Family walking vacations in Europe

What does responsible travel recommend?

Unless you are dedicated weekend walkers as a family, selling a walking vacation to your children may feel a bit like offering them carob instead of chocolate at Christmas. It might be better for you, but really? For a treat? So, sometimes you need to sugarcoat it just a little. Which you can easily do with family walking vacations in Europe, hiking the Alps with a donkey to carry your bags, for example. Or sailing the Cyclades in Greece, hopping and hiking islands as you go. Opt for a guided walking vacation, with a guide who knows exactly how to keep young people interested, and where the best secret beach is; or a self-guided walking vacation, so you dont have to get your teens up too early and where you have hotels with pools at every stop. Whatever you choose, walking vacations are wonderful for pure family time, slowing down the life pace, but also catching up with each other.

Activities for families on a walking vacation

What to do with little ones

Popular in France's Mercantour National Park, walk along ancient mule trails through the Alpes-Maritimes, from auberge to auberge, with a donkey to carry your bags.

A real family adventure, pack up your donkey every day, with packed lunches all done for you and dinner waiting at the inn, all you have to do is walk. And look after your donkey. An adventure to remember forever, perfect for 8+.
Earth doesnt have to be the only element of a walking vacation. Water can play its part too. Sail around the Cyclades in Greece, hiking the islands with a guide as you go. In Montengro, activity vacations on Lake Skadar mean that you have canoes and wild swimming at your disposal, as well as myriad waterfalls as you hike. On the Amalfi coast, there is a beach at the end of every walk, and Croatias archipelago is heavenly.
You dont have to be on a safari to go wildlife watching. On European walking vacations there is lots to spot. Especially if you swot.

Do a bit of research before you go, pack binoculars or, even better, walk with a local guide who will point out the chamois or ibex in the Alps, wolf tracks in the Carpathians and bears in Finland.

Walking vacation advice for families

responsible travel asks the experts

Melanie McAnaw, walking vacation expert from our supplier, Headwater: We recommend our single centre vacations for families. These are great because youre based in one hotel and can enjoy lots of other activities as well as the great walking routes. Or go for a combination activity vacation, such as our Dordogne or Austrian vacations, that combine walking with cycling and canoeing.
Christine Kieffer, from our Mercantour National Park in France and walking vacations expert, Itinerance Trekking:

Go with a donkey. These affectionate animals have been part of our family for as long as we can remember. They love the company of humans, especially that of children, who they will encourage to keep on walking without sulking. For people who want to hike from place to place, but dont want a donkey, we can also organise luggage transport by car of course!
Photo credits: [Walk with a donkey: Catherine Mack] [Walkin'n water: William Warby] [Melanie McAnaw: Bad Kleinkirchheim] [helpdesk: Fresco Tours]
Written by Catherine Mack
Amalfi Coast walking vacation, Italy

Amalfi Coast walking vacation, Italy

Walk in lemon groves and hillside villages

From US $1235 8 Days ex flights
Mont Blanc vacation, Tour du Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc vacation, Tour du Mont Blanc

The best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

From US $1395 8 Days ex flights
Catalonia self guided walking vacations, Spain

Catalonia self guided walking vacations, Spain

Self-guided walking vacations in Catalonia

From 715 8 Days ex flights
Naxos and the small Cyclades walking vacation, Greece

Naxos and the small Cyclades walking vacation, Greece

Walk and discover Naxos and the unspoilt Small Cyclades

From 592 10 Days ex flights
Croatia national parks hiking vacation

Croatia national parks hiking vacation

Walking vacation in Croatia's beautiful national parks.

From 620 8 Days ex flights
Cyclades walking holidays in Greece

Cyclades walking vacations in Greece

A gently active vacation in the Cyclades

From US $1545 8 Days ex flights
Finland hiking vacation

Finland hiking vacation

A hut-to-hut hiking journey along Finland's eastern border

From 1000 8 Days ex flights
Picos inn to inn walking vacation

Picos inn to inn walking vacation

Hike through beautiful mountains staying in rural inns

From 1105 8 Days ex flights
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