Walking from cruise ships

Narsarsuaq.jpgExploring the world aboard a cruise ship is one of the most enjoyable holidays invented. Once on board there is no packing and unpacking: your comfortable hotel room floats on while you enjoy a delicious dinner, take in a show or a movie, play a few hands of cards or dance the night away. In the morning, you wake up in an exciting new destination just waiting to be explored. Is it any wonder that cruises are one of the fastest growing sectors of the holiday market?

A good walk can add immeasurably to a cruise: a chance to stretch your legs and work off some of the pounds the tempting food inevitably piles on together with the opportunity to explore the real country away from the crowds and at your own pace – and all this at a fraction of the cost of the often rather exorbitant organised tours. 

However, for those of us who enjoy walking as part of a holiday, a cruise has unusual challenges. Maps suitable for walking are hard to come by in some places. Walking guides in English have been published for some popular destinations, including some on this web site, but these are of limited use. The start of the walk bears no relation to your port, never mind your cruise berth. How to get to the starting point? You don't have time to get to grips with the local transport network or hire a car.

Your stay in port is limited to a few hours and cruise ships do not wait for tardy passengers so a walk has to fit the time available. Twelve miles with 3000 feet of ascent may be an enjoyable challenge – but not when your ship docks at 9am and sails at 4.30pm whether you are on board or not.

The cruise walks on this website are all designed to be feasible expeditions in the time an average liner spends in port. They give directions from shipside and include practical information on local transport when that is needed to get to the starting point. It is wise to check locally as well, of course, as timetables do change and may be different on Sundays and holidays. This can often be done online. 

Other useful information included is the availability of refreshments. Should you fill up at breakfast or leave room for lunch on the way? Some of the walks are gentle strolls and trainers or even stout sandals are adequate whereas others, while not long, need boots for safety and comfort.


The main thing to remember about a cruise walk is that if you are delayed, not only will your hotel room steam off over the horizon but so will your possessions as well. Bear that central fact in mind in your preparations. Choose your walk carefully, considering the time needed for the entire expedition, not just the walk – and be pessimistic! It is not unknown for buses not to turn up, taxi drivers to let you down, lunch to take longer and the going to be more challenging than you expected. Do take a mobile phone and the numbers of the ship and port agent. These will often be published on the port information given to passengers but if not, they are available from ship's reception or the purser's office. It is not the agent's job to sort you out if you are unfortunately stranded but they are local people who can speak English and point you in the right direction.

Obviously you need some local currency even if you don't plan to spend it but should the worst happen and you have an accident or are very seriously delayed, a credit card will ease your path immensely.

We are always advised to leave word of our plans before setting out on a walk but how many of us regularly ignore that advice? On a cruise, I really do think it is worth leaving a note of your plans with someone who will do something sensible if you fail to report back on board before the ship casts off. 

All this sounds a bit intimidating but please don't let it put you off venturing beyond the local shops. We have been walking from cruise ships for many years and have enjoyed some truly memorable days – and we have never been stranded! There are great walks to be enjoyed in many destinations that we hope to add to the web site as our cruising permits. Please share those you discover with the rest of the cruising and walking community through Walkingworld.

Mike and Jean Patefield

Cruise Walk


You can use these pages to browse for walks in specific regions, counties and areas. It is a good idea to narrow down your search to the most local area possible, as the list of walks for larger areas can be very long. An alternative way of searching is to use the Find a Walk tool.

We would like to include a short article for each of the areas on these pages. If an area has no article and you can send us a few hundred words about the area, pointing out its key attractions and other useful information, we would greatly appreciate it.