With winter and the festive season conjuring up romantic images of festively decorated houses, undulating white hills with snow-kissed pines and roaring fires, why not forget the imaginary and immerse yourself in the real thing with the Ramblers Walking Holidays.
Knowing a few things about dashing through the snow, the original guides walking holiday experts Ramblers Walking Holidays offer a great selection of breaks over winter including fairytale walks through medieval Bavaria to a backdrop crowned with impressive castles and more adventurous active winter holidays snowshoeing along sparkling alpine trails.
Break for Christmas – Winter Walks in Kandersteg (Grade 4 – Moderate)
Situated in a high mountain valley in the Bernese Oberland, surrounded by dramatic peaks, lies the traditional Swiss village of Kandersteg, – an enclave of lovely old wooden chalets overlooking snow-covered meadows and glistening woodlands. One of Switzerland’s most peaceful and unspoilt alpine resorts, it offers the perfect winter walking escape with over 35 miles of snow-kissed marked trails. Coupled with an excellent network of local transport, including chairlifts, cable cars and trains, the holiday covers some of the areas most impressive routes through the Oeschi forest and isolated Loetschen Valley to the scenic high of Risetenegg lookout and Sunnbüel to walk the Gemmi pass to Daubensee. With lunches at one of welcoming mountain Gasthofs, more gastronomic delights are ensured back at base staying in the family run Hotel Alfa Soleil.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Winter Walks in Kandersteg holiday starts from £1,355/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation, 3 lunches, festive dinner over Christmas and all local transport costs. Departures 21 December 2017, 4 February 2018.
Break for New Year – Fussen – A Winter Fairytale (Grade 4 – Moderate)
Strikingly beautiful and rich in history, Bavaria is a wonderful place to visit but even more so in winter when pure mountain air and a dusting of snow give rise to spectacular views of snow capped mountain peaks, glistening fairytale castles and stunning winter scenery. Blessed with a number of large and small lakes, well-tracked gentle forest roads and paths magically transformed by fresh layers of snow, its backdrop makes for truly magical winter walking. Based just north of the Austrian border in the medieval town of Füssen with views that inspired Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, this week long holiday explores the lakeland and woodland trails of the Königswinkel region, taking in Bavaria’s most stunning and beautifully located palace castles of Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, and Linderhof. Built by the introverted King Ludwig II as a refuge from public life, they are best appreciated in the quieter winter months to ironically avoid the crowds. The trip also includes an excursion to the village of Oberammergau famed for its decennial Passion Play and ‘Lüftmalerei’ trompe l’oeil facades.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Fussen – A Winter Fairytale one week holiday starts from £1,075/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation and all local transport costs. Departures 27 December 2017, 15 January 2018, 19 and 26 February 2018.
Snowshoeing – Bach in the Lechtal (Grade 4 – Moderate)
Austria knows how to do winter – fir trees heavy with snow, picture- postcard alpine villages, log fires and glühwein. Based in the village of Bach between the northern Tirol’s pristine Lechtal and Allgäu Alps, the surrounding valleys make an idyllic setting for snowshoeing. Under the expert guidance of the hotel manager, an experienced snowshoe walking leader, walks through snow-covered meadows and spruce woods, between the Kalbele and Körber Lakes – a walk described as “walking through hills covered in icing sugar” and to the summit of the Muttekopf are well punctuated with lunch stops at traditional alpine huts for a warming schnapps and tasty Goulasch soup. Another highlight includes a magical evening torchlight walking by flame with glühwein to take in the refreshing alpine air and moonlight mountain vistas.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Bach in the Lechtal one week half board holiday starts from £965/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation and all local transport costs. Departures 21 January 2018, 28 January 2018.
Snowshoeing – St Zyprian in the Dolomites (Moderate – Grade 5)
You don’t have to ski to go off piste in order to enjoy the tranquillity and snowy wilderness of the mountains in winter – simply strap on a pair of snowshoes, setting off at your own pace, and make your own tracks in virgin snow. Staying in the St Zyprian’s four-star Hotel Dosses with dramatic views of castellated limestone Dolomites, this week long snowshoeing holiday explores the best of the region’s Val Ciamin Valley – a pasture land with incredible views of the surrounding peaks, the gigantic boulder strewn Labyrinth trail and popular forest and high alpine route Alla Hanickerschwaige. Liberated from set paths with only the occasional fox and bird track to distract from the scenery, captivating days out walking with a local guide are well-rewarded back at the hotel with delicious cakes, tea and a sunset backdrop to the Dolomites inflamed in a vibrant pink hue.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) St Zyprian in the Dolomites one week half board holiday starts from £965/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation, hire of snow shoes and poles and all local transport costs. Departures 13 January 2018, 27 January 2018 and 3 March 2018.
Snowshoeing – Abruzzo Winter Walking (Moderate, Grade 5)
Walking with wolves in an unspoilt National Park. Two hours drive from Rome in the isolated valleys of the Apennine Mountains, where endangered Marsican bears and Apennine wolves still roam, lies the wild and remote Abruzzo National Park. With bears disappearing into winter hibernation leaving only their unmistakeable etching on trees, wolves remain very much at large with their distinct howls permeating the hills. Snowshoeing with an experienced guide to areas little visited in winter, this holiday combines wintery walks through pristine wilderness, with the opportunity of getting up close with nature, following wolf and lynx tracks in the snow and catching glimpses of animals such as chamois, deer, martens, otter and golden eagles. Based in the town of Pescasseroli, outings include trails to Rifugo Prato Rosso for lunch with the best chance of seeing signs of the wolves, ‘bear country’ Val Fondillo, the basin of Lake Vivo crowned by the rocky amphitheatre of Mount Petroso and Mount Altar and the Valley of Roses – the historic habitat of the Apennine Chamois.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Abruzzo Winter Walking one week half board holiday starts from £1,125/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation, one lunch in a mountain refuge and all local transport costs. Departures 4, 11 &18 February 2018.
Cross Country Skiing – Norwegian Delights, Norway (Moderate 4) NEW
Combining Norway’s national winter sport with staying in a beautifully appointed traditional mountain spa hotel on a remote edge of Rondane National Park, ‘Norwegian Delights’ offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy cross country skiing on gently sloping open plateau and lakes in the comforting knowledge that a relaxing massage or soak in the hot tub is close at hand. With ample daylight due it its latitude and an excellent snow record, plus great facilities and over 125 miles of well-maintained trails and a formal lesson on the first day, the week can be spent exploring on skis and snowshoes or simply relaxing in front of a roaring log fire and in the spa. Offering exceptional value for money, virtually everything is covered with no trail fees, transport costs or picnics to be bought.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Norwegian Delights full board holiday starts from £1,399/person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation with picnic lunches, ski hire, trail fees, an introductory ski lesson and all local transport costs. Departures 15 January, 29 January, 26 February 2018.
Cross Country Skiing – Engadine, Switzerland (Moderate 5) NEW
Fringed with mountain peaks and a landscape of woods, glistening meadows and charming sgraffito style alpine villages, Engadine has everything you need for cross country skiing with great snow conditions, an excellent winter sunshine record, stunning wintry vistas and over 230km of cross country tracks (loipe). Based in the unspoilt Swiss village of Zernez with easy tracks on the doorstep, its great for learning the basics. Following snow-ploughing lessons in Pontresina with the chance of skiing on the glacier tongue, days are spent swishing along the wonderful frozen lake trails above St Moritz to Maloja, with the options of more challenging skiing near Val Mustair and Livigno in Italy. Staying in the Hotel Baer und Post in Zernez, daily exercise is rewarded with relaxing après ski, delicious four-course dinners and a steam in the sauna.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Ergadine one week halfboard holiday starts from £1,425 and including return flights, half board accommodation, ski hire, half day introductory lesson, Loipe fees and local transport and activities. Departures 28 January, 18 February 2018
Closer to home – Cheltenham at Christmas & New Year (Moderate 4), UK
With a choice of five nights over Christmas or four over New Year, ‘Festive Cheltenham’ offers the perfect solution to seasonal over-indulgences you can literally have your cake and eat it with healthy wintery walks through the Cotswold countryside. Never far from a spectacular view, daily outings cover some of the finest stretches of the Cotswold Way and include hikes from Leckhampton Hill to the Cotswold Escarpment with its impressive vistas across the River Severn to Wales, a walk to Cooper’s Hill where the famous annual cheese rolling competition is held and, for a superb panorama, the ascent of The Peak before it descends through the village of Little Witcombe. On Christmas Day, shorter walks are taken to allow for celebrations back at the hotel. Staying in the 4 star Cheltenham Chase Hotel, with its relaxing spa and indoor swimming pool, walkers can also enjoy a range of healthy indulgences as part of the break.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133,www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Festive Cheltenham 4-night New Year break starts from £599/person with Christmas 5-night break £659/person including half board accommodation, picnic lunches on walking days, New Year Gala Dinner or Christmas Day lunch with evening buffet and local transport to/from walks. Departures: 22 & 29 December 2017
For further information or bookings, visit Ramblers Walking Holidays, 01707 331133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk
Ramblers Walking Holidays is one of the holiday brands from RWH Travel (formerly known as Ramblers Worldwide Holidays), the experts in guided walking adventures. Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays is the cruise ship based walking programme, run in association with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
With over 70 years’ heritage, other brands within the group include Chapters Experience Holidays – memorable experiential holidays around the world; Adagio – leisurely walking and cultural holidays at a gentle pace and Load Off Your Back – a self-guided UK and European walking programme.
For its walking holidays the company is the proud holder of Which? Recommended Provider status i.e. companies which are highly rated by Which? Members and reach the exacting standards of Which? Researchers.
Each of the Ramblers Walking Holidays has been graded to help clients choose their preferred pace, with categories ranging from Grade 1-3/Leisurely (usually two hours walking); to Grade 4-6/Moderate (a combination of full and half day walks); and Grade 7-9/Challenging (full day walks where stamina is key).
On some dates, there is the chance to experience more than one walking grade with two leaders. Perfect for couples who prefer to walk at a different pace or have different walking abilities.
To help clients choose the type of walking holiday that will appeal to their interest, Ramblers Walking Holidays also uses symbols that depict the main interest on the walks. Categories include: Pioneer; Continuous Walks; Flora & Walking Holidays; Bird Watching & Walking; Lifestyle, Culture & Natural History; Hutting; Rail & Walk; Sightseeing.
The company’s mission is to generate funds for walking charities by the provision of outstanding outdoor activity holidays worldwide.
With its not-for-profit philosophy, the company contributes monies to the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust which supports walking related and environmental projects in the UK. The company also funds Heart & Sole – an initiative managed by company staff, with the aim of reaching into the heart of the communities visited both in the UK and overseas.
RWH Travel also runs The Walking Partnership – an initiative which champions walking at the ‘grass roots’ level by providing funding and support to walking groups and clubs throughout the UK. Ramblers Walking Holidays is the Walking Holiday Partner of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity which drove the recent Big Pathwatch project, and has been pioneering and championing walking and ‘rights of way’ for over 70 years across England, Scotland and Wales.
Customers travelling on all holidays operated by RWH Travel are fully protected via the company’s membership of ABTA (No V5094) and as holders of an ATOL licence (No 990). RWH Travel is also a member of AITO and ETOA