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 to go up the hill for several hours while struggling to catch a breath? Certainly, not me! I could barely last half an hour on the treadmill! Until my recent visit to Norway where I hiked Pulpit Rock. After that, I was hooked. Determined to climb the mountain peaks wherever I travel now, I compelled this list of the best hikes in Europe.
Warning! Best hikes in Europe list will give you some serious wanderlust.
The Bucket List: Best Hikes in Europe
In no particular order, here’s a list of best hikes in Europe. Moreover, these offer some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever get a chance to see .
1. Trolltunga, Norway
Trolltunga, also known as Troll’s tongue; the name given for its iconic shape. Undoubtedly, one of Norway’s most spectacular rock formations. Also, 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. Moreover, 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. Moreover, there are different trails you can take. In fact, 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 for those views!
Photo credit: Instagram @leoleaux
3. Oeschinen Lake, Switzerland
Located in Kandersteg, Switzerland. The lake is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. An easy 2-hour hike (4 kilometres round trip) will get you to that hidden gem. Additionally, 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!
Photo credit: Instagram @swissmountainview
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”). However, it can takes about 2 to 4 days to complete. While this is not a trek for wildlife spotting or tree hugging, but a very colourful, wide open landscape. As for best hikes in Europe. this one certainly 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. Due to it’s long distance, it has a variety of accommodations available along the way. Furthermore, 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. In particular 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. It’s a real 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. Moreover, it’s been declared as UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s 55 kilometres and takes 4 days to complete. As 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, it offers spectacular sights of serene valleys and towering mountains throughout.
9. Plitvice National Lake, Croatia
The natural wonder of 90 waterfalls and many lakes. Furthermore, 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 differs according to 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
As for more than 180 kilometres long, it can take as long as 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. Nevertheless, it’s a relatively easy trail with serene nature all around. In addition to the sharp looking rock, the fjords from above are mesmerising. As for the best hikes in Europe, this one is off the bucket list for me! If this one’s next on your list, read all the details about my hike here.
13. Meteora, Greece
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site designated to this natural phenomenon. The hike is 7 kilometres long with duration of 4 to 5 hours. Additionally, the trail discovers the hidden gems of monasteries and ruins along the way.
Hiking is a fantastic outdoor activity. Fact. Although, 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 you is incredible! So, whether you’re a hike addict or not, you should add these places on your best hikes in Europe bucket list.
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