Walking Tours and Trails
Originally published in TEACH Magazine, July/August 2022 Issue
School’s out for the season, but that doesn’t mean trips have to end as well. In fact, now is the perfect time to go on a field trip or two of your own! Perhaps you can even break out those walking shoes and embark on an adventure on foot. From mountains to coastlines, cities to villages, walking tours can be some of the best ways to explore a new place. They give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the history and culture of your destination with every step.
There are many types of trips designed to suit walkers of all abilities and interests, whether urban or rural, easy or challenging, guided or independent. So lace up your shoes and check out some of these suggested global walking tours this summer.
All of Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in centuries-old royal legacy. Walk along with an expert guide through Edinburgh’s Old Town and explore medieval landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral and Holyrood Palace—then head off into Edinburgh’s 18th century New Town to admire its elegant gardens and Neoclassical architecture. A little ways out of the city, you can traipse through some of Scotland’s spectacular landscapes, from the rolling countryside of St Abb’s Head Nature Reserve, to the peaceful Hermitage Woodland, and the ruin-strewn Fife Coastal Path—all of which offer a variety of guided tours.
Find information on free walking tours in Edinburgh here.
Northwest Territories, Canada
Home to an abundance of pristine rivers and lakes, along with sublime mountains and forests, the Northwest Territories is a nature lover’s paradise. In the summer months, the sun never sets in this northern destination, allowing visitors extra time to enjoy leisurely walks around the lakes, day excursions just outside of town, or multi-day treks in the backcountry. Novice amblers and serious walkers alike can find excellent trails in and around Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, and Yellowknife.
For more info, visit the Northwest Territories tourism website.
New Orleans, United States
Hit the streets of the French Quarter, famous for its busker brass bands, street performers, and historic architecture. Sites of interest include the 19th century Garden District, as well as world-famous cemeteries where you’ll weave through a maze of ornate and eclectic above-ground tombs. The city also offers walking tours with a focus on the history of slavery, where you’ll visit important sites like plantations and former slave markets. Then after the sun has set, enjoy a night out with a local guide to discover the city’s vibrant jazz scene.
Find more information on the New Orleans website.
Maine, United States
For those seeking a laid-back adventure, you’ll appreciate Maine for its slow pace and quiet beauty. Here, the best coastal towns offer delightful routes that include historic fishing villages and windswept enclaves. Walkers can also venture into Acadia National Park, where carriage trails weave through the majestic wilderness of Mount Desert Island. If you’re a seafood lover, don’t miss Old Port’s scrumptious walking lunch tour.
For more info, check out Maine’s Office of Tourism.
Nearly untouched by Western civilization, Morocco is a place for all culture lovers. Venture into the bustling cities of Fez and Marrakech, where you’ll uncover local gems and marvellous architecture such as medinas, souks, historic mosques, and palaces. You can also join an easy grade, multi-day walking trip among the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, leading to the Atlantic coast, and then taking you across beaches, valleys, and rustic Berber villages.
For more info, take a look at the website run by the Moroccan National Tourism Office.
Blessed with protected landscapes and thousands of years of rich heritage, Sicily is an attraction for both nature and history buffs. Much of Sicily is easily accessible on foot, so there are a wide variety of walking tours available. Whether you’re meandering down the cobbled streets of old towns, exploring ancient Greek ruins and temples, getting up close with Byzantine mosaics, or discovering the unspoiled islands of Egadi, you’re sure to have a blast on this beautiful island.
Learn more at Sicily’s Department of Tourism website.
Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czech Republic
Have you ever dreamed of backpacking across Europe? Now perhaps you can try the next best thing by hiking all the way from Vienna to Prague. This guided or self-guided tour takes you along Czech Republic’s “Greenways” of marked trails. You’ll pass through the historic provinces of Moravia and Bohemia, and trek across the Carpathian Mountains amid orchid-filled meadows and picturesque villages. You’ll wonder at magnificent architecture and explore archaeological sites—from Renaissance Telč to fairytale-like Český Krumlov—en route to the soaring spires of Prague. The tour covers 500 km of trails over eight days so it’s best suited for experienced hikers.
More details can be found here.