The first in our series of great hikes around the world was the “Best Hiking Trails in the Americas” and included awe-inspiring trails like the Narrows at Zion National Park in Utah and the Lost City Trek in Columbia. Now we take you to the Best Hikes in Europe as chosen by our fellow travelers.
Europe is a diverse continent, a land of legends and historic battles and for many of us the home of our ancestors. It is also a place of great natural beauty where you find rolling hills, lush countryside, rugged coastline, and snow capped mountains. All this adds up to some great options for hiking and trekking and backpacking around Europe.
The Seven Lakes Region of Rila, Bulgaria
The Seven Lakes Region is just as the title suggests- a day hike where you will encounter seven different lakes. The hike is only medium difficulty but you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views. We made sure to pack a lunch and about halfway through the day most hikers lounge around one of the crystal clear lakes and eat and take a rest.
We rode a ski lift up to a ski resort that serves as the starting point for hikers during summer months. It was great to be able to float along the tree tops on the way up.
Because of the altitude and the shadow the mountain cast we were even able to climb huge ice formations that hadn’t melted- in August!
The Seven Lakes hike is definitely one worth doing if you find yourself in the area!
Read more from Nathan Aguilera at Foodie Flashpacker
Serra d’Ossa, Portugal
Portugal, unlike many other European countries, can be proud of its green forest area that is growing year after year. Moreover, with 300 sunny days per year, Portugal definitely leads the pack in the list of sunny holiday destinations. Plus for the outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of hiking paths in Portugal.
If you seek for an undiscovered area in the country, we highly recommend Alentejo region, particularly around the Serra d’Ossa mountain. The trail is new, with bright yellow and red sign all through the hiking path. The terrain varies as you start walking on flat dry soil up to the mountain range of Serra d’Ossa through aromatic forest of eucalyptus and thyme. On the top, you’ll get a view of tiny villages and incredible cork trees farms and lakes and private pools.
The hike is 11.95 km long with the maximum altitude of 548 m. Before or after the hike, make sure you visit an abandoned São Gregório village. It might look like a chapel with a single house from afar, but in the past about forty people used to live. In case you need a map, stop by the multimedia local tourism office in a small town of Borba, from where you can start the hike. Have fun!
Read more from Ivana and Gianni at Nomad is Beautiful
Nuuksio National Park, Espoo, Finland
Finland is all about connecting with nature. Those looking for a perfect hiking location have to look no further than Nuuksio national park. Located close to the city of Espoo which is only a short 30 minutes drive from either Helsinki city or Helsinki-Vantaa international airport can easily enjoy the nature on a stopover flight. This will ensure you can get straight to the heart of the action and connect with the Finnish nature.
Finland is covered by thousands of lakes and trees and its nature will blow you away. Nuuksio national park has many hiking trails on offer and you can head to the Haiti visitor centre to discover information about the Finnish outdoors and hiking trails to get started in this newly opened state of the art Nordic designed facility.
Feel The Nature is a local activities company that can take you out on some of those hiking routes as well as blending in a canoe adventure so you can explore the lakes as well. Pick and sample wild blueberries and mushrooms along the route with a knowledgeable guide and if you have enough time before your flight why not end the day with a traditional Sauna in the woods with a refreshing dip in the clear Finnish lakes. Enjoy hiking and discovering Finland at Nuuksio national park.
Read more from Dave at Travel Dave UK
Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotland is home to some of the most amazing hiking trails in the world. But if you’re looking for a short day hike that’s right in the city, then Arthur’s Seat is for you! Located on the outskirts of Edinburgh’s downtown, Arthur’s Seat can be as easy or difficult as you’d like. The area of Holyrood Park, covering 650 acres, offers various trails that will take you up to the peak.
I recommend you take the trail that starts across from Holyrood Palace and brings you passed the scenic Salisbury Crags. This path leads nearly vertically up but levels out when you reach the ragged cliffs of Salisbury Crags.
The views from the top are incredible! A sweeping 360-degree view of Edinburgh, including the castle, and stretching out passed Leith. And on a clear day, you can see all the way across to Firth of Forth. A hike up Arthur’s Seat is a must!
Read more from Stephanie at The World as I See It
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park, located in Croatia, is popular for its pristine lakes and majestic waterfalls. What’s amazing about this national park is its hiking trail, and though the hike itself will not take more than 8 hours of your day, it is still a delightful activity that will not only keep you fit but will also make your eyes happy by the beauty you’ll encounter.
The hike is not that hard, and there’s a proper walk path which you can follow. However, there’s also a more “advanced” trail for those who are seeking a bit more adventure. Of course, the whole park is a protected area, so it is still safer to stick with the path. I must say that Plitvice Lakes will steal your heart by its beauty without a doubt! You would not even notice that you’ve made the whole trail because you’ll be so busy looking everywhere admiring the views.
Read more by Evan at Pretty Wild World
Via Francigena, Italy
Via Francigena is the common name of an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome, though it is usually considered to have its starting point further away, in the English cathedral city of Canterbury. As such, the route passes through England, France, Switzerland and Italy.
The route was known in Italy as the “Via Francigena” (“the road that comes from France”) or the “Via Romea Francigena” (“the road to Rome that comes from France”). In medieval times it was an important road and pilgrimage route for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Read more from Inma & Jose at A World to Travel
Samaria Gorge in Crete, Greece
The Samaria Gorge is situated in the Samaria National Park in the western part of the island of Crete in Greece. It is the most popular and beautiful gorge to hike in Crete. It is 16 km long and its width is 150 meters at the widest point and just 3 meters at its narrowest.
The usual way to start the hike is from the Xyloskalo entrance that has an altitude of 1200 meters. You then follow the path downhill until you reach the Aghia Roumeli village by the Libyan Sea. During your walk, you will have the chance to admire the beautiful landscape with more than 450 species of plants and animals, some only found in Crete. There are several resting points in the gorge that provide toilets and drinking water.
The Gorge is usually open to the public from May to October and there is also a small entrance fee. (5 euros). It usually takes between 4 to 8 hours to walk through the gorge and the best time to do it is in May and September when it’s not too hot. If you are visiting Crete on your holidays, hiking the Samaria Gorge is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Read more from Chrysoula at Travel Passionate
Ticino region, Switzerland
Switzerland is certainly one of the best destinations when it comes to scenic views and natural beauty and offers several hiking and cycling trails. One of my favourite experiences has been hiking in the Ticino region in South Switzerland, which is quite close to the Italian borders.
Whether you are interested in a 2 hour hike or one for 2 days, there are suitable options to choose from. I chose to go for a day trip to the Ticino region and took a cable car to Alpe Foppa from Rivera to reach Monte Tamaro. Once you are there, you can walk up for 1-2 hours and then get back to the cable car or you can go for a 5 hour hike to reach Monte Lema. The picturesque views of Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore are an incredible sight.
Even if you are not a regular hiker , you can still easily manage a 2 hour hike and enjoy activities at Monte Tamaro like zip lining and a roller coaster ride! There’s a play area for the kids and also the Santa Maria degli Angeli chapel, designed by world-famous architect Mario Botta, which is well known for its architecture. On coming back to the Rivera station, you can choose to take a short train ride to Lake Lugano and bask in the sun with some gelato and coffee, if you please. I would say that it was a perfect day out for me!
Read more from Menorca at Europe Diaries
Caminito del Rey (King’s little pathway), Spain
Caminito Del Rey trail is located in El Chorro gorge in Ardales, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain and it’s 8 km long, with 2.9 Km wooden pathways and one big, really high hanging bridge. It’s a linear route with two entrances (north & south) but nowadays you can only enter through North and exit through South. After the refurbishment, the new wooden pathways are now perfectly safe.
You can still see large parts of the old one and understand why it was once dubbed “one of the world’s scariest hikes”. The old path was so dangerous that this astonishing gorge was only accessible for crazy adventure junkies. Nowadays, barely anyone can do the trail and yet feel quite adventurous and enjoy the remarkable El Chorro gorge.
Read more from Jorge at Couple RTW
One of my favorite places to hike has to be Cornwall in the UK. I lived on the Cornwall/ Devon border for over a decade and living so close to such outstanding natural beauty often kept me sane. Cornwall is diverse and there are lots of great hiking routes including many inland. For me though if you are planning a hike in Cornwall it has to be a coastal one!
The South West coastal path is 630 miles of hikeable coastal path in the South West of England starting in Somerset running through Devon and Cornwall. In my opinion, Cornwall has some of the most breathtaking views steeped in history along the path. From old tin mines to pirate coves, cliffside theatres to Camelot castle.
Whatever your interests you will find something along this coastal path. If the weather is nice make sure you bring your bathing costume so you can cool off mid-walk. Also if you are a Poldark fan there are plenty of walks that take you through areas it was filmed.
Read more from Claire at Claire’s Itchy Feet
This hike in the Albanian Alps might just be the best-hidden gem of Eastern Europe. The hike itself is only a 9-hour section of an epic 3-day journey which has everything from remoteness and stunning scenery to authentic culture.
First up is a 3-hour ride on a dilapidated ferry. From the roof you can see a rocky gorge shooting up left and right with it covered in patches of green and gray. All while you glide through the most turquoise water you’ll ever see. Bliss.
After you dock, it’s a short drive to Valbona, your stop for the night. Careful, though, blink and you’ll miss it. TheThere are just a few lovely locals and their guesthouses surrounded by even more amazing views.
The next morning, you head off on the climax of your journey to summit part of the Albanian Alps. It’s a pretty steep climb, but the view from the top is worth every drop of sweat. Beneath you, the valley unfolds with babbling brooks and lush forests everywhere the eye can see. A few hours later you’ll arrive in Theth, ready to relax and recover as it all comes to an end when you return to civilization the next day.
Read more from Liam at Rucksack Ramblings
Durmitor National Park in Montenegro
Durmitor National Park, Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever hiked in the world. Formed by melting glaciers hundreds of thousands of years ago, this UNESCO-recognized natural wonder is filled with stunning limestone crags with interesting striations and shapes.
The trails are well-marked and fairly easy to hike, even for people who are not extremely experienced. For those who don’t want an intense hike, luckily one of the most beautiful parts of Durmitor National Park is incredibly easy to get to! Crno Jezero, or Black Lake, is stunning and within walking distance of the small town of Zabljak where most accommodations are.
For those interested in more of a challenge, why not try hiking Bobotov Kuk, the highest peak in Durmitor? This stunning 2,500-meter mountain has 360-degree views of three countries – you can see Serbia, Bosnia, and of course, Montenegro from the top! It was the first mountain I ever successfully climbed and honestly, it’s going to be hard to beat that view.
Read more from Allison at Eternal Arrival
Mount Snowdon is the second highest peak in Britain. It is also considered as one of the best hiking trails in the UK. It is located at the pristine and jaw-dropping scenic landscape of the Snowdonia National Park. There are six different routes to hike to the peak. The hike to the summit and back will usually take between 6 to 8 hours.
For the adventurous souls, I recommend tackling the Miner’s path and for the easy stroll/hike, I would recommend Llanberis Path and Rhyd Ddu Path. All routes have different terrains depending on your fitness level.
During spring, summer, and autumn, you can also take the Snowdon Mountain railway if you want to catch the train to and from the summit. The train will start from the Llanberis Station, where one of the hiking paths will start.
On the summit of Mount Snowdon, there’s a refreshment area /café where you can also enjoy the 360 degrees’ view of the national park while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. Remember to bring a waterproof jacket and necessary gears as the weather at the summit can be erratic. So make sure you are geared up!
Read more from Ryazan at Everything Zany
Glencoe in Scotland
Did you know that one of the favourite pastimes for the outdoorsy Scots is “Munro Bagging”? It means collecting ascensions of Munros, which are mountains in Scotland standing over 3000ft (914m). The Glencoe Area has some of the most beautiful Munros such as the famous Buachaille Etive Mor, Buachaille Etive Beag (in the picture) or the 3 Sisters.
Just a 3-hour drive from Edinburgh, The National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe is protected and offer hikes for every level: from the very easy 1-hour Glencoe Lochan walk to the challenging ridge climb Aonach Eagach. And they are easily accessed from the main Road A82 going through Glen Coe.
With landscapes created by volcanic activity and shaped by glaciers, Glencoe is a great playground for hikers. It is home to some of the highest summits in Scotland, bare land, gorgeous valleys and deep lochs… the views are grandiose in all directions!”
Read More from Claire at Zigzag On Earth
Old Man of Storr in Scotland
The Old Man is in the north of Skye and sits out on the edge of the Trotternish Ridge. The Old Man can be seen from miles around; this beautiful pinnacle that was created by an ancient landslide. This hike can be completed at all times of the year but it can get quite muddy at the bottom and at the very top.
Also, remember this is Scotland-it rains a lot! This means that the very top section can also be very
slippery. This hike is 7 out of 10 in the difficulty scale with an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes (with no breaks) to complete. I took a bit longer but it was totally worth it. The foot of the Old Man is covered in big rocks and it is often a scramble to get to the top (sometimes hands are required!). The Old Man of Storr is one of the most breathtaking hikes I have ever been on and I highly recommend for anyone to give it a go!
Read more from Helena at Through an Aussies Eyes
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is an iconic group of five towns on the coast in the Tuscany region of Italy. Between the towns there is a network of trails that allow for hikes among the vineyards and homes that provide breathtaking views of the coast.
The trails are not lengthy, ranging from 3 to 8km, but can be quite steep making them somewhat challenging. Hiking town to town is a great way to get around and really see the beauty of Cinque Terre. However, it is not the only way to go. With several modes of transportation, you have the option to hike one way, while taking the train or ferry on the way back. Along the hike, you can take your time to stop to eat a meal, have some gelato, rest or even swim at the different towns.
Read more from Dan at Honeymoon Always
Arcadia Mountains in Peloponnese, Greece
The Peloponnese region of Greece is the stuff of legends but also a land of diverse natural beauty making it a great place to combine historic sites with a scenic hike.
A perfect area for this match-up is in the Arcadia Mountains and one of our favorite hikes in Europe was crossing the Lousios river gorge to visit the cliff side monasteries of Filosofou and Prodromou.
The trail is moderate with a nice balance of incline and decline and it takes about 2 1/2 hours of actually hiking time. However, you will need to add at least an hour for stops at the monasteries. This hike will take you through pine-scented forest, across a river, past the ruins of the old hidden monastery and allows you to visit the precariously perched, cliff-side Filosofou and Prodromou monasteries before ending up at the ancient site of Gortys.
Read more from Sarah at Live Dream Discover
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