‘To grill or be grilled is not the question, to Hike is’
Lying on your back , frying your skin to bacon crisp on a beach for weeks on end? Moving slowly, like a slothful slug to the restaurant bar, and then collapsing again into the deck-chair until you have achieved the hue of a tomato and as puckered as a west-country sausage? or to take a hike someplace else?
Not if you’re going to follow the latest holiday trends, according to travel experts. Now we travel all over the world to go for long walks in the hills, valleys and crossing mountain ranges.
Even though Norwegians have worn out numerous mountain boots and visited tourist cabins galore at home, more and more of us are also tempted to go abroad – for lengthy, picturesque treks on foot.
– We are experiencing a huge interest. Norwegians are already accustomed to taking a long walks, therefore it’s natural that we want to do something similar elsewhere in the world as well,’ says Julie Luneborg from the travel magazine, Vagabond.
Tired of the beach
‘It’s no longer enough to hike around with a rucksack, therefore we often write about organized hiking tours in Europe. Many tour operators base their travel offers on hikes specified to get closer to local people, and to nature. It’s something that suits all age groups.’
Luneborg sees as a clear trend that we also want to take care of our health on holiday.
‘Adding an extra element to a trip is something that I think has become more important for many travellers. It’s no longer enough just to go somewhere. Hiking trips are probably extra popular because they don’t necessarily require too much planning, or any special equipment.’
Torild Moland, in the magazine Reiselyst, has noticed the same trend forming.
‘Norwegians have had enough of just lying on the beach and sunbathing; now they would like to do something else at the same time as being on holiday. It’s simply become a little out of fashion to go on a charter vacation to lie down on a sun lounger.’
‘Sun remains an important reason for the ‘where’ in our holiday choice, but if you would like to do something more, beside relaxing in the sun, hiking is healthy, and you experience more. At the same time, such experiences offer the chance to meet local people,’ said Moland.
Spain, Greece, Italy, Jordan and Northern Cyprus are popular places to go hiking, but also Kilimanjaro, Nepal, and Iceland are highly rated, said Moland.
It’s an affordable form of holiday
Norway remains forever a favourite. Last year, the Norwegian Tourist Association saw the largest increase in membership in 148 years, with over 20,000 new members.
‘People live hectic lives. In addition, many have sedentary jobs, and long for peace, fresh air, and being on the move. Then, the walk is a perfect solution. It is a reasonable holiday form, you have time to think and take a calm pace’, said Mette Øinæs Habberstad, communications manager at the Norwegian Tourist Board.
She has the following advice for those who wish to go hiking:
‘Focus on the experience, not the number of kilometers you need to move. Build your experience and fitness for trekking, increasing the length of the walk, or difficulty, gradually.’
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today