Specialist travel guides Lonely Planet have published their Top Destinations for 2018, ranking Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the Top Overall Destination for 2018. Discover what makes it so special with the original small group, expertly led walking specialists Ramblers Walking Holidays’ (01707 331 133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk), who feature a seven night Giant's Causeway and the Nine Glens holiday on various dates in 2018.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland - Giant’s Causeway & The Nine Glens
As a result of intensive volcanic activity 60 million years ago, the basalt pillars of Northern Ireland’s dramatic Giant’s Causeway are one of geology’s mythological wonders, and a natural highlight for this week-long ‘free-range’ guided hike on no set paths in the remote Antrim countryside. Throughout the week other literal highpoints include Dunluce Castle precariously perched on rocks above the sea, and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge that was built hundreds of years ago, by local Salmon fishermen. Packed with tradition and hospitality, days end with good food washed down with an optional pint of stout or tot of whiskey.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331 133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk ) Giant’s Causeway & The Nine Glens 7 night tour starts from £615/person including B&B en-suite accommodation, with dinners at a local restaurant, airport transfers and transport to/from trails plus services of a leader. Departing 5 May, 2 June, 16 June, 23 June, 11 August and 1 September 2018.
With their recently launched 2018 programme offering a range of holidays around the world, Ramblers Walking Holidays also feature most of the countries that are tipped by Lonely Planet for 2018, with itineraries including the following:
Portugal (Lonely Planet Number three): Hidden Highlights of the Western Algarve Two centre Holiday
Staying in contrasting towns on Portugal’s south coast, uncover the hidden secrets of the western Algarve through a diverse mix of coastal, mountain and inland landscapes. From the historic hillside town of Silves, overlooking one of Spain’s best-preserved Moorish castles, enjoy walks along the levada following the Rio Arade through traditionally cultivated citrus groves and hikes into the Serra de Monchique where the richly forested hills give way to mountain top panoramas. Culminating in the most westerly point on the Algarve, take in dramatic cliff top seascapes from Sagres, the last sight seafaring explorers would have caught of Europe when setting off on their extraordinary voyages of discovery. Prices from £985pp for 7 days on half board basis, including flights, half board accommodation and local transport plus services of a leader.
New Zealand (Lonely Planet Number five):
A walker’s paradise, New Zealand is an incredible destination for a walking holiday, and Ramblers Walking Holidays offer two superb options – a 23 – night Grand Tour of North and South Islands, or an epic 21-night Great South Island Adventure. Described as ‘probably the best route offered by a travel company in New Zealand’s South island, the latter includes the extraordinary Milford Track – New Zealand’s premier Great Walk. Prices from £7395pp for a 21 night Great South Island Adventure, including flights, most meals, transport, tour leaders that are importantly licenced by New Zealand Department of Conservation and local transport costs.
Malta (Lonely Planet Number six)
Enjoy a 10-night walking holiday combining the islands of Malta and Gozo, with their warm winters and springs offering great opportunities for walking. Explore coastal paths, scenic rural walks and Megalithic Temples on Malta, contrasting with the terraced fields and table-top hills of Gozo. With Valetta due to be the Capital City of Culture in 2018, this is a great year to visit. Prices from £957pp for 10 nights on a half board basis, including flights, all accommodation, services of a leader and local transport costs.
Georgia (Lonely Planet Number seven)
This 14-day journey gives incredible insight into this part of central Asia, with its magnificent mountains, fascinating cities and ancient culture. Starting in Georgia, at Tbilisi, it travels through the Northern Caucasus – the dividing line between Europe and Asia, with views of Mount Kazbeg, standing at some 5,000 m. After visiting the Georgian wine region, it’s on to Armenia, the first country to adopt Christianity as the state religion, with fascinating culture and architecture. Walks allow the opportunity to see prehistoric temples, ancient monasteries and an ancient caravanserai on the Silk Road from China to Europe. Prices from £2,295pp for 13 nights on a full board basis, including flights, all accommodation, a local guide, services of a leaderand local transport costs.
China (Lonely Planet Number nine)
Discover Hong Kong and get anew perspective all round with a walking holiday in the Chinese metropolis of Hong Kong. Combining city lights with walks through the unspoilt hill country and outlying islands, highlights include a visit to Lantau Island to find Tai O, a little village which seems to come out of the Middle Ages, walking on car free Lamma Island and exploring Ma Lam Wat Peninsula with great coastal views and the chance to swim. Prices from £2275pp for 14 nights, including flights, all accommodation, all breakfasts, 11 dinners, services of a leaderand local transport costs.
South Africa (Lonely Planet Number ten)
Walking the Wild Coast of South Africa. Combining South Africa’s top hiking trails, the Wild Coast Meander and the Oyster Catcher Trail, with a visit to the Tsitsikamma National Park, this holiday covers some of the country’s most spectacular coastline and pristine forest trails whilst providing an insight into its ancient history and wildlife. Prices from £3510pp for 16 nights including flights, transfers, en suite accommodation, most meals, local guides,services of a leader, an afternoon Game drive and all local transport.
Ramblers Walking Holidays is a holiday brand from RWH Travel, the experts in guided walking adventures. Celebrating its 70th Anniversary of holiday operating this year, other brands within the group include Adagio Holidays – leisurely walking and cultural holidays at a gentle pace and Cruise and Walk – Walking Holidays in association with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
For its walking holidays the company is the proud holder of Which? Recommended Provider status – ie companies which are highly rated by Which? Members and reach the exacting standards of Which? Researchers.
*Each of the Ramblers Walking Holidays has been graded to help clients choose their preferred pace, with categories ranging from Grade 1-3/Leisurely (usually two hours walking); to Grade 4-6/Moderate (a combination of full and half day walks); and Grade 7-9/Challenging (full day walks where stamina is key).
On some holidays, there is the chance to experience more than one walking grade with two leaders. Perfect for couples who prefer to walk at a different pace or have different walking abilities.
To help clients choose the type of walking holiday that will appeal to their interest, Ramblers Walking Holidays also uses symbols that depict the main interest, style or theme of the walks. Categories include: Pioneer; Continuous Walks; Flora & Walking Holidays; Bird Watching & Walking; Lifestyle, Culture & Natural History; Hutting; Rail & Walk; Sightseeing.
The company’s mission is to generate funds for walking charities by the provision of outstanding outdoor activity holidays worldwide.
With its not-for-profit philosophy, the company contributes monies to the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust which supports walking related and environmental projects in the UK. The company also funds Heart & Sole - an initiative managed by company staff, with the aim of reaching into the heart of the communities visited both in the UK and overseas.
RWH Travel also runs The Walking Partnership - an initiative which champions walking at the 'grass roots' level by providing funding and support to walking groups and clubs throughout the UK.
Ramblers Walking Holidays is the Walking Holiday Partner of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity which has been pioneering and championing walking and ‘rights of way’ for over 70 years across England, Scotland and Wales.
Customers travelling on all holidays operated by RWH Travel are fully protected via the company’s membership of ABTA & ATOL. RWH Travel is also a member of AITO.