When you are planning to take a break from your hectic and monotonous routine, venturing into nature seems like a great idea. While there are many ways to explore nature, hiking is a great way to make the most of your routine time.
Hiking isn’t just for exploring the diverse nature around us but also to clear our minds and reduce stress. Various studies have proved that hiking connects us with our roots and also improves mental well-being, increases muscle strength, endurance and stamina and improves sleep quality and memory. Hence, hiking can provide you with many physical and mental health benefits.
Over the years, Europe has remained one of the top continents that attract plenty of tourists locally and internationally. Hence, you can plan a hiking trip in Europe that can help you spend quality time with your loved ones, friends and family.
Here are the 13 best hikes in Europe that you can try this year.
Tour du Mont Blanc, France
One of the most popular hiking trails in France is Tour du Mont Blanc. This hiking trail stretches around 170 kilometers and snakes through three European countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.
The best part about the Tour du Mont Blanc trek is that you pass through some of the stunning sceneries, tiny villages and hamlets, meadows, glaciers, lakes, wildlife and beautiful ranges in Europe. The trail is completely customizable, and therefore you can find plenty of spots where you can take a break and enjoy your meals before you head for your destination.
The trek begins in the Chamonix Valley and follows into Italy and Switzerland. At a comfortable pace, hiking Tour du Mont Blanc can take up to 9 to 11 days. However, there are shorter routes that only take about 3 to 5 days.
GR20 Haute Route, Corsica
If you are looking to challenge yourself, the GR20 Haute Route on the island of Corsica can surprise you despite its breathtaking scenery and landscape.
While Corsica is generally famous for its coastline, hiking the GR20 route can put your physical strength to the test. Hence, you need to be prepared with safety tips for hiking. The hiking trail initiates from the pretty village of Calenzana in the north and snakes all the way southeast to Conca.
Hikers not in the mood to take up a challenge can skip the northern section of the hiking trail and focus on the southern route. With 180 kilometers of hiking trail, hikers can complete the trail in around 12 days comfortably.
High Tatras, Slovakia
Nestled in the eastern part of Europe, High Tatras straddles Poland and Slovakia and offers hiking adventure and fun for hikers of all levels. With more than 100 lakes, waterfalls and valleys, this hiking trail is as beautiful as it gets.
The High Tatras are a part of the mighty Carpathian Mountains and offer a stunning alpine landscape that can leave you speechless. The hiking trail initiates from the Strazyska Valley, and you can hike through the biosphere reserve area, where you can spot chamois, brown bears and wolves. This hiking trail can take around eight days to complete comfortably.
Canary Islands, Spain
If you are relatively new to hiking but still want to try your hiking skills, you can get started with a hike in the Canary Islands. The island of Tenerife is one of the popular hikes in Europe that allow you to walk through nature and explore the local flora and fauna.
As you keep walking the hiking trail, you can come across secluded beaches and volcanic mountains. Similarly, you can also hike Gran Canaria island, which doesn’t have a volcanic mountain but still offers dramatic views of the valley.
If you’re traveling to Spain, the island of La Gomera is equally gorgeous and offers excellent landscapes and views. These hiking trails can be completed in a time of 2-3 days.
Sardinia is among the newest hiking destinations in Europe that has gained a lot of attention from hiking enthusiasts and experts. This is mainly because of the diverse hiking trails that hikers find here.
The island of Sardinia offers a great view of the coastline, wild mountains, spectacular canyons and cliffs and hidden coves that can make your hiking experience better. The Gulf of Orosei stretches 30 kilometers along the eastern coast of Sardinia and offers a perfect reward to hikers.
Furthermore, hikers can hike up the Supramonte Range – Mount Corrasi to try their skills and endurance. This hiking trail can take up to 5 to 8 days.
Matka Canyon Trail, North Macedonia
With more than 80 per cent of its territory covered by mountains, North Macedonia is a great place in Europe for hiking. Here you can find plenty of hiking trails that offer adventure for all levels.
With more than 30 peaks in the country, you can choose from a wide range of trails that can put your endurance and stamina to the test. The Matka Canyon trail is not far from Skopje, the capital city. The trail runs along the spectacular gorge that offers you the best view of the landscape.
You can gradually move up Magaro Peak, which is 2240m high and offers the best view of the two largest lakes in North Macedonia: Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.
Welsh 3000s, Wales
This hiking route in Snowdonia National Park connects 15 mountain peaks, each over 3000 meters from which the route derives its name. The challenge here is how you can scramble your way through some of the highest mountains in Wales.
While the trail is wide open and offers stunning landscapes, the Welsh 3000s hiking route can be strenuous for beginners. The hikers need to focus on hiking Snowdon, Carneddau and Glyderau ranges that offer the best hiking experience in Wales. This hiking route can take around two days to complete comfortably.
Val Gardena, Italy
Hiking in the Dolomites offers you the best hiking experience you can get in Europe. The Dolomites offer the best panoramic views you can get in Italy, along with some challenging routes that can test your physical limits. However, if you are interested in hiking the most beautiful trail then Val Gardena is the most scenic valley of all.
The spectacular view around you can boost your confidence, and the never-ending expanse of pastures can wear off your fatigue. If you prefer a short hike, you can take Sentiero del Pastore. On the other hand, Gardena 2000 is a longer and more demanding hiking trail that takes six days to complete.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
With the most stunning landscapes in Europe, Amalfi Coast is a paradise for romantics looking to spend a great holiday together. However, the not-so-known Monte Lattari coastal trail is something that can offer you the best hiking experience in Europe.
As you hike the trail, you pass through various scenic villages and rural olive groves and lemon orchards that are picture-perfect. You can continue your hike to Valle Delle Ferriere Nature Reserve and explore the local fauna and flora. The entire hike route can take a week to complete.
Haute Route, France & Switzerland
This moderate to challenging hiking trail is packed with picturesque alpine landscapes and scenery. The Haute Route begins at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix and ends in Zermatt at the foot of Matterhorn, one of the most recognizable mountains in Europe and the world.
Hikers willing to put their hiking skills to the test can try this beautiful mountain trail that doesn’t require any technical experience. The trail passes through 10 of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, making it a challenging and delightful experience.
The entire hiking route can take 10 to 14 days to cover comfortably.
Tour de Gran Paradiso, Italy
Located in northwestern Italy’s Alps, The Gran Paradiso is nestled in the Valle d’Aosta. The hiking trail can offer you easy to moderate trails that can help you get the best hiking experience in Europe.
Hiking through the Gran Paradiso National Park is an experience in itself as you explore the local flora and fauna and wildlife. You can do a single-day hike as well as cover the entire length of the national park, which can take around two days to complete.
West Highland Way, Scotland
Considered one of the oldest and finest hiking trails in the world, The West Highland Way is moderately challenging. The hiking trail initiates from Milngavie, close to Glasgow and ends in Fort William.
With wide open landscapes and stunning scenery, The West Highland Way can get challenging as you approach Ben Navis, the highest mountain in Scotland, the United Kingdom and the British Isles. You can find plenty of hotels and cabins along the way for a hut-to-hut hiking experience. The entire hiking trail can be covered comfortably in 10 days.
Picos de Europa, Spain
Divided into three sections – the western, the central and the eastern massifs, Picos de Europa takes you through a landscape that has lush forest, razor-sharp rocks and spectacular mountain views.
While these mountains are not among the most popular ones in Europe, they still offer the best hiking trails you can find in Europe. As you hike, you can pass through the Picos de Europa National Park, which is Spain’s only inhabited nature reserve. You can cross the Duje Valley and eventually head to the highest peak Torre de Cerreda and walk towards Jou de los Cabrones Refuge.