As the end of 2019 approaches it is time to reflect, but more importantly, time to look forward. Your adventure this year may have been immense (I know mine was!) but it's a big world and you never know what lies in front of you in 2020. You may have walked epic coastal trails, crossed from one coast to another, hiked up through the highlands or made a ton of new friends on your pilgrimage, but no matter how amazing the experience, there are a million out there to be explored.
To get you going, here are our annual picks for the best trips for each month of the year, so no matter when you want to go, from winter getaway to walking in the autumnal colours, we have something perfect for you.
El Hierro is indeed the Edge of Europe. Despite being off the coast of Africa, El Hierro is the furthest westerly point in Europe, the next stop being Florida (or Cuba, depending on how your sailing skills are). The least visited of the Canary Isles, El Hierro has a sleepy charm, a relaxed way of life that welcomes those looking to completely chill out. The walking route takes you through intense volcanic landscapes, wild coastlines framed by columnar basalt and protected the UNESCO biosphere that ensures this will always remain an unspoiled paradise.
February is the time to get cycling from one coast to the other in Thailand. The weather is warm, but still nice and cool in the morning, which means you can jump into the saddle, pedal through some outstanding landscapes and still have time to spend the afternoon exploring, lazing on a mindblowing beach or chowing down on some of the freshest, most exciting food on the planet.
Walking from Sintra to Cascais in March is a great trip to take. The temperatures are starting to warm up, but should be perfect for walking. Spring also means that the flowers are starting to bloom and the wild landscapes you will traverse will be bursting with life. There is also diminished tourism at this time of year. Sintra is a hotspot and for very good reason, filled with opulent palaces, dramatic castles and creepy gothic wonderlands, it is a highlight that should not be missed out on.
Time for a classic! April is a great time to head down to Austria, jump on your bike and head along Europe's most popular cycling route on the Danube Bike and Boat: Passau to Budapest. This mainly flat, traffic-free cycle path is ideal for a first cycling trip, or for an active, but relaxing trip. To add to this, doing the route by bike and boat means that you can see the very best of this long route in a shorter space of time letting your hotel follow you down the river and enjoying relaxed dinner as the Austrian scenery glides past.
And talking of Classics! The West Highland Way is arguably the UK's finest long-distance walk and May is the time to do it, but you have to be fast as it sells out quickly! May is the month before the dreaded Scottish midges come out and often is Scotland's best month for sunshine. The way that the scenery evolves as you walk out of the suburbs of Glasgow up through the Highlands is a memory that will live long in your memory, or at least until the next time you do it!
If you are looking for a strong contender to the West Highland Way as the UK's most beautiful walk, then the Coast to Coast is a strong contender. Alfred Wainwright devised a route that meanders through three national parks, climbs fells, provides some jaw-dropping views and leads you through some of the loveliest villages and towns in England. You can do the full route in a couple of weeks or split it up and do half of it at a time.
The Camino del Norte is one of the lesser-known, but in my opinion, must-do walking routes. Take all the joy of the Camino de Santiago, the camaraderie, the sense of peace and belonging, but turn the scenery and culture up a few notches. The month-long route (that you can do in week-long sections) travels along the length of the North coast of Spain passing through stunning regions, each with incredibly strong cultural identities and all wonderfully welcoming.
There is rarely a moment on the Tour du Mont Blanc where the scenery is not blowing your mind. It seriously is one of the most beautiful routes that we sell. Walking around the Mont Blanc Massif, passing through France, Switzerland and Italy, staying in mountain huts (or getting the gondola back down to lovely hotels if you prefer) is an experience not to be missed. August is when the short season for this trip is coming to its end, but should be blue skies all the way!
The end of summer may see you seeking out somewhere that is still a little sunny and is entirely beautiful to boot. The Dingle Way is situated in the south-west of Ireland and September often sees some great weather here. Once voted as National Geographics most beautiful place in the world, the Dingle Peninsula has a heady mix of mountains, history and wide, white, untouched beaches.
Visiting Japan is an experience not to be missed for so many reasons and while the cherry blossom season in April is the one thing everyone wants to see, autumn brings its own joys, with Momiji-Gare, the art of watching the leaves change colour. The Nakasendo Trail sees you leaving the outstanding urban metropolis' behind and escaping into a mountain wilderness where every leaf is screaming out in bright vibrant colours. This peaceful path brings traditional Japanese values, hospitality and food as well as being a beautiful walking experience.
Just about everywhere in Europe is shut down for walking, the weather is awful, what are you going to do? How about escaping to the other side of the world for a trip of a lifetime as you Drive & Hike the Best of New Zealand. This trip sees you driving the length and breadth of New Zealand, staying in characterful accommodations and getting out and hiking some of the best day routes in New Zealand. This is the way to explore the country in depth at a relaxed pace, seeing all the sites and getting off the beaten track and discovering the raw, natural beauty of the islands.
Malta and Gozo are places that many people don't think of when planning a walking holiday, but trust us, the walking here is fantastic. Quiet paths explore the hidden corners of these two neighbouring islands, bringing you out into deserted, idyllic bays, saltpans and blue lagoons. The tiny island of Comino is another delight to explore as you hop between islands, discovering the history and people of these little Mediterranean getaways.
For information on any of these tours or more advice from our expert team on the best places to take a walking or cycling adventure break in 2019, you can contact the Macs Adventure specialists here.