Garden Route Trail named in UK’s 10 best walking tours in the world

Cape Town – South Africa offers some of the most scenic walking and hiking routes and the world is definitely catching on to this.


In a top ten list of the best escorted and self-guided walking holidays for 2016 – the Garden Route has come out tops – throwing SA in the mix with iconic destinations such as Italy, France and Costa Rica.

READ: 9 Secret Beaches along the Garden Route

According to the UK’s Telegraph, a walking holiday is a perfect medicine for stressful lifestyles and high-pressured jobs. The only thing you need to do is walk and take in the fresh air. South Africa’s Garden Route stretches from the Western Cape along to southeastern coast all the way to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape.

The variety of routes are endless and each one has its own unique element. If you would like to beat the heat in a cool forest or stroll in the sun with a view of the Indian Ocean, there is always something for you.

READ: SANParks undiscovered – Garden Route

One very special thing about the Garden Route is it’s numerous hidden rock pools.

1. Rivers and chateaux of the Loire – France

This is an eight-day, self-guided route through the vineyards and Winelands of France.

Travellers can expect to trek past the homes of famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, through an underground limestone quarry and a beautiful blooming gardens.

2. Crete Island – Greece

This is a thirteen-day walk along the blue west coast of the island through pirate towns and the land of the Cyclops explains the Telegraph.

Travellers can enjoy birdwatching, staying overnight in quaint white villas and dipping in and out of the sea as they please.

READ: A foodie tour through Athens: Why it’s a great time to visit Greece

3. La Gomera – Spain

The Spanish exploration is based from a four-star luxury hotel on Spain’s Canary Island. It is a seven-day excursion and difficulty ranges from easy to challenging.

Travellers can expect to venture to San Sebastian, antique pottery towns and little chapels in the woods, says The Telegraph.

4. St Emilion and La Rochelle – South of France

This eight-day walk is bound to be a French-food loving traveller’s paradise. It starts in an olden day town, on pebbled paths.

Expect to stroll through vineyards, try out as many wines as you desire and enjoy some fresh oysters in Brouage.

5. Costa Rica – North America

Cost Rica is covered with lush rainforests, stunning beaches and volcanoes in the heart of the jungle. The walk is a 15-day trek through the Braulio Carrillo National Park and other neighbouring rain forests.

Travellers can expect to rejuvenate in natural hot steam baths and see a wide variety of animals in the jungle.

6. Amalfi Coast – Italy

This southern coast walk on the rim of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. This is an eight-day self-guided walk through gardens and romantic beach towns. This really is the best way to experience La Dolce Vita.

READ: 10 Ultimate international adventures to tick off your Bucket List before you’re 40

7. Meiringen – Switzerland

This is a white snowy journey through the mountain peaks and glaciers of the Swiss Alps. It is an eight-day, self-guided walk through mountains villages as well as on the mountain itself. The Telegraph recommends a stop off at the open air museum at Brienzwiler.

8. Trails of the Garden Route – South Africa

According to the Telegraph, the new “Trails of the Garden Route tour takes in some of the best coastal trails, forest and gorges in South Africa.”

It is a 16-day trip which ventures from Table Mountain, the Alexandria Trail and into the Addo Elephant National Park.

Travellers can expect to see a wonder of wildlife, use some of the trip’s ‘free days’ to visit the beach, walk the streets of Cape Town or try out one of the Garden route’s other wonderful walking trails.

READ: 14 Green Flag Hiking routes in the Garden Route to kick-start your summer

9. Porto – Santiago de Compostela 

This is a seven-day walk starting in Porto winding to the religious city of Santiago de Compostela.

Travellers can use this trip as a religious retreat which crosses the borders of Portugal into Spain over the river Minho.

It is beautiful and utterly gorgeous.

10. The Tuscan Trail – Italy

This tour of Tuscany started running back in 1979 and since then, there is a lot more to see. From hotels and special restaurants, expect to experience the old Italy and the new.

Travellers can enjoy downtime in the olive groves and late night dinners in some of the best restaurants in San Gimignano.

READ: Best of SA Hiking 2015 – A hikers guide to summer paradise

Walking tips 

Be realistic about your fitness level and your abilities. Some routes require guests to know how to swim or be experienced climbers.

Remember that it is your holiday and you have the right to ask any questions you like. Ask your guides about the route. Understanding the demands of the walk is always helpful.

Rest as much as you like. Rest allows you to take in more of your surroundings, cool off and stay in a good mood! Beautiful does not mean easy.

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