My husband and I are long distance hikers, so this list was a joy to compile. Most of our hiking has been done in the US, but European hikes are on the menu when the kids grow up. From rugged coastlines to alien topography, choosing the best places to hike in Europe can be challenging because there are so many good ones!
For nature enthusiasts and those who love adventure travel, Europe is the ideal hiking destination. In addition to stunning landscapes, many places can be discovered all year round.
How to find the right trail for you and your group? Each person has their own preferences when it comes to hiking, so a custom hike trip planner is the ideal option. They will listen to your needs and take your skill level into account when designing the perfect itinerary.
Whether you are looking for inspiration or a chance to dream, an adventure travel planner is sure to help. Check out our list of the best hikes in Europe!
Tour Du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, and Switzerland
When it comes to European hiking, it is hard to beat the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 170-kilometer system of walking trails in and around the area. This is top of our list to accomplish one day.
It is considered by many to be one of the best adventure tours and hiking destinations in the world. Although most of the most famous trails start on the French side, the Tour du Mont Blanc can also be accessed from Switzerland or Italy.
Avid hikers can stay overnight in mountain shelters and complete the entire trail system in around 12 days. The Tour du Mont Blanc trails pass through picturesque Alpine villages, flowering meadows, and deep valleys.
For those in need of rest, there are also plenty of opportunities to refuel in mountain shelters along the way.
Travelers who don't wish to hike the whole trail can consider taking advantage of the experience of the French side. The Chemin des Rognes hike is one of the most popular there.
Corsica GR20 Taka, France
The French Island of Corsica is famous for many things – medieval buildings, old harbors, and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Mediterranean.
It is also home to one of Europe's toughest long-distance hikes. The GR20 trail stretches for 180 kilometers – almost the entire length of the island – and has a total altitude of 12 000 meters. The routes are jagged and rocky, with steep descents suitable only for very fit hikers.
Usually, only experienced adventurers try the whole trail, which takes up to 15 days. For those who want to enjoy part of the experience, the trail is divided into a northern section – the most difficult – and a southern section – slightly flatter.
The GR20 is one of the most famous hut-to-hut trails in Europe. Hikers can stay overnight in any of the huts on the trail or pitch a tent nearby.
The focal point of the route is the village of Vizzavona, which can be reached by train. From here, hikers can also get to smaller villages to explore easier and shorter walking routes.
Samaria Aisa, Greece
This 16-kilometer trail is one of Crete's most popular attractions, leading from an altitude of 1,230 meters to the Libyan coast. Descending over slippery terrain, the trail winds through cliff overlooks and Byzantine ruins.
After a steep, difficult first 3 kilometers, the trail levels out as you reach the valley floor. Once you cross the dry river bed, the path becomes almost completely flat. Keep walking until you find a stream – a great place to rest and drink cool water.
The rest of the trail passes through ruined villages and makeshift wooden bridges until you reach the most famous point of it, known as "The Gate.”
Here, a very narrow passage between towering stones marks the unofficial end of the route. After emerging on the other side, it is 2 kilometers before you reach the edge of the national park.
Once outside the park, you can continue along the path through the ruins of Agia Roumeli and eventually to the coastline and the cooling sea.
Green Lake Hike, Slovakia
Another bucket-list-worthy hike destination is Slovakia. The High Tatra Mountains are located in the country's center and are part of its oldest national park. The surrounding area attracts hikers from all over Europe who come here for the alpine lakes and rugged mountain peaks.
You could spend weeks in the High Tatras with no shortage of hiking trails to discover. But if you are looking for a moderate adventure, the Green Lake Trek is a long but doable day hike with stunning views.
Set off on your adventure early in the morning from the town of Tatranska Lomnica. Here you have a choice – either take the cable car up the mountain or drive to Skalnate Pleso for about 3 hours to reach the trailhead.
While the walk up is steep and tiring, you will be able to walk through meadows full of wildflowers, so it is worth the extra work.
Once you reach the top, it is a 16-kilometer, 5-hour hike over rocky but mostly easy terrain. Some steep, slippery sections are more challenging, but this is an otherwise idyllic hike through the Slovak countryside, among lush valleys and stunning views.
When you reach Zelene Pleso (Green Lake), stop to take some photos and have lunch in a hut by the water.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
In the past few years, Croatia has become a travel hotspot for many reasons. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the country's most popular tourist sights. It offers stunning wildlife, cobalt blue lakes, and lush, vibrant forests.
Keep in mind the park can be crowded in summer. The best hikes are in autumn or winter, complementing the beautiful reds and yellows of the season or the beauty of frozen lakes.
The park has well-marked trails that range from an easy 3.5-kilometer walk to a challenging 18.3-kilometer, 8-hour hike around waterfalls and across bridges.
Short Trail A is actually one of the best in the park, taking about 2 hours and leading through the four lower lakes, past several waterfalls, and to the famous Kozjak Bridge. The trail can be extended with a short boat trip across Kozjak Lake to connect with several routes on the other side.
El Caminito Del Rey, Spain
Malaga's El Caminito del Rey, once described as "one of the most dangerous hikes in the world," is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Most people will be familiar with the hike for its 3-kilometer stretch of path that takes walkers up the steep walls of a narrow gorge 100 meters in the air.
This section of the trail was reopened in 2015 after extensive renovations to make it safer and add some unique features, such as a glass floor in some areas.
The entire trail is 7.7 kilometers long and takes you through wooded paths and steep uphill routes, ending when you reach the boardwalk. Spain's best hike is a spectacular trail, whether you are looking for adrenaline or views.
Engelberg Valley, Switzerland
With hundreds of kilometers to explore, the Engelberg Valley offers endless hiking possibilities – from hut-to-hut day hikes to peaceful walking trails with equally stunning views.
A popular hike here is the 7-kilometer-long Brunni Trail, which starts with a ride on the Brunni cable car to Ristis station. The views from here are already stunning, looking out over the blooming Alpine pastures below and the soaring peaks around.
The trail is well-marked and easy to follow until you reach the Brunnihütte refuge, right next to Lake Härzli. This is an excellent stop for a quick bite to eat in the small restaurant and to dip your toes in the cool water.
You can also try the Brunni Tickle Trail, a textured path to walk barefoot. You can then continue to other marked trails starting from here or turn back to the cable car.
Why to hire an adventure travel planner for your European hike?
More and more people are choosing to spend their holidays or vacations on shorter or longer hikes. In this way, it is possible to see completely untouched places and natural landscapes that can only be accessed on foot.
The idea behind a personal adventure tour planner is to make the most of your time!
So, if you are not sure which hike to choose, which will suit your skill level, or there is simply not enough information about a particular location online, an adventure travel agent like jess.travel will help you find out all the details and plan a custom adventure trip.