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7 Reasons to Choose a Mountain Holiday Over a Beach Break

By Jackie Parsons February 24, 2024 Travel

What sort of person are you? Introverted? Sociable? More of a thinker than an extrovert? And do any of those personality traits have any bearing on what sort of holidays you take?

Search online and you’ll find multiple quizzes to determine whether your personality is more suited to the mountains or beach. Apparently, mountain lovers are more reserved, seek isolation, and tend to be more of a listener than a talker.

The author, Jackie Parsons, Hedonistic Hiking

Naturally, quizzes like these are just a bit of fun and may have no bearing on our personality. While pristine blue water and golden sands may appeal to most of us on occasion, deep down you’ll probably know instinctively whether you’re a mountain or beach sort of person. If you fall into the former category, you’re technically an ‘orophile’ – in other words, a person who loves the mountains.

But for those of you who haven’t yet discovered the magnetism of the mountains, these are just a few of the reasons I can’t keep away.

Dazzling Views

The image of razor-sharp, clear lines of jagged mountains, snow-capped peaks and a backdrop of bewitching blue skies never fails to leave its mark. But if you thought that one mountain range was the same as another, think again. I do much of my mountain hiking in Italy where the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites present a unique landscape of craggy peaks and vertical walls in light shades of white, grey and yellow. At sunrise and sunset, the rocks take on a rainbow range of pinks and fiery reds – or as it is known locally, ‘enrosadira’, that is, turning pink.

Hiking in the Dolomites,

But while some of the hiking trails of the Dolomites are fairly well-trodden, you’ll find significantly quieter routes in the Maritime Alps, an area of mountain lakes, deep valleys, forests, historic villages and imposing castles, between Italy and France.

Hiking in the Maritime Alps,

Escape from the Chaos of Everyday Life

Just as skiing offers the ultimate escape from everyday stresses and strains, so walking in the mountains can provide a complete sense of peace and calm. Once you hit those peaks, the inconsequential niggles and worries that fill our walking thoughts just melt away. And it’s not just the angst that falls away: equipped with comfortable, sustainable walking gear, water, food and just the basics for safety, being in the mountains can provide the ultimate antidote to narcissism and materialism.

Breathe in Fresh, Clean Air

With pollution invading most urban areas, there are few city dwellers that don’t crave fresh air at some time. Being in the mountains gives your lungs the opportunity to breathe in pollutant-free air which contains fewer toxins than the air you’ll breathe in cities and valleys, boosting lung function and the body’s natural healing process.

Physical Benefits

And it’s not just the pollutant-free air that makes a difference. There really is a physical reason for feeling better in the mountains. Firstly, the higher oxygen content in the air stimulates our immune system, resulting in us breathing more deeply, which in turn leads to the heart pumping more blood, and our red blood cell count increasing. There’s also a suggestion of a connection between altitude and weight loss but regardless of that, muscles also become more toned.

Other benefits? Well, you’re more likely to sleep better after a day’s hiking, but as an added bonus, all that exercise releases a flood of endorphins – those great feel-good hormones – into your system.

Mountain Food

One thing’s for sure – you’ll certainly work up an appetite in the mountains! Quench your thirst on clear spring water and herbal teas and tuck into delicious mountain fare, alpine cheeses and hearty meat dishes infused with aromatic herbs. Food in the French-influenced Italian Alps is the ultimate blend of Italian and French cuisine, while in the Dolomites, you’ll find plates of polenta, potato or pumpkin gnocchi and traditional ‘canaderli’ (dumplings), rounded off with a cinnamon-spiced apple strudel.

Gourmet cuisine in the Italian Alps,


And it’s not just your taste buds that will be awakened. Walk through pine forests, breathing in the scent of pine, which is said to decrease depression and stress. And hike in May or June and you’ll find herb-scented trails through meadows of wildflowers.

Flower-filled alpine meadow,

Feel Connected

There is more than one way to get connected in the mountains. Humility and wonder go hand in hand in the mountains. Certainly, there’s a sense of the insignificance of our place in the world, but at the same time a connection with a timeless force that is infinitely bigger than us.

But walking in the mountains also presents an opportunity to connect with those around us. Whether you’re walking with a partner, a friend or a guided hike with a group of new acquaintances, this is a wonderful time to listen, share experiences and enjoy easy socialising. And what could be better than that?

Interested in UNESCO World Heritage sites? Read 15 OF THE BEST UNESCO DESTINATIONS FOR WOMEN OVER 50.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you a mountain or a beach person? What do you love most about being in the mountains? Do you prefer skiing or hiking?

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Thank you for pointing out the beauty and benefits of Mountains! Hiking and seeing this beauty first hand is amazing! After all, not everyone likes the “Shore.”

Jackie Parsons

I find it so inspirational to be in the mountains and seeing nature close hand emphasises the need to protect it as much as we can


These pictures are stunning – I feel like I’ve just had a mini-vacation looking at them. Thank you!

Jackie Parsons

So glad you enjoyed them! I get to hike in some beautiful places, I love it.

The Author

Jackie Parsons is the co-owner of Hedonistic Hiking. She has been a tour guide since 1992 and has lead walking tours since 2000. She creates and guides Hedonistic Hiking’s all-inclusive gastronomic hiking tours throughout Italy. Alongside the hikes, all tours provide an unforgettable insight into the local history, art, culture, food, and wine, and are graded for ability. Find out more at

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