Walking village to village is a unique way to explore the villages of Europe–and not just the villages themselves, but what is so often missed–the spaces in between them. This form of travel is the ultimate “slow travel”– savouring the tiny details of each and every step along the way; eating in small family run restaurants, or picnicking along the way, and spending the night in small, cozy hotels or country inns. It is the way travellers have travelled for hundreds of years. It’s for those who don’t want to see the world go by through the window of an air conditioned bus, but who want to get out and breathe the air and let the villages come to them one step at a time.
I have spoken to travellers who, zipping along from village to village in the comforts of their rental car scratch their heads about just which villages they have been to and which ones they are headed to next. “It’s another hilltop village,” they would say, “probably has a castle on top and another church.” And then admit, “They all run together after a while.”
It’s when you approach them slowly, not on a highway, but along centuries old footpaths and old country roads and actually see the villages begin to grow out of the landscape, that you can truly get to know and appreciate the countryside and villages in an intimate way. They become more than just “another village with a castle and a church”. Somehow, by experiencing the world this way you become a part of it, a traveller in the landscape, and not just an observer heading from one tourist attraction to the next.
Europe has a wealth of history and culture to experience and I can think of no better way to encounter it first hand than by walking the centuries old footpaths and old county roads that link together its many charming and picturesque villages, like beads on a necklace. It’s an experience you won’t regret. A journey that will stay with you forever. If this kind of travel is for you then I encourage you to string together your own necklace of villages and embark on your own adventure. Not sure about doing it on your own? Then there are many walking and trekking companies offering packages of both guided and self guided trips, taking care of hotels, luggage transportation, and other details.
A trip like this is more about the journey than the destination. The journey, in fact, is the destination.