It’s time to go beyond the tourist traps to rethink some of Europe’s most beloved destinations. They’re popular for a reason – but we want to show you a completely different side of just lacing up your hiking boots. New viewpoints are a given, but you’ll also gain a fresh perspective with time spent in local communities. Breathe deeply in the lush greenery of the Azores, taste wine in an Andalusian winery, sample the work of cheesemakers in Corfu, and dine with a local family in Crete. With that in mind, let’s take a look at six active tours in:
What do you think: Relaxed excursions for the masses
What you want to do: The endless beaches and sunshine are lovely, but they don’t get your heart pumping like a hike around the islands of São Miguel and Terceira. Our six-day adventure with a dedicated island guide showcases some of the best nature to be found on the archipelago. Walk past breathtaking waterfalls, dive into hot springs near Sanguinho and even opt for a culinary tour of Sete Cidades.
What you will love: Getting back to nature and discovering the flora and fauna of the southern island as well as getting to know Terceira, the ‘acid island’ named after the lava fields that glow purple in the setting sun.
See it for yourself at: Hiking in the Azores
What do you think: Eating yourself silly in large group villas
What you want to do: Okay, eating is always a good time, but wouldn’t it be nice to get away from some of that food and drink? Hike to 15th-century castles, spend the night in a cave hotel (yes, really!) and venture into the less-visited regions of Benalua de Guadix and Canillas. You can even choose to hike through Andalusia’s most impressive canyon, the Caminito del Rey.
What you will love: An adventure for all your senses! Rugged hikes through mountain passes, ancient history and a unique overnight experience – all while not missing a single mouthful of wine in local vineyards and really, really good food.
See it for yourself at: Hiking Southern Spain: Authentic Andalusia
What do you think: Sunbathing on beaches full of ravers and retirees
What you want to do: Find a whole new way to work up a refreshing glow as you explore the green forests of Anaga, hike around Tenerife and hike up to stunning views between the villages of Erjos and Masca. In addition, there is wine tasting!
What you will love: Reconnect with nature in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, guided hikes through ancient laurisilva forests, village visits and prehistoric cave house explorations and dark sky reserves for ultimate stargazing.
See it for yourself at: Hiking in the Canary Islands: Tenerife, Anaga and beyond
What do you think: Epic party beaches and crowded super clubs
What you want to do: There is a natural side to ‘the white island’ if you are prepared to trek along the rugged coastline and dense pine forests of the island’s north, rarely visited by tourists and peppered with local gems. Starting in the eastern town of Santa Eularia des Rua, you’ll visit local villages, explore the sleepy back streets and may even choose to spend the day cycling nearby Formentera.
What you will love: Enjoy the quieter, more bohemian side of the island, away from the tourist strips of San Antonio. Our six-day walking tour is perfect on its own or added to a few days of enjoying the island’s famous music scene.
See it for yourself at: Hiking Ibiza
What do you think: Fly and flop on beach package tours
What you want to do: The ‘Corfu Trail’ is a unique walking route that travels through ancient villages, past historic chapels and along coastal paths. Normally our seven-day tour based in Corfu Town takes up to two weeks and nightly hotel changes so you can experience the best of the trail while sleeping in the same bed every night.
What you will love: To see, smell and taste the great Greek outdoors with rare opportunities to visit southern beaches and northern mountains. Enjoy days meandering through olive groves, checking out Byzantine castles and stopping to eat local artisan cheeses. Num Num!
See it for yourself at: Highlights for hiking the Corfu Trail
What do you think: Charter flights to large hotel complexes
What you want to do: Explore Crete’s spectacular Samariá Gorge and White Mountains without lugging around all kinds of luggage. Over the course of seven days, you’ll trek along the southern coast, visit remote villages and coastal towns, dive into secluded seaside resorts, walk through stunning pine forests and pass through the ‘Iron Gates’. It is the narrowest point of the gorge, where the cliffs on each side are 600 m high.
What you will love: Stay active while staying far away from the trappings of the big resorts. Instead, you’ll travel through places only accessible on foot or by boat, join a local family in Loutro for dinner, and even enjoy some Greek dancing. Grandpa!
See it for yourself at: Hiking Crete: Gorges and coastal hikes
Ready to step on fresh ground? Check out all of ours far from ordinary active adventures in classic European destinations.