Port on the island of Capri, Italy

Walking Tours That Put a Spring In Your Step

By Charis Atlas Heelan; Edited by Abigail Shneyder
For an even more authentic way to travel, strap on your most comfortable shoes, and sign up for a walking vacation. Not only will you get up close and personal with the locals and the landscape, you can't help but work up an appetite. Luckily, all that walking means you'll just have more room for the regional delicacies.
Temple in Nara
Nakasendo Trail, Japan
What: Oxalis Holidays' 12-day "Nakasendo Trail" tour leads you on the road through the mountains that linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan's feudal period. Spend four days on this route that was once followed by feudal lords, samurai, and merchants. At night, stay in country inns, enjoy regional cuisine, and soak in natural hot springs. The trip also includes walking tours of Nara, Yoshino, and Mount Koya as well as visits to temples, shrines, museums, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Where: Begin in Tokyo and end in Kyoto.

When: Regularly from March through November.

More Info: Oxalis Adventures (tel. 888/683-4929, +44/20-7099-6147; www.oxalis-adventures.com)
Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy
Amalfi Coast & Capri, Italy
What: Cover four to eight miles a day on VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations' eight-day "Amalfi Coast & Capri" tour. Walk through Pompeii, along the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari trail on the Sorrento Peninsula, and around the island of Capri. Then it's off to roam the terraces of Ravello and a nature reserve in the Valley of the Mills, followed by hiking on a trail to Positano. The trip also includes hands-on mozarella-braiding demonstrations, paper-making explanations, and visits to beaches, ancient Roman sites, churches, and museums.

Where: Depart from the U.S.; tour begins in Naples and ends in Rome.

When: Throughout the year

More Info: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations (tel. 800/245-3868; www.walking.vbt.com; info@vbt.com) 
Mt. Feathertop, Australian Alps National Park
UltraView Admin/Flickr
Victorian High Country, Australia
What: Auswalk’s six-day “Great Alpine Walk” will take you through the Australian Alps National Park. You’ll make it to Mt. Feathertop, the second highest peak in Victoria, as well as visiting villages, huts, and other mountains. Make your way from Hotham to Falls Creak  through the Cobungra Valley. The trails are packed with history.

Where: Round-trip from Melbourne.

When: Throughout the year.

More Info: Auswalk (tel. +61/3-9530-8800; www.auswalk.com.au)

Slea Head Drive
Ray Lawson
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
What: Footfalls’ eight-day Cork & Kerry walking tour takes you to the most south western peninsula of Ireland. After making your way over the Healy Pass, a winding mountain road, you’ll find yoursel in the town of Killarny. Get your last taste of the vibrant greenness, rugged clifs and coastline, and never-ending mountain ranges that Ireland boasts on the Dingle Peninsula. You’ll also meet the locals in their colorful villages.

Where: Tour begins at the Beara Peninsula and ends in Vantery.

When: June, July, September; Check online for most current dates.

More Info: Footfalls Walking Holidays (tel. +353/4-044-5151; www.walkinghikingireland.com, info@walkinghikingireland.com)
Sant Llorenç del Munt
Xavier Caballe/Flickr
Catalonia, Spain
What: Join a group of two to 20 fellow walkers on Walking Catalonia's six-day guided "Walk, Wine and Wellness" tour from Barcelona through the Sant Llorenç del Munt in l'Obac Natural Park. After the first day in Barcelona, the group heads to the Sant Llorenç area, where you'll visit places such as Sant Benet and La Mola monasteries, and the village of Rocafort. Enjoy wine tastings and sumptuous meals while staying at a 14th-century country house in the park.

Where: Start in Barcelona and travel through the Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park.

When: Schedule in advance.

More Info: Walking Catalonia Tours (tel. +34-6-6656-5980; www.walkingcatalonia.com, info@masiaelprat.com)