Autumn’s great for European walking: paths are mud-free, temperatures are mild, crowds are few and fiery colours abound.

1. Follow the Witches Trail

North-central Germany’s rugged Harz National Park abounds with myth. The most popular involves Europe’s witches flying in by broomstick to gather atop the Brocken, its highest mountain, every spring.

Walks Worldwide’s adventure across the Upper Harz – some of whose constant forest contains beech trees which turn russet-brown in autumn – promises a Brocken ascent as well as stops at rock canyons, waterfalls and half-timbered hamlets. Most exciting is a final day following the Bode Gorge, a ravine with 280m-high walls.

Seven nights from £849pp B&B, including flights, transport, luggage transfers and route notes. Last departure October 31, Walks Worldwide

2. The unknown Cilento

South of Italy’s Amalfi Coast hides a much less discovered wonderland. After stopping to view the marvellous Greek temple remains at Paestum, Sherpa’s short itinerary concentrates on the Cilento National Park: first following its rugged seaboard past the occasional myrtle grove, fishing hamlet or sandy beach, then leaving modernity behind and venturing inland to fortified medieval hilltop towns.

Home-cooked dinners conclude lusty days of goat tracks and ghost villages before a scenic ridge path descends back to the seaside.

Four nights from £630pp half board, including transport, luggage transfers and walking notes. Last departure October 31. Sherpa

3. Turkish delights

Follow a sumptuous section of Turkey’s expansive Lycian Way, gradually moving from crags to coastline. You’ll begin in pine-clad peaks, typically on shaded paths prone to stupendous sea views, and stop at both a pool-boasting boutique hotel and one of the Yanartas region’s ever-burning flames – possibly fuelled by a monster below.

A fine trout restaurant comes next, then a mile-long sandy beach ahead of two days on lonely Cape Gelidonya, finishing by its lighthouse.

Six nights from £790pp B&B, including ten other meals, transport, luggage transfers and walking notes. Last departure in early November. On Foot Holidays

4. Carpathian clambers

Poland and Slovakia are separated by the Carpathian Mountains and their large forest-filled valleys. Starting and ending in Krakow, this trip covers both countries.

Some days include the option of summiting snowy peaks or tackling easier, lower-altitude options – and you’ll likely meet the Gorals – an ethnographic, culturally-distinct group known as ‘highlanders’. Most memorable will be walking the looping, 300m-high Dunajec River Gorge (incorporating a raft transfer) en route to spa town Szczawnica.

Seven nights from £630pp B&B, including transport, luggage transfers and walking notes. Last departure October 24, The Natural Adventure Company

5. Flowers and feta

Eucalyptus trees perfume mainland Greece’s Pelion Peninsula, a place known as the ‘Land of the Centaurs’ for its association with the mythological horse-human hybrids.

Between villages of whitewashed, flower-festooned stone houses, walkers can follow old mule paths onto lush mountainsides, wander through olive groves or saunter beside the glittering Aegean Sea. Some days yield swimming opportunities, and others the chance to recharge in a vintage taverna courtesy of some fasolada (bean soup) and tiropsomo (feta-cheese bread).

Seven nights from £535pp B&B, including transport, luggage transfers and walking notes. Last departure October 23, Macs Adventure

6. Wine-soaked walks

Vendemmia, or harvest season, is brilliant in Tuscany: freshly plucked ingredients intensify dishes such as pumpkin ravioli while vineyards busily gather grapes and olives.

Better yet, Exodus’s agriturismo-based break throws in a cookery class, guided wine-tasting, daily four-course dinners and a chance to take to sulphur-rich healing waters between hikes to chestnut forests and lakes. Those Tuscan staples – sunflower fields, cypress-tree avenues and hilltop towns snagged by ribbons of morning mist – will also be present and correct.

Seven nights from £1,589pp half board, also including luggage transfers and walking notes. Last departure October 24, Exodus

Don’t forget to check entry requirements for the country you are planning to visit.

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