Hiking in Europe can be an exhilarating experience if you know where to look! Don’t know where to begin? No worries, in this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you 30 of the best hiking trails in Europe. We’ve personally completed some of them already, and we’ve thoroughly researched the others with hopes to tackle them soon!
The selection is amazingly diverse, spanning more than 20 countries, various mountain ranges, beaches, and forests, while taking in incredible landmarks, wildlife, and attractions along the way. Whether you’re looking for a multi-day adventure, or the best single-day hiking trails in Europe, there’s bound to be one that you’ll love!
So, with that in mind, lace up your boots, and let’s take a look at some of the best hikes in Europe!
Hiking in Europe: What to Expect?
In one word: diversity. Expect landscapes that vary from arctic tundra and craggy mountains, to volcanic boulder fields, sand dunes and deep, dark forests. Expect an ever-changing canvas of culture, cuisine, and attitude. Europe is small compared to other continents, but travel for long enough in any direction, and you’ll soon see how quickly things change from place to place.
One minute you’ll be hiking along a Mediterranean beach, soaking up the sun, and the next, you’ll be climbing up Alpine pastures, ascending snowy peaks, before dropping back down into a lively town. Each night offers the chance to relax in an utterly new environment, drinking wine and eating mussels one day, beer and sausages the next, and moonshine and pickles after that.
Practically speaking, Europe is home to an amazingly well-developed hiking culture, with trails that are well-kept and well signed. Some form of sheltered accommodation can normally be found along most trails, ranging from luxury chalets to humble mountain huts. Wild camping is allowed in some areas, but not all, so be sure to check beforehand.
So, whether you’re looking for solitude, company, tranquility or a challenge, there’ll be numerous hiking trails in Europe that tick all the right boxes.
16 Amazing Multi-Day Hikes
Few things are as far removed from everyday life as heading out on a multi-day hike into the wilderness. It truly is the ultimate escape, an opportunity to live humbly, work your muscles, and breathe in the fresh, clear air, while your mind wanders. Even though Europe seems largely populated, there are still plenty of places where you can walk for days and lose touch with the modern world all together.
With that in mind, here are some of the most amazing multi-day adventures when it comes to hiking in Europe.
1. Laugavegur Trail | Iceland’s Best Hike
This 4-day trek crosses 55 km (34 miles) through Landmannalaugar nature reserve, and some of the best, and most diverse, scenery in Iceland — and that’s saying something! Along the way you’ll take in iconic black sand deserts, geothermal springs, lakes, glaciers, grasslands, forests, broiling lava fields and icy rivers, all to a backdrop of mysterious, rainbow hued mountains.
The Laugavegur trail is not for the faint-hearted and is best tackled by experienced hikers. It does, however, guarantee an epic adventure! Gaining just over 1,700 meters in elevation as you ascend the mountains, the full hike can only really be carried out between June and September. To get there, you’ll need to drive or take a bus from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar.
There are huts along the way, but you’ll need to book these long in advance, especially during high season. Fortunately, camping is allowed in the areas around the huts, with fresh running water aplenty! Top tip! Take a good pair of water shoes or sandals, as you’ll need to cross around 4 rivers, with depths ranging from ankle to knee-deep.
2. Tour du Mont Blanc | Trekking the Top of the Alps
Hiking in Europe doesn’t get any better for first timers with this epic hike. At 170 km (106 miles), it’s long, but the going isn’t too tough for anyone in reasonable health. There are some pretty scary ladder sections though, so if you’re not comfortable with heights or exposed climbing, it might not be for you. The French town of Chamonix is a popular start point, and the easiest way to get there is to take an airport shuttle from Geneva.
The well-signed route climbs to a staggering 10,583 meters through some of the best scenery the Alps has to offer, with gorgeous glaciers at every turn. Starting in France, it meanders into Italy, then Switzerland, before returning to the start point. Due to the mountainous terrain, it should only be attempted between June and October
On average, the full route takes around 10 days to complete, though there are tons of variations to reduce the length and avoid the tougher sections. In terms of accommodation, you can either camp, make use of mountain huts, or stay in some of the 50 official accommodations along the trail. It’s not all wilderness either, and the trail passes through 17 towns and several small villages along the way, ideal for sampling amazing food and soaking up the local culture.
3. Hardangervidda Transverse | Losing Yourself in Tranquility
The Hardangervidda region in southern Norway is one of the largest high mountain plateaus on earth, and the vast majority of it sits above the treeline, with low points of around 970 meters. It’s a popular area for an array of hikes and cross-country skiing adventures, and there are plenty of routes to choose from, both long and short. The small village of Finse is a popular starting point, and you can get there by train from Oslo.
Traversing this epic landscape typically takes between 7 and 14 days depending on the route you choose, and can cover distances of about 120 km to more than 200 km. With elevation gains of more than 3,500 meters, the going can be tough. The trails aren’t suitable for hikers during winter months, and are best visited between June and September.
If ‘just’ multi day hiking in Europe isn’t enough adventure for you, go wild camping! But if you prefer to travel lightweight you can also pay to use the many huts that are dotted throughout the area. Hardangervidda is an amazingly remote area, and the ideal place for those seeking solitude. At the same time, the scenery is spectacular, with fjords, crashing waterfalls, and popular landmarks such as the epic Trolltunga, around every turn.
4. West Highland Way | Scotland’s Finest Hike
The Highlands of Scotland are an incredible place for hiking, and can rival even the mightiest European mountain ranges in terms of beauty. One of the most stunning ways to explore this rugged region is to take on the West Highland Way. Stretching 154 km (96 miles), with a total elevation gain of 3,155 meters, the route skirts numerous breathtaking lochs, before climbing through the peaks of the West Highlands.
Along the way, enjoy open moorlands and countryside parks, and marvel at the natural splendor all around you. The route takes you from the town of Milngavie, to Fort William, where you can see Ben Nevis. Getting to Milngavie is easy, and you can either take a train or a bus from Glasgow.
While winters can be harsh, the route can be attempted at any time of the year, though beginners should avoid October to April. Wild camping is allowed along the route, though you can also book accommodation at a variety of guesthouses and B&Bs. On average, it takes between 6 and 7 days to complete the entire trail.
5. Corsica’s GR20 | The Toughest Hike in Europe?
Corsica is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, and GR stands for Grande Randonnée in French, which translates to ‘great hike’. To many the GR20 is considered one of the most difficult hiking trails in Europe, though that’s debatable. Around 180 km (112 miles) long, with an elevation gain of around 12,000 m, it certainly demands a high level of fitness. However, the way is extremely well-marked, with several supply stops along the way.
Indeed, between 10,000 and 20,000 hikers tackle this route each year, and on average it takes around 15 days to complete. You’ll find a number of mountain huts (refugios) along the path, and you can pay to stay and eat. Otherwise, while wild camping is largely prohibited on the trail, you can camp in the area around the huts.
The trail itself crosses the island north to south, along its mountainous spine, offering incredible views the entire way. Hikers typically start in Calenzana, at the northern end of the route, and you can get there easily by bus from the ferry port at Calvi. The best times to tackle the GR20 are from June to October.
6. El Camino de Santiago | Following in the Footsteps of Pilgrims
If you want to learn something about history while hiking in Europe, this is the go-to hike. This trail dates back to the medieval ages, when pilgrims would make the trek to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Nowadays, you don’t have to be a pilgrim to enjoy this long-distance hike! There are actually a great many routes that you can take, varying in length and difficulty.
One of the most popular, however, is the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port, a town in the French Pyrenees foothills. If you’re flying to Biarritz airport, take the airport bus to the town of Bayonne, and from there you can take a direct train.
From St Jean Pied de Port, an 800 km (497 miles) hike awaits, which equates to around 5 weeks on the trail. Along the way there are many forms of accommodation, including hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. While it is possible to camp, it’s not always easy to find a good spot. The scenery along this mega-hike is extremely varied, passing through an array of towns and villages, as well as mountains, coastlines, vineyards and forests.
7. GR131 | Conquering the Canary Islands
The GR131 is an incredible trail that cuts across all 7 of the Canary Islands. In total, the route takes you over 650 km (404 miles) of incredibly varied, ever-changing scenery, as you hop from island to island. You can expect an ascent of around 20,000 meters, and the whole route generally takes around 5 weeks to complete. Of course, you can split it up into smaller chunks, and tackle one island at a time rather than all 7.
Along the way, you’ll climb incredible volcanic, mountain ranges, your efforts rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views across the sea. Traverse pine forests, black sand deserts, dunes, ancient vineyards, and stock up in far-flung villages. Wash the day’s dirt off in waterfalls and rivers, and relish being one with nature!
Strictly speaking, camping isn’t allowed on the route, but considerate, no-trace campers can find some stunning places to stay at night. Otherwise, you’ll come across an array of towns and villages, most of which offer accommodation, as well as supplies. There’s no set order or start point for the GR131, the best way to enjoy it is to take it at your own pace.
8. Alpe Adria Trail | Discover the Garden of Eden
Crossing 3 very different countries; Austria, Slovenia, and Italy, the Alpe-Adria-Trail offers extremely varied scenery and culture alike. While the route is a long one, stretching 750 km (466 miles), it’s extremely well-signed from start to end, and is pretty beginner-friendly. An elevation gain of around 2,370 meters makes for some tough sections, but for the most part it’s easy-going.
Split into 43 stages of around 20 km each, the trail typically starts on Austria’s highest mountain, Großglockner. From there it takes you on a gorgeous tour of Alpine villages and rugged mountain ranges, before crossing into Slovenia’s humble, but wild landscape. Taking in mountain lakes and immense pine forests, you eventually leave the mountains behind, arriving at Italy’s azure Adriatic coastline.
You can get to the start point by taking the ‘Glockner Bus” from Salzburg, Hinterglemm, or Zell am See, direct to Kaiser-Franz-Josefshöhe, on Großglockner. The route is open from April until October, after which winter snows shut the roads to the start of the trail. There are tons of accommodation choices along the route, such as guesthouses and chalets, but sadly wild camping isn’t allowed. Besides the amazing views, one of the best things about this route is the cultural diversity.
9. Alta Via 1 | The Dolomites High Route
Italy’s Dolomites are an incredible part of the world, offering superb mountain views, craggy rock formations, and glorious mountain lakes. The Alta Via 1, also known as the Dolomites High Route, takes you on a 120 km (75 miles) tour of this wonderland, starting in Dobbiaco and heading south to Belluno. Expect a height gain of around 6,665 meters, and a challenging trek lasting around 10 to 15 days.
A lot of the trek remains high up in the mountains, but there are excellent places to stay each night, with a number of quality mountain huts (rifugi) dotted along the trail. These are generally open from June until September (tackling the route outside of these months is not recommended), and you may need to book in advance in July and August. While camping is officially prohibited on the trail, overnight bivouacking is tolerated, as long as you set up late, leave early, and leave no trace.
The route starts from Lago di Braies, a stunning mountain lake that you can row on if time allows! You can get here by bus from Dobbiaco, and you can get there by bus or train, with several services from major nearby cities such as Innsbruk or Venice.
10. Transylvanian Mountain Trail | Into the Wild
Few places in Europe offer the rugged wilderness that you’ll find in Romania’s Transylvania region. An area steeped in history and myth, with a rich culture and awe-inspiring scenery, hiking in Europe’s Transylvania is an exciting and rewarding experience. Transylvania is circled by the wild Carpathian mountains, and it’s here that this hiking trail takes us.
The entire region is criss-crossed with hiking paths, most of which are pretty well-signed, though many can be difficult to handle at times. Expect occasional climbing sections, though cables are typically in place to help. Traversing the mountains typically takes 4 or 5 days over about 75 km (47 miles), and there are a number of simple cabins and shelters to use along the way. If you’re feeling brave, you can also bring your camping gear, just beware of wolves and bears!
The mountain trails are best explored between late June and September — throughout the rest of the year they soon become covered in deep snow. Sinaia, one of the most popular towns in the Carpathians, is a typical starting place, with regular trains and buses running from larger cities such as Bucharest and Brasov.
11. The Transcaucasian Trail | Svaneti, the Gem of Georgia
The Transcaucasian Trail is a work in progress, but the team behind it have plans to build an entire hiking network that runs across the immense Caucasian mountains — across Georgia and into Azerbaijan, via Armenia’s lower Caucasians. This epic undertaking could take some time, but some sections are more or less complete, ready for intrepid travelers!
Svaneti is perhaps the most beautiful of all of Georgia’s many national parks, showcasing the sheer might and splendor of the Caucasian mountains. This 5 stage route takes on some difficult terrain as it winds for around 140 km (87 miles) through the mountains. Along the way you’ll be immersed in deep forests and splashed by raging rivers, before climbing up mountain meadows, with glaciers and breathtaking mountains looming all around.
Starting at the village of Chuberi, the route ends at Ushguli, the highest village in Svaneti. Chuberi can be reached by Marshrutka (public minibuses), though the trailhead is around 2 and a half hours walk away from where it stops. Due to the high altitude and mountain weather, this route should only be tackled from June to October
12. Hiking in Nordkapp | Discovering the True North
There isn’t one official multi-day hiking trail to Nordkapp, though there are a number of paths you can follow over the course of a few days. Here we’ll go over a few options. First of all, Nordkapp — or the North Cape — is the most northerly point of Europe (kinda, you’ll see below!), and it’s located on the island of Magerøya. The island is full of amazing tundra landscapes, criss-crossed with various short to medium length hikes to a number of intriguing sights.
The easiest way to explore Nordkapp is to drive there, but you can also fly to Honningsvåg airport, and from there take a bus to the village of Skarsvåg. Skarsvåg is a great place to set up a base camp, with various accommodation options ranging from campsites to guesthouses. From here, you can hike to a number of stunning sites, including Nordkapp, but also Knivskjellodden peninsula — the true most northerly point of Europe, only accessible by hiking.
Wild camping is legal in Norway, and recommended — imagine wild camping in the true north, away from the expensive tourist trap of North Cape! Wild camping while hiking in Europe gives you freedom to choose trails at your leisure and settle down where you like. On the plus side, you’re never too far from settlements and supplies. The tundra landscape is awash with craggy cliffs, moon-like craters, and roaming reindeer, and is akin to hiking on another planet!
13. Rota Vicentina | Soaking up the Sun
The Rota Vicentina is a little-known route that stretches more than 400 km (250 miles) in total, running north to south through the western Portuguese provinces of Alentejo and Algarve. Split into 2 longer multi-day hikes — the Historical Way and the Fisherman’s Trail — as well as numerous 1-day circular routes, it’s a superb way to see varied landscapes and soak up the Portuguese culture. It’s also a really great route to tailor to your own needs.
You can start and finish at any point, mix the two main trails, complete one or the other, or take on the route in its entirety. For example, the Fisherman’s trail is a 4-day, 76 km (48 miles) route that mostly hugs the coast, while the Historical Way, a 10-11-day, 229 km (143 miles) hike, stays mostly inland, passing old settlements and vineyards. The official start, on the Historical Way, is at Santiago do Cacém, which can be reached by bus from Lisbon.
In terms of accommodation you’ll find tons of options along the way, including campsites, guesthouses and hostels. This part of Portugal enjoys fairly clement weather all year, so it’s possible to hike year-round. In fact, it’s best to avoid the summer high season, as it can be harder to find affordable accommodation without booking, and the weather is very hot during the day.
14. Westweg Trail | Magic and Mystery in the Black Forest
Germany’s Black Forest is a stunning area of natural beauty and a great place for hiking in Europe. Deep, dark pine forests, rumbling Alpine foothills, and high moors awash with mountain lakes, it’s a magical place to find solitude. The Westweg Trail cuts north to south for 285 km (175 miles), taking in some of the best scenery the epic forest has to offer, as well as mountain climbs.
Starting in Pforzheim — easily reached by train — the route is split into 12 stages, and can normally be completed within 2 weeks, eventually ending in Basel. You’ll pass through a number of small villages and towns along the way, so finding accommodation and supplies is a piece of cake. There’s everything from hostels and campsites, to guesthouses and mountain lodges.
Gaining around 7,900 meters of elevation across the entire route, this is a great trail to test your fitness. Well-signed in both directions, it’s pretty beginner-friendly, and there’s no need to do the entire route at once. The best times to tackle this stunning trail are between April and October — conditions can become rougher over winter making the going tough on those higher passes.
15. The Eagle Walk | Crossing the Tyrol Mountains
The Eagle Walk is a long-distance trail covering 413 km (257 miles) over 33 official stages. The route crosses pretty much all of Tyrol Province in Austria, home to some of the most spectacular Alpine landscapes in the country. It’s designed in such a way that it can be split into various day hikes, one continuous monster hike, or several shorter multi-day hikes, in which travelers pick and choose the sections they want to visit. When viewed on a map, the trail resembles the shape of an eagle, hence the name.
If you’re planning to complete the whole route, expect a total elevation gain of a whopping 31 km, and about 33 days of hiking. The first stage begins at the Rummlerhof inn, in the Alpine town of St. Johann, which you can reach via airport shuttle from Innsbruck, Salzburg, or Munich. From here you’ll cross the untamed Wilder Kaiser mountains, into the Arlberg massif, and eventually onto the face of Großglockner in East Tirol, Austria’s tallest mountain.
The paths are well-signed and offer up a rich tapestry of landscapes to lose yourself in; rugged mountains give way to Alpine meadows, blooming with wildflowers, set alongside bubbling brooks that lead to immense waterfalls, which in turn dribble along into ice caves! You’ll come across numerous mountain huts to stay in, as well as villages and towns that offer up varied accommodation options, though camping is scarce. The route is typically open from mid-June until late September.
16. Kungsleden | Following the King’s Trail Through Lapland
The Kungsleden (the King’s Trail) is an incredible 100+ km trail through Swedish Lapland, an area of majestic beauty, north of the Arctic Circle. Considered one of the best hikes in Europe, it’s well sign-posted with a good infrastructure in terms of bridges, huts, and supplies along the way. In fact, for much of the trail, you’ll find huts every 20 km or so.
Along the trail, you’ll come across some of the highest mountains in Sweden, and depending on the time of year, bask in the midnight sun or marvel at the northern lights. With a total elevation gain of over 8,900 meters, the route runs north to south, from Abisko to Norrbotten. The easiest way to reach Abisko is to fly to Kiruna, and from there take a train or bus.
Hiking the Kungsleden is only really possible from June until September (you can see the northern lights in September!), due to harsh weather over winter months. Be advised that most huts are closed during the winter, so there are no supplies to be found once you’re in the wilderness. In terms of accommodation, the mountain huts can be booked in advance, otherwise you can wild camp along most of the trail with ease.
14 Stunning Single-Day Hikes
Day hiking in Europe a great way to explore the area you’re staying in without worrying about carrying all your belongings with you. Typically easier going than multi-day hikes, the following single-day hikes are among the best in Europe. They take in amazing scenery, while providing a nice challenge.
Let’s take a look!
1. The Edelweiss Trail | Searching for Wildflowers in the Alps
The elusive Edelweiss is a stunning Alpine flower that is seldom seen outside of Alpine slopes. Hiking this trail leads you to a veritable hidden treasure trove in Europe, where wildflowers such as Edelweiss thrive amid rugged conditions. Covering a distance of 20.7 km (13 miles), the Edelweiss trail, or Edelweissweg, is a stunning circular route that encompasses some of the most beautiful sights the Swiss Alps has to offer.
It’s a perfect one-day hike, typically taking around 7 and a half hours to complete. It starts from the station at Zermatt, a car-free ski town that can be reached by taking a train, airport shuttle, or driving to Tasch. From there, you can take the mountain cog railway straight to Zermatt station. The route is closed during winter months, and typically opens from June through October.
With an elevation gain of around 1,260 meters, the going can be tough at times, with loose scree, slick with the waters from natural springs. However, it’s well worth the effort. The Matterhorn can be seen through much of the route, as well as glaciers and an incredible waterfall at the end. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for eagles and mountain goats, and of course, the elusive Edelweiss.
2. Kallur Lighthouse | Walking Above the Waves
The Faroe Islands are an incredible place for some exciting hiking adventures, and one of the best has to be the Kallur Lighthouse trail. At around 3.9 km (2.5 miles) and with an elevation gain of just under 300 meters, it’s not the most difficult hike in the world, but it offers up some amazing views. No doubt you’ve seen photos of this iconic area online!
The lighthouse is located on the island of Kalsoy, which can only be reached by ferry. While the hike itself shouldn’t take more than an hour each way, it’s worth allowing 8-hours for the round trip, at least if you’re not staying on the island overnight. In fact, getting to the start point of Trøllanes requires a little planning — you’ll need to take the ferry from Klaksvik (you can take a bus from Tórshavn or drive). The ferry lands at Syðradalur, and from there you can take another bus to Trøllanes, or drive if you have a car.
From Trøllanes, the route is fairly easy to spot, as it winds along the side of a mountain. Grassy tracks lead to jagged cliff edges and amazing sea views, before you eventually reach the lighthouse. There are a number of viewpoints to enjoy — if you don’t suffer too badly from vertigo — and you’ll see fantastic views all around.
3. Valley of the Seven Lakes | Enjoy Life in the Slow Lane
Slovenia might be small, but it’s packed full of amazing scenery that takes in mountains, waterfalls, lakes, forests, and much more. The Valley of the Seven Lakes trail is a fantastic way to see the best that the country has to offer. It’s a 25.7 km (16 miles), looped trail, and you can park your car at the start, near the town of Stara Fužina. Be advised, you’ll need to pay €10 to access the mountain road.
Gaining 1,190 meters of elevation along the way, it typically takes anywhere from 7 to 11 hours to complete, though for the most part the going is fairly good. The trail is open from spring through fall, and it can be an amazing place to explore in September as the colors start to change.
As well as numerous mountain lakes, you can expect to see stunning pastures, jagged mountain ridges, woodlands, and rolling hills. If you prefer to spend more time in the valley, this hike can also be split into 2 days, as there are campsites and mountain huts along the way.
4. Montaña Blanca Trail | Admiring the View from Volcanoes
Tenerife may have a reputation as the Canary Islands party central, but there’s so much more to this slice of paradise than clubs and beaches. The center of the island is home to rugged, volcanic landscapes, with mountains reaching up to the sky. Located in the Teide National Park, Montaña Blanca might not be the tallest peak in the park, but it offers spectacular views, and it’s possible to hike up and down in a day.
The route starts at the foot of Montaña Blanca, in a car park on the TF-21. If you’re not driving, there’s also a bus stop here, with buses departing from the El Portillo Visitor Center — easily reached from Santa Cruz. The linear trail takes you 10.6 km to the La Rambleta — La Fortaleza Lookout Point, at a height of 3,536 meters and an elevation gain of 368 meters. Well-signed, it’ll typically take 5 hours to reach the peak, and it’s a good route for beginners who are in fairly good shape.
The area might see snow and dense mist in the winter, so it’s best to attempt this hiking trail in the far South of Europe between spring and fall. Along the walk you’ll pass amazing scenery, taking in lava fields strewn with giant lava boulders and the views from the top are incredible. At one point, the trail forks and leads to the peak of El Teide, an active volcano and Spain’s tallest mountain. The way up is pretty steep and hard going, but there is a mountain hut half-way if you wanted to turn this into a 2-day hike.
5. Morskie Oko | Trailing the Tatras
Okay, so we’ll admit it, this isn’t the most thrilling hike for serious adventure travelers, but bear with us! In recent years it’s true that the Polish Tatras have become extremely popular with tourists, and as a result, many hiking trails are very user-friendly, and frankly overcrowded. However, Morskie Oko is worth checking out, especially outside of peak season.
Translated to the ‘Eye of the Sea’, Morskie Oko is a huge, crystal clear mountain lake in the High Tatras, an area of stunning natural beauty to rival the Alps. The trail is simple to follow, mostly asphalted, and covers around 16 km (10 miles) from the start at Palenica Białczańska to the lake and back. One way this typically takes around 2 hours. To do a loop of the lake, the total distance is 17.6 km (11 miles), but while you’re there, it’s also worth hiking up to Czarny Staw pod Rysami for a bird’s eye view of the epic lake. This brings the entire trip from start to end to around 19.4 km (13 miles), with an elevation gain of around 600 meters.
Getting to the trailhead from Zakopane is easy; either drive to Palenica Białczańska and use the spacious car park (around €2.50), or take one of the many buses from Zakopane bus terminal. This easy hike — you can even take a horse and carriage to the lake — is open year round, and winter snows transform the area into a real wonderland. You can avoid the worst of the crowds by traveling out of season.
6. Caminito del Rey | The Walkway of Death
The iconic walkway of death refers to a hiking trail in Europe that creeps through the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, an area of stunning natural beauty that cuts through a natural canyon, 700 meters deep. Carved out by the Guadalhorce River, this natural canyon is a wonder to behold. The Caminito del Rey is an old trail that hugs the canyon wall, with heart fluttering drops just inches from your feet.
Much of the 7.7 km (5 miles) trail is made up of boardwalks, narrow wooden ledges that are fixed to the canyon wall. In recent years, the path has been renovated, and isn’t nearly as deadly as it once was — you can see the old boardwalks as you make your way along the path, and you’ll soon see how the trail got its name. Nowadays, it’s a fairly easy and safe hike that typically takes around 2 to 3 hours to complete, and the scenery is absolutely stunning.
You’ll need to purchase a ticket for the Caminito del Rey, which costs €10 and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. The easiest way to get to the start point is to take a train to the village of El Chorro, and from there you can take a direct bus to the start point. With decent weather all year, you can enjoy this hike year round, with far fewer crowds outside of summer months.
7. Trolltunga | Trekking to the Troll’s Tongue
The legendary Trolltunaga, or the Troll’s Tongue, is a thin slither of rock that juts out over 700 meters above Ringedalsvatnet lake. It’s one of Norway’s iconic attractions, appearing in countless films and TV shows, and infinite Instagram photos! There’s a fantastic one-day hike that’ll take you to this wondrous landmark, that takes in amazing scenery along the entire route.
The main trailhead starts at ‘P2’ in Skjeggedal, which is reached by shuttle from the town of Odda — you can get to Odda by bus from Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Voss. From the P2 trailhead, it’s a 28 km (17 miles) round trip that ascends almost 800 meters. The entire trek should typically take between 8 and 12 hours, though a shorter route is available from P3 Mågelitopp (20 km/12.5 miles, ascending around 320 meters and taking about 7-10 hours).
Due to weather concerns, the main hiking season is from June until September — outside of those months only guided tours are allowed. This is one of Norway’s most popular hikes, so you can expect heavy traffic and long lines for photo ops on the tongue in high season. But it’s well worth taking on, the view from the top is simply amazing, even if you don’t want to queue to stand on the tongue itself.
8. Kjeragbolten | Standing on the Boulders of Giants
The Kjerag boulder is wedged in tight between 2 cliff faces, towering 1,100 meters above the beautiful Lysefjord. You’ve probably seen the pictures, but the real thing is simply magical, and your imagination will run wild as you try to find an explanation as to how this phenomenon ever occurred! The hike up to the mysterious boulder is 11 km (7 miles) there and back, with an elevation gain of around 750 meters.
There are some extremely steep sections, but chains will help you pull yourself up, though the rocks can be slippery in the rain. Generally, the round trip will take between 6 and 10 hours, taking in amazingly varied landscapes and views. It’s a pretty strenuous hike, but it’s well worth the effort, and the adrenaline rush from standing atop the famous boulder is exhilarating!
The trail starts in Øygardstøl, and you can either drive here via car ferry from Stavanger, or take a bus from the same town. Kjeragbolten trail is open from June until the end of September — outside of the season you’ll need to go on a guided tour.
9. Three Peaks Hiking Trail | Discovering the Dolomites
The iconic three peaks, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Italian, are one of the most iconic sights in the Dolomites, one of Italy’s most amazing landscapes. High up in the Alps, breathtaking scenery awaits at every turn, and the three peaks area showcases some of the best. There are a number of hiking routes in the area, allowing you to explore, but the main trail, and most others, start from Rifugio Auronzo.
To get to Rifugio Auronzo, you’ll need to pay a €30 toll if you’re driving to get to the car park. Otherwise, you can take a bus from nearby Dobbiaco. From Rifugio Auronzo, the main route loops around an 8.8 km (5.5 miles) trail, taking in the iconic three peaks, as well as a wealth of alien-esque landscapes full of jagged rocks and precarious edges.
The going is fairly easy for the most part, with an elevation gain of around 550 meters, and some sections of tunnels and the Via ferrata (Iron Way). Here, iron cables aid your climb across precarious edges. The classic route will typically take around 5 to 6 hours to complete, and is open from May until November.
10. Eiger Trail Hike | A Short and Sweet Alpine Trail
The Eiger Trail is a fantastic, quick hike in Europe, that provides amazing scenery all the way. If you’re short on time, but want to enjoy the breathtaking nature that the Swiss Alps has to offer, this is the hike for you. The trail travels point-to-point from Eigergletscher train station, downhill to Alpiglen train station, across a length of around 6 km (4 miles).
Getting to the starting point couldn’t be easier, just hop on a train and jump off at Eigergletscher station! From there, it’s a mostly downhill hike through steep alpine pastures, taking in wild streams, cascading waterfalls, and mountain views. Along the way, you’ll drop around 780 meters, and the total time should take between 2 and 3 hours.
The well-signed trail is open from June through October, and even during the busiest seasons it seldom becomes crowded. Once you’ve finished, you can jump back on the train and return to wherever you’re staying. Special Eiger Trail train tickets cost anywhere from 24 to 70 CHF on average, which includes the fare for the journey to Eigergletscher station and a return to your original destination from Alpiglen station.
11. Valbona to Theth | A trek across Albania’s Accursed Mountains
Don’t let the name of these mountains put you off! The area is absolutely stunning and a real pleasure to explore over the course of a day’s hike. Valbona and Theth are both small villages that share their names with the national parks they’re located in. Situated in northern Albania, it’s an area of jagged mountain ridges, meandering rivers, beautiful forests, and historic settlements.
The trail takes you from the village of Valbona, across the mountains, to Theth — of course you can do it the other way round. However, most people start from Valbona. While the hike itself is just 12 – 17 km (7.5 to 10.5 miles) long depending on where you’re staying in Valbona, and typically takes 6 to 8 hours, many trekkers make a 3-day round trip that incorporates this hike.
Starting in Shkodër, take a bus to the astonishing Lake Koman, which you will travel across by ferry. You can then take a bus from the lake to Valbona and stay the night. Rise nice and early the next day and complete the amazing hike, then either stay in Theth, or return to Shkodër. The trail is very well-marked, and gains an elevation of 1800 meters. Open late May through October, it’s best tackled towards the end of summer, when you’ll witness the amazing colors of Autumn.
12. Romania’s Retezat Mountains | Cut off from the Hustle and Bustle
The Retezat mountains get their name due to their flat peaks, and it looks as if the tops were “cut off” — which is exactly what Retezat means in Romanian. Retezat national park is Romania’s oldest, and one of its most remote; stunning in its tranquility, it’s a real wilderness, home to lynx, bears, wolves, marmots, eagles, and much more. The area is fantastic for multi-day hikes and single day hikes alike, with marked trails criss-crossing the entire park, leading up to peaks, glacial lakes, caves, and forests.
Climbing to Vârful Retezat (or Retezat peak, the third highest in the park) is a top choice for a challenging, but rewarding day hike. In fact, there are various routes to take, depending on how you enter the park. One popular route takes in around 12.2 km (7.5 miles) there and back, starting at the Rausor entrance, with a total elevation gain of 1,220 meters, passing the sublime lake stevia along the way. The hike up to the peak should take around 4 or 5 hours, with some tough sections near the top. Be sure to account for the return trip!
There’s a fee to enter the park of around €2, and the easiest way to get to any of the entry points is to drive. However, it’s worth the effort, as you’ll be treated to unspoiled landscapes, barely touched by humanity. Having said that, the park can be a little busy on summer weekends, but weekdays and shoulder seasons are ideal times to visit. The recommended hiking season is June to October.
13. Zandvoort en Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen | Walk Among the Wildlife
Home is where the heart is, and for us that’s the Netherlands! It’s easy to forget about the places you walked while growing up, but there are tons of amazing hikes in the Netherlands. This is one of our favorites, full of varied scenery, beautiful wildlife and nice places to stop and grab refreshments.
Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is a stunning nature reserve just a short way from Amsterdam, so you can easily take a day out of the city to complete this hike. The route starts in the seaside town of Zandvoort, which you can reach by train, or if you’re driving, park at Zandvoort Zuid car park. From here, simply head to the beach and follow the signs to the reserve. Be advised that there’s a €1.50 entrance fee to the park and dogs are not allowed.
The trail stretches for 21.7 km (13.5 miles), with an elevation gain of 262 meters, making it a fairly moderate hike that most people should enjoy without issue. Along the way, it takes in sections of the beach, sand dunes, woodlands, lakes, and canals, as well as numerous wild animals, including foxes, deer, and birds of prey. At the end, there’s a fantastic pancake restaurant for a tasty reward, and from there you can either walk back to Zandvoort, or take a bus.
For more hiking in the Netherlands, check out these 5 forest hiking trails near Utrecht.
14. 14 peaks of Snowdonia | Can You Complete the Challenge?
Let’s finish with a hiking challenge in Europe — can you conquer the 14 (well, actually it’s 15 since the OS maps were updated) peaks of Snowdonia in 24 hours? Also known as the Welsh 3000s, this adventure hike takes you on a journey to the top of each mountain in Wales that is more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) high. It’s tough, but it can be done, and the current record stands at a staggering 4 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds!
You can attempt the challenge from various different starting points, and there’s no set order in which you should reach the peaks. However, one of the most popular is the Crib Goch route, starting at Pen-y-pass. Not for the fainthearted, this trail consists of exposed, jagged ridges and sheer drops, but it is the best way to actually climb all of the mountains. It’s 46.8 km (29 miles) long from start to finish, with an elevation gain of around 900 meters, and for most people it’ll take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours to complete.
Besides the challenge, the scenery in Snowdonia is absolutely stunning, and if you’re lucky to be there on a clear night, the stars are so amazingly bright! This hike can be broken up into a multi-day hike if you’d rather take your time, and there are plenty of places to camp, as well as hostels and guesthouses. There’s a car park at Pen-y-pass, but it’s small and expensive — however, the Snowdon Sherpa is a bus service that can take you to all the main trailheads in Snowdonia National Park.
Hiking in Europe: Packing List Essentials
By now you’re probably furiously planning your next hike, but before you rush away and dust the old boots off, it’s important to remember to pack the essentials! For us, we never leave for any hike into the wilderness without the following items:
- Water bottle/bladder: having a good supply of potable water with you is a must, no matter how short the hike. Nowadays, there are plenty of excellent, lightweight choices that are reusable and hygienic. No matter how tempted you are to lighten the load, always make space for plenty of water.
- SPOT (safety system): adventure hiking by its very nature is risky, but there’s no point in increasing the danger unnecessarily. With a SPOT safety device, you can maintain communication with the outside world well beyond the range of cell phone service. Using GPS, it’ll send out an SOS to rescue teams in case of an emergency, making it a really handy tool that might just save your life.
- Robust hiking boots: budget travelers beware! If there’s one thing you should never skimp on, it’s your hiking boots. A good, properly fitted pair will prevent twisted ankles, slipping down scree, and much more, for many years after you buy them. Be sure they’re waterproof and breathable, but most importantly, comfortable!
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to packing for exploring the hiking trails of Europe. Fortunately, you can check out our full packing list right here!
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Thanks for checking out these 30 incredible hiking trails in Europe. I don’t know how about you, but I want to scratch them all off my bucket list! Just let us know in the comments below which hike you would love to do most or which one you’ve conquered already! And for more hiking inspiration you better check out our travel tips!