Whether you’re looking for something short and sweet or you really want to go all out and test your fitness abilities, Europe can accommodate all your hiking needs.
Take a look at these five best hiking destinations in Europe for some serious wanderlust inspiration!
Italy is home to various spectacular hiking trails including the Cinque Terre and of course, the world-famous Dolomites.
The Dolomites are renowned for being one of the most captivating expanses of landscape in Europe and as soon as you start your hiking trail there, it’s clear why. Hiking trails in the Dolomites vary depending on many different factors but you can usually expect around 5 days of hiking with up to 6 or 7 hours of walking a day.
Of course, you could opt for something a little less intense and instead hike the 40km of the Cinque Terre. While this route is much shorter, it can still be quite strenuous in places and you can expect varying terrains depending on the time of year and weather.
If you’re looking for a hiking destination in Europe that combines towering mountain tops, skiing opportunities, and postcard-perfect lakes, then Italy is the destination for you!
Home to many places to hike, Scotland is arguably the best place in the UK to don your hiking boots and hit the open road.
The Scottish Highlands and the West Highland Way are some of the most popular places to enjoy hiking in Scotland as the landscapes there are so vast and varied.
You’ll be able to enjoy stunning views over the sprawling hills and valleys and you’ll likely encounter numerous types of wildlife while you’re out and about, too.
The Scottish Highlands are also an idyllic place to enjoy a hiking trail as there are so many to choose from so there’s sure to be something that caters to your fitness levels and abilities!
While Spain might be more synonymous with its expansive beaches and quintessential tapas dishes, it’s also home to numerous hiking trails.
One of the most popular is the Camino de Santiago; a primarily religious hiking trail that sends wanderers through lush Spanish landscapes, villages and towns where they conclude at the Compostela de Santiago.
You don’t have to be religious to embark on this hike, but it is one of the most profoundly peaceful trails in Europe and is ideal for those seeking some time alone, as they can enjoy some quality time on their own and be fully immersed in the surrounding natural habitat.
There are many different routes so this trail can be as long or as short as you desire and there’s no pressure to complete it if you don’t feel up to it. If you do decide to walk the whole thing, you’ll pass through some of Spain’s most picturesque villages and you’ll get the chance to meet the locals and learn from them along the way.
It’s an eye-opening experience, whether you do it for religious purposes or not and is often cited as one of the best hiking destinations in Europe for people from all over the world.
Similarly to Spain, France has many places that are perfect for long hikes and walks.
One of the most famous hiking trails in France is the Tour du Mont Blanc; a trek that can see you reaching the summit of the tallest mountain peak in Europe.
However, if your hiking skills aren’t quite up to scratch, you don’t need to worry about hiking all the way to the summit. Instead, you can enjoy one of the many “easier” routes that will see you remaining much further below the peak.
The hiking trail, should you decide to complete the entire thing, is a lengthy 170km long and will likely take you between 10 and 14 days to complete, depending on your fitness levels and how long you want to spend in each stop while you admire the views.
For that reason, you can enjoy a hearty offering of varying levels of accommodation options; all the way from lavish, high-end luxury huts, to backpacker-style hostels.
Iceland is another place that’s an idyllic hiking destination in Europe.
Here you’ll find the likes of the Laugavegur hiking trail which traverses through captivating Icelandic landscapes with the chance to admire many waterfalls, valleys, hills, ice caves and even black arctic deserts.
Iceland offers visitors such a vastly diverse landscape and the scenery here is unlike anything else you have ever seen before. A trip to Iceland definitely needs to be on your radar if you’re looking for the most beautiful hiking destinations in Europe.
Europe really is the place to be if you’re looking to achieve your hiking goals. Places such as Iceland, Italy and Spain provide ample hiking opportunities for people of all kinds of fitness capabilities.
by Rebecca Brown
I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveller, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.