Want to walk in Europe this year, but don’t want to organise it yourself or spend big bucks on a guiding company? Try joining a walking festival.

There’s been an encouraging surge in interest in my report on last year’s West Cork Walking Festival, so I thought I’d go for a tramp around cyberspace to see what’s on offer for 2010.

Walking festivals are a brilliant idea – locals get together to organise walks for a few days, set up some routes to showcase the best hikes in their area, ranging from easy strolls to challenging adventures, engage knowledgeable guides, charge a modest fee to cover costs, post details on a website and see who turns up.

West Cork attracted groups of 25-50 for each event, a good number, I thought – enough for everyone to meet a few people, but not so many that it was ever overwhelming. I arrived on my own and left having made some friends I’m still in contact with. Thanks to the guides I learned a lot about the area’s history and characters and thanks to the craik in the Irish pubs at the end of each day, a foine toim was had indeed.

These are some festivals I found coming up:

May 1-8 Caithness and Sutherland (Scottish Highlands)

May 7-13 Newton-Stewart Walking Festival (Galloway Hills, Southern Scotland.)

May 22-June 6 Lincolnshire Wolds (Lincolnshire, England)

June 25-27. Mourne International Walking Festival. (County Down, Northern Ireland).

July 1-4 Castlebar Walking Festival (Ireland’s wild west)

Tuscany is advertising the Tuscan Coast and Islands Walking Festival from April 2 – October 10. That’s a long time to stay festive, but there’s a lot to see under the Tuscan sun. www.tuscanywalkingfestival.it

If you can add interesting festivals to this short list, please let me know about them in the comments box below.

Finally a word of warning.  On the web I found publicity for some  ‘festivals’ which were being run by commercial tour guiding companies. I have no reason to think they’re not interesting and  good value, but they were considerably more expensive than walking festivals run by local volunteers.


Filed under Budget travel, England, Hiking, Ireland, Travel, Travel- Europe

4 responses to “WALKING FESTIVALS 2010

  1. Pingback: TALKIE WALKIES – hiking the West Cork Walking Festival « Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  2. Okay, I found one I had to mention – the Scilly Islands Walking Festival is on March 27-April 3, 2010. ANd it has to be mentioned because the pun about ‘Scilly Walks’ is too hard to resist!


  3. Hi Richard,

    Could I use one of our photos for a flyer I am doing for Cape Clear Island ?

    Kind regards,

    Cape CLear

    • Certainly you can, Séamus. Let me know what you would like to use and I’ll email it to you in hi-res version. I was back on Cape Clear for the storytelling festival this September and really enjoyed it!

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