Tuesday 30th August 2016, London – This summer, Inghams introduced new Explorer Holidays to its Lakes & Mountains programme, along with four new destinations in Germany and Norway and fresh cycling holiday options. Here Inghams recommends its top five European resorts for hiking enthusiasts from escorted tours to self-guided walks…
Best for… Families
Hinterglemm, Austria: Located in the scenic Glemm Valley, Saalbach and Hinterglemm offers 400km of stunning well-marked paths surrounded by rolling hills and countryside. The resort offers a ‘Saalbach & Hinterglmm Joker card’ that provides visitors with free unlimited use of all cables cars and walkers’ buses in the valley, plus guided walks and free entrances to various attractions. Whilst Gardenhotel Theresia offers free child places and free child supervision plus there are free guided walks available as well as herbal garden trail.
There is a huge range of activities for families including mountain biking. For those looking to relax, both villages of Saalbach and Hinterglemm have quaint centres perfect for a relaxing stroll with plenty of local shops, cafés and restaurants to watch the world go by from.
For a gentle walk try the Alpine Herbal Garden Trail which is a two and a half hour scenic route. The path starts from the top of the Reiterkogel lift and travels through forested paths to the Alpine Herbal Garden trail. For families that prefer longer routes, the Pinzgauer Ridgeway, a six hour trail, is the best choice. This is a wonderful panoramic hiking trail from the top of the Schattberg gondola all the way across the top of the mountains to the Schmittenhohe gondola.
Merano, Italy: Merano, is a small town in northern Italy which offers Alpine landscapes and a Mediterranean climate, it provides fantastic walking opportunities from strolling to trekking surrounded by orchards and vineyards and extraordinary scenery.
This particular destination offers walking routes for all levels from easy trails close to the resort, to intermediate walks and advanced treks in the Alps.
For some of the best views the region has to offer, the Parcines Waterfalls & Algunder Water Course is a full day hike where visitors can enjoy the spectacular waterfalls above the village of Parcines and follow the Algunder Watercourseand which offers stunning views across the Adige Valley. Alternatively, the three hour Knotten Kino ‘Cinema’ walk offers opportunity to admire the panoramic views from a viewpoint in the mountain range where the seats are arranged in an amphitheatre layout offering breath-taking views across the Alto Adige Valley to the Ortler, Texel and Dolomite mountain ranges.
Best for…a Challenge!
Zermatt, Switzerland: Zermatt has become one of Switzerland’s most iconic destinations. Its stunning mountain ranges are home to a range of challenging walks. The two and a half hour and half ‘Matterhorn Trail’ takes walkers from the lake at Schwarzsee and the ‘Mary in the Snow’ chapel back to Zermatt via Stafelap and Furi and it is possible to spot the famous black-nosed sheep that lives in the region along the way!
For a more moderate walk the popular ‘Five-Lakes Walk’ takes hikers from Blauherd to Sunnega past five mountain lakes which reflects the mighty Matterhorn. Last but not least, the easiest walk to undertake is the so-called ‘Blumenweng’, which takes approximately an hour and a half. This runs close to the village where variety of alpine flowers and beautiful views await walkers along the way.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia: Located a few minutes’ drive from both the Austrian and Italian borders, the small village is surrounded by the magnificent scenery of the Julian Alps and the Karawanke Mountain peaks. The walking here is suitable for all levels, but is especially suited to beginners.
The ‘Three Country Walk’ is a five hour gentle walk that gives guests the chance to visit three countries in one trail: Austria, Italy and Slovenia. On Pec Mountain (1,508m) there is a point where the three countries come together offering spectacular views and at the end of this walk hikers can enjoy a traditional strudel in the village of Ratece.
For those who enjoy a moderate hike, Kranjska Gora offers the ‘Meadows, Woods and Lake Jasna’ route, which is a four to five hour scenic walk following the River Pisnica through scenic meadows and lush woodland.
Best for…Self-guided walks
Visitors to Chamonix, France can take advantage of the Chamonix Valley Card and Mont Blanc Multipass which offers free use of local buses and trains plus reductions on many other services. With free use of buses and local trains, walkers in Chamonix can make the most of the area’s self-guided walking programme.
One self-guided five-day route includes walking down from the top of Brevent to the Frand Balcon Sud Mountains and on to Flegere. On day two, walkers can reach the La Jonction (2,589m), a rocky area below Mont Blanc where the Glacier des Bossons and the Glacier de Taconnaz meet, by chairlift from the top of Bossons village to 1,425m where they can enjoy stunning views. On the third day hikers travel up the Flegere lift in Les Praz and then walk to the Lac Blanc, while the fourth day takes in the Grand Montets cable car to the Glacier d’Argentiere and returns via the Refuge Chalet de Lognan, a beautiful mountainside restaurant. The fifth and last day starts from the Le Tour gondola where walkers can take the chairlift and walk to Col de Balme for stunning views over Switzerland, an area which is also home to many marmots!
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