Five incredible walks around the world

An idyllic and elementary walk Down Under

The Cape-to-Cape Track stretches 120 kilometers along the coast of Western Australia, from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in the south – through the beautiful Margaret River region and some of the whitest, most beautiful beaches and best surfing beaches in the country. Alternating spectacular cliffs with forest and sandy trails, the Track can be taken in sections; one, two or four days is often the best choice to make the most of it, from vineyard visits to refreshing dips in the rock pool.

A helihike to Earnslaw Burn by Heli Glenorchy, organized by Walk Into Luxury

Boranup Forest, on the Cape-to-Cape trail

I did it with excellent Australian operators Walk Into Luxury, who edited the experience into the best gastronomic elements (a private tasting and dinner to the chef at Vasse Felix, whose cabernet sauvignons are the best in the Margaret River class) and the wildest natural (off-trailing in the Boranup Karri Forest, one of the most pristine forests remaining in Oz). walkintoluxury.comfrom A$3,350 (about £1,880) for four nights, including transfers to and from Perth


The High-Low Highland Fling

Or, the Scottish Highlands as many people think are meant to be experienced: an immersion in elemental majesty, earned through serious physical exertion (and the forbearance of some conventional luxuries along the way). The West Highland Way opened in 1980; the approximately 95 miles run from Milngavie, not far north of Glasgow, northwest of Fort William on the shores of Loch Eil.

Cameron House on Loch Lomond
The view of Loch Leven from Glencoe House

Great food at Glencoe House

The different stages range from 15 to 25 miles and vary widely in terms of challenges: although the highest point of the road is only 548 meters above sea level, there is more than enough uphill and downhill, and some stretches connect with no shops or mod- cons between them for nearly 30 miles. The easy way to do the Way is via The Carter Company, who offer a trail that starts at Loch Lomond and covers between 11 and 14 miles a day, based at Cameron House, Glencoe House and Inverlochy Castle. the-carter-company.comnine nights from £4,780


A Portuguese-style pilgrimage route

A coastal section of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela

The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela is probably the most famous walking route in the world; it was named the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 1987 and is known by (and accessed by) countless Christian believers. One of the less crowded extensions is the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route, which is supposed to start in Porto and then stretch north along the Atlantic Ocean to Spanish Galicia. It passes through, among other charming seaside villages, Vila do Conde, with its imposing 14th-century Monastery of Santa Clara, and Viana do Castelo, where the hilltop basilica of Santa Luzia is a neat little walk in its own right.

The Camino Portuguese Route follows the Atlantic coast to the north

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An encouraging signpost along the route

The terrain is gentle and picturesque, with plenty of accommodation options for a self-planned trip that lets you set the pace and agenda, with as much (or as little) culture, beach and gastronomy as you like. Portugal Green Walks is a good resource for those who prefer to plan their routes, be it camping or staying in nice boutique hotels. portugalgreenwalks.comfrom €995 for a 14-night walk from Porto to Compostela


In Chile, W is for walks with a wow factor

The Torres del Paine in Chile

Summer is coming to Chile, and so is the busy season for the country’s Torres del Paine W Trek — which reopens this month for self-guided hikes —. It’s one of the more user-friendly trekking networks in South America, with far less steep altitudes than in the Andes (the highest point, John Gardner Pass, is just 800m), dazzling scenery, manageably mild temperatures, and the tantalizing possibility of meeting with a cougar.

Mountain views in the W Trek © Jonathan Irish

Tierra Patagonia offers guided excursions that take in the highlights of the Trek © Jonathan Irish

Numerous operators and a handful of good hotels offer tailor-made versions of the W Trek experience, ranging from half-day hikes to four-night camping trips. Tierra Patagonia, part of the Tierra Hotels network, combines the best of luxury (sleek architecture with acres of wood, huge rooms, full spa, gourmet cuisine with a native product) with guided day trips that take in some of the highlights of the Trek including the gray glacier and of course the towers themselves. tierrahotels.comfrom $1,300


Sri Lanka’s tea routes are getting an upgrade

Part of the 185 miles of the Pekoe Trail in Sri Lanka

The big news from Sri Lanka is the opening of the 22-route, 185-mile Pekoe Trail, a network of hiking trails through the island’s tea country. Ten years in the making, jointly funded by the US and the EU, the Pekoe is both a social enterprise and a soft adventure proposition, devised to increase the flow of travelers (and their tourist dollars) to some of the most remote communities in the country. country. It contains many of the trails originally used to transport tea by horses to the factories, so it is suitable for most ages and fitness levels.

The Pekoe was partially funded by the US and EU as a social enterprise

The swimming pool at the private bungalow Nine Skies at the mountain station of Ella

Although the official trailhead is in Kandy, there are a myriad of entrances and exits in towns, villages, railway stations and in points of interest – through dramatic forested valleys and upland land that, if you will, is steeped in a unique colonial and spiritual history . Experience Travel Group has created a tailor-made pan-island trip with three nights at Nine Skies, a beautiful private bungalow near the top station of Ella, offering guided half- or full-day walks on various parts of the Pekoe. experiencetravelgroup.com, Sri Lanka holidays from £4,000; 14 night all inclusive trip with guided Pekoe Trail walks, from £5,500

Jacky

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