A Canvas holiday is all about the great outdoors. And one of the best ways to explore the wonderful scenery that Europe has to offer is under your own steam. Pull on your walking boots and hike along hidden trails. Here we highlight some of our favourite locations, ideal for walking and cycling holidays.
The French Alps
The French Alps is an area of snow-capped peaks, dense forests, alpine meadows, waterfalls and sparkling turquoise lakes. This stunning region has four national parks which add to its appeal as one of the best walking areas in France. Thousands of kilometres of well-signposted and maintained paths allow you access to almost every meadow, valley and glacier in the region. Walkers of all ages and fitness levels will find something here to suit them – from relaxing valley trails amongst the woodland to more demanding treks in the peaks.
Stay at Camping l’Idéal or La Ferme de la Serraz to be in the centre of this walker’s heaven. L’Idéal is just 800m from the banks of Lake Annecy, and La Ferme de la Serraz around a mile away. In the nearby area you will find demanding mountain hikes along with easier walks on the wooded Semnoz Mountains, where you will be rewarded with panoramic lake views. Also popular in the area are the guided history tours in the resort town of Annecy. For a day out, travel the 46 miles to Chamonix for a day in the heart of the Alps with some fantastic walks – be sure to take your head for heights.
The Jura, rich in woodland, wildlife, lakes and cascading waterfalls is the little known jewel of France. Lying to the north west of the Alps, this region offers spectacular views, magical forests and majestic mountains – making it a paradise for walking and hiking.
Hiking in the area is one of the best ways to take in the scenery and there are easy trails as well as routes for more adventurous hikers. The Haut-Jura is a regional park which offers glaciated lakes, flower-filled meadows and upland ridges. This richly diverse landscape is home to lynx, stags, kestrels, hawks and wild flowers such as the giant orchid. Close to our campsites on the banks of Lac de Chalain, the Hérisson valley is worth discovery, where a marked path through the forest passes a breath-taking collection of 31 waterfalls in a four kilometre stretch.
The Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest in south western Germany is an area of extensive forests, impressive landscapes, rock formations, deep canyons, serene lakes, gushing rivers, beautiful meadows and peaceful pastures. This beautiful region is especially popular with walkers and cyclists. Well-signposted trails criss-cross the region, allowing walkers to access areas and take in views often inaccessible by car.
The trails range from short, easy day routes to relatively strenuous long-distance hikes. The way-marked paths are traffic free and surfaced, making it generally easy underfoot. The best time to explore the area is early or late summer, where you avoid the heat of peak summer.
In these seasons, you will be able to enjoy beautiful flora including gentians, orchids and the delicate autumn crocus, along with edible treats such as raspberries, blackberries and mushrooms. The wild forests are home to red deer, fallow deer, wild boar and rarer species including wood grouse and lynx.