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06 January 2020
So many travelers head to Europe to take in the hustle and bustle of major cities like Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, and London. But if exploring city life isn’t your thing and you prefer to take the more scenic route, you’re still in luck. The European continent is home to some of the most scenic hiking spots in the world, and hiking across Europe isn’t just for advanced outdoorsmen.
There are so many European destinations for short hiking trips and long trekking vacations that deciding on one can feel impossible. This definitive guide to the best hiking in Europe can help you to narrow it down and start planning an unforgettable adventure.
The full list:
The Norwegian Fjords are home to thousands of unique hiking trails and treks for all levels. There is so much natural diversity here, ranging from icy blue glaciers to lush green forests. If you consider yourself an advanced trekker, check out the more challenging spots like Himakana, Trolltunga, Geirangerfjord, Langfossen, or Preikestolen.
The Fjords are technically located all over the country, and there are over 1,000 of them. They were created by massive glaciation that sunk below sea level over the past 2.5 million years. One of the most visited fjords, Lysefjord, is 26 miles long and can be easily accessed from the city of Stavanger.
One of the most loved hiking routes of the Swiss Alps is the tour de Monte Rosa. Although this trekking tour takes place in Italy, trekkers get the chance to take in panoramic views of Switzerland’s Matterhorn. This is one of the best hiking adventures in Europe, but it’s not for the faint of heart. This challenging hike takes can take anywhere from 8 to 11 days to complete.
Out of all the hiking in Europe, there is no place quite like Kungsleden. The literal translation of Kungsleden is The King’s Trail, which makes complete sense since this trailer is fit for a king. It’s 270 miles long, stretching through northern Sweden and passing through green forests, glaciated valleys, and winding rivers along the way.
Mount Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia, reaching an elevation of 9,396 feet. It’s the main attraction of the Triglav National Park, and the good majority of able-bodied Slovenians make a point to climb the mountain peak at some point in their lives. A tour company called Climb Triglav offers all-inclusive trekking tours throughout the year.
At the foothills of Western Europe’s Mont Blanc lies the starting point of Haute Route. Haute Route is often thought of like a cross-country skiing destination, it’s also possible to hike on foot. If you choose to hike the entire thing, plan on spending at least 10 days exploring the 11 mountain passes of Haute Route.
The number of trekking vacations to choose from in Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park is essentially unlimited. The park spans over 70,000 hectares of land with peaks reaching as high as 13,000 feet. If you're fit enough to make it to the top of Mount Gran Paradiso, you'll see views of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and Matterhorn.
GR20 is another one of the best places for hiking in Europe, running North to South through the Corsican mountains. The terrain is rugged, to say the least, so this is not a spot for someone who has never worn a pair of hiking boots. The 112-mile trail takes 12 full days to hike, but if you’re short on time, you can skip the northern portion of the trail and focus solely on the South.
To experience Scotland’s most cherished piece of natural beauty, head to West Highland Way. This is one of the best hiking tours Europe has to offer, especially when you visit WHW highlights like Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, and Glen Nevis.
The coolest part of this hike is the 18th-century history you'll experience along the way, plus you'll catch a glimpse of the train that was featured in the Harry Potter movies as it made its way to Hogwarts. There are good and bad times to hike WMW, so try to focus your adventure between the dry months of May and October.
Hiking Europe is without-a-doubt the ultimate way to take in the continent, especially when it comes to traveling in Romania. The Romanian Retezat Mountains are a part of the Southern Carpathians range, which is completely untouched terrain. Because this is so far removed from society, Retezat hiking tours in Europe allow travelers to experience nature in its purest form.
Even if you’re focusing on beach time for the duration of your trip to the Canary Islands, try to change up the scenery every once in a while. These Spanish islands along the western coast of Africa are the perfect setting for hiking through Europe, especially on the island of La Gomera. There are tons of routes and unique trails to choose from, and some will only take a few hours of your time.
Traveling to the Dolomites is one of the most epic hiking trips in Europe for both outdoor lovers and history buffs. Most of the trails here were named after WWI events, and many of them pass by abandoned bunkers used by the soldiers. There are many trailers to choose from, most of them taking no longer than 4 hours, but our all-time fave is Lago di Sorapiss.
As far as Europe hiking tours go, there is none as famous as Tour du Mont Blanc. If long-distance walking is your thing, TMB is for you. Keep in mind that this is for avid hikers who are physically fit - it's not a beginner-level trail. The main tour covers about 105 miles and takes as long as 12 days to complete.
Some of the most culture-packed hiking trails in Europe can be found in the Pyrenees mountain range of Northern Spain and France, like the Camino de Santiago Trail. This used to be a common route used by Catholic pilgrims, but now, it's a prime spot for travelers embarking on hiking vacations. CST is revered as one of the best long-distance hiking trails in Europe, but feel free to focus on one small section (and not all 500 miles).
Portugal is most often thought of as a surfing destination, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited on hiking tours with a trip here. Rota Vicentina is a great option for beginner to intermediate-level hikers who are looking to spice things up. The entire hike is 250 miles long, but most people focus on the Fisherman’s trail, which is just under 50 miles.
This list of the best hiking in Europe wouldn't be complete without at least one destination in Iceland. The landscape of Iceland has been described as idyllic more than once, especially along the Laugavegur Hiking Trail. It's a fairly easy 3 to 5-day hike, and it's the best way to take in the lava fields, ice caves, and colorful mountains of Iceland.
Are you focusing your hiking vacations in Europe in Germany? Trekking along Westweg is a must. This isn’t just one of the ultimate Europe hiking trips, but it’s also commonly referred to as the birthplace of hiking as a whole. This is a long trail (nearly 200 miles), but if you want to take it in sections we suggest that you focus on the southern parts of Westweg.
Some of the best hiking trails in Europe can be found on the continent's westernmost edge in Ireland. That's right - a trip to Ireland can be so much more than sipping on pints of Guinness all day. The best trekking tours here happen along Dingle Way, a 111-mile hike that takes about 10 days to complete from start to finish. This is the ultimate way to take in Ireland's Ring of Kerry.
In terms of adventure, trekking the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia is one of the best hiking vacations in Europe imaginable. This mountain range serves as an intersection between Asia and Europe, and it’s the ideal spot if you want complete peace and quiet. There’s a lot to see here, but the main attraction is the Savan, an ancient stone village in the heart of the mountains.
Even non-hikers have heard of Cinque Terre in Italy, and if you haven't, it's time to do a quick Google search of Cinque Terre hiking trips Europe. Several hiking trails are connecting the 5 towns that make up the Cinque Terre.
Trail 1 is an all-time favorite since it connects all 5 of the towns, plus it’s not as crowded as some of the other CT trails. Another major perk of CTMT is that this is Inn to Inn hiking Europe at its finest; there are plenty of charming B&Bs and local guesthouses to stay in along the way, so you won’t have to camp out if that’s not your thing.
The High Tatras in Slovakia is an easy to medium hike that can be broken up into sections. When you search for long hiking trails Europe, High Tatras is likely to show up. This mountain range is made up of 25 peaks with hundreds of lakes, waterfalls, and valleys. If you prefer a multi-day hike, there are mountain huts to stay in along the way.
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