Rain, hail or thunderstorm can be a matter of great concern for the normal human being, but not for hikers.
Harshest climates, steepest climbs, most difficult terrains are a hiker’s favorite only to gather the most amazing of all experiences.
So, we thought of adding a little inspiration to hikers. Here are 21 of the best hiking trails in Europe which are a must-visit. If you haven’t done them yet, you’re missing something. Go today.
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- 1. Tour de Mont Blanc – France, Italy & Switzerland
- 2. The Haute Route – France & Switzerland
- 3. GR20 – France
- 4. Laugavegurinn Pass – Iceland
- 5. Sarek National Park – Sweden
- 6. Cinque Terre – Italy
- 7. Kungsleden – Sweden
- 8. Croagh Patrick – Ireland
- 9. Grindelwald – Switzerland
- 10. Zillertal Alps – Austria
- 11. West Highland way – Scotland
- 12. Alta Via 1 – Italy
- 13. Bernese Overland Trail – Switzerland
- 14. Slovenian Mountain Trail – Slovenia
- 15. El Camino Del Rey – Spain
- 16. Knivskjellodden – Norway
- 17. Hot Spring Route – Iceland
- 18. Eagles Walk – Austria
- 19. Westweg Trail – Germany
- 20. Retezat Mountains – Romania
- 21. Cinque Terre Coastal trail – Italy
1. Tour de Mont Blanc – France, Italy & Switzerland
This trail is the mother of all trails, a hiker’s dream come true. Covering three beautiful countries – France, Italy and Switzerland, this trail circles the Mont Blanc through several passes, valleys and mesmerizing glaciers.
The tour can be done in seven to ten days, but if you’re short of time or you love to push your body to its limits, you can do this in 3 days also.
The highest peak of the Alps is always there while you travel through the beautiful terrain.
Travel light and don’t bother about taking food along. Stop at villages on the way to help yourself to local cheeses, fondue, delicious wines and homemade bread.
The best time to explore this trail is summer.
2. The Haute Route – France & Switzerland
Well, the two countries – France and Switzerland fills out a vision with lush green meadows, vineyards, the snow-covered Alps and beautiful waterfalls, doesn’t it?
The Haute Route is one of the most popular hiking routes which starts in Chamonix, France and ends at Zermitt, Switzerland. The routes vary between summer and winter and takes about two weeks to complete.
A little word of caution!
Try this only if you are an active hiker because the route entails steep climbs, long walks and crossing difficult terrains.
Be sure that you have booked the trip with a guide to lead you to the hike. Your guide will provide you with all the information you need.
3. GR20 – France
If you are an Asterix fan, Corsica should not be unknown to you. Corsica hosts this legendary 168 Km (104 miles) hike built-in 1972.
It passes through Calenzana, Balagne and ends in Conca, north of Porto Vecchio.
This hiking trail completes a hiker’s dose of adventure with rickety bridges, ice rivers, mountains, bogs, and forests. Calenzana can be reached by a bus from Calvi. To reach Calvi, simply take a flight from Saint Catherine airport or take a local ferry.
Covering this trail will be an experience of a lifetime.
4. Laugavegurinn Pass – Iceland
34 miles of untouched, unhiked terrain awaits you in this Scandinavian country. It takes about 4 days to complete and runs from Landmannalaugar hut in the north to Thorsmork park in the south.
You also have the option to start or end the trip at the splendid 200 foot high Skogafoss waterfall.
The trail offers several routes laden with volcanic landscaped, copper-colored rhyolite peaks, steaming fumaroles and of course lush green landscapes.
A small word of caution!
Book your bunks beforehand because they fill up fast. You can, of course, set up tents outside the huts as an alternative.
Also, do remember to keep a check on the bus schedule since buses run only once or twice a day.
Summer is the best time to head out for this track.
We couldn’t find a picture that would describe Iceland views to its fullest, we just couldn’t sleep if we deprived the world of seeing this beautiful scene from “Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. (Plus, our admin adores longboards)
P.S. For more breathtaking views from movies, which inspired to travel more, check out this list of travel movies.
5. Sarek National Park – Sweden
This trail explores Sweden like none other. 1220 Square Kilometer (760 Square miles) of untouched Swedish terrain is ready for you to explore at your own pace.
The best part is you are free to follow your own route.
A spectacular combination of mountains and valleys with rivers flowing in between is waiting for you to be explored in this trail situated in the north of Sweden.
The Sarek National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Europe and is probably one of the most inaccessible one – a dreamland for the soul who wants to escape crowd and mundane city life.
6. Cinque Terre – Italy
A short trek of just 12Km (7.5 miles), this is a trek for the casual hiker. It’s more of a walk than a trek along the mesmerizing Western Italian Cost.
The trail covers five Italian towns and gives the best experience of exploring the Italian culture. The Trek begins from the first village of Corniglia which can be reached via train from Cinque Terra.
7. Kungsleden – Sweden
If you are a hiking lover and haven’t done this trail, your hiking diary is not complete. Covering a total 434 Km (270 miles), this trek covers the untouched European country.
Follow this trail in summer to explore the lush green temperate grasslands, experience the beauty of snow-white Alps in winter when it becomes a snow trail.
The trail starts from Abisko which takes around 13 hours to reach from Stockholm. It can also be reached by train from Lulea and Gallivare too.
8. Croagh Patrick – Ireland
If your love for hiking is a recent one and you are looking for a trail easy on the body, this is your trail.
A short track of 4Km (3 miles) it takes only about 4 to 5 hours to complete and gives the best view of the Irish landscape.
Take a train from Dublin to reach Westport in County Mayo. Croagh Patrick is situated in Westport. The best season to do this trail is summer (April – September).
9. Grindelwald – Switzerland
This too is a trail suitable for beginners. Grindelwald provides multiple routes for the hiker to decide. Some of these routes last a day while others take a week to complete.
290 Km (180 miles) of lush green Swiss landscape is waiting for you to be explored.
Grindelwald can be reached from Interlaken by train in just half an hour. A small tip for hiking lovers – it’s more fun doing this by foot.
10. Zillertal Alps – Austria
1400 kilometers (869 miles) of the Austrian Alps is waiting for you to be explored in this trail. From vast green valleys to rugged peaks, this hiking area is a toast for the eye.
While there are several trails to be explored, we recommend the Berliner Hohenweg which takes around seven days to complete.
Take breaks at 150 mountain huts which are mountain restaurants serving refreshments made from Zillertal products.
If you are the tech-savvy hiker, you can opt for Geocaching too. Good news for hikers who are parents, the trail has routes that can be explored with children as well.
11. West Highland way – Scotland
This is one of the most famous long-distance hiking trails of Scotland which starts at Milngavie, located about half an hour away from Glasgow airport and ends at Loch Linnhe, one of the longest sea lochs of the country.
Laden with ancient military roads and footpaths, nothing captures the beauty of the Scottish highland better than this trail.
The trail passes through the famous pastures of Loch Lomond, the spectacular swamps of Rannoch Moor and the rocky ridge of Aonach Eagach.
A small fun fact!
At the end of the trail at Fort William, don’t forget to take a ride on the historic steam train named The Jacobite.
More popularly known as the Hogwarts express, this is the train featured in the Harry Potter movies.
12. Alta Via 1 – Italy
More popularly known as the Dolomite High Route, this trail is through the Dolomite mountain range and gives the hikers a tour of the World War I battlefields.
From alpine lakes, lush meadows, limestone cliffs to rugged peaks, experience the alpine geology in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best season to visit is from July to September when there is no snow on the route.
A little word of wisdom
Avoid the month of August which is the summer vacation month for the country. Hiking through a sea of crowd is definitely not something one wants to experience.
13. Bernese Overland Trail – Switzerland
This network of infinite trails probably is the best route in Europe to experience Alpine meadows.
The routes encircle the granite peaks of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau and cover breathtaking waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, full bloom meadows where the picture-perfect swiss cows graze.
The route is suitable for single-day hikes and week-long expeditions.
We suggest you do some research to see which trail you want to take. But this will be a difficult choice to make as all of them are equally beautiful.
14. Slovenian Mountain Trail – Slovenia
This mountain trail was created in the year 1953 by linking the most famous ranges Pohorje, Julian Alps, Kamnik Savinja, Alps and Karavanke.
The trail begins at Maribor, and Alpine town ends at Ankaran, a coastal village and covers mountain ridges, peaks, valleys, Pannonian plains and Mediterranean vineyards.
The trail is extremely well maintained with almost 8- checkpoints, 50 huts, and two museums. This trail is definitely to do a thing for a nature lover.
15. El Camino Del Rey – Spain
This most famous long-distance route of Spain is actually an ancient Roman trade route. You have many choices to start from, but the end is always Santiago de Compostela, a cathedral in Northern Spain.
Out of the variety of routes, the most famous begins in the river town of Saint Jean Pied de Port of France located near the Spanish border, crossed through the Pyrenees into the glacier-laden countryside. This route is more popularly called the French Way.
A variety of accommodations, villages, and restaurants provide ample options for hikers to take breaks during the trail.
16. Knivskjellodden – Norway
You get to walk through the northernmost point of mainland Europe in this trail. The route gives the ultimate pleasure of seclusion and oneness with nature. Spend a night at Knivskjellodden and walk back the next morning to make the best out of this trail.
Needless to say, this trail can only be done in summer because the entire region is covered in Arctic snow in winter.
17. Hot Spring Route – Iceland
Another gem from Iceland, this route is about 55km (34 miles), but gives the best possible experience of Iceland.
Linking the hot springs of Landmannalaugar and the glacial valley of Porsmork, it takes around 3 to 4 days to complete.
If you want to be out in the wilderness for long, you can combine this with the Fimmvorouhals trail which involves an additional two days of walking 25 Kilometers and in the end climbing another 1000 meters.
18. Eagles Walk – Austria
This is mostly a day trip although people often do it in many days. This trail has options for all types of hikers – from beginners to experts since it is broken into 33 stages which one can choose from.
The trail covers the beautiful country of Austria from east to west and is about 412 Km (256 miles) long.
19. Westweg Trail – Germany
This trail passes through the Black Forest in southwest Germany and links Basel with Pforzheim. 285 Km (177 miles) long, this trail passes through many small friendly villages which provide food and accommodation to the travelers.
The best thing is there is a facility to transport your luggage to the next accommodation giving you the option to travel light. This trail is a part of the European Long Distance Trail, E1.
20. Retezat Mountains – Romania
Last in the list, but definitely not the least, this trail passes through the Retezat Mountains in Romania, a part of the Southern Carpathians. The mountain range is little known, but provides endless options to hikers.
There are basically two areas to explore – the Limestone Retezat and the Central Retezat. The Limestone Retezat route passes through lower altitudes and covers caves and gorges. The Central Retezat route, on the other hand, covers higher peaks, valleys, and lakes.
Head out to this route if you want to do something out of ordinary. This trail provides great options for day travel or it can be covered in several days.
21. Cinque Terre Coastal trail – Italy
If you want a change from the mountainous landscape, this is the trail you should head for.
This 11km (6.8 miles) long coastal route connects five Italian towns – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all five-part of the UNESCO world heritage list.
Although the whole trail can be done in 6 hours, most do it in 2 days to soak in the Italian culture. Magnificent architecture coupled with delicious food is the added attraction of this trail.
This is our favorite list of top 21 hiking trails. We hope you will have a new and fun hiking experience in the near future!