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22 September 2018Last updated
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Five of the best hiking holidays

Get some miles under your belt while enjoying fresh air, stunning scenery and an ever-changing view on one of these hot hiking holidays

By Olivia Cuthbert
28 Oct 2014 | 03:05 pm
  • Mountain trails in Morocco.

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  • Oman.

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  • Preikestolen is one of Norway’s most visited attractions.

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  • Jordan.

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  • The Himalayas.

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Amble along Atlas Mountain trails in Morocco

This trip delves deep into the heart of the beautiful Atlas Mountain range, which the Berber people have made their home for centuries. Traverse steep mountain passes that open out on to breathtaking panoramas on a journey that covers four valleys, each of which offers a different insight into this wild environment. Stop off at pretty, ramshackle villages and enjoy traditional Berber cuisine while revelling in the beauty of the landscape. It’s a rare opportunity to experience the rustic traditions of a people that have maintained their own customs and beliefs across the generations. On the way back, a very different perspective of Moroccan life is afforded by a visit to Marrakesh, the country’s capital, where the old 
and the new come crashing together in a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells.

NEED TO KNOW
An eight-day Berber Trail through the Atlas Mountains with Walks Worldwide is Dh3,883 pp, including almost all accommodation and food as well as mules to carry luggage, English-speaking guides and all land transfers. This tour is graded moderate and is suitable for walkers of average fitness and ability. Contact +44 196 273 7565 or 
visit: www.walksworldwide.com. 

Trek back in time in Oman

This history-infused trip travels through the sands known to British explorer, Wilfred Thesiger, who famously crossed the Empty Quarter in the 1940s. Begin in Muscat and immerse yourself in the cultural capital with a visit to the souks before heading south to Wadi Shab and Wahiba Sands, home to the Al-Wahiba Bedouin. Guided tours follow in the tracks trodden long ago by nomadic tribes as they made their way across the Arabian Peninsula, carrying silks, spices and other goods to trade. It’s then on to the sugar dunes of Khaluf – mounds of untouched white sand that billow down to the shores of the Indian Ocean. Watch as local Bedu fishermen haul in their catch of the day and absorb a vista that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. After that, the tour moves to the ancient city of Nizwa, former capital of Oman and a treasure trove of historic sights such as the old fort and the city souks where craftsmen practise skills passed down for generations.

NEED TO KNOW
A nine-day Arabian Sands Adventure with KE Adventure starts from Dh7,439 pp. Price includes two nights in a hotel, a local guide, and full camping service including all food. Walks are graded moderate and are planned to avoid the heat of the day. Contact Call +44 176 877 3966 or visit: www.keadventure.com. 

Scale heights in Norway

Also known as Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen is one of Norway’s most visited attractions – and with good reason. Formed during the ice age, this sheer plateau towers 1,982 feet above sea level and is only accessible via a steep-but-beautiful 3.8-kilometre hike. Once at the summit, the views out over the waters of Lysefjorden towards the valleys of the Stavangar region are spectacular. It’s one of many worthwhile hikes in this rural area, where forest paths, mountain trails and lakeside walkways criss-cross the landscape. Alongside hiking, visitors can explore through a host of other outdoorsy activities, including kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding and cycling trips through the forests. Guests can ask for advice on the best walking routes and explore at leisure. 


NEED TO KNOW
A Nordic adventure holiday staying at Preikestolen Base Camp is from Dh625 
for adults per 24-hour stay, including three meals, activities, guide and equipment. Contact: +475 174 2074 or 
visit: www.preikestolenfjellstue.no. 

Journey through Jordan


This trip follows in the footsteps of the ancient Nabatean people, taking in some of the region’s most scenic spots on the way. Beginning with a night in Amman, it’s on to the road by car down to Wadi Rum. This is Lawrence of Arabia land where the legend of the famed fighter, who led the Arab revolt against Ottoman invaders in 1916, lives on in the dramatic desert landscape. Several days are set aside to explore the mysterious city of Petra, and the final leg of the tour takes in the Dead Sea, with its therapeutic waters.

NEED TO KNOW
An eight-day Spice Trails of Petra tour with Explore starts from Dh7,200pp, including flights, accommodation, guides and meals. Contact 0843 7755697 or visit 
www.explore.co.uk. 

Hike through the Himalayas


Take in some of the most breathtaking vistas of the entire Himalayan mountains on this Arcadian adventure, which begins in the fertile tea plantations of Darjeeling and ends in Bhutan – the only country to measure its success by its people’s Gross National Happiness, and home to some of the most unspoilt landscape in the world thanks to the high costs and bureaucracy associated with entering it – all of which are taken care of in the trip price. Good general fitness is needed.

NEED TO KNOW
A 16-night trip through Bhutan, Darjeeling with Ramblers Worldwide starts from Dh20,435 pp including return flights. Contact +44 170 733 1133 or 
visit www.ramblersholidays.co.uk.

Local treks

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With miles of beautiful desert and well-trodden hiking trails around the likes of Hatta and Jebel Hafeet, a good case can be made for staying in the UAE for your ambling adventure. But there’s no need to walk alone – the UAE Mountain Club runs informal hikes through the local landscape (see its page on facebook.com), while UAE Trekkers is a group of aspiring mountaineers whose goal is to scale the seven highest peaks in the world (see their page on meetup.com).


 

Travel tips

Healthy hotel snacking
Marriott Hotels has launched a new healthy vending machine concept, featuring fresh salads and sandwiches available 24/7 – a wholesome alternative to the usual on-the-road snacking options. Created in response to traveller feedback, this is part of the Marriott TravelBrilliantly.com campaign.

 

In-flight ‘happiness’ blanket
British Airways has begun testing a hi-tech ‘happiness’ blanket that changes colour using brainwaves, to show when a passenger is at their most relaxed. The hope is that monitoring a person’s relaxation patterns will inform decisions made to improve the 
in-flight service, such as the timing of meals and even the films. 

 

Heal-your-marriage holiday
A new couple’s resort in Lanzarote is offering breaks designed to help heal rocky relationships. Featuring marriage counselling and transformational breathing workshops, the seven-day retreat is in a luxury villa. www.relationshipreconnect.com.

By Olivia Cuthbert

By Olivia Cuthbert