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Self-guided walking holidays for families

Sensational scenery and national parks, UNESCO heritage sites and thriving cities: there are endless enchantments to thrill adults and children alike on our family walking holidays. There are diverse destinations and different levels of walking difficulty too, starting from gentle coastal strolls and flat forest paths.

On our self-guided family walking holidays, you dictate the pace, start times and number of rest stops, and how long you wish to spend exploring the amazing places you pass through. Our Headwater Navigation app, with its detailed GPS routes, means you can roam at your leisure without worrying about getting lost!

The majority of our family walking holiday routes have a low  , suited to even the littlest legs and most occasional walkers. If the idea of daily walking is daunting, you can choose a single-centre holiday, so it's easy to have a rest day should the kids feel tired.

Whichever itinerary you choose, a walking holiday is a great way to get closer to nature, to each other, and to the authentic, off-the-beaten-track culture of your destination.

Ready to plan your next adventure together? Browse our walking holidays for families below, clicking on the 'View Holiday' button for full trip details.

Where can I go on a family walking holiday?

With its temperate climate and varied natural beauty, we consider Europe to be the best place for a family walking holiday. We've found child-friendly routes in several locations, from scenic destinations on the doorstep in the UK and Ireland to the natural and cultural wonders of the Akamas Peninsula in Cyprus.

Sticking to a straightforward route doesn't mean run-of-the-mill scenery. You can discover some of Europe's most staggering landscapes on our family walking holidays, from the snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows and waterfalls of the Swiss Alps to the colourful coastline of the UNESCO island of Palmaria in Liguria, Italy.

These are just two of our top destinations for family holidays where walking is the way forward.

Austria

With azure glacial lakes, undulating pine-covered hills and pretty alpine villages, the Tyrol in Austria is a superlative setting for walkers of all abilities. Every route from start to finish is picturesque, whether you're atop a mountain or passing through farmland and wildflower meadows lower down.

We have two walking holidays for families that journey through the Tyrolean Mountains. Our Alpine Walks in the Stubai Valley tour takes you into the 'Heart of the Alps', along accessible trails that nevertheless have the wow factor. Highlights for Headwater explorers include:

  • Neustift im Stubaital: An alpine village with an extraordinary range of activities to suit all ages. Between December and March, exhilarating winter sports such as skiing await. In the spring/summer, follow forest trails and go on nature walks through the lush hills.
  • Stubai Glacier: This millennium-old glacier stands proud at 3,210 metres above sea level, providing panoramas over the Italian Dolomites. Between June and August, you can visit the incredible ice grotto here too.
  • Tyrolean cuisine: Both adults and children will love traditional Tyrolean cuisine. Buchteln, soft, sweet buns filled with fruit jams or curds, are perfect for a mid-walk picnic. In the evenings, fill up on Fiakergulasch – a dish of diced beef in a rich red sauce.

France

France is another favourite for our family walking holidays. We have routes in several regions, giving you a taste of the country's captivating countryside which ranges from terraced grape-growing vineyards and castle-clad cliffs to the soaring peaks of Mont Blanc.

  • Burgundy: Base yourself in Burgundy and roam rolling hills peppered with woodland, rural villages and medieval towns. Introduce your children to some of the world's best gastronomic delights in Dijon, from truffle hunting to traditional cheeses. Adults can pair these with wine tasting at the Château Clos Vougeot estate.
  • The Alps: Our Mont Blanc Highlights circuit covers some of the most outstanding and accessible trails in the Alps all from one convenient base. Led by an expert guide, discover the sensational seven valleys that surround Western Europe's highest mountain.
  • The Dordogne: Our Dordogne holiday combines walking with other adventure activities that will keep even the most restless kids and trying teenagers entertained. Pedal beside or glide along the river through the Perigord Noir, one of the most scenic parts of the region. The spectacular cliff-clinging pilgrimage town of Rocamadour is not easily forgotten.

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Dublin & The Wicklow Way Walking
Ireland

Dublin & The Wicklow Way Walking

This 5-night holiday offers a perfect balance between the delights of Dublin city and the ancient east as you walk part of the Wicklow Way through the “Garden” of Ireland, discovering the mythology and landscapes that make this area of Ireland so unique and magical.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW05DW
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration5 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1640per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • 4 breakfasts
  • Navigation app provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walks in the Troodos Mountains
Cyprus

Walks in the Troodos Mountains

Step into a world of natural wonders on our walking holiday in Cyprus's Troodos Mountains. Follow ancient trails through lush forests, encountering elusive wildlife. Wander along ancient trails, where every step unveils a tale of nature's artistry. Marvel at UNESCO World Heritage sites, relish panoramic views of Mount Olympus, and explore the serene charm of Omodos Village. Your adventure culminates in the picturesque Pano Platres.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07CY
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1595per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking in Val D'Anniviers
Switzerland: Valais

Walking in Val D'Anniviers

High above the Rhone Valley, located in the French speaking part of Switzerland, Val d'Anniviers offers some truly stunning walks.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07VD
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2425per person, tour only
  • NEW FOR 2024  
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts & dinners
  • Route notes provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia
Italy: The Dolomites

Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia

This single centre, self-guided walking week gives easy access to some of the most stunning alpine scenery. Picture postcard villages surrounded by alpine meadows and the jagged limestone mountains of the UNESCO Dolomites.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07DS
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2945per person, tour only

  • 20 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • 4 nights on Half Board and 3 nights on B&B
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking the Kerry Way and Killarney N.P.
Ireland

Walking the Kerry Way and Killarney N.P.

The Kerry Way is the Emerald Isle's longest trail - at 210km, it offers fantastic views of the unspoilt landscapes - a walk here will swathe you in 10,000 years of dramatic Celtic history. Admire crisp blue lakes, pretty waterfalls, lovely little villages and velvety green pastures.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07KE
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1730per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Navigation app provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
Literary Walking in the Lake District
United Kingdom: Lake District

Literary Walking in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park is England's most visited national park and this 6 night self-guided walking holiday takes in some of the highlights. Whether you're visiting the home of William Wordsworth while nibbling famous Grasmere gingerbread, surveying Lake Windermere from the top of Latterbarrow Fell, or following the Cumbria Way through beautiful country estates owned by the National Trust, you'll be sure to enjoy an authentic Lakeland experience!

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06LD
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2060per person, tour only

  • 33 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and 1 evening meal
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
Portugal: The Algarve

Walk the Algarve's Wild West

A warming winter walking discovery allowing you to see the best of the unspoilt Western Algarve region. The lush flora and diverse fauna of the Algarvian hinterland compliment the dramatic seascape scenery of the Atlantic coastline perfectly. The hotels are a brilliant mix of rustic charm and stylish grandeur, complete with swimming pools and serving the best of local Portuguese cuisine.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06AV
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2135per person, tour only

  • 83 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 3 evening meals
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking the Kerry Way and Killarney N.P. - Short Break
Ireland

Walking the Kerry Way and Killarney N.P. - Short Break

The Kerry Way is the Emerald Isle's longest trail - at 210km, it offers fantastic views of the unspoilt landscapes - a walk here will swathe you in 10,000 years of dramatic Celtic history. Nestled in the south-west corner of Ireland, on this 4-night trip you'll spot contrastingly beautiful landscapes at every turn. From rugged cliffs to some of Europe's finest golden beaches, small friendly villages and velvety green fields to picturesque mountain ranges.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW04KE
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration4 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1445per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Navigation app provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
WALKING THE AKAMAS PENINSULA
Cyprus

WALKING THE AKAMAS PENINSULA

Embark on a captivating walking tour through Cyprus's Akamas Peninsula and National Park. Discover ancient trails, from Kremiotis Waterfall to Lara Beach, and iconic sites like the Baths of Aphrodite cave. Indulge in local delicacies such as halloumi and kleftiko, and savour Cyprus's wines. A perfect blend of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and gastronomic delights await.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07CA
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, twin centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1550per person, tour only

  • 10 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking in Burgundy’s Vineyards - Short Break
France: Burgundy

Walking in Burgundy’s Vineyards - Short Break

In Burgundy, enjoying a good meal is more than a tradition this is the culture! Savour Burgundy's 'Art de Vivre' through its great vineyards and the numerous gourmet products that you will taste along your route. Get your taste buds ready to be delighted.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW04BN
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration4 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1850per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfast and 3 evening meals
  • Route notes provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking in the Cinque Terre and Portofino
Italy: Liguria

Walking in the Cinque Terre and Portofino

Discover the beautiful Liguria region and its remarkably well-preserved landscape steeped in tradition based in Sestri Levante. Explore the coastline from the Cinque Terre to Portovenere as well as Portofino and the UNESCO island of Palamaria.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06CT
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1895per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • Route notes provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Alpine Walks in the Stubai Valley
Austria: The Tyrol

Alpine Walks in the Stubai Valley

Step into a world where Alpine charm meets culinary delights and nature's tranquillity. Our Tyrolean adventure is a symphony of picturesque villages, namely Neustift im Stubaital, framed by pine forests and majestic alpine landscapes. It's a scenic paradise where you'll wander through stunning terrains, savour local flavours, and rest in luxurious tranquillity. Explore its well-marked walking trails and vast mountain vistas. With gentle, moderate, and challenging walks on offer, you can go at your own pace, discovering your love for the Stubai Alps.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07NE
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1985per person, tour only

  • 6 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts & dinners
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking the Tyrolean Mountains
Austria: The Tyrol

Walking the Tyrolean Mountains

Calling all mountain lovers, food, and culture enthusiasts! Join our self-guided walking holiday in Kitzbuhel. Immerse yourself in the Alpine beauty, savour local cuisine, and engage in vibrant cultural experiences. Plus, relax in style at a luxurious 4* spa hotel. Discover the wonders of Kitzbuhel on this perfect adventure tailored just for you.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06KZ
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2060per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking in the Lower Engadine
Switzerland: The Bernese Oberland

Walking in the Lower Engadine

Spend your week in the charming town of Scuol, famous for its spa and mineral waters, and of course for it's spectacular walking trails.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07EN
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2020per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • Route notes provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walk the Crossroads of Five Passes
Switzerland: Meiringen

Walk the Crossroads of Five Passes

Spend a week in the exceptionally beautiful village of Meiringen, home to extensive walking networks with access to spectacular waterfalls and breath-taking Swiss scenery.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07CF
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2180per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • Route notes provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking in Burgundy’s Vineyards
France: Burgundy

Walking in Burgundy’s Vineyards

In Burgundy, enjoying a good meal is more than a tradition this is the culture! Savour Burgundy's 'Art de Vivre' through its great vineyards and the numerous local products that you will taste along your route. Get your taste buds ready to be delighted.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06BN
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2300per person, tour only

  • 6 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfast and 3 evening meals
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking the Algarve's South West Fishermen's Trail
Portugal: The Algarve

Walking the Algarve's South West Fishermen's Trail

On the south Fishermen’s great coastal trail, walk by the sea, follows the paths used by the locals to access the beaches and fishing grounds. This trail is longing the cliffs, with breath-taking views and some truly memorable moments.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW06AR
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration6 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2675per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfast included
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Mont Blanc Highlights
France: Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc Highlights

The circuit of Mont Blanc is one of the finest walking routes in the Alps. It is, in reality, a series of paths linking the seven valleys that surround the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc. It normally takes a fortnight to complete the whole circuit, but for those with less time this one-week tour takes in the most outstanding sections from one accommodation base.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeW07MB
  • Holiday typeGuided walking
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2354per person, tour only
  • All breakfasts, five picnic lunches, six home-cooked dinners Afternoon tea and cake on walking days All accommodation All transport and listed activities Tour leader throughout Group arrival and departure transfers available
Catalonia Activities
Spain: Catalonia

Catalonia Activities

Combine a stay at the beach with your choice of gentle walking and cycling routes for an active family holiday. You stay in the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, where the rocky coastline has small coves to explore.

We provide a range of fully researched, self-guided walking and cycling routes, typically at activity level 1, making this an ideal family activity holiday with children. Throughout your stay, a complimentary Headwater bike for your exclusive use is provided to give you total flexibility.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeM07CL
  • Holiday typeMulti activity holiday
  • Duration7 nights, single centre
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$1910per person, tour only

  • 12 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Bike hire included
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Walking and Cycling the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland

Walking and Cycling the Wild Atlantic Way

County Kerry contains some of Ireland's most iconic scenery, with sea cliffs carved by the wild Atlantic Ocean, and soft golden beaches, emerald-green farmland criss-crossed by stone walls, mist-shrouded bogs and cloud-torn mountain peaks.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeM07KE
  • Holiday typeMulti activity holiday
  • Duration7 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$2195per person, tour only
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Bike hire included
  • Navigation app provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
Dordogne Activities
France: The Dordogne

Dordogne Activities

Combine three of our exciting holidays to experience the ultimate activity holiday in the Dordogne. Two days of safe, leisurely canoeing with a choice of easy walking or cycling on the other days.

DEPARTURE MONTHS

JFMAMJJASOND

  • Holiday codeM08DO
  • Holiday typeMulti activity holiday
  • Duration8 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From US$3200per person, tour only

  • 29 Reviews
  • All accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 5 evening meals
  • Bike hire included
  • Headwater navigation provided
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

Frequently asked questions

How does a walking holiday work?

Our self-guided walking holidays give you full control of where you visit and what you see, but that doesn't mean you'll be going it alone. We support Headwater walkers with detailed directions and maps, including up-to-date GPS routes you can follow on your smartphone.

You've got peace of mind when it comes to your luggage. If you choose one of our hotel-to-hotel family walking holidays, we'll transport your bags from A to B while you're out walking.

What is the best length for a family walking holiday?

Everyone is different, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer. However, we have been careful to craft family walking holidays that fit into school term breaks and have plenty of flexibility with the amount of daily walking.

How far should we walk each day?

Particularly if you are travelling with younger children, it's best to keep your daily distances well under 20km to avoid them becoming overtired. You could consider building in rest days too.

More important than distance is the difficulty. All our walking holidays for families are graded between 1 and 2 on our activity level rating. This means that the terrain is largely smooth and any ascents are manageable for most. After all, you want to have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery while strolling and return home rested and relaxed.

Why choose family walking holidays with Headwater?

We have nearly 40 years' experience creating incredible walking holidays for families, and we take pride in ensuring an exceptional service for everyone who travels with Headwater:

  • Customer satisfaction: Our customers love our holidays which is why they have given us 5-star Feefo ratings.
  • Expert knowledge: Our international team of experts gives us the inside scoop on adventure activities in destinations around the world. You can trust us to recommend all the must-see sites and best things to do on your family walking holiday.
  • Industry recognised: As recently as 2023 we were recognised by the British Travel Awards in the Best Travel Company to Western Europe category.
  • Trip protection: Headwater holidays are ABTA- and ATOL-protected so you can book with confidence.
  • Commitment to sustainability: We are always striving to minimise the impact of our holidays. Our People, Places & Planet plan drives our operations and we're working to become Nature Positive too.

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