Whether you’re after a physical challenge, breath-taking natural beauty, fascinating history or to experience a new culture, hiking in Europe can be incredibly rewarding. While most people will think of the Alps when they search for a hiking adventure in Europe, there is so much many more hiking trails across Europe to explore and enjoy.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to lace up those boots, pack your camera and head out for an adventure. Here are our top 20 places in Europe for hiking lovers! 🙂
20 best hikes in Europe
One of the best hiking trails in Europe
As a moderate 7km hiking route, the Bray Head Loop offers truly stunning views of the coast of Kerry, the wild and, sometimes stormy, Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful Skellig Islands. You will find some of the best landscapes in Europe in this part of Ireland.
The walk will take you along exposed cliffs to a summit of Bray Tower, a historical monument in the region. From here, you can see as far as Puffin Island, Portmagee and Skellig Coast.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot some passing whales too, so don’t forget your binoculars.
One of the most beautiful hiking in Europe
Reaching a summit of 2962 metres above sea level, Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and probably one of the best places to visit in Europe!
It is an impressive and challenging hike passed the Zugspitze glacier to reach the often snow-topped mountain caps. Once at the top, hikers can enjoy an incredible 360-degree panorama of over 400 mountain peaks in the area.
If you’re looking for an easy way down after a hike up the mountain, you can enjoy a ride in the cog-wheel train down to Lake Eibsee. There are also cable cars here too if you don’t fancy the walk up to the summit.
A great hiking vacations in Europe
Often named as the most beautiful village in the Canary Islands, Masca not only has a quaint village to explore but an incredible walk up the ravine with incredible gorge views complete with swirling and fascinating rock formations.
Many companies offer a guided hiking trip up the valley to the picturesque gorge. However, there are also routes from the Masca too.
Be careful if you plan to drive to the village of Masca – it is a road only for the confident drivers.
One of the best day hiking in Europe
Set in the centre of Gran Canaria, Roque Nublo offers a range of trekking routes that cover the volcanic rock and craggy areas that make the views and hike itself so breath-taking.
The Roque Nublo hiking route reaches a summit of 1813 metres and is an ancient place of worship.
If you want to extend your hike, there is also Roque de la Rana, and Roque de El Fraile considered the ‘brothers’ of Roque Nublo and offer views to match.
Great hiking in Europe in October
While there is a cog railway transporting visitors up the 5.85km route to the summit of Schafberg, enthusiastic hikers will prefer the mountain hiking trail which delivers impressive panoramic views and a challenging route with exposed, but fixed rope sections along the way.
From the summit, you can enjoy unparalleled views of seven mountain lakes and stunning alpine scenery. Pick your time right, and you can see the alpine flowers in all their glory. If you are visiting Salzburg, take the opportunity and spend one day hiking the Schafberg Mountain in the Austrian Alps!
One of the best places to go hiking in Europe
Topped with a carpet of green grass, and the blue sea to the side, the Seven Sisters walk is a colour and beautiful hike.
The walk is relatively easy and comfortable underfoot and covers 13.6 miles from one town to the other. If you want to take your hike further, the Seven Sisters Cliffs are actually part of the much more extensive South Downs Way.
One of the top hiking destinations in Europe
Ronda is full of stunning hiking trails and many cross over the El Tajo Gorge. The gorge is around 400 feet deep, and it is possible to hike right down to the bottom to provide a stunning view up the canyon and towards Puente Nuevo bridge – one of the most romantic places in Europe!
Regardless of the trail you want to walk, they are all relatively well marked and tend to link back to the Old Town where you can stop for a rest and refreshment.
Stunning hiking route in Europe
With the beautiful crystal-clear waters of Eibsee Lake, the whole region is a hiker’s paradise where walks take in the views of the lake and the mountainous region.
One of the most popular trails in the Zugspitzblick loop which circles the lake. The route is just under five miles long and features accessible paths so you can take in the surrounding views.
Best hiking in Europe in February
Are you going to visit one of the best islands in Europe? While there are many incredible hiking routes across the whole of Malta, Dingli Cliffs are the highest point on the island at the height of 253 metres. With stunning ocean views, cliffs and countryside the cliffs offer a picturesque hike.
A hike along the cliffs can lead to Munqar where, along this route, you can find the impressive and famous Blue Grotto of Malta. It really is a must-see.
10. Pico Ruivo – Madeira
Great hiking in Europe in winter
Madeira is a great winter sun destination in Europe for all hiking lovers. At the highest point of Madeira, Pico Ruivo stands tall at 1862 metres. Reaching the summit provides an invigorating and challenging hike.
What’s more, there are two different routes; the most popular course is arguably more challenging and begins at Pico do Arieiro following a 12km route. The easier route is just three kilometres long, starting at the village of Achada do Teixeira.
11. Lago di Sorapis – Italy
One of the best hiking vacation in Europe
The Dolomites are on the bucket list for many hikers. However, Lago di Sorapis is perhaps less well known but is undoubtedly one of the most impressive sites in the area. It really is one of the best places to visit in Italy.
The shimmering blue waters and the rugged cliffs serving as a backdrop makes a great photo, and the hike is certainly an impressive achievement.
Throughout the forest, hikers will have to use ladders and stairs and be prepared for walking sections that cling tightly to the edge of the cliff. Not a route for those with vertigo!
12. Silberkarklamm – Austria
Great hiking trails in Europe
For a fantastic trek through beautiful alpine scenery, Silberkarklamm offers a beautiful looped trail. It’s one of the best things to do in Austria.
The route is relatively easy but allows hikers to take in the beautiful surrounding views. Nearby there is also the Silberkar gorge which is full of beautiful alpine flora and the sound of the roaring waterfalls. There are lots of stairs and ladders on this route which add to the fun and challenge of the route.
One of the most beautiful hiking in Europe
Considered a natural wonder of the Provence, Verdon Gorge is the deepest gorge in France with depths of up to 700 metres.
The gorge offers some exceptional hiking trails such as Sentier de l’Imbut which takes around 2.5 hours to complete and follows the river route complete with a footbridge across the river. This route offers truly beautiful views throughout the canyon.
One of the top day hikes in Europe
While there is plenty to see and do in Cheddar Gorge, there is also a fantastic circular route that allows you to take in the rugged, weathered crags and the gorge itself which is 122 metres deep and three miles long.
Starting in the lower gorge, the route runs for four miles and is an easy to moderate walk with well-marked paths and signage. This walk begins at a National Trust car park which is ideal for those who have a membership.
Cheap places to hike in Europe
Translated as the ‘Beach of Cathedrals’ this popular Spanish beach is situated in Galicia and makes for a beautiful beach walk. It’s one of the most unique places to visit in Spain.
You have to plan your visit in advance as the arches and cathedral are only accessible during low tide.
During winter, you’ll often find you have the place to yourself. However, during summer the place is packed which is why there is a permit system in place. While the permits are free to obtain, you will not be allowed on the beach without one, so it is really best to plan ahead.
Great hiking in Europe in summer
Known for its jaw-dropping beauty, hiking in the Amalfi Coast gives you plenty of time to get up close to the natural beauty and to see it from as many angles as possible.
The primary hiking association in Italy lists 124 different hiking trails in the Amalfi Coast. So you can be sure you will be busy during a weekend getaway to Amalfi Coast 🙂
Almost all of these will require steep ascents and descents which is what the area is known for. If you prefer flatter terrain you can enjoy the popular route of Sentiero Degli Dei which is a mostly flat 7km trail. If you’d rather more shade and greenery, then Valle Delle Ferriere is a fantastic choice for waterfalls, flora and seclusion.
One of the best hiking in eastern Europe
To enjoy the wild and rough Baltic sea then Hel Peninsula is a great walk across a sandbar that stretches out to sea. The sandbar at its thinnest is just 100 metres in width, with Hel sitting at the very tip of the peninsula.
However, the peninsula stretches for 34 kilometres. There are lots of walks around the area most of which can start and end in one of the nearby villages which include Jurata, Jastarnia, Chałupy and Kuźnica.
18. Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Italy
One of the best places for hiking in Europe
To save you doubling back on yourself, it is always nice when a hiking trail follows a loop like the Tre Cime di Lavaredo route in the Dolomites. This circular route focuses on the high alpine meadows and jagged cliff edges that give photographs plenty of contrasting beauty.
The circuit route covers just over ten kilometres and will feature three peaks of the Dolomites that provide plenty to see and marvel at. The route is relatively twisty, and there are several sections where the walk extends along a narrow rock edge. However, in certain parts of the trail you’ll have all three peaks in your eye line.
If you are going on a European road trip in the Dolomites, make sure you book some time for Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike!
Unique place to go hiking in Europe
Arguably the most popular black sand beach in Iceland, you can enjoy a fantastic coastal walk in this famously beautiful area. Reynisfjara is full of weird and wonderful formations created by the fire and ice that the country is known for.
Instead of just dropping by for a look, there are several trails that cover beautiful rolling hills and then finally lead to the black pebbles on the beach. From here you can take stock of the crashing waves, but it is wise to keep your distance, the currents here are very strong.
20. Algarve Coast – Portugal
Great hiking vacations in Europe
With stunning European beaches, incredible shades of blue from the ocean and magnificent sunset shades from the cliffs, you may not expect the Algarve to be your ideal hiking destination, but it really does provide unique and stunning views.
What’s more, there are plenty of hiking trails to follow in the Algarve and thanks to the warm, sunny climate; you can enjoy most of these trails all year round.
If you like variety on your trails, then the Algarve Coast has variety in abundance from coastal paths to forests, river woodlands to karstic landscapes and top Algarve’s beaches the hikes around the Vincetine Coast, or Castro Marim Nature Reserve do not disappoint.
Ready to lace up those boots?
Whether you’re after a gentle stroll or a challenging summit, all of these hiking spots in Europe offer something for everybody. From coastal charm to must-see attractions, fresh mountain air or beautiful flora you can enjoy each walk for its own unique beauty.
So, if you’ve been inspired to get your walking boots on and do some exploring, why not add these fantastic hiking locations to your next travel plans?
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