I can see the sea - Best coastal walks and bike rides
As children, whenever we headed off on a seaside trip or holiday we would try to be the first to “see the sea”. This childish game has stayed with me and I am always ridiculously delighted when I spot the blue of the sea for the first time.
There are so many attractive things about the coast, from fabulous and dramatic views to pristine sandy beaches, and remote bays to amazing wildlife.
Two of the best ways to experience this coastal wonderland at its natural best is to walk or cycle. At walking or cycling pace you see and hear so many more things than you would when speeding along in a car.
Here we suggest six of the best coastal walks and cycles in Europe. Some of these outings are perfect for a day or two, while others will lead you on a walking or cycling holiday for a week or more.
6 great coastal walks and bike rides
England’s South West Coast National Trail
Acclaimed as one of England's national treasures, this national trail extends 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset, via Padstow, St Ives, Newquay, Falmouth, Plymouth and Exeter, to Poole in Dorset.
The path is packed with spectacular coastal scenery, rich local heritage and an amazing array of wildlife. There are plenty of sections to choose from for a walk over a few days or longer. See Walk the South West Coast Path
Cycle the Applecross Peninsula
Another north-west Highlands gem, the Applecross peninsula boasts fabulous coastline and also the infamous high-level Bealach na ba pass, a road climb that takes you from sea level to more than 2,000 ft in five miles.
There are lot of options for cycle routes, including a 50-mile loop route from Shielding, via Fearnmore, Applecross and the Bealach na ba.
It’s also possible to ride a similar route as part of a cycle sportive, the 43-mile Bealach Beag
Cycle Portugal's Atlantic Coast
An easy and very rewarding cycling tour takes you along the azure coastline of the Atlantic in north central Portugal. The route begins in Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage City, and heads down the coastline past gorgeous beaches, quaint towns and villages and also Portugal's "Little Venice," Aveiro.
Other hotspots to discover by bike include São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, the lagoon of the Ria de Aveiro and atmospheric pine forests.
See Cycling Portugal's Atlantic Coast
Walk the Fife Coastal Path
The Fife Coastal Path is located on Scotland’s east coast. The 81-mile trail heads from the Forth Road Bridge in the south to the Tay Road Bridge in the north.
Many people spend a few days or a week walking the route
that passes through pretty fishing villages, along sandy beaches and close to historic castles and caves.
Walk to Sandwood Bay
Take a walk off the beaten track in Scotland’s glorious north-west Highlands. Some five miles south of the UK mainland’s most north-westerly point of Cape Wrath is Sandwood Bay, a delightfully remote beach of pristine sands and dunes. A sea stack and dramatic cliffs add to the appeal of this naturally resplendent location and you might be lucky, on a calm day, to spot dolphins.
The beach is only accessible on foot and walkers start fromBlairmore car park, which is reached by leaving the A838 at Rhiconich and following the B801 to Kinlochbervie where you take a right turn for Oldshoremore and continue to Blairmore.
Allow two hours or so for the walk to Sandwood Bay. Many people choose to camp overnight before heading back again.
Walk Turkey's Turquoise Coast
Walking is a relaxing and fulfilling way to visit some of the hidden gems of the southern Turkish coast. You’ll discover the delights of the Lycian Way, wonderful beaches, impressive sea vistas, the famous lagoon of Olu Deniz, islands and many ancient ruins, such as Xanthos and Phellos.
Another highlight of this area is the Turkish cuisine, which is a fusion of central Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.
There are four days of walking including on a seven-night Turkey's Turquoise Coast
Walk the Dalmatian coast
The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is a fabulous discovery and a walking holiday here reveals so many different highlights. A Macs Adventure Treasures of the Dalmatian Coast holiday
begins in Split, which is a World UNESCO Heritage Site, and takes in the scenic and historically fascinating islands of Brac and Hvar.
Turquoise seas, traditional villages, welcoming locals, spectacular coastlines and authentic Croatian culture make this journey by foot a true treat.
Tell us about your favourite coastal walks or cycles.