Are you looking for some great European hiking vacations idea? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll share my top picks for Europe’s best hiking destinations.
Hiking is a fantastic way to get away from it all and enjoy nature. The best part is that you don’t even have to leave home to go hiking. There are plenty of places around the globe where you can hike without leaving the comfort of your house.
Here are some of the best hikes in Europe to spend your vacation on.
The 10 Best European Hiking Vacations
If you are looking for some great hiking trails in Europe, then this article is perfect for you. Here we have compiled a list of the best hikes in Europe with their respective locations and difficulty levels. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started!
1. Tour du Mont Blanc, Europe
There are few better places than the Alps to hike. Hiking in this part of the world offers some of the greatest scenery in the world. But there are two things that really make these mountains special. First, you can climb almost anywhere. Second, you don’t have to go far to find incredible views. The entire region is dotted with amazing peaks and valleys. And if you choose not to visit the area, you still have access to some of the most beautiful landscapes online.
Mountain refuges provide an ideal location for those who wish to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT). These shelters offer everything needed to make a comfortable night out. They have beds, tables, chairs, showers, toilets, and more. Many of these facilities come equipped with electricity and running water. Some even offer Wi-Fi access.
The Tour du Mont Blanco is one of Europe’s most beautiful hiking routes. It crosses picturesque Alpine villages, lush flower fields, and deep valleys. There are numerous mountain refuges along its path that provide hikers with snacks and shelter.
2. Corsica’s GR20 Trail, France
Corsica is known for its rugged terrain, which makes hiking there a true test of endurance. The GR20 trail covers the full length of the island and climbs over 12,000 meters (39,300 feet). Hikers must be prepared for all kinds of weather and extreme conditions. Routes are often marked by cairns, and hikers should always keep their eyes open for signs of wild animals.
Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is not for everyone. Some people prefer shorter hikes over longer ones. Others enjoy the challenge of tackling the more rugged sections of the trail. Still others choose to hike only one section of the trail. Regardless of how far you decide to go, there are several ways to shorten your hiking adventure.
The GR20 trail has been around for decades now. It was first created by hikers who wanted to explore the Alps more than 100 years ago. Today, this trail is still used by all types of hikers looking to experience some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery.
The main attraction on the Isle of Ischia is the town of Vizzavona. Hikers can easily reach this destination by taking the train directly there. Once you arrive at Vizzavona, it’s possible to hike all over the island. There are several small towns near the larger ones, allowing you to choose a more relaxing route. The Mare a Mere trail runs along the entire length of the island, so no matter what section you decide to walk, you’ll have plenty of options.
3. Italy’s Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre hiking trails offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. They can be reached by train or boat, or via footpaths that wind along cliffs overlooking the sea. Each town has its own unique character, making each one worth visiting. These hikes include the following towns: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
The Via Francigena Trail spans 605 miles (971 km) from Assisi to Rome. The trail was built by pilgrims who traveled between the two cities during the Middle Ages. Today, hikers can follow the ancient path through Italy and Europe. The trail begins near Assisi, crosses the Apennine Mountains, and ends in Rome. Along the way, visitors can see some of the oldest churches in the world.
There are several ways to hike this trail. One option is to begin at Monterosso and follow the paved path through town. Then head north to Riomaggiore and connect with the main trail there. Another option is to begin at Riomaggiore instead. Head south along the coast until you reach San Fruttuoso. From there, follow the trail inland to Monterosso. Alternatively, you can begin at San Fruttuoso instead. Follow the beach south to Monterosso, then continue north along the coast. Either way, you should have no trouble reaching the top.
The final stretch of the trail is definitely the hardest part of the entire hike. There are many switchbacks and steep slopes to climb before reaching the top. But this section of the trail offers some of the best views of the entire trek. From here, you can see out over the water towards Positano and beyond. As you make your way up the hill, keep an eye out for sea turtles who often come ashore to lay their eggs.
4. Austrian hike from Saalbach to Schmittenhöhe
The entire route from Salzburg to Schönau am Königssee covers roughly 20 kilometers and can be completed in just over 2 hours. Visitors who follow the hiking trail will have the opportunity to see some of Austria’s most beautiful scenery. Starting in Salzburg, hikers will pass through the villages of Wasserfallen, Steeg and Hochfilzen before reaching the top of Schönau am Könnensee.
To tackle this hike, there are several options available. One option is to use the Schattberg Express Lift, located near the summit of Schattberghorn Peak. After getting off the lift, follow the trail down through the valley and towards the parking lot below. At the end of the trail, you can continue straight onto the Larch Mountain Trails, which leads to the start of the hike. Another approach would be to park at the base of Schattberg and hike up the mountain. Follow the signs leading up to the peak. Once you reach the highest point, you will have one last leg of the hike.
After reaching Schmittenhöhen, enjoy some R&R in the picturesque town of Vaduz, known internationally for its many museums and galleries. Then, head to Stuttgart, Germany’s third largest city. From there, find the cable car down the mountainside.
5. Switzerland’s Engelberg Valley
The Engelberg Valley has some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland. There are many different ways to enjoy this natural wonderland. Hiking through the valley is one of the easiest ways to see all its sights. Some hikers choose to hike between two huts, stopping at each along the way. Others prefer to walk longer distances, enjoying the beauty of the landscape as they go.
One of the most popular hikes in Iceland is the 7 km (4.3 mile) Brunni trail. This trail begins at the top of the mountain, so you have to climb quite a bit before reaching its end point. Although this can be tiring, the view makes it all worthwhile. From the top of the mountain, there are fantastic views of the surrounding area, including the famous Geysir geothermal field.
The trail starts at the parking area on the shores of Lake Kallavatnet (Kalla vatnet) and winds its way through beautiful mountain terrain before reaching the refuge. After having a bite to eat, head over to the lakeside and enjoy the sunbathing opportunities. There’s also a small beach nearby, so be sure to visit it after hiking around the lake.
6. Greece’s Samaria Gorge
The Cretan Trail is one of Crete’s most popular hiking trails. It offers breathtaking views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As you trek downhill, you’ll encounter some steep inclines and loose dirt paths. Your route leads you past ancient Greek temples and monasteries. When you reach the sea, you can swim at the beach or explore the surrounding area by kayak.
The trail is fairly flat after the first 3 km, then becomes more challenging near the end. The easiest part of the hike is actually before the gate, which is why I recommend beginning at the top of the mountain (see below). Although there isn’t anything special about this area, it does provide a nice view of the surrounding countryside. The ruins of several old villages can be seen along the trail. At one point, you’ll pass by a small bridge over a dried-up riverbed. The last section of the trail is relatively easy, so don’t worry about getting tired.
There is no official end point to this hike. As long as you don’t stray off course, you should be fine. However, there are many places along the way where you can turn around and head back home. In fact, you may have more fun exploring the area after hiking all day than you would by just completing the hike.
7. Go on a hike to Green Lake in Slovakia.
Located in the heart of the Slovak Republic, the High Tatras mountain range is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. Hikers from across Europe flock to this region because of the incredible scenery. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including skiing, climbing, fishing, and horseback riding.
Take the cable car to the top of Mount Triglav. From there, follow the trail down to the lake. This is a relatively short hike that offers incredible views. Be sure to bring plenty of water along. The weather can change quickly here, so plan accordingly. If you’re looking for something longer, consider taking the train back to the bottom station. You’ll still see amazing views, but you’ll save your legs!
8. Matterhorn Base Camp, Switzerland
Hiking the Matterhorn isn’t like hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. But the view from the top is worth the work. The Matterhorn is one of Europe’s most famous mountain peaks. It stands at 3,478 meters (11,335 feet) above sea level. That makes it the tallest peak in Switzerland.
To reach the top of the Matterhorn, you must climb its highest peak. You may begin by hiking up to the Hörnli hut, which is located just below the summit of the mountain. From there, you can continue up to the base camp at 3,700 meters (12,400 ft). At this point, you can either spend the night, or simply return down to lower altitudes. Depending upon how fit you are, however, you may decide to attempt the entire ascent over two days.
While there are many hikes around Chamonix that are suitable for all abilities, one of my favorites is the Hornli Hutte trail. Start at the top of the Zermatterbahn cable car (the first stop after leaving Chamonix) and follow signs for 10 minutes until you reach a road. Turn right onto this narrow road and follow it for 2 km before turning left onto the footpath. Follow the path for 40 minutes until you reach the hut. There’s parking nearby, or you can park near a small chapel/visitor center across from the entrance to the hut.
Views of the Blue Mountains are astounding from this vantage point. The first hour or so on the trail is relatively easy hiking along flat ground. As you progress further up the mountain, however, the terrain becomes significantly more treacherous. Hiking boots are recommended at all times. Your safety depends upon whether you have proper footwear for the conditions.
9. Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Plitviek Jezero Nature Park is a popular destination amongst visitors. The park attracts tourists year-round with its spectacular natural scenery. However, there are some benefits to visiting during the colder months. Hiking trails provide a unique opportunity to see the park at its most scenic. In addition, winter weather offers visitors the chance to see more of the region’s magnificent waterfalls.
The national park is filled with lakes, cascading streams, and lush vegetation. There are several options for hiking in the park. Many trails lead through the forests, past clear blue waters and to towering mountains. Bring a picnic lunch as well as lots of fresh drinking water since the park has no restaurants. Remember to dress in layers, especially if you’re planning on swimming. Even though the lakes in the park are frozen in winter, they tend to be quite shallow.
The park has well-marked, well-set trails that range in length from a three-and-a-half-mile hike to an eighteen-and-a-quarter mile trek through rugged terrain. These trails vary in difficulty from level one (easy) to level seven (difficult). Some of the easier walks include.
10. Hike to Pravice Gate, Czech Republic
These limestone caves were formed by the action of water eroding away softer rock material around them, leaving behind the harder stone formations we see today. Millions of years ago, these caves were home to some of the earliest life forms like fungi and algae. Geologists estimate that the oldest cave paintings found anywhere in the world are also located within this area.
There are a few other tourist attractions in the area, making access to the gate pretty much impossible without your own transportation. It’s about a six-hour drive from Prague, but then again, once inside the gates, there’s not much else to do except enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature.
Hiking is the most exciting way to spend your vacation. I hope this guide will help you choose the right hike for your next vacation in Europe. Which place is the most adventurous for you? Please let us know by leaving a comment. Happy Hike!
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Arthur Lewis is a hardcore hiker, traveler, and adventure seeker. He is a blogger and writer for “Hiking Mystery,” and he lives in New York City with his pet dog, Chipi.
He is very fond of the outdoors and has visited many countries, including Iceland, Portugal, Brazil, and Costa Rica. He also loves to explore nature by means of hiking, cycling, and kayaking. He is an expert on travel, and he helps other people find the best way to travel by providing information about their options.