In our experience very few Australians know about self-guided European walking holidays. And this is a pity because walking holidays are a very different European holiday experience.
And they are very different from what most Australians would imagine when talking about walking or ‘hiking’ type holidays
in Australia. For most Australians the idea of a walking holiday conjures up images of visits to a national park, perhaps tied in with camping, roughing it with a large back-pack, wilderness trails and back-to-nature experiences.
The first and perhaps most important thing to be said about a European walking holiday is that it takes us out of the world of the big European cities. And for most Australians this is a new experience in itself as we tend to head for London, Rome, Paris, or if a little more adventurous, the cities of Eastern Europe or Scandinavia. We know all the great museums and art galleries, the parks, even the markets of Paris and have done many of the London shows.
But have you experienced a village market in rural Provence? Or sat in the quiet of a beautiful local church in rural Spain or Italy? Or talked – often in gestures but unmistakable conversation nonetheless – to an old man in a local café? Or walked through a village in Italy at 2pm when everything is closed and then later seen the village square at 10pm when everyone, including the kids, is having dinner? Or walked through a silent forest without meeting a soul? This is the world of Europe outside the cities, this is what European walking holidays are about.