The world’s most well-worn pathways have not been carved into the earth because they are crowded but because they are centuries old. The inherent appeal of the walking experience along these archetypal routes—the breathtaking vistas, the interplay of light and landscape, the bracing salt of the sea air, the primeval allure of the forest—makes this most relaxed and natural of human movements the best way to encounter the rare beauty of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Yes, VBT will take you off the beaten track—and onto a path of revelation and enchantment.
Amalfi: Path of the Gods
Named for its vistas of unsurpassed beauty, as well as for an elevation that seems headed for the clouds themselves, the “Path of the Gods” winds up and down a spectacular portion of the steep Amalfi cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the craggy limestone edifice, the pastel-hued villages that hug the rock face, the glittering Bay of Naples, and an infinite sky. We’ll descend from Agerola to Nocelle, on a portion of the path still used by shepherds and farmers as it was centuries ago, noting remarkable rock formations, caves, and grottoes. We’ll also have the option of continuing on foot to Montepertuso for even more breathtaking bird’s-eye views.
Offered on The Amalfi Coast & Capri
Among the greatest walking trails on Earth, the 26-mile Inca Trail leading to the thrilling vision of Machu Picchu provides a stunning natural panoply of steep mountain peaks, luxuriant subtropical jungle and cloud forest, and stone paths set by Incans more than 500 years ago. The result is a physical and emotional experience of daunting poetic beauty, strenuous yet gratifying. We will walk about 8 miles of the trail over five hours, a mostly continuous ascent of 2,000 feet. Bear in mind that permits are required and are limited, so reservations should be made as early as possible.
Offered on Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley
Ireland: Kerry Way
The longest trail in Ireland, at more than 130 miles, the Kerry Way circles the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula with Killarney as its hub. Though the droving paths and coach roads themselves are ancient, it was not until the 1980s that stiles, way markers, and footbridges were constructed to link the many sections into a stunning whole. We’ll start our walk on a paved country road that girdles Seefin Mountain, where we’ll admire lovely Lough Caragh at the mouth of the beautiful Glencar Valley. If we like, we’ll continue walking up the mountain to Glenbeigh, on a footpath through Windy Gap, between Peakeen and Knockanaguish Mountains.
Offered on Ireland: Walking the West Country
The coastal path leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, where many believe the apostle James is buried, has borne the feet of pilgrims for more than 1,200 years. The northern route, which we’ll follow, was the first used by large groups as they converged in Spain. We’ll share a fabulous perspective on the Bay of Biscay and its rocky coves, continuing to the summit of Mount Jaizkibel, which offers stunning views of the settlements below, lush green meadows, and stone ruins. We can continue walking through the charming fishing town of Hondarribia, if we choose.
Offered on Spain: A Walking Tour of Basque Country
Nestled at the dense, pastoral junction of Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, the Bavarian Forest National Park offers verdant forests, sweeping meadows, and compelling rock formations. Its unusual calling card, however, is only about five years old: the Baumwipfelpfad, or tree-top walk, an ingeniously designed continuous series of elevated platforms that extends nearly a mile, bringing us up to the tips of the pine, fir, and birch trees that thrive in the forest. With the Czech mountains providing a thrilling backdrop, the 144-foot wooden pathway—the world’s longest tree-top walk—spirals upward, becoming a huge tower with a magnificent outdoor viewing platform.