Top 10 Picnic Spots
Finding the perfect picnic spot can be the icing on the cake to a fantastic day’s walking.
Here are some of the most memorable spots we’ve come across on our walks in Europe, be it because of the stunning view, the chance to cool off in a river, the tranquillity or an inviting bench.
Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway
As picnic spots go, this one is certainly impressive. The view perfectly sums up the majesty of the scenery on the Lofoten Islands
, encapsulating the drama created by the close proximity of mountains and water. It’s definitely one to appreciate at leisure while you enjoy your lunch.
Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy
We take our hats off to the South Tyroleans: they know a good picnic spot when they see one, and invite others to share them, by erecting benches or picnic tables in even the remotest of viewpoints. We’ve come across well located benches on the High Alpine Way
and the Seiseralm Plateau
(in front of the iconic Sciliar, no less), but this particular picnic table is on the last day of our Dolomites’ Three Peaks
holiday, perfectly placed for admiring the Sesto Dolomites.
Above El Golfo, El Hierro, Spain
Picnic benches aren’t necessary, of course, if there’s a well-placed stone to sit on. This one on the Canary Island of El Hierro
isn’t just any old rock, either – it’s rather grandly called the Piedra del Rey, which translates as King’s Stone, presumably because it is shaped like a throne. The picture here doesn’t do justice to the view, but while you sit here tucking into your bocadillos
you can gaze across the island to the sea beyond, just like a king surveying his kingdom.
En route to Le Merlet, Cévennes, France
Our Beneath Mont Lozère
walk may be among our most demanding, but there’s still ample time for leisurely picnics. Our favourite lunch spot on this holiday is on the banks of the infant Tarn, just a few miles from its source. If you can trust yourself not to drop your sandwich, you can sit on one of the smooth, rounded boulders in the river, with your feet in the water, as we did. A less risky, and just as pleasant an option, is to stay on terra firma, which is carpeted with bright purple heather in August.
Above Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
The ‘Path of the Gods’ is a very apt name for the high-level path above Positano on the Amalfi Coast
. With the glittering sea far below you, and the villages which cling precariously to the slopes seemingly only of Lilliputian proportions, you are very aware of how high above the coast you are. It’s easy to imagine the deities picking this spot for a sumptuous feast while they keep a watchful eye over their subjects.
Near Calès, Dordogne Valley, France
The walk from Lacave to Calès on our Paths to Rocamadour
holiday is not long, and that’s no bad thing, as there are so many inviting spots on the banks of the River Ouysse, a tributary of the Dordogne, that it would be a shame to rush by them without having the time to linger. Who knows: if you are quiet enough, you may even spot a kingfisher in search of its own meal…
Beget, Foothills of the Pyrenees, Spain
Having spent four hours walking from Molló
through lush pastureland, tranquil stream valleys and a picturesque wooded gorge, you arrive in Beget, a handsome stone-built village with a Romanesque church and a 14th-century bridge. Head along the river from the bridge and you’ll find this shaded, peaceful spot, where the only sounds are the gurgling water and the birdsong. With your walk over, there’s no rush, so linger over your picnic, paddle in the shallows, and idly skim stones before heading to your hotel.
Above Kröv, Moselle Valley, Germany
Thanks to its many elaborate and convoluted turns, the views change constantly as you walk along the valley of the serpentine River Moselle
. This particularly tight curl of the river lies between Ürzig and Traben-Trarbach, the ideal spot to shrug off your knapsack, make yourself comfortable on the grass and unwrap your Käsebrot
Near St Agatha, Salzkammergut, Austria
We make no apology for including so many riverside picnic spots in our top ten – in our opinion, there’s nothing more relaxing than the sound of the water making its way over the rocks, and the option of finishing off your lunch with a paddle is an added bonus. This strategically placed bench is on the banks of the River Traun, which you can explore on the first day of the gentle Lakes & Mountains
walk. Just be wary of letting the lazily flowing, emerald green water lull you to sleep.
Near Pickering, North York Moors
Of course, we have plenty of favourite picnic spots much closer to home, too. We like this one at Newtondale Halt halfway between Goathland and Pickering on our North Yorkshire Villages
break because it’s that little bit different – rather than being special because of the views, there’s the very real chance that you’ll see a steam train as you rest. There’s a picnic bench set a little way back from the railway line, but if you want to be sure of getting a photo should the chance arise, you can sit on a bench on the platform itself.
If our Top 10 Picnic Spots has inspired you, browse our full range of walking holidays or contact us for more information.