From a beach bum to a hike addict. I didn’t realise hiking was growing on me so much. Lying on the beach while drinking piña colada - that always sounded like a perfect holiday to me. Who’d rather prefer going up the hill for several hours while sweating buckets and struggling to catch a breath? Certainly, not me! I could barely last half an hour on the treadmill! But then, I started travelling more and discovering the beauty of nature. It didn’t take me long to get hooked...
The further you travel, the more you walk, the higher you climb.
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The Bucket List: Best Hikes in Europe
Hiking is a fantastic outdoor activity. Fact. It takes a lot of energy and effort, yet gives you such a buzz. Especially, when you get to the top of that mountain and the view in front of view is breathtaking! There are so many benefits of hiking, too. The main one includes improved health and fitness. So, you can feel less guilty about skipping the gym!
After my recent hike to Pulpit Rock, I’ve decided to compile a bucket list for the best places to hike in Europe. I specifically have chosen the ones with the most beautiful scenery. So, here it goes, in no particular order...
1. Trolltunga, Norway
Trolltunga a.k.a. Troll’s tongue; the name given for its iconic shape. One of Norway’s most spectacular rock formations. It's 700 metres above lake Ringedal. The route is a 27 kilometres long round-trip and the total time for a hike is about 10-12 hours. It is graded black, which means that it is a very demanding hike. Certainly worth the views, though!
2. Cinque Terre, Italy
This trek is more like taking a long walk across five villages of the picturesque Western Italian Coast. There are different trails you can take. The “Blue Trail” is the most popular one, which takes about 6 hours to walk the entire 12 kilometres long route. Crystal clear water and colourful houses? I'll even walk across ten villages to get there!
3. Oeschinen Lake, Switzerland
Located in Kandersteg, Switzerland. The lake is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. An easy 2-hour hike (4 kilometres round trip) will get you to that hidden gem. For almost half a year, the lake freezes and it’s even possible to ice skate on it. A romantic date idea for you, right there!
4. Laugavegur, Iceland
Also called Laugavegurinn, is a long 55 kilometres hiking trail in South West Iceland. It runs between natural hot springs of Landmannalaugar and glacial valley of Þórsmörk (“Thor’s Wood”). Takes about 2 to 4 days to complete. This is not a trek for wildlife spotting or tree hugging, but a very colourful, wide open landscape. Looks out of this world!
5. Tour Du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, Switzerland
One of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe. The 170 kilometres long trek that passes through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France. It has a variety of accommodations available along the way. It can take from 4 active days of hiking to 12 leisurely days... or even less than 24 hours, as seen at the annual mountain marathon(!).
6. Kjerag, Norway
Highest peak in the Lysefjord. It’s around 11 kilometres long and takes 6 to 10 hours up and back. The main attraction is the Kjeragbolten; a round rock wedged solidly in a mountain crevice. Those who dare will stand (or jump!) on top of it, for that epic picture. Kjerag is also popular with extreme sport lovers for base jumping... would you dare?
7. Sarek National Park, Sweden
Located in Sweden’s Lapland. The distance of 109 kilometres takes about 5 to 7 days to cover. Much of Sarek National Park is trail-less, so you can wander around the untouched terrain at your own pace. Sarek guarantees mesmerising views of long valleys, rivers, glaciers and distinctive peaks. The nature's canvas.
8. Alta Via 2, Italy
One of the several Alta Via’s (or High Trails) that passes the Dolomites, a mountain range in Northern Italy. Declared as UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s 55 kilometres and takes 4 days to complete. Alta Via 1 is easier and therefore more popular within hiking community. On the other hand, Alta Via 2 is less crowded and more rugged. Yet offers spectacular sights of serene valleys and towering mountains throughout.
9. Plitvice National Lake, Croatia
The natural wonder of 90 waterfalls and many lakes. There are several different hiking trails you can take. These are from 3.5 to 18 kilometres and so can take from 3 to 8 hours. The difficulty of these trails rises relatively with their length.
10. Zillertal Alps, Austria
There are many hiking routes you can take, with "Peter-Habeler Route“ and the "Munich-Venice Dream Trail“ as the most popular ones. The first one is about 3 to 8 hours round in duration.
11. Haute Route, Switzerland
More than 180 kilometres long, which can take up to two weeks to complete. It's very challenging, but there are huts and facilities along the the way. Challenge accepted?
12. Preikestolen, Norway
The 8 kilometres long route which takes about 4 hours round-trip. It's a relatively easy trail with serene nature all around. The fjords from above are mesmerising. One off the bucket list for me!
13. Meteora, Greece
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site designated to this natural phenomenon. The hike 7 kilometres long with duration of 4 to 5 hours. The trail discovers the hidden gems of monasteries and ruins along the way.
From hiking trails in Cinque Terre to reaching tops of Tour du Mont Blanc. This is the list of best places to hike in Europe. Hiker or not, you should add these places on your bucket list. It’s one of the adventurous things to do that makes you appreciate the beauty of nature.
Have you hiked any of the above? Which one's your favourite? Or do you think I missed something off my list? Let me know!
Travel blogger with a gypsy soul at heart. Based in London, but mostly seen at the airport ready for the next adventure.
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