Europe shines with the colourful panorama of scenic trails. From the dreamy images of Dolomites to the similar landscapes of Austria and Switzerland the wonder of nature awaits. Hidden corners of the Balkan countries like Bulgaria or Albania offer their own Alps. The Spain dwells in the totally different story with the meditterean spirit. The mighty Mont Blanc shines on its trone as the highest peak in Europe.
I collaborated with around 20 bloggers to scatter with you the bunch of ideas and outdoor passion.
Sorapis, Dolomites contributed by Caroline Muller from Veggie Way Farer
Lake Sorapis nestled deep in the mountainous region of Northern Italy is simply spectacular. Think crystal clear turquoise waters, surrounded by jagged snow-capped mountains. The beauty of this lake, is that makes you work for it in the form of a 14-kilometer hike. Meaning it is a lot lesser visited than more infamous lakes in the region.
The trailhead starts at Passo Tre Croci, easily reachable either via car (input Passo Tre Croci in the GPS to be guided to the ample parking lot) or bus (take the number 30 bus straight from Cortina). In terms of gear, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended as parts of the hike require a little clambering over rocks and dusty paths snaking their way around the mountain.
Travelers suffering from Vertigo are advised to think twice before embarking on the hike. The last part of the hike is a reasonably steep climb up over rocks (with the help of a rope) and various sets of stairs. The stairs themselves are perched up against the side of a mountain making for spectacular views but equally a little hairy for those afraid of heights. Admittedly this section is very limited (around 20-minutes in total) and comes right before reaching Lake Sorapis.
To get back down, simply backtrack the same way you came back to the trailhead.
Cinque Terre contributed by Pamela Drager from Directionally Challenged Traveler
The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of five Italian towns on the dramatic coastline of the Ligurian Sea. The towns are recognizable by their iconic pastel buildings stacked tall to overlook the harbor below. The five towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore all offer visitors breathtaking views.
One of the best ways to see all five towns is to hike to them. There is one trail, the Blue Trail, that connects them all. However, there is a section that is currently closed until 2024 due to a landslide. It cuts off Manarola from the rest of the towns by hiking. You can still visit the town by car or train, since there are so many things to do in Manarola, it might be a nice break from hiking.
The Blue Trail is divided into four sections and (usually) connects all 5 villages. It’s 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) long. Cost to the path is between 5-7 Euros depending on how much of the path is open. Along the hike you’ll get an ever-changing view of the cliffs that make this area famous, panoramic views of vineyards, and stunning colors of the houses of Cinque Terre.
Cerveteri contributed by Annalisa Francescini from Travel Connect Experience
One of the most beautiful hikes near Rome, Italy, starts at the UNESCO site of the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri, which is located about 50 km northwest of Rome’s historic center. The Necropolis covers an area of about 100 hectares and includes thousands of tombs of different types, dating between the 9th and 4th centuries BC.
Begin walking at the ” Way of the Underworld,” a corridor carved into the tufa stone that features tomb chambers on both side walls, also on multiple levels. Take a flashlight with you to better explore the interior of the tombs: there are beds, pillows and ceilings carved out of the rock. Continue on to what remains of the monumental walls of the Etruscan acropolis “Caere.” Walk along the walls until you reach a ditch and a gorge that hides 5 waterfalls where you can refresh, the highest, those of Castel Giuliano, reach 30 meters.
The loop hike is 15 km in length and of medium difficulty. You need good hiking shoes, waterproofs and, if you do it in summer, a bathing suit and rock shoes.
To get to the departure point of the walk, take a train from Rome to Marina di Cerveteri, then a local bus to Cerveteri Piazza Aldo Moro and then walk (1.5 km) or take another local bus to the Banditaccia Necropolis.
Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix contributed by Emily Cuneo from Emily Embarks
Known for its impressive mountain ranges and world-class ski resorts, Chamonix is often at the top of most adventure enthusiasts’ bucket lists. Home to the infamous Mont Blanc, the highest mountain on the European continent, Chamonix also houses the incredible Aiguille du Midi which is a haven for hikers looking for a challenge without the risk that accompanies traversing Mont Blanc.
Owing to its diverse terrain, breathtaking views, and easy access, the Aiguille du Midi hike is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Europe! Use the Pointe Lachenal Trail which starts by taking the cablecar up to the first stop on the Aiguille du Midi. From there, you’ll descend the E-Ridge and have a 6-8 hour day climbing up steep elevation gains and climbing multi-pitch routes among some of the world’s most amazing scenery. Climbing gear is required!
Also, be sure to learn some French phrases before you visit as many of the hikers you’ll meet on the nearby routes won’t speak English. Along the way, be sure to appreciate the close-up views of Mont Blanc and stop at the Refuge des Cosmiques (make a reservation in advance) for some good food on your way back down to the center of Chamonix.
The Coast of Brittany (northwestern France) contributed by Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery
The coast of Brittany in northwestern France has amazing hiking trails running all along. They’re mostly part of the GR34 Customs Trail, which was created in the late 1700s to guard the coastline.
There are several sections that’ll make one’s jaw drop. The Emerald Coast is one of them. With steep cliffs plunging down to the sea, a lighthouse built by France’s famous architect Vauban, and a picturesque fortress on the seashore, you’ll have plenty to marvel at.
You can start your hike by Cap Fréhel, which is the site of Vauban’s small lighthouse, and another, much larger lighthouse that’s still fully functioning. The cliffs here are especially dramatic. Then, the heather- and fern-lined path will lead you along the coast through an area categorized as a protected moorland. The whole time, you’ll have a view of the dark blue waters of the Atlantic.
Towards the end of the 2-hour hike (one way), you’ll come across a beautiful seaside fortress called La Latte. You can visit it for a fee. The views from its tower are extraordinary!
The way back is the same. You’ll need a car to get to the Emerald Coast comfortably. You can start the hike at a parking lot at Cap Fréhel, or the other way round – there’s a large car park near Fort La Latte too.
More about hiking in Brittany.
Calanques National Park contributed by Nadine Maffre from Le Long Weekend
Located on the southern coast of France, between the second city of Marseille and the fishing village of Cassis, is the incredibly beautiful Calanques National Park. It’s an area of sea, land and urban areas that encompasses 520 sq km, and within its boundaries are ample opportunities for hiking.
Most of these hikes incorporate a visit to one of the park’s breathtaking beaches (that make a beautiful place for a cooling dip), epic viewpoints, as well as natural and historical wonders. Some of the most popular trails include the Calanques of Cassis, which takes in the famous Calanque d’En Vau; the trek to Sugiton, and the walk from Sormiou to Morgiou.
The park is free to enter, and for now, there are no restrictions on visitor numbers (although that is set to change in the near future, when you may have to obtain a pass to enter the more popular areas). Aside from exploring this Natural Park by land, you can also kayak, or take a boat tour around the coastal areas to admire the scenery from the sea.
El Caminito de Rey contributed by Linn Haglund from Andalucia Hiking
|One of the most amazing hikes in Europe is the breathtaking Caminito del Rey hike in Spain. Before it was renovated, the footpath hanging 100 meters above the gorge floor – pinned to the vertical cliff wall – used to be the most dangerous hike in the world. These days, it is a lot safer. You get a security brief, a helmet, and there are security guards along the path. You can still see the remains of the old footpath beneath the new one which gives you an idea of how dangerous it once was. The Caminito del Rey trail is only 7.7 km long and takes 2 hours to complete. Since it is a one way hike, you will have to take a bus in the other direction. To get to the hike, you have to take the train from Malaga to El Chorro. You can often get joint tickets for both the train and the entrance.|
Montserrat contributed by Carley Rojas Avila from Home To Havana
Known both as a site of religious pilgrimage and a hiking destination in Spain, Montserrat is easily one of the most scenic hiking spots in all of Europe. Less than an hour by train outside of Barcelona, Montserrat is an easy day trip and an incredible destination to escape the city, both for those on a short Barcelona itinerary or those visiting the city for longer.
A funicular train and cable car whisk visitors to the top of the craggy mountains that are home to the Abbey of Montserrat, part of the Order of Saint Benedict. Even if you’re not religious, a visit to monastery is a fantastic way to learn more about the site and take in the gorgeous church building.
Among the hills near the monastery you’ll find countless hiking trails, each with their unique viewpoints. Stop by the tourist office facing the entrance to the monastery at the top of the funicular for a free map of the hiking trails and route; the staff know the route well and can guide you to the best for your fitness level and interest. Along hiking trails you’ll find different small churches, altars, and statues left behind and constructed by visitors throughout history.
Seven Hanging Valley Trail contributed by Campbell from Stingy Nomads
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is an amazing day hike in southern Portugal. It’s a moderate 7-kilometres linear route along the beautiful coast of the Algarve region.
The trail starts at the stunning Marinha Beach named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and finishes at Praia do Vale de Centianes. It can be walked in either direction or as a return route. The route is well-marked and easy to follow.
For the entire 7 kilometres, the route goes along the rugged limestone cliffs following the coastline. The scenery on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is truly spectacular: sandy beaches surrounded by cliffs, natural arches, deep caves, bizarre-shaped pinnacles, breathtaking lookout points, and the turquoise colour waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There are several highlights not to miss on the route such as Marinha Beach, Benagil Cave, Benagil Beach, Praia do Carvalho, Alfanzina Lighthouse, and Praia do Vale de Centianes.
The easiest way of getting there is by car. There is a big parking lot close to the trailhead. To get back to your car after completing the trail you can use Uber.
Fisherman’s Trail contributed by Alya from The Algarve Family
The Fishermen’s Trail is a stunning hiking route in southern Portugal. It’s considered one of the most scenic coastal trails in Europe. The total distance of the Fishermen’s Trail is 230 km. You need 12 days to complete the route. The trail starts in the small town of Porto Covo, Alentejo province, and finishes in Lagos, Algarve. The great thing about the route is that any stage of it can be walked as a separate day hike. If you don’t have two weeks to walk it you can do just a section of the trail.
The scenery along the Fishermen’s Trail is truly spectacular: rugged limestone cliffs, unspoiled sandy beaches, secret caves and caverns, breathtaking lookout points, charming fishermen’s villages, and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Spring is the best time to hike the trail to see the fields along the coast covered in flowers. Storks come to the coast for nesting between March and April. In May you can see baby storks in their nests located on the edges of the cliffs.
You can get to the trailhead in Porto Covo by a direct bus from Lisbon. The journey takes about 2 hours.
Hadrian’s Wall contributed by Maja from Away With Maja
Hadrian’s Wall is one of the best hikes to do in Europe. The entire trail runs for 84 miles across the north of England, following the course of the historic wall built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD. The trail runs between Wallsend (in Newcastle) and Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria.
Newcastle is easy to get to with public transportation, and you can take the metro from the city center to Wallsend to start the trail. Most people choose to hike the Hadrian’s Wall Pathover 6 days, but if you’re short on time you can also hike a part of the trail as a day hike.
The stretch between Housesteads Roman Fort and Sycamore Gap, in Northumberland National Park, is one of the best parts of the trail about 5 miles roundtrip. For this section, you can park at the Steel Rigg or Housesteads car parks, or take the AD122 bus which runs along the A69 road and stops close to both points. The scenery here is phenomenal, but it’s really special because of the history – you walk along parts of Hadrian’s Wall that date back nearly 2,000 years!
Scaffel Peak in Lake District contributed by Paulina from UK Every Day
Scafell Pike is one of the best Lake District attractions that offers incredible panoramic views. The highest peak in England is not the easiest to climb, but worth the effort. From the top of the mountain, you will see many peaks and the deepest English lake – Wast Water.
There are many ways to get to Lake District such as renting a car or booking a day trip. Scafell Pike is no more than a 2.5hour drive from Liverpool or Manchester. It is the perfect destination for a nice day out in England.
If you love climbing, you might also want to do the Three Peaks Challenge which includes hiking the highest mountain in England, Wales, and Scotland. Within 24 hours, you will explore some of the most beautiful mountains in the UK.
For an unforgettable experience, base yourself at Wasdale National Trust Campsite. This site is the ideal place to start hiking Scafell Pike or many other peaks around. It is also opposite one of the most famous lakes in England – Wast Water.
Seymour Tower, Jersey Islands contributed by Coralie from Grey Globetrotters
One of the most unique hikes in Europe can only be attempted a few times a year.
The tiny British Channel Island of Jersey has one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world, with the island almost doubling in size when the tide goes out. A few times each year, there are exceptionally low tides, when it’s possible to walk out across the undulating seabed (towards France) for almost a mile.
The best of these walks is to the 18th century Seymour Tower – built high up on rocks to defend the island against invasion from France. For most of the year, Seymour tower is surrounded by choppy seas and accessible only by boat, but you can walk to it on “spring tides”.
You’ll need an experienced guide for the hike as it’s very easy to become disoriented and the incoming tide is both rapid and treacherous. Don’t forget your wellies and a warm coat – even on the warmest days, the wind is chilly as you walk out across the seabed.
Quiraing, Isle of Skye contributed by Jiayi Wang from Diary Of A Nomad
The Quiraing hike in Scotland is truly one of the most spectacular ones in Europe. Commonly considered one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, this hike will take you past spectacular rock formations and breathtaking Scottish landscapes.
To get to this hike, drive to the Quiraing Car Park and follow the signs towards the start of the trail. From there, you’ll do a loop hike of 6.5 km, with an altitude of 543 m. It should take you roughly 3-4 hours to complete this hike, but it’ll likely take longer if you want to stop for pictures and take in the gorgeous scenery.
The views along this hike are even more spectacular at sunset, especially since many rock formations you’ll see are overlooking the sea. Just be careful as some parts of the hike can be very slippery and involve very narrow cliffside paths.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh contributed by Kelly Duhigg from Girl With The Passport
One of the best hikes in Europe is Arthur’s Seat. In fact, this iconic hill is an extinct volcano that quietly sits in Hollyrood Park, right near central Edinburgh.
It’s actually the highest of the the Salisbury Crags and stands at a respectable, 252 meters tall.
Because of its location, you can also easily walk here from the Royal Mile and enjoy some of the best panoramas of the city.
And while you can do this hike as an out and back trail, there is a fantastic, 2.4-mile loop that you can do in about an hour and a half.
The path is also well-marked and easy to follow, sp you won’t have to worry about getting lost along the way.
Just be sure to stop at the top and hold onto your camera since it can get quite windy up there.
This is also one of the most popular free things to do in Edinburgh. So, try to do this hike as early as possible on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
Killary Fjord Loop Walk contributed by Nicola Lavin from All About Rosalilla
Hiking along the Killary fjord walk is one of the most scenic hikes in Connemara located in County Galway on the stunning west coast of Ireland. Killary Harbour is Ireland’s only true fjord and extends 16km in from the Atlantic to its head at Aasleagh, below Aasleagh Falls. It forms the border between the counties Galway and Mayo and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the west of Ireland. Near the head of Killary fjord is Leenane, a small but picturesque village that featured in the classic Irish film, The Field. To begin the walk you need to head from Leenane on the N59, past the Killary Harbour Adventure Centre and towards the bridge at Bunowen river.
The harbour at Killary is also extremely deep, over 45m at its centre. This offers a very safe, sheltered setting, because of the depth and the mountains to the south and north. It is a centre for shellfish farming, and strings of ropes used to grow mussels are visible in the water for much of this hike adding to its charm. You will pass by charming abandoned cottages, fields with sheep, chickens roaming freely and even hike past a working sheep farm where you can experience sheep dog demonstrations. The fjord is sheltered by the Twelve Bens and Maumturk mountains giving you the most majestic views. The full Killary Fjord Loop hike is a relatively easy but long (18km) hike. It is an exhilarating hike so close to the fjord’s edge where you can feel completely at one with nature.
Hengifoss Waterfall contributed by David from The World Travel Guy
The Hengifoss waterfall hike is one of the best day hikes in Iceland. It’s a remote hike in the eastern part of the country with spectacular views of two different waterfalls, and the trekking route is very manageable.
Hengifoss is a huge 130-meter waterfall (one of the tallest in Iceland) with lines of bright red clay sandwiched between the rock layers on each side, giving it such an unusual and amazing look.
The hike to Hengifoss has 300 meters of elevation gain and takes about 1 hour (one way). Along the way, you get to see another nice waterfall called Litlanesfoss, which is surrounded by basalt rock columns. Two incredible waterfalls in one short hike!
The Hengifoss waterfall is located in East Iceland, about 700 kilometers from Reykjavik, but it’s not hard to reach from the Ring Road. You don’t need 4 wheel drive or any special vehicle to reach the parking area.
Aletsch Glacier contributed by Trijit Mallick from Budget Travel Buff
Located in Fiescheralp in southern Switzerland, Aletsch Glacier is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can park your car at Fiesch, then a cable car to Fiescheralp where the hike starts. The 23-kilometer-long Aletsch Glacier should be your next destination if you are an ardent hiker looking for a hidden gem in Switzerland. It is a moderate hiking trail but you will be rewarded with constant glacier views. But it is highly recommended to bring barefoot hiking shoes if you plan to hike this trail. There is some elevation rise until you reach Biel, where you can see the Aletsch Glacier and the Swiss Alps, including the Matterhorn, from a great, larger curve in the trail.
The vista of the Alps’ longest glacier is extremely breathtaking. It’s not only about the massive quantity of ice; you can also get a closer look at the stunning Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. The hiking track is difficult because it entails walking down 300 meters and then climbing back up, but it is well worth the effort. On the trail, you can see the glacier all the time. The three-hour climb from Bettmerhorn to Fiescheralp is highly recommended, but if you want to see the glacier’s headwalls, you’ll have to go 3-4 kilometers further.
Schafberg Mountain contributed by Martina from Places of Juma
Austria is definitely one of the best places for hiking in Europe. One of the most beautiful hikes is the tour to the famous Schafberg, a beautiful panoramic trail that leads from Lake Wolfgangsee to the top. This is located at 1732 meters above sea level and is best reached via hiking trail no. 20.
The hike to the Schafberg is not too difficult, but you should keep in mind that you have to overcome a height difference of 1188 meters. All in all, the whole hike from the start to the top takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.
During the hike you will enjoy a breathtaking panorama of Lake Wolfgang and the surrounding Alps. At the summit is one of the most beautiful Instagram spots ever: from here you have a breathtaking view of the many glittering lakes in Salzburg and a large part of Upper Austria.
The hike is best undertaken in summer, from May to the end of September. It is recommended to start in the morning, when the temperatures are still cool. If the way back to the valley is too strenuous for you, you can take the Schafbergbahn. A great experience that you will certainly remember for a long time.
Santorini- From Fira To Oia, contributed by Maria & Katerina from It’s All Trip To Me
Probably the most famous of all Greek Islands, Santorini needs no special introduction. When your mind drifts to this crescent-shaped island of wonders, you can’t help but dream of epic sunsets and luxury cave hotels. Among the many unique things to do in Santorini, hiking may not be the first to come to mind. Yet, the Fira to Oia trail is one of the most scenic hiking paths in Greece, offering jaw-dropping views of Santorini’s caldera and the Aegean Sea at every turn.
The 10-kilometre hiking trail that leads from Fira to Oia allows you to walk along the rim of Santorini’s dramatic volcanic cliffs for the most part. During this hike, you have the chance to get to know some of Santorini’s most famous and picturesque towns, such as Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. However, this hike also offers a glimpse at Santorini’s raw lunar landscape, some parts of which you wouldn’t be able to explore in any other way than walking.
The Fira to Oia trail can be completed in either direction, but it’s best to start in Fira and end in Oia to avoid the route’s steepest parts. The path starts in the heart of Fira Town and ends in Oia Town. There’s no shade along the path, so you should avoid hiking during the hot summer months.
Mount Olympus contributed by myself
Mount Olympus is known as the home of Greek Gods and the highest mountain in Greece. It’s located in North-East Greece between Thessaly and Macedonia. 52 peaks lie at its marvellous paths and the highests is the Mytikas (2197m).
Mount Olympus is entitled as a National Park from 1938. The richness of flora gives it a particular charm. Shining above the Aegean Sea Mount Olympus is the second talles mountain in the Balkans.
The path to Mytikas leads from the town Litochoro going straight to the mountaineering hut. From here the splendid view to the Aegean Sea bursts. It’s the starting point to the three highest peaks- Mytikas, Skala and Skolio.
The mules bring food to the mountaineering hut and it’s one of the reason to call Olympus a sacred mountain. Mount Olympus hosts the international marathon every year.
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