The Alps are of course the first mountain range one can think about when looking for the best hikes in Europe, but fantastic long-distance hiking trails are available throughout the continent as well. Hiking in Europe takes you from coastal lines, small villages, remote wilderness, to historical sites and old castles. And of course some of the most stunning landscape that are the mountains in Europe!
We asked fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite European long distance paths and included several other top treks that will give you itchy feet! So if you want to know which best hiking trails Europe has to offer, check our compilation below, and start preparing your next trekking adventure.
Best Hikes in Europe
- Austrian Alps
- England Hiking
- France Trekking
- Germany Hiking
- Greece Hiking
- Iceland Trekking
- Ireland Walks
- Italy Hiking
- Norway Trekking
- Portugal Trails
- Romania Mountains
- Scotland Walks
- Slovakia Mountains
- Slovenia Trekking
- Spain Hiking
- Sweden Reserve
- Switzerland Trekking
Hiking in Austria is a trekker’s paradise, and listing the best hikes in Austria would deserve its own full blog post. For now, we are listing the top Austria hiking trails as a short list.
Stubai High Trail
The Stubai High Trail in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria covers 62 miles (100 kilometers) of breathtaking high altitude scenery. With eight mountain huts providing food and accommodation along the way, you can hike the entire trail locally called as the Stubai Höhenweg Trail in 8 days or cover only the section that appeals to you. Our initiation into the Stubai High Trail took us along the Wild Water Trail (Wildewasserweg) to the Sulzenau Hut near the Stubai Glacier. With two impressive waterfalls along the way, this is easily the most beautiful ascend to the Stubai High Trail.
The Grawa Waterfall, which is the widest in the Eastern Alps, marks the start of this part of the trail. Three hours later, the views from the top of the Sulzenau Waterfall make the effort to get there more than worthwhile.
Each hut along the Stubai High Trail is the start or end of one stage of the trail. From the Sulzenau Hut, you can either walk to the Dresdner Hut or the Nürnberger Hut. A limited number of private rooms are available, with most beds in dormitories or hay barns. Good, hearty Austrian food is available at all the huts. The Stubai High Trail with accompanying huts is generally open from June to October. While reservations aren’t compulsory, it’s advisable. The last thing you want is to hike 3 to 7 hours to find out there’s no room for you.
The Austrian and German Alpine Clubs try their best to make the hut accommodation affordable. You can generally find somewhere to lay your head down for less than 35US$ (€30). Some huts even offer a service to transport your backpack from the valley. The difference in altitude covered on the Stubai High Trail is around 26,300 feet (8,000 meters). Some parts are rated as difficult terrain, while others, like the hike to the Sulzenau Hut via the Grawa Waterfall, has an intermediate difficulty level.
The 256 miles (413 km) trail takes through Tirol and can be broken in short treks if you so choose.
Hiking in England
The mountains in England might not be the first to come to mind when you think trekking. Indeed, the highest peak in England stands at 3,208 feet (978 meters), a far cry from Mont Blanc. But the country has plenty of cool treks to offer, including coast to coast walk taking through the neat scenery of the English coast. And hiking in England always come with an interesting history!
Hadrian’s Wall Path
Hadrian’s Wall Path is a coast-to-coast footpath and national trail that slices across northern England. It follows the route of Hadrian’s Wall, which once formed the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. The ancient monument is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its remnants snake through the counties of Cumbria and Northumberland for 84 miles (135 kilometers).
For keen trekkers, it’s possible to complete Hadrian’s Path in three days of intense walking. The undulating terrain and scenic countryside mean that most people take longer. This trail is of moderate difficulty that never rises above an altitude of 1,130 feet (345 meters). Allow five to seven days if you want to pause at the numerous Roman forts, mile castles, and museums along the signposted route.
It’s possible to overnight in guesthouses, hostels, and on campsites. Budget at least 65US$ (£50) a day for basic food and accommodation.
The unpredictable British weather means this is a trail that can be followed at any time of year. From November into March the landscape looks bleak. In the peak holiday season, during July and August, the footpath tends to be busy.
Coast to Coast Trail
The Coast to Coast trail is by far one of my favorite UK challenges, 198 miles (318 km) from the west to the east coast of the UK, hence the name! The trail crosses through three gorgeous National Parks, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and finally North York Moors.
I completed the full trail in 13 days; you can do it faster or slower depending on how many miles you walk each day (or split into sections).
Because this is such a long trek it does take some careful planning, hotels, and B&Bs on the route, can fill up during peaks times, weekends but July-August are busy in the UK. Camping is an option, but you need to factor whether you want to carry all your gear for the full distance. Sherpa services available that move your bags to the next location.
I trekked the Coast to Coast trail in September, quieter than July and August but still busy at weekends. Plus not too hot for hiking! There is no permit required to do the hike; it’s well signposted with many different ‘C2C’ signs. As regard to costs, it depends what luxury you want, campsites start from 9US$ (£7/8), hostels around 26US$ (£20) and B&B/hotels are closer to 65US$ (£50), times that by the number of nights to give a rough estimate for your trip.
The hardest part of the Coast to Coast trail for me was at the beginning through the Lake District National Park. The toughest section was navigating Helvellyn mountain and Striding Edge (literally a jagged knife-edge walk with scary drops each side). But equally beautiful and satisfying to complete!
The Coast to Coast trail is challenging, but it gives you a fantastic view of the UK’s best hiking paths. Plus you can say you’ve walked across the UK, which is pretty cool!
Given the access to the Alps mountains, including the Mont Blanc mountain, France is home to some of the best places to hike in Europe (and it’s not us being biased about our native country!). The French mountain ranges are rather stunning. In addition to a Mont Blank hike in the Alps, the most famous mountains in Europe after all, Corsica and the Pyrenees hiking should be high on any trekker’s list.
A difficult 12-day trek, the Haute Route is another top trek for many. The 116 miles (187 km) starts from Chamonix in France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. Probably one of the best treks in Europe.
Tour Du Mont Blanc (TMB) – France, Italy, Switzerland
This stunning trek in the Alps of France, Italy, and Switzerland takes around 10-12 days to cover a circuit of 106 miles (170 km), with a height gain and loss of approximately 32,808 feet (10,000 m). The trail itself is well-marked and well-traveled. You will loop around the highest peak in Europe, the Mont Blanc (elev. 15,771 feet / 4,807 m), covering rocky peaks and flower-hewn valleys along the way.
The trek can be completed clockwise or counter-clockwise, with the latter starting from Les Houches being the most popular due to the perspective from the mountain passes. The best time to tackle the TMB is from the end of June to the end of October; the exact dates will vary depending on the snowfall from the previous season and in the current season. Summertime yields the highest traffic, especially around late August during The Ultra Trail Marathon, so be prepared to book your accommodation well in advance or travel outside of the Marathon timeframe.
There are huts and B&Bs along the TMB; camping is technically forbidden. Be sure to make reservations and plan out your trip ahead of time. Accommodations along the route will offer half-board, to include a bed, dinner, and breakfast, and some will pack a lunch for you at an extra cost. Most accommodations close down outside of the main hiking season.
You are not required to have a guide for the trail, however, having Cicerone’s “Trekking the Tour of Mont Blanc” or another detailed guide or map will be very helpful in your planning and on the trail. Plan for around 1,200US$ (1,000€) for the trek, including half-board accommodation and lunches. For 580US$ (500€) more, you can stay at more upscale accommodations and acquire luggage transfers between towns.
By Christa from Expedition Wildlife
The 112 miles (180 m) trek is considered by many to be the most beautiful as well as the most difficult trails in Europe. The trail takes you from the north to the south of the Mediterranean island through rugged mountains. Most trekkers take 15 days and while it’s possible to stay in mountain huts – refuges, bringing your tent in summer is recommended given the trail popularity which makes one of the famous hiking trails in France.
The 538 miles (865 km) trek is broken in smaller sections that each takes about 12 days average. The difficult trek passes through stunning scenery, and you can rest in mountain huts or camp along the trail.
Hiking in Germany
Hiking in Germany takes you through villages, rolling hills, forests, sometimes along rivers, others to high castles. In any case, these are enjoyable and you can always find a place to rest and treat yourselves with good food and a cold drink.
Black Forest Westweg
The 177 miles (285 km) route goes villages, meadows, and of course a walk in the Black Forest. Stay in campsites or guesthouses.
The area includes some of the best hikes in Germany. From the 2-day climb to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak at 9,718 feet (2,962 m), to the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s infamous retreat in the mountain, the Alpine landscape offers plenty long distance paths and opportunities for great trekking in Germany.
Hiking in Greece
Trips to Greece usually include cruising the Cyclades, relaxing in Santorini, and enjoying tasty Greek food. However, Greece is also a good place for long distance hiking trails.
Some of the best trekking I’ve ever done in Europe was in the Vikos Gorge, in Northern Greece.
Situated in the North Pindus Mountains, the Vikos Gorge is one if the biggest in the world and a stunning landscape to explore by foot. There are long hiking trails everywhere, so you aren’t short of potential walks to do. It’s a great place to hike alone or with a travel buddy.
The area is called the Zagori and encompasses 44 villages- together known as the Zagorohoria. The gorge itself is only 8 miles (12 km) long, but hiking overnight here allows you to explore the villages and surrounding area along the way.
The main gorge stretch is from the village of Vikos to that of Monodendri, or vice versa. Beginning from Vikos, descend into the gorge. From here it’s a straightforward hike through the canyon suitable for most levels. The only exertion is the ascent to Monodendri, which is a lung-busting climb. The beautiful village at the top makes it worth the effort though!
In general, this is a straightforward hike, and you can easily do it in one day- taking roughly 4.5hours walking non-stop. But don’t rush it! Staying overnight in Monodendri allows you to experience more of the hiking in the area in the ensuing days. In such a beautiful place, this is highly recommended!
For broader exploration, it can be handy to have a map. The main routes are all well signposted though. Head to Vikos in Spring or Summer for the best walking weather.
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece. Explore during a 3-day trek and see why the mountain was so important in Ancient Greek Mythology.
Crete White Mountains
Hiking in Crete takes you on a trek in the White Mountains, passing by the coastline and fishing villages.
Hiking in Iceland
The 34 miles (54 km) trail from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmorkvariety is another epic trek, passing by hot springs and glaciers. Laugavegur takes about four days but you can also add two days if you combine the Fimmvörðuháls trail. The season runs from mid-June until mid-September, and several huts are available along the trail.
Hiking in Ireland
The 100 miles (162 km) trek goes through the stunning landscape of the County Kerry, including coastal plains, lakes, and mountains. One of the famous walks in Ireland for sure.
Hiking in Italy
Via degli Abati
I’ve just returned from hiking the Via degli Abati, a long-distance trek in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, in the north of Italy. The Via degli Abati is 74 miles (120 km) long and can be hiked in about five days – however, please be aware that it’s gorgeous but very tough, with 18,000 feet (5,500) meters positive altitude difference over the course of the five days.
Via degli Abati means Abbots Way, as the trail follows the footsteps of medieval monks who walked to Rome to visit the Pope, from their monasteries in the mountains. The trail starts in Bobbio, once home to a large monastery, and ends in Pontremoli, where it connects with the famous Via Francigena that can be followed all the way to Rome. For this reason, the Via degli Abati is often known as the Francigena’s ‘mountain variant’ – the terrain it crosses is mainly mountainous, but since these are the Apennines and not the Italian Alps, it only reaches a maximum altitude of about 4,300 feet (1,300 meters).
The trail is well signposted and can easily be hiked without a guide, but we don’t recommend it to solo hikers as it’s offbeat and no phone signal most of the way. If you fall and get hurt, it may be days before somebody finds you.
You don’t need to carry camping equipment as each stage ends in a village, with available accommodation in hotels and B&B, also offering meals. We spent about 35-60US$ (30-50€) per person per day, depending on hotels – however, this figure can be lower if you opt to camp and pitch your tent in secluded locations along the trail. We loved the Via degli Abati and can’t recommend it highly enough – we were truly alone with nature, from the beginning to the end.
Alta Via Uno
Also known as the Dolomite High Route 1 or Alta Via 1, the 10-day 93 miles (150 km) trek takes you through the Eastern Dolomites. Dolomites hiking should be a highlight of any walks in Italy.
Norway hiking trails extend far and through incredible scenery. Coastal hikes, Arctic wilderness, remote places – take your pick!
A tough 12-day trek taking you on a traverse, you can stay in huts or camp in remote areas.
One of the best hikes in Norway, the challenging trail covers 16 miles (27 km) long and about 3,000 feet (900 meters) ascent. Most trekkers take 10 hours to reach the top, and many camp around, which make a good overnight trek to one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in Norway.
The 11 miles (18 km) trail ends in North Cape, the northernmost point of mainland Europe. While the distance is relatively short, the Arctic scenery is what makes this trail special. Camp in Knivskjellodden to enjoy a night in the Arctic!
Hiking in Portugal
The Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage route in Spain, but not many know that there are several Camino routes that start in different parts of Spain, France, and Portugal. One of the ways that is becoming more and more popular is the Portuguese Camino. You can start it in Lisbon to walk the full Portuguese Camino, a distance of 398 miles (640 km). The majority of pilgrims, however, start in Porto, walking 150 miles (240 km) to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The trail is marked with yellow arrows and shells – the traditional marking that is used for the Caminos de Santiago. The route goes through major cities, past rural areas of Portugal and Spain, sometimes along the coast and through a beautiful Galician forest.
The Caminos have proper infrastructure for pilgrims; unique hostels – called albergues, many restaurants and cafes on the way. There is no need to carry a tent or camping mattress, only a sleeping bag – every night your sleep in an albergue where you get a bed. The best seasons to walk this Camino is May – June or September – October when it’s warm but not too hot, not much rain and fewer people. July and August are the peak season for Camino Portugues – it gets very hot and dry, plus there are many pilgrims on the route.
The Camino is an excellent way to budget travel through Portugal and Spain; accommodation for pilgrims costs between 7-11US$ (6-10€) per person, most albergues have a kitchen, pilgrims can make their food, transportation costs nothing (you walk every day). It is quite tough to walk one of these long-distance trails in one go, but the Camino is a fantastic experience; you meet people of different ages from all over the world, make new friends and learn new things.
Rota Vicentina is a not so mainstream hiking trail that stretches along Portugal’s South West coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean, between beautiful cliffs, stunning beaches, and wildflower fields.
It is almost 250 miles (400 km) long, and there are two main routes and 8 round trails showcasing diverse scenery. At 143 miles (230 km) and 12 stages through historical towns and forests, it can be done by bike or, slower and better, on foot.
On the other hand, the ‘Fishermen’s Trail’ goes along the coast for 74 miles (120 km) between Porto Covo, a tiny settlement in the stunning Alentejo region worth visiting on its own, and Odeceixe, and it uses paths that give access to fishing spots and sandy beaches. This second one is more demanding than the other, having four stages and five different itineraries. The best season to walk both is Spring or Autumn, with milder temperatures than those of Summer, when it is usually way too hot to walk.
It is possible to do this trail on a budget, staying in campings and guest houses or spending as much as you want as the area has some mind-blowing properties for rent, hotels, and villas. No guide or special permit is needed to complete it although having one helps to get the most out of it. Last, but not least, a word of caution: it is forbidden to camp freely – or park an RV – outside the designated spaces and official campings. Especially in the coastal path, a protected area, fines can be high and happen overnight.
Mălăiești Hut Trek
Perhaps unknown to a lot of travelers, Romania is filled with some fantastic mountain ranges that cover impressive views and also treks. From short one day treks to multiple days treks, they are suitable for everybody and all seasons. However, one of the most famous ones is the trek leading to the Mălăiești Hut.
Nestled in the Bucegi Mountains, in perhaps one of the most picturesque location, the hut is a fabulous two-day trek starting from the Gura Diham Hut, in Bușteni, the famous mountain resort. However, there are multiple possible routes for reaching the hut; it depends on how much time you have. The one presented here is the most common one, and it will take you around 5 hours to reach the hut from the starting point.
Starting from Gura Diham Hut, at an altitude of 3,240 feet (987 m), you have to follow the red stripe sign which after Poiana Izvoarelor and Șaua Pichetu Roșu transforms into a red triangle. You thus follow the red triangle all the way to Mălăiești Hut at an altitude of approximately 5,640 feet (1,720 m). To spend the night there, be careful to book in advance as the beds are almost every weekend sold out. And it is pretty challenging and not recommended to return the same day
For the next day, after a pleasant and well-deserved sleep, you can follow the route called Brâna Caprelor where you have high chances of meeting some mountain goats and head to Omu Peak, following the blue stripe sign (around 2 hours). From there, you can start your descend on the beautiful Valea Cerbului trail all the way to Gura Diham (4-5 hours).
This trek is a moderate to difficult one and should be avoided during winter. The best season for hiking in Romania is in summer. Regarding prices, expect to pay around 10US$ for your night in the hut. But this is a truly rewarding trek, with fantastic views.
Transylvanian Alps Trail
Another fine example of the Carpathians, as you explore the Făgăraş Mountains, Romania’s highest range.
Explore the Carpathian mountains from caves to high peaks and glaciers.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is a 96-mile (155-km) multiday trek that starts in Milngavie near Glasgow and finishes in Fort William. The terrain is varied and, although it does include climbs like Conic Hill and the Devil’s Staircase as well as periods of scrambling, it is mainly flat overall.
Most people complete the West Highland Way in 6-7 days. It’s possible to do it in less, and there’s even a long distance marathon where people complete it in around 16 hours, but 6-7 days is the most common and most comfortable amount of time to give yourself.
Along the way you can either camp or stay in guesthouses and hostels, depending on how comfortable you want to take it. Several companies will transfer your luggage from guesthouses to guesthouses and, coincidentally (or not), there’s usually a pub around the half-way mark each day. You can make this a very easy-going and comfortable trek if you want to.
The best time to walk the West Highland Way is probably April or May, but you can walk it any time of the year mostly. Spring and autumn are generally the nicest times to do it, though.
Costs vary from person to person: some like to keep it cheap while others want their modern comforts. There is no permit, and the primary budget items are transportation, accommodation, food, and drink, and luggage transfer, if you opt for that.
Expect to pay around 90US$ (£70) per night for accommodation, around 20-40US$ (£15-30) per day per person for food and drink, and 40-50US$ (£30-40) per person for luggage transfer. Excluding the transportation costs at the beginning and end of the trip, this works out at around 900US$ (£690) per couple. This is probably the more luxurious end of the scale, and you can cut costs by camping, staying in bothies, or finding cheaper accommodation, not eating out twice a day, and not getting luggage transfers.
Whatever way you decide to do it, this trek will go down as one of your most memorable trips ever.
Transverzala Kamnik-Savinja Trail
Part of the Slovenian Mountain Trail, the Kamnik-Savinja Trail lets you explore the Slovenian Alps, taking you to high passes, glaciers, and thick forests. Allow 3-4 days to complete, staying in huts and guesthouses.
El Camino de Santiago de Compostela
No presentation needed on one of the world’s most famous long-distance walks Europe has. Whether you are on a spiritual quest or hitching to hit the trail, Santiago de Compostela is the most famous Spain hiking trails, taking you from Roncesvalles in Spain to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France. The reverse route is of course possible. The entire route is 500 miles (800 km) long which is divided into about 8 sections, each taking about 10 days.
Carros de Foc
The Pyrenees Mountain chain, the natural border between Spain and France has some of the most fascinating mountain landscapes of the European continent. The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is possibly most beautiful part of the Pyrenees, and this is where you can do one of the best multi-day hikes in Europe, the Carros de Foc.
Carros de Foc means Chariots of Fire, and not much is known about the origin of the name of this route created by hikers in 1987. What it’s sure that this circular hike that takes 5 to 7 days to complete goes through the most beautiful parts of the Aigüestortes National Park. There are ten refuge houses in the circuit that provide accommodation for hikers during the 35 miles (56 km), which might not seem a lot at first, but you will have to climb more than 29,600 feet (9,000 meters) in total and will need to overcome some of the key mountain passes in the region. The main feature of this part of the Pyrenees is the large number of alpine lakes of all kinds of colors and the views from the mountain passes are utterly unforgettable.
No guide or permit is required to hike this trail, neither any entrance fee has to be paid in the national park. The average price of staying in the mountain refuges is about 35US$ (30€) per night. Accommodation with breakfast is provided in large dorm rooms, whereas dinner costs around 25US$ (20€) per person.
The famous The Kings Trail, or Kungsleden as it is locally known, is one of the long-distance hikes Europe offers, at about 270 miles (440 km) long and traversing the Vindelfjällens Nature Reserve. Several entry points allow trekkers to either hike a short part if they don’t want to trek the whole distance. Mountain huts are available along the way, but bring your tent if you feel you need shorter breaks. In winter, the trail becomes a popular ski destination as well.
By James from This Travel Guide
High Tatra Mountains
The High Tatra Mountains, which are part of the Carpathian mountains, separate Slovakia and Poland. You can trek five days from hut to hut, the perfect option for a great Slovakia hiking adventure.
The Alps in Switzerland are another trekking paradise. Right there, you can find hiking trips for a lifetime, and some of the finest hut-to-hut hiking Europe can provide.
Tectonic Arena Sardona
The Sardona UNESCO world heritage path starts in Flims, Switzerland. It is a great hike to do in the spring and summer time. The hike is two days long, and you can go without a guide. You can go all the way from Flims walking it will take you a bot longer, or you can take two chairlifts bringing you to Naraus from where you want to start your trek.
On the first day, you walk a good 6 hours through the beautiful landscape of Switzerland before arriving at Pass dil Segnas at 8,620 feet (2,627 meters). The hike is not too strenuous. Only the last part is a bit more tricky as there is still snow and ice in summer so better have good hiking shoes.
From there you can see clearly in the mountains in front of you where the continents of Africa and Europe collided millions of years ago: the Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, a UNESCO heritage site. There you can spend the night at the Segnespass, the only mountain Lodge in the area that is open from 30th of June until 30th of July. One night with breakfast will cost you around 60US$ (50€). If you wish to camp, it is possible also. You can bring your gear and pitch your tent on the way. No directly on the summit but a little bit before.
On the second day, you will go back down for around 6 hours again, taking another path called „Trutg di Flem“ with waterfalls, gorges, and bridges along the way.
By Amandine from Les Berlinettes
This difficult 3-day trek leads you to the western side of Switzerland, with cabin huts along the route.
Tour des Combins
Among the long-distance trails Europe provides, the 6-day takes you to the Combin massif, one of the highest of the Alps. Start from the Great St Bernard Pass, and trek along high peaks and valleys at the Italian-Swiss border.
A long-distance trek through the Bernina area, and recommended for experienced trekkers only.
Jura Crest Trail (Route 5)
A moderately difficult long-distance hike, this one of 190 miles (310 km) over 15 days, the Jura Crest Trail will make you discover Swiss Jura heights and enjoy sweeping views of the Alps, the Black Forest, and the Vosges.
This list of destinations for trekking in Europe is by far complete, and we will be adding more trekking and trail options. So if we missed your preferred trek, or if you know another top trail in Europe, please let us know!
If you are looking for more trail explorations, check out our posts on:
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