautiful and very diverse walks, both inland and on its coastline. The Sea and Mountains path, so named because of the sheer drop to the sea with the mountains of central and northern Corsica behind it, offers an itinerary of just over 100 km, and is also suitable for less expert walkers. The route links Calenzana (near Calvi) and Cargèse (to the north of Ajaccio) and offers narrow trails surrounded by artistic dry stone walls, lavender fields, ancient Genoese stone bridges, and holm oak forests. On the way, you’ll discover some of the hidden gems of Corsica such as the Forest of Bonifatu, the Scandola nature reserve, the Gulf of Porto, and the ancient villages of Balagne in Upper Corsica, a region dubbed “the garden of Corsica” thanks to its luxuriant green landscapes. 

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