Planning your own walking tour
By Alison apRoberts - Bee Staff Writer
Published 3:14 pm PDT Monday, April 30, 2007
Story appeared in TRAVEL section, Page M
"Walking from town to town without a guide is a venerable vacation tradition in many parts of the world."
Much of Europe is set up for such excursions, with extensive networks of public footpaths that have been well-maintained for decades and in some cases even centuries. In France, for instance, there are the Grandes Randonnées -- a series of long-distance footpaths that cover roughly 37,000 miles crisscrossing the country. They are marked with red-and-white way marks, or blazes, painted on trees or the occasional utility pole.
The American market for such active vacations is growing, according to Chris Doyle, director of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, based in Seattle.
Roughly half of American adults have taken some sort of adventure vacation, most commonly hiking, according to the association.
"Rather than sit on a beach and sip a mai tai," Doyle says, "there is a movement among travelers to engage themselves in the people and places that they visit.
• Randonnée Self-Guided Vacations is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and offers walking, hiking tours in North America, France, Ireland and Italy (www.randonnee tours.com; 800-242-1825)."