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Activity Grades

Our grading guidelines should give you a better idea of what to expect on your trip; how challenging the activity (or activities) will be. The grade applies to the overall intensity of the holiday, so some days may be a little tougher than stated and some a little bit easier.

You know your own capabilities best, so whilst we are all for challenging yourself, it is very important to consider your fitness and experience carefully while selecting a trip.

The activity grade will help you choose the right adventure, and enjoy it comfort and safety (whilst having a lot of fun). If you have any questions or concerns, we're always here to offer advice.

Easy Walking

Easy

Daily Distance: 0-8km (0-5 miles)

Short distances on low level, relatively flat paths that are well maintained and easy to follow. Perfect for those with little or no previous experience of walking holidays, or those looking for a relaxing experience. Browse Easy Walking Holidays.

Easy - Moderate Walking

Easy - Moderate

Daily Distance: 8-16 km (5-10 miles)

Some longer distances on varied terrain but mostly well-maintained trails, and/or quiet country roads and paths. Some ascent and descent but nothing too strenuous. Perfect for those with a relatively good level of fitness, browse Easy - Moderate holidays.

Moderate Walking

Moderate

Daily Distance: 16-20 km (10-12 miles)

Longer distances on rugged and varied terrain with regular steep ascents and descents. Ideal for regular walkers with a good level of fitness or beginners looking for a challenge. Browse our Moderate walking holidays

Moderate - Strenuous Walking

Moderate - Strenuous

Daily Distance: 20-24 km (12-15 miles) 

Long days with significant and consistent steep ascent and descents on varied terrain which is often rugged underfoot, requiring a good level of fitness. There may be some exposed sections that require a head for heights. Navigation could be more difficult in poor weather conditions. Browse Moderate - Strenuous walking holidays here.

Strenuous Walking

Strenuous

Daily Distance: 24-28 km (15-17 miles)

Full days on challenging terrain, distances, ascents and descents suited for experienced walkers with a high level of fitness. Terrain is rough and could be Alpine or mountainous in nature and remote. Possibility of exposed sections and/or sections with cables/chains/ladders to aid ascent and descent, a head for heights is required. Navigation could be challenging in poor weather conditions and some trips may include higher altitudes. Browse Strenuous grade holidays.

Extreme Walking

Extreme

Daily Distance: +28km (+17miles)

Designed for very fit hikers looking for their next challenge; a head for heights, a sure foot and experience required. Rough, mountainous terrain including narrow scree and rocky paths, light scrambling, exposure and use of cables/chains/ladders to aid ascent and descent. Navigation could be challenging in poor weather conditions. Location may be remote, with extreme temperatures, weather and high altitudes adding to the challenge on these Extreme grade holidays.

Easy Cycling

Daily Distance: Less than 30km (18 miles)

Ideal for beginners on their first cycling holiday, or those who simply wish to take it easy. There’s plenty of time to explore en route with daily distances under 30 km. Sometimes there will be an occasional longer day, on almost completely flat or slightly rolling terrain. You will either be cycling on dedicated cycle path/routes or on quiet country roads, coming onto busier town roads only to reach your accommodation. Browse Easy cycling holidays.

Easy - Moderate Cycling

Easy - Moderate Grade Cycling

Daily Distance: 30-40km (18-25 miles)

Perfect for occasional riders seeking to discover a region from the saddle, and comfortable riding up to 40 km / 25 miles each day over a few consecutive days. Shorter daily mileages allow time to stop and take in the scenery, visit wineries, museums or stop for a long lunch before arriving at your destination. You may be cycling on dedicated cycle paths or quiet country roads with very occasional stretches on busier roads. Terrain will be largely easy-going but may be rolling or include 1 or 2 short steeper ascents/descents. View more Easy - Moderate cycling trips.

Moderate Cycling

Moderate Grade Cycling

Daily Distance: 40–65 km (25 – 40 miles)

Designed for relatively fit regular cyclists seeking an active holiday. Spend much of the day in the saddle experiencing a region and discovering its variety over longer daily distances. The terrain will be varied, and usually rolling with some longer or steeper ascents/descents on quiet country roads with the occasional short stretch on busier roads through towns. View Moderate graded cycling.

Moderate - Strenuous Cycling

Moderate - Strenuous Cycling

Daily Distance: 65–80 km (40–50 miles)

For regular cyclists, looking for a sense of achievement at the end of the day. Comfortable with longer distances, taking in rolling and hillier terrain with occasional steep ascents/descents and some longer ascents/descents on largely low gradients. Cycle largely on quiet country roads while being comfortable on busier stretches where necessary. Browse some Moderate to Strenuous holidays.

Strenuous Cycling

Strenuous Cycling

Daily Distance: 80–100 km (50–62 miles)

Ideal for fit cyclists who relish hill climbs and look forward to snaking descents on switchback roads. Most trips in this grade are road cycling tours for experienced riders who enjoy consecutive days of long and hilly riding with up to approximately 1000 m per day. You should have a degree of bike handling skills and be comfortable on long/steep ascents/descents. Riding is on quiet country roads wherever possible but there maybe stretches of busier roads particularly as you pass through or cycle into towns or cities. Browse Strenuous grade trips.

Extreme Cycling

Extreme Cycling

Daily Distance: Over 100 km (over 62 miles)

For the experienced, very fit road cyclist keen to test themselves, comfortable on a variety of road types and has good bike handling skills – particularly on steep ascents/descents. Excellent stamina will allow you to enjoy consecutive challenging days in the saddle. Expect alpine cols and daily ascents which could be up to 2500 m; trips in this category include ascents of the iconic Mont Ventoux and road cycling in the Pyrenees on Tour de France routes.

Important Notes on Walking Grades

All walking grades are based not only on daily distances, but also on terrain, elevation gain and loss and altitude. Not all distances are exact within the grading system but are designed to be a guideline and best represent the trip’s level. For example, a trip with approximately 20km per day could be graded moderate rather than moderate to strenuous because the terrain is almost completely flat, or a trip with daily distances around 23km km per day could be graded as strenuous is there are some steep hill to negotiate along the way. Ask your specialist if you have any concerns at all about selecting the right trip.

Important Note on Cycling Grades

All cycling grades are based not only on daily distances, but also on terrain, elevation gain and loss and altitude. Not all distances are exact within the grading system but are designed to be a guideline and best represent the trip’s level. For example, a trip with approximately 55km per day could be graded easy to moderate rather than moderate because the terrain is almost completely flat, or trip with daily distances around 40 km per day could be graded moderate as it is particularly hilly. Ask your specialist if you have any concerns at all about selecting the right trip.

  • Anonymous 12/01/2023
    Thank you. Excellent and well organized trip. Professional and caring staff. Amazing region in France. Very good bikes.
  • Dr. Graham Gauld 22/12/2022
    The holiday was well organised and had good back-up in terms of maps and route guidance. It would be good if details of some routes were updated daily/weekly to take into account walkers feedback and changing local conditions
  • Anonymous 18/12/2022
    I realize it was a busy year but to take days to return emails and phone calls is not acceptable. To also tell us you can book our trip then inform me weeks later that you can book the trip except for the first night and we would have to find our own accommodation that you could not contact any other accommodation. On the trip The Sun Inn in Warkworth , the room was fine except we had no cold running water for the entire two days and no internet in the rooms. The manager kept saying we’ll get to it. The Bluebell Inn in Belford, there was mold in the bathroom, torn wallpaper and little hot water. We were freezing in the dining room for dinner but were told sorry we can’t turn the heat on until the end of September. A very very tired hotel. The app was helpful but not always accurate. The book we were given was quite outdated and definitely not accurate and in some cases misleading.. A detailed map of the hike would have been useful as well as indications that you could get lunch in the route or that you needed to pick up a sandwich before starting. To have luggage ready by 9 is fine but then we had to sit and wait until 9:30 for a taxi was a waste of time. We are going on another hike this year but will use another company.
  • Mr Graham Egan 16/12/2022
    The Best of New Zealand trip was comprehensive and very well organised. It was an excellent way to see New Zealand. Emergency out of hours contact was available.
  • Anonymous 15/12/2022
    Provided excellent service and advice. We have done many self-guided cycling tours and know what makes a great trip. This trip more than met our expectations with excellent accommodation and varied route. The supplied notes and GPS tracks made navigation very easy.
  • Anonymous 15/12/2022
    This was a trip that had been postponed due to COVID. In rescheduling it, I had tried to reschedule early (9 months in advance) but was told too early, then when I tried again, it was a different rep and they did not respond in a timely fashion and as a consequence the accommodations that we requested were not available. The trip was described as moderate hiking. This trip was not moderate hiking. The first day of hiking--we were met by the guide and instead of an orientation type of hike, we immediately got out of the transport and started on a 11 mile hike with a 3,000 foot elevation gain and that doesn't include the time that I spent on a mule because the terrain was steep or my legs just gave out. Our trip did not start out well because we were not met at the airport. We waited over an hour and finally hired a taxi to take us to the Riad. The Riad was OK, it definitely did not seem as if it was an upgrade which had been promised. One person in our group had cockroaches in her room and a shower that kept flooding the room. The final hotel was wonderful and they went out of their way to provide an excellent experience (Kasbah du Toubkal). We had been told that we could only spend one night at this property and have to move to another property (because reservations had been slow to be made as noted earlier). They were able to find us a room so that we did not have to move---this may have been due to they were the ones that forgot to pick us up at the airport. The food throughout the trip was excellent. People in Morocco were welcoming and lovely. The High Atlas Mountains were a beautiful and rugged landscape which helped partially make up for the downsides of this trip.
  • Mr Frank Stevenson 15/12/2022
    Lots of trips to choose from……easy to follow hiking instructions and map app…excellent customer service….great value….we have traveled extensively with B&R and Backroads and now much prefer Macs
  • Mrs Lucy King 15/12/2022
    The Cotopaxi region is magical and our guide, Julio, was superb. He loved the area and was so enthusiastic about showing it to us. He got himself, and us, up very early so that we could be the first of the day to top of the Cotopaxi Snowline...very special. He took us to Pasochoa Peak and we were the first of the day to summit that as well. He was very knowledgable of the birdlife, the wildlife and the area's history. He was absolutely terrific!
  • Mrs Lucy King 15/12/2022
    The guide services were top notch. From arrival at the Quito airport to the Amazon Rainforest to the city tour and back to the airport the guides were A+. They were always at least 15 minutes early and so polite and kind.
  • Anonymous 15/12/2022
    Amazing experience! This was my first Macs adventure and definitely NOT my last!
  • Mr William Ritchie 15/12/2022
    Great variety of active holidays. Walking holidays which range from gentle stroll's to challenging adventures.
  • Anonymous 01/12/2022
    Overall worked well. Turn by turn instructions were sometimes way off but following the GPS blue line worked well. Lodging was decent but not exemplary.
  • Anonymous 27/11/2022
    I understand the challenges due to Covid but it often took multiple phone calls and emails to receive a response to my inquiries about our Queen Charlotte Track trip and then it would take several weeks to get an answer to my question. I ended up going directly to the company you outsourced to (Wilderness Guides) as they would reply within 24 hours. Also, most of the information provided by Mac’s was wrong! Thank goodness for Wilderness Guides. You should tell your prop,e if they don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess!
  • Mr Iain McIndoe 22/11/2022
    Overall a good holiday - maps/routes and accommodation were great, but you didn't book all the transfers despite repeated chasing from me and in the end I had to arrange one transfer myself and have multiple phone calls to you from Malta to get the others sorted.
  • Anonymous 20/11/2022
    The accommodations along our route were great! The Portuguese Travel partners were very helpful, knowledgeable and patient. Overall we had a wonderful trip. The only hesitation I have in giving the highest rating is due to the inadequate communication between us. We had a rather complicated booking, in that we were not all traveling together. We did not receive the Macs packet until our last night at the end of the trip upon our return to Porto. Fortunately the Portugal Nature Trails personnel were able to round us up and held a briefing, the apps were installed on devices and instructions given, you kindly altered some travel options, but we were unaware of them until our briefing in Porto, unfortunately no paper schedule was provided and the on-line instructions did not include specifics. Another concern is that the "moderate" rating for the walk. While the distances were not long, the walking and the route were often challenging. All that said, it was beautiful, the people were so kind and friendly, and we are so glad we had this adventure.
  • Ron Abela 19/11/2022
    Everything went like clockwork, everything happened when it should have. The accommodation was as good as the location allowed. The backup literature and map were very helpful.
  • Anonymous 19/10/2022
    Everything went as planned except for a couple of schedule glitches which were easily remedied through direct calls to providers or your Glasgow office. I had tried to solve two of the schedule issues but was not able to get the issues resolved through the personnel in the Colorado office. I did four trips in Scotland and am pleased that all went beautifully--luggage transfers, accommodations, pre-arranged programs. You deserve the five stars for how smoothly all four programs went.
  • Anonymous 19/10/2022
    Good service, excellent accommodation, good value for money
  • Ms Leslie Shea 19/10/2022
    Excellent choices of lodging. Coordination of baggage and lodging, an impossible task, was great Phone, online availability was very good.
  • Dulcie Charles 19/10/2022
    Yes I would book again and recommend them

OVERALL SCORE

4.5
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