Hiking holidays offer a sense of achievement and pleasure on several levels. Not only is there the need for a particular level of fitness but travelling on foot often allows access to places where vehicles cannot go. The slower pace also makes it more likely that you'll see interesting wildlife as well as giving you sufficient time and space to appreciate the landscape.
It's hard to beat the Lake District when it comes to walking holidays in the UK. Home to the rugged Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain, as well as a dazzling collection of lakes, there's no shortage of walks. Many hikers are inspired by some of the famous writers who called the place home; for example, a walk around Lake Windermere and over Claife Heights will have you following in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter.
Taking the famous song literally, and going over the sea to Skye opens up a world of walking possibilities. The aquamarine Fairy Pools lying at the foot of the Black Cuillin Mountains are a favourite choice on Scotland, as is the strenuous hike up to the "Old Man", actually a huge rock pinnacle, on the Trotternish ridge.
Walking holidays in the Italian Dolomites offer everything from springtime strolls through flower-filled Tyrolean meadows to a more challenging hike up Mount Lagazuoi to visit the open-air First World War museum at its summit. You can even round off the day with an overnight stay in a mountain hut.
The Inca trail has to be one of the world's best places to go walking. As well as the sense of walking in the footsteps of history and the lure of Machu Picchu at the trail's end, whichever of the three main routes you take, you'll have the chance to see some spectacular wildlife. Andean Alpacas, the Collared Trogan, hundreds of species of brightly-coloured butterflies and even the elusive Spectacled Bear are just some of the creatures that live here. To get here just book your holidays to Peru.
If you're considering hiking holidays in Europe, Kjeragbolten in Norway ought to be a prime contender. High above Lysefjorden, on the slopes of Kjerag, the chief highlight is the enormous boulder that plugs a gap in a crevasse. It's a popular place to pose for photographs and also attracts thrill-seekers who enjoy BASE jumping.
Jordan is one of the best places to go hiking in the Middle East, and a trek to Petra offers a magic combination of the beautiful desert landscape with the pull of the ancient city, hewn out of the rose-red cliffs. Bedouin guides will ensure you don't lose your way, leaving you free to marvel in the vast spaces around you.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon provides a unique perspective on this huge rift in the earth's surface. The Rim-to-Rim hike is one of the lengthiest, taking between five and seven days to complete. A popular, much shorter, alternative is the Bright Angel Trail, which descends from the South Rim down to two campsites beside the Colorado River. Plan a holiday to Las Vegas and check out the Grand Canyon.
Utah's Zion National Park offers walking holidays suitable for most ages and abilities. The short trail to Weeping Rock is popular with families with young children, as is the slightly longer Emerald Pools Trail. Meanwhile, Angels Landing Trail is not for anyone with vertigo or who has an issue with using fixed chains to help them scramble over certain rocky sections but the views at the top are sweeping.
There are plenty of ways to hike the Great Wall. One of the most popular is the route from Jinshanling to Simatai along a ruined section of the wall. Close to Bejing, it's easy to access and takes in some dramatic views. Despite its popularity its easy to avoid the crowds and imagine that you have the place to yourself.
Hiking holidays in Chile's Torres del Paine offer a glimpse into the very best of Patagonia. Vast blue lakes, glaciers and huge towers of granite mesmerise walkers even when the trails are busy. The 50-mile W Trek takes in the park's most iconic scenery.
New Zealand's Tongariro Alping Crossing is a single day hike but no less impressive or challenging for that. Much of the scenery will be familiar to anyone who's watched "The Lord of the Rings", with an upward section that rises through ancient lava fields and past a still steaming volcano. The summit offers expansive views across Tongariro National Park, including towards the Red Crater and Mount Ruapehu. Check out more New Zealand Holidays.
Yosemite is packed with hiking trails, impressive views and wildlife. Standing 4,800 feet above the valley, Half Dome is one of the park's most famous landmarks and it's possible to walk to its summit. Glacier Point offers the best and most extensive views across the park and anyone who's a fan of waterfalls should not miss hiking Mist Trail. To dicaover Yosemite check out California holidays.
If you're looking to ride some waves rather than sit in the saddle, then a surfing holiday could be just the ticket. In fact we've got loads of different watersport options to choose from, whether you want some gentle paddleboarding experiences of you want to go all in on a diving holiday.