There’s something extra special about seeing someplace on foot the way you do on a walking tour, hiking tour, or guided trek. Maybe it’s the slower pace and the ability to actually admire sights you might just zip by in a car, bus, or train. Maybe it’s the easy opportunity for connections and conversations with local people. Or maybe it’s being out in the fresh air, enjoying and appreciating the natural setting of the location you’re visiting.
It’s probably some combination of all three that make walking tours, trekking tours, and hiking tours a popular way to travel. Whether you prefer an easygoing amble, a moderate hike, or a challenging summit, there are some great foot-fueled tours from hiking tour companies that explore famous locales and off-the-beaten-path spots all over the world. Here are my picks for the nine best travel companies offering walking tours and guided hiking trips.
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1. G Adventures
Small group tour specialist G Adventures places a special focus on creating guided trips that benefit the destinations visited. The company offers a big range of hiking and trekking tours that let you experience iconic destinations in an active way. Many of these trips are physically challenging excursions, like the Trans Bhutan Trail and trekking tours in places like Nepal, Patagonia, and the Alps. Hiking tours with G Adventures take you all over the world, too, from Southern Iceland and Northern Greece to Alaska and U.S. national parks.
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Tour descriptions feature a handy “Is this tour for me?” section that includes the physical rating, service level of accommodations, and visa requirements. Hiking and trekking tours can be filtered by budget, destination, and service and physical levels. And if this kind of travel is new to you, the G Adventures website has answers to commonly asked questions about its hiking and trekking tours, like the effects of altitude and where and how you’ll sleep.
Quick Facts about Hiking Tours and Trekking Tours with G Adventures
- Average guided tour group size: 10 to 12 people.
- Price range: Pricing varies, with most tours in the $1,000 to $5,000 range.
- What’s included: Accommodations, some meals, staff and guides.
- What’s not included: Pre- and post-trip airfare, some meals.
- Primary audience: Standard tours are open to adults and children ages 12 years or older when accompanied by a parent. Family Adventures are open to families with children between six and 17 years of age. The company also offers tours just for 18-to-30-somethings.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, North America, and South America.
2. Explore Worldwide
Adventure travel company Explore Worldwide has four decades of experience leading immersive, once-in-a-lifetime trips featuring well-crafted itineraries, top local guides, small group sizes, and a commitment to responsible travel. More than 400 tour options take you to 120 countries on all seven continents. Explore offers a range of small-group guided walking tours and trekking tours in locations around the world. Expert guides lead the walks along the planned-out routes, and Explore takes care of elements like accommodations and luggage transfers.
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Walking tours are available at different activity levels so you can choose one that best matches your interests and physical abilities. Easy to moderate options in 2024 include a walking and wine tasting tour of Spain and Portugal, a walking holiday on the Amalfi Coast, and a walking tour of Jordan’s Spice Trails. More challenging treks and bucket-list-types of trips include Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc trips.
In addition to detailed information included in the description for each tour (activity level, information on accommodations and meals, daily itineraries, etc.), the active travel company also offers lots of insight about walking, trekking, and hiking tours in general on its website. You can find answers to seven common questions about walking vacations and other advice and guidance.
Quick Facts about Walking Tours and Trekking Tours with Explore Worldwide
- Average guided tour group size: 12 guests.
- Price range: Explore’s walking tours and trekking tours start at $530 per person and go up to $7,650, with most in the $2,000 to $5,000 range.
- What’s included: Accommodations, meals (number of meals vary by tour), tour excursions, leaders and guides.
- What’s not included: Flights to and from tour start/end points (there is an option to purchase them through Explore), some meals, gratuities, and optional excursions
- Primary audience: Solo travelers, couples, and friends who like small group travel and active vacations. Explore guests tend to range from 40 to 70 years of age; about 65% of attendees are female and about 65% are solo travelers.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, North America, and South America.
3. Intrepid Travel
In its more than 30 years in business, Intrepid Travel has taken guests on thousands of trips to all seven continents with a commitment to responsible travel. That means focusing on things like community-based tourism, animal welfare, diversity and inclusion, and climate change when planning trips and itineraries.
The company offers a range of walking tours that allow you to explore destinations on foot in a way that works best for you, e.g., walking, hiking, or trekking. Walking tours travel on defined tracks and smooth surfaces, and you don’t need any special equipment or preparation. Hiking tours take to trails, mountainsides, and other rugged terrain and make for a great in-between option. Trekking tours travel to remote destinations on challenging terrain that requires both specialized equipment and the ability to rough it.
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Intrepid also offers creative alternatives to overcrowded trekking routes. For example, the 12-day Great Inca Road trek avoids the highly popular Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and brings tourism to new communities along a less-traveled trekking route in Peru. Other good options for walkers, hikers, and trekkers include the company’s tours along Camino de Santiago, treks to Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro, and hiking tours of U.S. national parks.
You can search trips by region and activity types, and tour descriptions include info on itineraries and inclusions as well as helpful sections labeled “Is this trip right for you?” and “Why you’ll love this trip” to assist with choosing the right adventure. There’s also a FAQs section that answers common questions about these kinds of tours and lots of reviews for firsthand traveler insight.
Quick Facts about Hiking Tours and Trekking Tours with Intrepid Travel
- Average guided tour group size: 12 people.
- Price range: Prices vary widely; the average price for a 12-day tour is $3,000.
- What’s included: Accommodations, transportation during the tour, most meals, included activities, leaders and guides, and all hiking permits.
- What’s not included: Airfare and travelers’ insurance.
- Primary audience: Tours attract all audiences; there’s an age minimum of 15.
- Destinations: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and the Middle East.
4. The Natural Adventure Company
Founded in the United Kingdom in 2009 by a pair of avid adventurers and explorers, The Natural Adventure Company aims to make walking holidays and cycling vacations financially accessible for travelers interested in exploring areas in a nature-focused way. Most of its tours are self-guided, with itineraries that include stays in small, locally owned accommodations and an emphasis on responsible tourism.
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Popular 2024 walking tours from the company include a self-guided tour of the trails of the Albanian Alps, a self-guided journey along Portugal’s coastal Fishermen’s Trail, and a privately guided walking holiday in Morocco. Newer offerings for folks who like to travel by foot range from self-guided walking tours in the Balkans and the Swiss and Italian Alps to a two-week guided tour of the Corsica GR20 long-distance walking trail.
Online tour descriptions include a day-by-day itinerary and information on what to expect in terms of everything from accommodations and meals to level of difficulty, terrain, and weather conditions. Reviews from past travelers and photo galleries provide further insight on the trips. You can search tours by destination or holiday type, then further filter by difficulty grade. All walking tours include accommodations, transport, luggage transfers, support from the tour company, and suggestions for food and activities. Some tours also include meals.
Quick Facts about Walking and Hiking Tours with The Natural Adventure Company
- Average guided tour group size: Most tours are self-guided. Guided tours tend to range from eight to 10 guests.
- Price range: Tour prices start at around $300 and average about $1,200.
- What’s included: Accommodations, transport, luggage transfers (as per itinerary), 24/7 phone support. Some tours also include meals.
- What’s not included: Air, train, or bus fare to the destination; connecting transfers; meals not mentioned in itinerary; travel insurance (required); and local tourist taxes.
- Primary audience: Participants on these tours tend to be active and outdoorsy, digitally savvy, and in their 40s and up. Most travel with a partner, but some travel with a family member, friend, or solo.
- Destinations: The majority of the company’s tours are in Europe, but it also offers tours in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
5. Exodus Travels
Exodus Travels led some of the first group trekking trips through the Nepalese Himalaya more than 45 years ago, and today that legacy lives on. The company offers a range of walking and trekking tours around the world led by experienced trekkers and local guides. Exodus operates in more than 100 countries and focuses on low-impact tourism and contributing to local communities. Walking and trekking tours are available at several different activity levels, from leisurely and moderate trips to challenging and extremely difficult treks.
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Tour groups often stay in locally owned accommodations, and the company’s guided (and self-guided) walking tours allow you to really connect with a destination at your own pace and with a low carbon footprint. Popular tour options include a walking tour of Italy’s Prosecco Hills, a classic trek along Peru’s Inca Trail, and an Everest Base Camp trek. Newer walking and trekking tour offerings include a coastal walking tour in the French Riviera, a self-guided walking tour on Malta, and a walking excursion on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast.
Tour descriptions detail daily itineraries and distances traveled each day, information about the local weather and terrain, and reviews from past participants. In addition to filtering the company’s walking and trekking tours by activity level, you can search trips by types of adventure (summits, coastal walks, etc.), price range, and destination.
Quick Facts about Walking Tours and Hiking Tours with Exodus Travels
- Average guided tour group size: Four to 16 guests.
- Price range: Tours average $2,000 to $4,000 per person.
- What’s included: Accommodations, most meals, airport transfers in destination, services of a local guide, some gratuities, admission to any sites on the itinerary, and any specialized gear needed.
- What’s not included: Pre- and post-trip airfare, some meals, and some gratuities.
- Primary audience: Travelers who like to move. Tours with an activity level of one (leisurely) just require that you be healthy enough for a standard weekend walk. Moderate trips require a basic fitness level since there will be some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days. Challenging and tough tours require a high level of fitness and often previous experience.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, North America, and South America.
6. Boundless Journeys
When Boundless Journeys puts together its small-group travel tours, it aims to create trips featuring active itineraries, cultural encounters, and authentic experiences. Local guides bring destination-specific knowledge and insight to the tours, and the company has appeared multiple times among the Top 10 World’s Best Tour Operators in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. The company’s hiking and walking tours allow you to immerse yourself in a destination by seeing it on foot. Local guides take you to the best trails and walking routes in the region. Accommodations are locally run hotels and inns, mountain lodges, and seaside resorts.
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The Tour du Mont Blanc adventure rates as the company’s most-popular waking and hiking tour, taking you through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps and stopping to admire sweeping vistas and small Alpine villages along the way. Other options include a walking tour of the lesser-known villages and coastline of Italy’s Puglia region and a tour that includes hiking along Japan’s Nakasendo Trail (a historic inn-to-inn walking route linking Kyoto and Tokyo). Trekking tours are also available for a more challenging experience.
Walking tour descriptions include detailed itineraries, the activity level of each trip, and a “What to Expect” section with a range of information about the destination and the tour. Tours range in duration from seven to 13 days and extensions are offered in certain destinations.
Quick Facts about Walking Tours and Hiking Tours with Boundless Journeys
- Average guided tour group size: Eight to 10 people.
- Price range: Depending on the length of the tour, location, and the type of tour, prices range from $4,895 per person based on double occupancy to $9,895.
- What’s included: Accommodations, guides, all on-tour transportation, all activities noted in the itinerary, entrance fees, all or most meals.
- What’s not included: International flights to and from destinations, optional meals and activities.
- Primary audience: Boundless Journeys guests tend to be well-educated, well-traveled, active individuals; generally hail from North America; and range in age from 40s to 70s.
- Destinations: Asia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand, and North America.
Active travel outfitter Backroads has been a force in adventure travel since 1979, leading walking tours, hiking tours, biking tours, and multi-adventure tours all around the world. The company offers more than 130 walking and hiking trip itineraries that take you through rugged spots like Alaska and Patagonia and scenic locales like Cinque Terre and the Cotswolds. Walking and hiking tours are offered at many different activity levels and for different kinds of travelers.
Dolce Tempo tours move at a more leisurely pace and are well-suited for novices to active travel. Some walking and hiking tours are available for families with older teenagers or kids in their 20s, while others are best suited for adults with a strong fitness level. Tours include almost everything, and accommodations range from casual hotels to more luxurious lodging options. Small group sizes make for a more intimate experience and guides help travelers find the best views and special spots along the way.
Quick Facts about Active Tours with Backroads
- Average guided tour group size: Backroads hiking and walking trips average 16 guests with a maximum of 20 in the U.S.
- Price range: Prices vary depending on destination and trip length, starting around $2,999 per person double occupancy four a four-day trip.
- What’s included: Accommodations, most meals, trip leaders and guides, private guided tours at some sites, all gratuities at hotels and restaurants, special events (like wine tastings) mentioned in the tour itinerary, park and other entry fees, transportation during the tour, and baggage transfers and porterage.
- What’s not included: Airfare, alcohol, and trip leader gratuity.
- Primary audience: Participants range from couples, groups of friends, and solo travelers to families with older teenagers or kids in their 20s.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and North America.
8. Country Walkers
Walking tour company Country Walkers took its first steps as a tour operator out of an old barn in Vermont in 1979. Today the company helps travelers explore the world on foot in destinations near and far, with a focus on authentic travel and local engagement. The company offers two types of experiences for travelers. Small-group guided walking tours take you beyond just the usual spots for hands-on experiences and connections with members of the local community. For self-guided walking tours, Country Walkers takes care of all the logistics and planning so you can explore at your own pace.
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Local restaurants and small, family-owned or locally based accommodations are part of the equation no matter which option you choose, part of the company’s commitment to sustainable travel, responsible tourism, and the slow food movement. Tours are classified by activity level and range from anyone-can-do-it easy walking tours to challenging excursions where you’ll walk for miles each day, sometimes at high elevations. Each tour description includes information on daily mileage as well as reviews from past travelers to help guests choose the best fit for them.
Options in 2024 include self-guided tours of the Portugal coast and England’s Cotswolds region and guided walking excursions of Italy’s Puglia coast, Greece, and Norway’s fjords. Country Walkers offers a number of guest benefits, from the option to book air travel along with the tour to a referral program, plus options for solo travelers.
Quick Facts about Walking Tours with Country Walkers
- Average guided tour group size: About 18 people.
- Price range: Tours range from $2,098 to $8,798 per person, double occupancy.
- What’s included: Accommodations, most meals, and guides or access to assistance for self-guided tours.
- What’s not included: Airfare to and from the destination, airport car service. (You can choose to book a flight-tour combo through Country Walkers to get these and other add-ons.)
- Primary audience: Country Walkers’ main demographic is travelers ages 55 to 80. But the company also welcomes people traveling with their adult children and/or teenage grandchildren.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia and South Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America.
9. World Expeditions
World Expeditions took its first group of trekkers to Nepal in 1975. Since then, it’s become a go-to operator for travelers interested in small-group active tours, responsible tourism, and “taking the path less traveled.” World Expeditions was the first operator to offer cycling holidays in India (1977) and China (1978) and trekking trips in Mongolia (1980), Tibet (1981), and Japan (1999), and is also the first to offer fully supported commercial treks along the entire length of the Nepal section of the Great Himalaya Trail.
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The company believes that active outdoor travel helps people better experience a destination, no matter the activity level of a trip or age of a participant, and offers both guided and self-guided walking and trekking tours. On the guided excursions, expert local guides and adventurers enhance the trips with knowledge and expertise. Tours range in difficulty from introductory treks to highly challenging trips. Tour prices include the cost of accommodations, most food, and transport.
Among the company’s unique offerings are tours that help you explore the Armenia Transcaucasian Trail and Georgian Transcaucasian Trail in the Caucasus Mountains. World Expeditions is one of the first operators to offer the option to trek selected sections of the long-distance Transcaucasian Trail in both countries, and you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking vistas and cultural sites along the way.
Quick Facts about Walking Tours ands Trekking Tours with World Expeditions
- Average guided tour group size: 8 to 10 people (maximum of 16).
- Price range: Upscale, price varies greatly (World Expeditions offers hundreds of itineraries ranging from a few of days to 150 days).
- What’s included: Services of an expert local guide, accommodations, private transportation, most meals, sightseeing and national park fees.
- What’s not included: International flights, alcoholic beverages, tips and gratuities, and travel insurance.
- Primary audience: Active travelers ages 40 to 65 and older.
- Destinations: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America.