x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Travel Deals: On the right trail in Europe this summer

From Spain to Georgia, Christine Iyer looks at active holidays where you can make the most of the fresh air and scenery.

Explore the forests and glacial lakes in the High Tatras on the Polish-Slovakian border on a week-long trip organised by Exodus. Courtesy of Exodus.co.uk
Explore the forests and glacial lakes in the High Tatras on the Polish-Slovakian border on a week-long trip organised by Exodus. Courtesy of Exodus.co.uk

Spain

Enjoy peace and quiet on this self-guided walking holiday through the diverse landscapes - mountains, sea, coastal cliffs and deep Mediterranean woods - of Catalonia in eastern Spain. Designed to include as much stunning scenery as possible, the trails include walks along the banks of the River Fluviá, along the picturesque beach at its mouth, inland through the sprawling Aiguamolls Nature Reserve and around Castello D'Empuries, a small medieval village full of Gothic architectural gems. Prices start from £352 (Dh2,104) for a four-day trip, excluding flights. The price includes transfers, accommodation, local transport, most meals and equipment rental (including maps, GPS and a mobile phone). The trip is also available with a three- and five-night itinerary (from £329 [Dh1,980] to £439 [Dh2,644]). Visit www.catalanadventures.com or call 00 44 1273 600 030.

Belgium

This nine-day adventure will take you across forests, valleys and rolling hills in Belgium. Walk through the woodlands of the Central Belgian Ardennes from La Roche en Ardenne through the towns of Sprimont, St Hubert, Nassgone, Awenne, Mirwart, Daverdisse and Bouillon. Highlights include a trail along the banks of the 165km River Ourthe; a visit to Lavacherie, a quaint village in the Freyr forest, one of the largest in Belgium, and Mirwart, famous for the 11th-century castle of the same name; a walk across the valley of Marsau; and a day exploring the beech woods around the town of Mogimont. The tour ends in Bouillon, Luxemburg, a modern town steeped in history and sitting on the Semois River. From £697 (Dh4,197) for a nine-day, land-only tour, including accommodation, most meals, transport, route notes and maps, a discount card for the area and transfers. For more details, visit www.worldwalks.com.

Poland

Spend a week in the Tatra Mountains on the Poland-Slovakia border and end with a city tour of the Polish city, Krakow. The day walks in the High Tatras, part of the "granite" Carpathian Range, follow a sophisticated network of trails to old mountain cottages, the Studeny Potok waterfalls and the Valley of Seven Springs, the Green Lake, and the mountain Skalnate Pleso. The trip ends with a winding but easy and stunning walk up to Slakovsky Stit, 2,452m above sea level. On the last day, explore Krakow. It's full of history, with famous sites that include the old city, Mariacki Church, Central Market Square and Wawel Castle. The walks are conducted over six to seven hours daily. The land-only trip costs from £619 (Dh3,727) per person, including accommodation, most meals and park entrance fees. For more information, visit www.exodus.co.uk or call 00 44 208 675 5550.

Georgia

A nine-day explorer's holiday that is a good introduction to Georgia, this trip offers plenty of walks, including a three-day trek though the Grand Caucasus Mountains, camping in the high meadows close to the Russian border, and day visits to cultural sites. Highlights of the trip include a trek to Tetu Peak, a homestay in the mountains, a visit to Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and home to the Stalin Museum, and a stop in the ancient city of Mtskheta, which lies at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi, about 20km north of Tbilisi. The nine-day "Wild walk in the Caucasus" costs from £1,290 (Dh7,768) per person, including accommodation, most meals, government passes and permits, entrance fees and all transport outlined in the itinerary. International airfare is not included. Call 00 44 20 7736 3968 or visit www.wildfrontiers.co.uk.

ciyer@thenational.ae