Historical Hiking Routes

STORY BY Megan Hughes 15th June 2019

Enjoy spending time in the great outdoors but also enjoy learning about the incredible landscapes around you? Why not add a little culture to your mountain getaway this summer with one of these entertaining yet inspiring historical hiking routes.

Dolomites Via Ferrata

The Dolomites’ via ferrata (‘iron paths’) are a system of cables and ladders set across the mountains. During World War 1, troops from both sides (Italian and Austro-Hungarian) occupied lines along the Dolomites and developed these via ferrata as a way to access the highest-possible points of the mountains and transport supplies, weapons and ammunition. Nowadays, via ferrata offer modern travellers a more forgiving way to explore the mountains, particularly those who may be wary of climbing or mountaineering. They provide a first-hand look at the tunnels, trenches and lives of the soldiers here, and the rock tunnels and open-air museum at Mt Lagazuoi are absolutely fascinating. Hikes can range from several day ‘refuge to refuge’ journeys or day trips from valley bases such as Arabba, Canazei and Cortina.

© Ferrata Punta Anna Giuseppe Ghedina

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

Arguably one of the world’s most famous hiking routes is the Andes’ Inca Trail. At 2,430m above sea level, this 15th-Century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is a bucket-list destination for many, with a rich history that gives a glimpse into everyday Inca life. The classic trail generally takes four to five days to complete and passes through unique landscapes, Incan settlements and spectacular views.

Via Appia, Rome

Among the seven hills of Rome lies the Via Appia Antica, an ancient Roman road that stretches from the city centre out to Brindisi, a historic route for Roman trade. The section closest to Rome is now a protected park, the Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica, covering 16km, where you can yourself travel down this iconic road. There are few places where you can feel so entrenched in history, following in the footsteps of the Romans.

And in the UK…

Arthur’s Seat

The highest point of an extinct volcano looming gracefully over Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat is a must-visit, offering stunning panoramic views over the city. The history of Arthur’s Seat is shrouded in legend and mystery, including theories that it was the location of Camelot, and remnants of hill forts of Iron Age Celts. With a number of different routes up, the easiest ascent is a simple path from the East and is a fantastic summer adventure for families.

Durrington Walls to Stonehenge

This circular hike takes you from Durrington Walls, the largest henge in Britain, to the iconic sights of Stonehenge. A five-mile track that usually takes around four hours, you will experience gently sloping terrain and stunning views of the British countryside. There is so much history to see here, from the stone circle to bronze age burial mounds and archaeological mysteries.

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