Myths and legends form an important part of a country’s heritage and history, with many based or inspired by real locations. For those who love walking this presents a good opportunity to get out and visit these locations for either a day out or a longer trip. For those interested, here are a few of the most notable walks, both in the UK and Europe, which were a key part of some of the most famous myths and legends across the world:
Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire
Sherwood Forest is one of the most famous forests in the world and it is the home of the UK’s most celebrated outlaw. You can follow a path through the forest that runs from Nottingham Castle, where there is a statue of Robin Hood, all the way to Edwinstowe. If that whole stretch is a bit too much, you can visit Robin Hood’s base, which is more popularly known as the Major Oak instead.
Tintagel Castle in Cornwall
King Arthur is perhaps the most famous king in British history. So popular is the legend that almost every part of the country claims to have a link to King Arthur. Tintagel Castle in Cornwall is where many stories say Arthur was born, and there are many walks around the castle. For instance, the coastal walk takes you through several areas including Trebarwith Strand. It will take you through rocky tracks, grassy fields, villages, and a cove, too. After that, you can have some tea at Wyldes Cafe or some local fish at the Mill House Inn. For the more dedicated hikers, there is Arthur’s Way, which is a 130-mile walk to another Arthurian location, Cadbury Castle in Somerset.
William Tell Swiss Path in Seelisberg
Not only is this hike reminiscent of the legend of William Tell, it also follows the historic beginnings of Switzerland. The Swiss Path begins and ends in the quaint little town of Brunnen. From the Brunnen dock station, you take a ferryboat to Rütli. From the dock, the first section of the path will take you through an uphill hike with beautiful views of the lake and mountains to the east. From there, you go to the town of Isenthal, through Seedorf to Flüelen where Lake Uri is. After some water activities at Lake Uri, you can head to Tell’s Chapel, which honours the legendary story of the Swiss hero, William Tell. There is a mural inside the chapel that dramatises the Rütli Oath.
South Loch Ness Trail in Inverness
If you’re ever in Scotland, don’t pass up a chance to walk along the trails of the iconic Loch Ness. This particular trail will take you through the quiet, less-visited southern shore where you will find the Stratherrick borders on the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains. You can also stop by Falls of Foyers, which is one of the most famous falls in the highlands. Once you’ve explored that, you can go to the picturesque pebbled beach of Dores and then have a pint at the 19th-century Dores Inn. You can also ride a cruise on Loch Ness that you can take from Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit, and Inverness.
Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg
The Black Forest in Germany is one of Europe’s top woodland hiking destinations. Visitors from across the globe come to walk through the thick forest. The long distance hiking trail, the Westweg is described by The Independent as covering 280 km, which “makes for a fine fortnight’s walk for a moderately fit person”. One reason that visitors love to come to the forest is that it was the inspiration for many European fairy tales, particularly from the Grimm brothers. Despite many of the tales being over a century old they are continually adapted, in order to appeal to new generations. From reimagining Red Riding Hood as a romantic horror, to taking classic fairy tales and putting them on platforms aimed at adult audiences, the myths and legends are continually being adapted. Online, the Big Bad Wolf title on Expatbets takes the classic cautionary tale of a dangerous animal in the woods and converts it to appeal to modern gaming audiences. As with all modern adaptions of myths and tales it retains the essence of the story while adding its own twist. This continued interest is why the media continues to evolve these stories and keep them in the public conscious. For visitors going to the Black Forest, these famous tales will be at the back of their mind as they hike through the woodland.
The wide coverage of these stories in the UK and Europe is also why nature walks inspired by myths and legends have become increasingly more popular. Just make sure that you are fit and ready before you take on any of the climbs on this list. If you are interested in a wider selection of walks, I have a list of some of the best hiking trails in the world. Like the above trails these will take you to magical environments that seem straight out of fairy tale. So get your walking boots on and follow in the footsteps of the famous myths and legends.