Join Good People on a Proper Adventure

The 20 Best Hikes In Europe
August 20, 2018
Best Hikes in Europe
Europe boasts some of the most beautiful hikes on the planet. Photo: iStock

What are the best hikes in Europe? It’s not an easy question to answer. Europe has 44 countries after all. There are a full 10 major mountain ranges, which, alongside the 100 minor mountain ranges on the continent make up around 20% of the European landmass. That’s a whole lot of mountains, and a lot of hikes to choose from. So, to bring us back to the original question: what are the best hikes in Europe?

Here’s our top 20 to set you and your hiking boots off on the right foot.

1) Tour de Mont Blanc, France

Tour-du-Mont-Blanc

When it comes to hiking in Europe, this mother of all treks circumvents the mighty slopes of the highest mountain in the Alps. Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) introduces the ambitious trekker to some of the most dramatic and versatile scenery in the world. With its 170 kilometres, it is certainly a long-distance trek but what’s much more impressive are the 10,000 metres of cumulative ascent and descent on this 11-day hike.

  • Countries: France, Italy, Switzerland
  • Level: Moderate – steep ascents and descents each day
  • Duration: Roughly 11 days, 5-7 hours each day

Check out our 10-day trek of the Tour du Mont Blanch here.

2) Norwegian Fjords, Norway

Hiking-Fjords-Norway

For extreme variations in scenery in one stunning place, head to the Fjords of Norway. Here are thousands of walks for all types of hikers. Take the family on treks over blue glaciers, viewing mountains that come straight up from the narrow fjords. Or, wander through natural parks offering the diversity of barren glaciers to lush forests. Those up for a challenge can visit the iconic Trolltunga, Geirangerfjord, Himakana, Langfossen, or Preikestolen. All levels of trekker are welcome. Check out our map of the Norwegian fjords to get a better idea of exactly where they are in the country.

  • Countries: Norway
  • Level: Easy to Challenging
  • Duration: Endless variation. Anything from 2-3 hour treks to full-day adventures, and overnight trips.

Hike, kayak and wild camp the Norwegian Fjords, all in the space of three nights.

3) Mount Triglav, Slovenia 

Mount-Triglav-and-Lake-Bled

Every true Slovenian must climb this beloved mountain, and so should mountaineers visiting this country. There are two ways to access the 2864m summit, both challenging, and both relying on via ferratas, or fixed cables, to help climbers through the scree and along narrow paths. Check out the route from charming Bled that rests en route at Kredarica hut, the highest in Slovenia. There are plenty of other amazing hikes in Slovenia, too.

  • Countries: Slovenia
  • Level: Medium
  • Duration: 2 days

Climb Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, with only one day off work needed.

4) Caucasus Mountains, Georgia 

Hiking-Caucasus-Georgia

When you go hiking in Georgia, you go exploring where few others have before. Georgia’s arid Caucasus Mountains have just opened in recent years.  You’ll spot wildlife like deer, chamois and marmot, be sparkled by green, white and turquoise lakes, pass through medieval villages and towns, and be surrounded by peaks shooting up into the sky.

  • Countries: Georgia
  • Level: Easy to Challenging
  • Duration: Most are 3-5 days to longer treks

For a challenge, climb the highest mountain of Eastern Georgia, Mt. Kazbegi at 5047m.

5) Via Dinarica, The Balkans

Via-ferrata-Maglic-Mountain-Bosnia-and-Herzegovina

A via ferrata on Maglic Mountain on the Via Dinarica trail.

Get to the Balkans and explore the food, music and the old-world heritage that still exists in this corner of Europe. The Via Dinarica traverses the Dinaric Alps and Sharr Mountain Range in more than 120 stages and acts as an adventure and cultural corridor across Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, and Macedonia. Conquer the entire 1930 km trail, or break it down into chunks, such as in our 8-day adventure from Croatia to Bosnia.

  • Countries: The Balkans
  • Level: Easy to Challenging
  • Duration: Several day trip options can be combined for your perfect adventure.

Trek and raft the Via Dinarica Trail through Bosnia and Montenegro.

6) England’s Coast to Coast, UK

Teenage female hiker on rocky mountain summit overlooking peak panorama

A panoramic vista of green valleys and rocky peaks high in the picturesque natural landscape of the Lake District National Park.

From the Irish Sea to the North Sea, this 309k journey takes you through history, following Alfred Wainwright’s path from St. Bees Head and ending at Robin Hood’s Bay. Passing by castles and Roman ruins, through valleys and along cliffs, this strenuous hike is not for beginners. You pass through three national parks – The Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park. At the end of all of this, or even each day, a pub awaits. This is one of the best hikes in the UK.

  • Countries: England
  • Level: Moderate 
  • Duration:  Approximately 8-10 days

7) Tour de Monte Rosa, Italy 

An alpine meadow in Zermatt, on the beautiful tour de Monte Rosa.

The trek around this 4634m mountain is stunning, and it is not easy. Every day there are steep ascents and descents over ice and rock. Besides glacial conditions, there are alpine meadows and forested valleys to trek through. From balcony ridges, you’ll see a panoramic paradise of peaks all over 4000m high – including back to the remarkable Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland.

  • Countries: Italy
  • Level: Challenging
  • Duration: Between 8-11 days

8) Canary Islands, Spain

Canary-Islands-Hiking

Get off the beach and onto the trails. Tenerife, Gran Canaria and La Gomera are all set up for walking, and each has an individual flair. Tenerife boasts the world’s 3rd highest volcano, pine forests, ravines and coastal paths with the fewest hikers of the three islands. Gran Canaria also has dramatic valleys and rocky shoreline to trek, but it’s missing the massive volcano, so it has better views. The most distinctive scenery is on La Gomera, where you could be trekking in South or Central America. If you want to go further afield, take a long weekend to trek El Hierro.   

  • Countries: Spain
  • Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Duration: Heaps of different routes lasting from a few hours to 2-3 days.

Hike and explore the UNESCO Biosphere island of El Hierro in three nights.

9) Laugavegurinn, Iceland

Hiking-the-Laugavegurinn-Trail

Wild Icelandic horses running through neon green valleys, hot springs and steam rising from black volcanic rock- sounds like another planet! Trek this 55km route is famous for folklore and magic, which you can experience as you make your way through rainbow-coloured hills and over glaciers. The variety of landscape on this hike makes it distinctively remarkable. Make sure you book huts in advance and be prepared for extreme weather.

  • Countries: Iceland
  • Level: Challenging
  • Duration: Approximately 4-6 days

10) Haute Route, France & Switzerland

Haute-Route-Switzerland-Cows

The Haute Route starts at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest massif in Western Europe, and ends on the flanks of the most famous, if not the most elegant and most instantly recognised of all mountains, the Matterhorn. Even though it has made its name for being one of the best winter hikes on skis, the 200-kilometre-long summer version of this trek is certainly no less interesting or challenging. On this hike, you’ll cross 11 passes, clock up more than 12,000 metres in ascents and pass under ten of the twelve highest peaks in the Alps.

  • Countries: France/ Switzerland
  • Level: Moderate to Challenging
  • Duration: Roughly 10-12 days, 6-8 hours per day

Trek the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, passing some of the most famous mountains in the world on your way.

11) High Tatras, Slovakia 

High-Tatras-Mountains-Slovakia

Get amongst Eastern Europe’s only alpine mountain range and choose your own adventure. There are over 100 lakes, plus waterfalls and valleys to trek through. There are all sorts of hut to hut hikes to choose from. This is a Biosphere reserve area of the Tatra National Park, so you can spot local wildlife like marmots and chamois (mountain goats).

  • Countries: Slovakia
  • Level: Easy to Medium
  • Duration: Multiple routes anywhere from 1 day to multi-day hut to hut treks.

Try a three-day tour combining Green Lake, Velicka Valley and Strbske Lake.

12) GR20 (Northern & Southern), Corsica

Hiking-GR20-Corsica

Running north to south from Calenzana to Concha along the jagged spine of the Corsican mountains, this rugged terrain can still be accessed by any seasoned hiker. Despite the rough exposed areas, the GR20 is well marked by red and white blazes, and there are plenty of places to rest and restock. You’ll find sheltering refugios, or huts, to stop in along the way, get a hearty plate of food, ride out a storm with a glass of red wine or have a needed night’s rest. A less challenging option is to skip the Northern section and to trek only the GR20’s Southern Route.

  • Countries: Corsica, France
  • Level: Challenging
  • Duration: 11-12 days, 180km

13) The Dolomites, Italy 

Hiking-by-the-Sella-Pass-with-Saslong-in-the-background-dolomites-italy

Hiking in the distinctive eye-line of the Dolomites.

These spiky peaks, crags and pinnacles are a UNESCO World Heritage site for multiple reasons. There’s history, where trails are named after WWI, passing abandoned bunkers along the way. There’s culture. Visit the Ladin shepherds in their once isolated villages. There’s also diversity in beauty and language. Traverse pastel meadows of wildflowers and hear the whispers of different languages inhabiting the Italian Alps.

  • Countries: Italy
  • Level: All levels
  • Duration: Day trips to multi-day adventures.

14) Mont Blanc, France 

climbing-mont-blanc

The physically challenging Mont Blanc Summit climbs Western Europe’s highest mountain at 4810m. You’ll need to be proficient in use of crampons and an ice axe to make your way over rock and ice, and you’ll need an experienced guide. There are a few ways to summit, the easiest of which is using the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Nid d’Aigle, then up the Aiguille Gouter and the Bosse ridge. Along the way, stay in Refuges, which must be booked in advance. Try an extended 7-day experience starting off with a dazzling training climb to Gran Paradiso.

  • Countries: France
  • Level: Challenging
  • Duration: 2-3 days

Fancy taking on the most famous mountain in Europe? Check out our climb of Mont Blanc here.

15) Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy 

Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, Piemonte, Italia.

The Gran Paradiso sits in the Valle d’Aosta, in northwestern Italy’s Alps. Originally this park was set to preserve the Ibex, and the focus on flora and fauna is still one of the main draws of this sprawling park. There are 70,000 hectares of territory ranging from 800m to 4061m at the peak of Mount Gran Paradiso. Views of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn ranges can be seen from the many routes through the park. There are day hikes around the lakes, and also the option to take the multi-day ascent to the highest point.

  • Countries: Italy
  • Level: Easy to Challenging
  • Duration: Hundreds of day walks, or ascending Gran Paradiso itself is a 2-day skilled trek.

16) Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Breathtaking view in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Sublimely turquoise waters interspersed with waterfalls and linked with sturdy and picturesque wood walkways, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the type of place where eight hours of hiking fly by. A ferry ride across Lake Kozjak connects two halves of the park and its sixteen lakes, all tucked in lush foliage that’s even more striking layered in snow for winter. You could even make your way over to the beautiful Dalmatian Coast afterwards to SUP, kayak, sail or just relax for a few days after a top bit of hiking.

  • Countries: Croatia
  • Level: Moderate
  • Duration: 6-8 hours

17) Kings Trail, Sweden 

Kings-Trail-Sweden

For spotting reindeer along a wild frontier, and still having time for a sauna at the end of the day, head the to King’s Trail. This 440km trail goes through low altitude green valleys. The beauty is that this trek is accessible for everyone. There are plenty of huts along the way to rest your head, or you can try out camping and roaming free in this artic playground.

  • Countries: Sweden
  • Level: Moderate
  • Duration: Around 8 days

18) Circumventing the Matterhorn, Switzerland

Matterhorn Mountain Zermatt Swiss Alps

Early morning dawn scene of sunrise on the Matterhorn Mountain. Photo: Photo: iStock / wilpunt

The Matterhorn Trek has been described as one of the most beautiful treks in the world taking in many ancient trails that have linked the Swiss Alps and Italian valleys for centuries. The 150km route offers a multicultural experience, crossing from the pristine surroundings of Switzerland to the slightly more chaotic lifestyle of the Italians, hence its nickname the Spaghetti Tour. From the cobbled streets and horse carriages in Zermatt, through Alpine meadows and glacial passes, the mirror image of the Matterhorn on Lake Stelli is worth every step.

  • Countries: Switzerland and Italy
  • Level: Moderate
  • Duration: Approximately 8 days

Trek the Matterhorn Circuit, in a four day trip around the mountain quite like no other.

19) Track Wild Bears in Greece

bear among stones on the hillside

A brown bear walking among white sharp stones on the hillside of Greece.

Go bear tracking in Greece’s Pindos mountains alongside local conservation experts and hike through the world’s deepest gorge. The awesome thing about this one is that you get to hike along with the Bear Emergency Team, who are a) a real thing, b) the best named organisation in the world, and c) running an amazing conservation project to protect bears in the beautiful Pindos mountains.

  • Countries: Greece
  • Level: Easy.
  • Duration: 5 nights.

Read the full details of the wild bear-spotting, deep gorge-hiking adventure in Greece right here.

20) Welsh 15-Peak Challenge

View-From-Mount-Snowdon

The view From the summit of Mount Snowdon.

15 mountains. 4000m of gain. And one of the best things about it is that you can do it all in one incredible weekend. All you have to do is head to Snowdonia, home of the highest mountains in Wales. Hike and scramble through the Carneddau, Glyders and Snowdon ranges, ascending ridges and linking peaks in rapid succession. Add to that the stellar views and natural beauty of Snowdonia and you’re in for a strenuous but memorable weekend.

  • Countries: Wales, United Kingdom
  • Level: Challenging
  • Duration: Two nights

Summit 15 Welsh peaks in one mountainous adventure weekend, or for even more ideas, check out our entire Wild Hikes collection right here.