If you’re looking for the top hikes in Europe, you’re in luck: Europe is considered to be the ideal continent for hikers thanks to its mix of stunning scenery and modern amenities. Europe also contains a mind-boggling diversity of biomes; from the arctic fjords of Scandinavia to the vast temperate forests of Germany and the sub-tropical beaches of Portugal, Europe promises to take hikers through the best of what our beautiful planet has to offer.
Though every country within Europe can boast a few trails which could potentially rank among the top hikes in Europe, the seven trails below have a long history of favour with hikers from all over the world:
1. The Amalfi Coastal Trail, Italy
Italy’s coastline is one of Europe’s great gems, studded with tall cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean sea while green fields and fruit trees roll peacefully in the background. Along the lengthy Amalfi Coastal Trail, you’ll get to enjoy these views to their best advantage—so long as you’re willing to do a lot of climbing.
2. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Croatia has risen to prominence as a tourist destination over the last decade, and with scenery like the kind you will find while hiking around the Plitvice Lakes—a collection of sixteen vibrantly-coloured lakes connected by streams and cascading waterfalls—it’s little wonder that this small country is beloved by adventurers.
3. Camino De Santiago Pilgrimage, Spain
Hiking the Camino De Santiago Pilgrimage will take you on a journey back in time; this passage, which dates back centuries, will see you walking through numerous historic villages and passing by plentiful traditional farms and wine stands. This trail is not especially challenging and there are many guest houses placed along the route for travellers, so this walk is ideal for those who are not up to steep inclines or remote wilderness areas.
4. Jungfrau, Switzerland
No trip through Europe would be complete without a hike through the alpine wonderland that is Switzerland; at Jungfrau, you will be treated to a selection of rich green meadows, bubbling aqua streams, and snowy peaks that are sure to delight and create vivid lifelong memories.
5. Preikestolen, Norway
This trail, which ends with a dizzying view out over one of Europe’s highest plateaus (boasting a 604 metre drop), is a perennial favourite with intrepid hikers. While the two-hour hike is not especially challenging, the rewarding view at the end will make you feel as though you have scaled a mountain.
6. Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany
If you want to get away from the crowds of nearby Munich, treat yourself to this vast expanse of forest, replete with lakes and dramatic peaks in the distance. If the terrain looks familiar, don’t be surprised: The opening sequence from The Sound of Music was filmed at Berchtesgaden.
7. La Masca, Tenerife, Spain
La Masca is so exotic that many hikers will find themselves amazed that such a spot exists within civilized, settled Europe: Starting out on a tiny island, this trail winds through dense jungle before ending at a deserted beach. If you find yourself thinking that it looks like the ideal pirate cove, your imagination isn’t playing tricks on you: Rumour has it the area was indeed once used by pirates.