based: London, UK
Self-guided walking holidays in Bulgaria, based at a choice of two centres (Bankso or Borovets) that give access to two imposing mountain ranges, each with excellent trekking routes, accessible summits, lift access, alluring lakes and magnificent limestone landscapes.
| walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | Bulgaria |
Bath & West Country Walks
based: Somerset, UK
Guided and self-guided walking holidays in South West England from April to October. Enjoy the Cotswolds, explore Exmoor, discover the Mendip hills and Bath. Visit Avebury, Bourton on the Water, or Stonehenge & Glastonbury. Also walking holidays in Austria in June and Cyprus in November. Hotel and inn accommodation with private facilities.
| walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | seniors/silver surfers | weekends/short breaks | England | Wales | Austria | Cyprus |
Explore Featured Site
Self-guided walking holidays in Europe: France, Italy, Spain, Mallorca, Greece, Switzerland and Portugal. These independent walking trips are for all abilities and fitness levels and allow guests to walk at their own pace, they can depart on any day of the week making cheap flights and option too.
| walk/trek/hike | trekking peaks | unguided walking | winter walking | Europe |
Eurocamp – Walking Holidays Featured Site
Selected Eurocamp parcs in areas of outstanding natural beauty in France, Austria and Switzerland, ideal bases for guided and unguided walking and hiking. Some offer their own bespoke graded walking routes for self-led walks, others offer guided walking tours.
| walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | France | Switzerland | Austria |
Footfalls Walking Holidays
based: Co Wicklow, Ireland
Self-guided and guided walking holidays and short breaks right across Ireland. Footfalls Walking Holidays take care of luggage, transport, vacation itinerary, food and accommodation. Popular tours include: Connemara, The Burren & Aran Islands, Wild Atlantic Way, Cork & Kerry, Wicklow Mountains ...
| walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | Ireland |
Great Little Breaks
based: Worcestershire, UK
Independent rambling and self-led walking breaks from a range of hotels in England and Wales. Special short-stay packages targeted at hikers and offering walking maps, route guides and packed lunches for self-guided walkers.
| unguided walking | England | Wales |
based: Sardinia, Italy
Active holidays specialist in Sardinia (Italy) offering cycling and mtb tours, hiking and multi-activity trips for every type of traveller – self-guided and guided. Cycle touring for beginners or families with children, to tours for expert mountain bikers looking for adventure. Also bike rental to scout Sardinia on your own.
| cycle touring | mountain biking | multi-activity | sea kayaking/canoeing | walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | family | Sardinia | Italy |
On Foot Holidays
based: Wiltshire, UK
Self-guided walking and hiking holidays covering most of south and central Europe. Destinations include Italy, Spain, the UK, Greece and Coatia. Offering carefully designed routes suitable for all abilities and tastes, luggage is transported and a comprehensive Walkers Pack, with maps and route cards is supplied for each stage. Stay in small, family-run accommodation, enjoy home cooked food and local wine.
| unguided walking | Italy | Spain | UK | Greece | Coatia |
based: Basque Country, Spain
Exclusive small group farmhouse walking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees as reviewed by the Guardian, Observer and Daily Mail. Guided and unguided weeks immerse guests in the Basque mountain culture with private dinner parties, wine tastings, music concerts and Basque festivals. Spanish immersion courses and creativity retreats also available.
| walk/trek/hike | unguided walking | gastronomic | spanish language | retreats | historical tours | Spain |
South Downs Discovery
based: Hampshire, UK
Self-guided walking holidays on the South Downs; a range of options with 6-10 day duration as well as shorter 2-5 day walks. South Downs Discovery plan and tailor-make each trip, with handpicked accommodation, door-to-door baggage transfer and 24/7 support included – they also offer a baggage transfer service to independent walkers.
| unguided walking | weekends/short breaks | women | England |
TourRadar – Hiking & Trekking
A special selection of walking, hiking and trekking holidays right across the globe. Whatever your style, be it a demanding ascent of a trekking peak or a relaxed spiritual journey. Select from: mountain tours, winter walking, attraction-based hikes, coastal walking, spiritual tours, point-to-point trips, self-guided hikes or treks centered around the desert, jungle or wildlife.
| walk/trek/hike | trekking peaks | unguided walking | winter walking | Worldwide |
BULGARIA: Self-guided hiking in the mountains
If you're looking for some economic self-led walking in beautiful mountain landscapes the then Bulgaria is certainly worth a look! Borovets, known as Bulgaria's premier walking resort, makes a good choice.
For the walker Borovets offers a huge choice from among miles of marked trails amidst beautiful mountain scenery. One of the most popular routes in the Rila mountains is the hike to Chernata Skala (Black Rock), passing through evergreen forest and crossing mountain streams, before reaching the dramatic sheer face of the rock. A gondola ascent will take you from the valley, onto Mousala, Bulgaria's highest mountain, from where a hiking trail follows the ridge to the summit at nearly 3,000 m.
UK: Hotel based self-led walking breaks
Increasingly UK hotels are creating their own packages for self-guided walking and rambling breaks, ideal if you're looking for a new area to discover and, because they are hotel based, there is often a bit of luxury built in! These short breaks offer a variety of deals, generally all providing route guides, maps and packed lunches for walkers. Some packages will go the extra mile and include dinner(s), or room upgrades or spa facilities too.
These breaks are in prime walking areas such as the Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales, Pembrokeshire for coastal walking and Gloucestershire and Wiltshire for fine English countryside.
This section is for self-guided walking holidays and lists trips where a tour operator sets up walk itineraries and routes, organises accommodation, and provides maps and written walking guides or guidebooks for clients to follow – but does not provide any guiding service. Hikers walk independently at their own pace, they will follow the routes supplied but, within that, they are free to stop and start along the route as it suits – this is great if you want to spend time composing photos, studying the local wildlife, visiting tourist spots on the route, or if you just fancy taking a long lazy lunch or lots of coffee stops!
Point-to-point or centre based?
These tours may be point-to-point (hotel-to hotel, hut-to-hut), in which case additional services provided might include luggage transfer and a pick-up and/or drop-off service taking walkers to and from their accommodation on various stages of the walk. Alternatively it may be a centre based trip (be that hotel, B&B, hostel or self-catering) offering walkers the flexibility to choose routes day-by-day depending on how strenuous or otherwise they want it to be.
Graded self-guided walks
Most operators will grade their independent walks in some way, although there is no universal grading system for self-guided walking trips. Easier trips may be suitable for children, details should be on the tour itineraries.