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The ultimate compromise: A walking and city holiday combined

When it comes to holiday planning, are you conflicted? Deciding on a holiday that ticks all participants’ boxes can be tricky. In fact, it’s not just people; sometimes pleasing all the voices in your own head can be tricky if you’re trying to come up with a plan that encompasses everything you want to do. The chances of toboggining down the winding streets of a city centre at the height of summer, for example, are somewhat slim.
 
At BCH Camping, we know that while many of our customers are couples or families that all want to hike when on holiday while in awe of nature and all it has to offer, there are also many customers whose partners or families don’t share their enthusiasm for walking to the same extent. City slickers are everywhere, and they have feelings too!
 

The compromise

We’ve put together some ideas to give you a head start in finding a compromise holiday that combines the love of walking with the buzz of a bustling city.
 
These are just our suggestions – the world is a big place to cover in one blog – but it might give you the inspiration to research your own requirements and find the ideal break for you and your loved ones.
 

Italy: Palermo and rural Sicily

In the city: Palermo is Sicily’s capital city. Steeped in history and beautiful architecture, there are plenty of cultural sites to visit including Palermo Cathedral which dates back to the 12th Century and houses royal tombs, and the huge neoclassical Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele which is an opera house and opera company. Renowned for its perfect acoustics, it is the biggest opera house in Italy, and one of the largest of Europe.
 
Also in the centre are the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace which originated in the 9th century, and the Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina), with its Byzantine mosaics. There are busy markets including the central Ballarò street market and the Vucciria, near the port.
 
Walking: Walkers could take a guided hike through the volcanic landscapes of Mount Etna, which would mean this would be a multi-centre holiday as Mount Etna is 4 hours away from Palermo. If you decide to head to the volcano, there are several approaches. The circular road that leads from Linguaglossa to Piano Provenzana is a good place for learning to ski or toboggan. The ski season on Etna lasts from around November to March.
 
On Mount Etna there are many nature trails. The difficulty varies from a quiet walk with the family on the Sartorius Mounts to a challenging hiking session into the Bove Valley, which is bordered by steep walls formed like a horse shoe, open on the eastern side towards the volcano. It is known for being an exquisite geological viewpoint.
 
Alternatively, a visit to Italy’s first nature reserve, Zingaro, which is home to the rare Bonelli’s eagle will certainly tick the “walking alongside nature” box.
 

Norway: Bergen and the Norwegian Fjords

In the city: Bergen is the Gateway to the Fjords of Norway and the second largest city in Norway. By far the most iconic sight to greet any visitor to Bergen is the colourful facade of Bryggen, the old Hanseatic wharf first established in the 14th century. The picturesque wooden structures were rebuilt following a fire in 1702, and later became recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The wharf today houses a small museum, shops, restaurants and cafés.
 
With the busiest seaport in the country, Bergen is the go-to place for fish and other seafood. As one of Norway’s most visited outdoor attractions, the atmosphere at the outdoor Fish Market is always lively.
 
Other sites include the Troldhaugen museum which was once the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg and his wife, The Bergenhus Fortress, built around 1240, and one of the best-preserved Medieval buildings in all of Norway, and the Bergen Aquarium with its live demonstrations, daily shows, screenings and events.
 
Walking: There are many walks in the vicinity of the city of Bergen. One option is a loop walk to Solsaevatnet Lake. This 6 hour walk takes you high above the village of Ulvik through orchards and meadows, surrounded by beautiful alpine views.  A more challenging choice would be the 13km hike from the centre of Ulvik, following a trail which rises from the centre of town to 1030 metres above sea-level for outstanding views over the fjords and mountains.
 
For waterfall lovers, one of the most beautiful walks in Norway is the Husedalen Waterfall Walk, which follows a succession of four cascading waterfalls, through the Husedalen valley from Kinsarvik to the Hardangervidda, Europe’s largest mountain plateau.
 

Spain: Seville & Sierra de Aracena

In the city: Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region, famous for flamenco dancing and major landmarks such as the ornate Alcázar castle complex and the 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring. The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda.
 
The heart of Seville's tourist district, Santa Cruz is arguably one of the most beautiful areas in Spain. This area is home to many sites, including the Seville Cathedral, and the Real Alcázar, a palace with gardens. You can spend hours in this neighbourhood alone, visiting tapas bars or shopping for ceramics or handicrafts.
 
Walking: With over 20 hikes around Seville there are plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Doñana National Park covers 543km2 of which 135 km2 is a protected area. It is made up of marshes, shallow streams and sand dunes. It was established as a nature reserve in 1969 when the World Wildlife Fund joined with the Spanish government and purchased a section of marshes to protect it.
 
Other options are to follow the river North from the city centre for 2 or 3 miles until you arrive to Parque del Alamillo, one of Spain’s largest urban parks where you can continue your hiking, or The Sierra Norte Natural Park which stretches 1775 km2 north of Seville. It houses ten villages, spectacular fortresses, and many hiking routes, along which you can discover the intriguing flora and fauna.
 

Morocco: Marrakech & The High Atlas

In the city: Marrakech is a vibrant, exotic city with the evocative sights, smells and sounds of the “souks” (markets), the Djemaa el-Fna square and peaceful Majorelle gardens as highlights. Known as The Red City thanks to the thick walls surrounding the old city, there are many cultural landmarks to visit. From the exquisite gardens to the intricately carved archways to the ornate mosques, there is plenty to see and visit.
 
Jemaa El-Fnaa is the busiest square in the whole of Africa, packed with fire-eaters, cross-dressing belly dancers, acrobats, astrologers, and many other street entertainers. Marrakech also plays host to many festivals such as the Dakka Marrakchia, the Popular Arts Festival and the Marrakech Biennale.
 
Walking: High Atlas, also called the Grand Atlas Mountains is a mountain range in central Morocco, with the Western High Atlas being located just 2.5 hours from Marrakech. Morocco's highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4167m), sits at the centre of Toubkal National Park and is the most frequently visited High Atlas region.
 
Walkers can spend the day exploring ancient villages, valleys and hidden passes that lead to panoramic ridges. Far above, dramatic stark crags and rocky trails contrast with terraced village gardens and ruined kasbahs. You can wander at will and perhaps bag a few peaks. There are many different routes available, depending on agility and experience.
 

Get in touch

We hope this snapshot has whetted your appetite! BCH Camping can supply many items of clothing and equipment for the walking element of your compromise holiday! Just get in touch and we’d be happy to help.
 
 

March 11 2019 | Garth
Filed under: Europe, Holidays, Walks, Weekend

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