Few things can beat the thrill of the wind in your hair and the invigorating scent of salt lingering on your skin.

The Best Coastal Walking Holidays

Gozo: Malta’s best-kept secret 

Gozo is still a secret, of sorts. Malta’s little sister is an island of lush terraced fields and flowering valleys, crumbling churches and wandering lanes, salt pans formed in vast honeycombs and burnt-orange beaches.

Its mysterious megalithic temples are older than even Stonehenge, and legend has it that it was here that the Greek goddess Calypso trapped Odysseus for years in Homer’s epic tale.

Take me there: Malta trips  

Greece: glimpses of the past

When they weren’t fending off sea-weathered pirates or tending to sun-bleached sheep, sailor and shepherds once plied the stone paving slabs of the Byzantine Way. Wildflowers and purple-berried myrtles have since edged their way through the old stone walls, but you can still trace the well-worn path across the east coast of Paros and gaze out to the shimmering Aegean sea.

Take me there: Greek Islands  

Spain: pretty as a picture

Discover blue-shuttered Cadaqués and the landscape that captured the hearts of the 1930s modernists and surrealists. Miró and Magritte paddled in the shallow turquoise bays, while Salvador Dali built a summer house by an isolated cove.

Take me there: Catalunya trips

France: coastal walks on Côte d’Azur

views of mentonSpectacular views over Menton 

Doctor James Henry Bennett’s great discovery was the French Riviera, and his 1861 book inspired English and Russian aristocrats to flock to the “sunny, picturesque shore, overshadowed by bold mountains, and inhabited by fishermen”. Glamorous hotels and villas sprung up faster than palm trees and lemon groves. Explore Menton, as dapper and sun-kissed as ever, as well as the rocky coastal paths and surrounding hillside villages.

Take me there: France trips

Italy: Walk of the Gods

After 20 years working on boats and travelling the world, Exodus guide Eduardo Palermo remains convinced that the Walk of the Gods is “the most beautiful walk in the world”. Weaving through lemon groves and wild flowers, above multi-coloured matchbox houses, with coastal cliffs rolling out in front and the path plunging sideways down to the sea below, it’s breathtaking.

Take me there: Amalfi Coast trips

See our top 5 coastal walks in more detail below.