Outdoor World

The wood life: my four days immersed in Latvia’s forests

Half of Latvia is woodland so no wonder its people derive so much wellbeing from foraging, ancient forest crafts and being at one with nature In Japan its called shinrin-yoku (forest bathing); in Norway its friluftsliv (appreciation of outdoors activity and nature). But in Latvia theres no special term for it. We dont need one this is just normal behaviour for Latvians, said Sigita Kltniece, our walk leader in a crisp, cold Gauja national park in the countrys north-east. We stood and breathed deeply, as light dappled through the snow-speckled…

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Outdoor World

10 of the best pilgrim routes in Europe: readers travel tips

From marching with monks to heavenly Korean food, our tipsters have experienced joy spiritual and earthly on these venerable trails Winning tip: Pilgrims Way, Winchester to Canterbury A 10-day pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury, following Walking The Pilgrims Way by Leigh Hatts (Cicerone), included many ups and downs, both literal and emotional. There are many glorious parts of the walk, but the one that took my breath away was the hard push up Hackhurst Downs in Surrey, through a gorgeous yew-lined avenue, which then opened magnificently on to Blatchford Down.…

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Outdoor World

Spain road trip: Granada to Almera

The Alhambra marks the start of a drive taking in historic cities, a river valley and mountains and ends in Almeras spaghetti western desert Granada is dominated by its mighty Moorish fortress, Santa Isabel La Real, with its Alhambra views, (doubles from 95 B&B, parking available). Barrio de la Villa is a labyrinth of fountains, churches, geraniums, with castle and panoramic views. Take all that in while staying at quaint Hotel Zahor (double from 55 B&B). Priego de Crdoba. Photograph: Alamy Day three and its time to head north-east to…

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Outdoor World

Getting fizzy with it: the Italian wine route that sparkles

An Italian region and a sparkling wine, Franciacorta may not be well-known but it is great for vineyard visits and fine places to eat and stay Put sparkling wine and Italy together and the usual answer is prosecco, but 200km west Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status, making it one of the most strictly regulated wines in the country. Capitolium, and the Unesco-listed Walking tours are available at Infopoint Centro (via Trieste 1/Piazza Paolo VI). And between this weekend and 8 September is the Ricci Curbastros family has…

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10 of the best scenic rail journeys in Europe

Nothing quite beats the romance of travelling on a steam train or shunting through mountains. These rides showcase Europes spectacular landscapes La Rhune, France Length 4.2kmAdult fare 19 return A quaintly old-fashioned rack- or cog-railway sets off from a low mountain pass inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to ascend the westernmost peak of the Pyrenees. All the way there are views back over the Basque coast and countryside. Although passengers board in France, on the summit they are greeted by a choice of Spanish bars. The train returns to base, but you…

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