Filled with beautiful tall mountains and trails, a lot of people also seek out the best-hiking destinations in Europe. If you are into hiking, you might want to get to know the top hiking trips in Europe.
Europe is a big continent known for its diversity. It is also one of the most visited continents in the world when it comes to tourism. Tourists from all over the world come to Europe to experience its culture, history, and food.
The Hiking History of Europe
It is believed that long-distance hikes originated in Europe, many centuries ago. Even when the continent is overpopulated, there are many untouched and pristine areas that can be accessed by hiking alone.
The rich diversity and pristine nature of these hiking destinations make them worthy for a hiking adventure. Your time and effort that you take to plan your hike will all be worth the experience.
Once you have reached the summit or the end destination of your hike, you will be rewarded with picturesque views. It includes charming villages, idyllic landscapes, alpine ranges, and grassy fields.
Hence, hiking in Europe is an experience that every hiking enthusiast should experience at least once. This is very evident to the thousands to millions of tourists that visit the hundreds of trails throughout the continent annually. Are you ready to explore the top destinations for hiking trips in Europe? Check out the top recommended hikes below.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Hiking History of Europe
- 2 Top 10 Trails for Hiking trips in Europe
- 2.1 Camino De Santiago Trail
- 2.2 West Highland Way
- 2.3 Pirin-Vihren Peak Trail, Bulgaria
- 2.4 Transylvanian Mountain Trail
- 2.5 A gap of Dunloe, Ireland
- 2.6 Slovenian Mountain Trail
- 2.7 Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
- 2.8 Laugavegur, Iceland
- 2.9 Arran Coastal Route, Scotland
- 2.10 Legend Trail to San Giacomo Church, Dolomites, Italy
- 2.11 Cinque Terre Mountain Trail
Top 10 Trails for Hiking trips in Europe
Camino De Santiago Trail
The Camino De Santiago Trail is an 800-km hiking trail that can be divided into 8 to 10 sections (of approximately 80 to 100 km each). This trail spans between two countries: Spain and France.
It can be completed between 7 to 10 days per section, or 30 days if you explore the full route. The trail is moderately steep, and expert hikers consider this as one of the best 5-day hikes Europe can offer.
When you explore the Camino De Santiago Trail, you will find many types of accommodation, such as rustic huts, camping sites, or hostels along the way. The highlight of this trail is the majestic Pyrenees Mountains that straddle from Spain to France.
Notably, it served as a pilgrim route for the Catholics early in history. Later on, it has transformed into a mapped trail for hikers who are driven by culture. You will stumble upon many cultural and heritage sites along the route, including the Catedral at Santiago.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is a 151-km hiking trail that starts from Scotland and ends in the UK. This access to the moderate trail can be completed in 7 days. Like the Camino de Santiago Trail, this one also has a few options when it comes to accommodation (such as hostels, B&Bs, and camping sites).
The West Highland Way trail is set in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. The main reason for those hikers who embark on this route is to witness some of the best natural beauties that Scotland has to offer. From the mysterious lochs to the woodlands and majestic moors, your eyes will be feasting on these gorgeous views.
As you explore this trail, you will be hiking towards a fort wherein you will uncover a few historical events along the way. The best time to take on this hiking route is from May to October.
Pirin-Vihren Peak Trail, Bulgaria
Surprisingly, the Pirin-Vihren Peak Trail is another noteworthy route to take if you go to Bulgaria for hiking. Mount Vihren, the end-point of this hiking trail, is the highest mountain within the Pirin Mountains range in Bulgaria.
No wonder why a lot of avid hikers would like to scale this particular mountain peak. The entire trail can be completed for 2.5 hours, although it can vary based on your hiking skill and experience. By the time you reach the peak of Vihren, you will have gained 1,000 meters in elevation.
The climb will start the small village of Bansko, wherein the Pirin National Park is located just above it. During your hike, you will get to enjoy the views of the picturesque villages, the vast pine forests, and the ski resorts nearby.
Transylvanian Mountain Trail
As one on the list of best hiking trips in Europe. The Transylvanian Mountain Trail is a hiking trail that stretches 80 to 130 km in length. Located within Romania, it can take 7 to 10 days to complete the entire trail. It is rated as a moderately steep trail, so you need to have adequate hiking experience to tackle this particular trail.
Aside from the traditional camping sites and rustic huts, you can also find chalets along the way as accommodation. The Transylvanian Mountain Trail’s main attraction is the Carpathian Mountains, or more commonly referred to as the Transylvanian Alps. It is considered as one of the hiking experiences off-the-beaten-track.
Many of those who tackle this trail do so for a chance to catch a glimpse of the Bran Castle (famous for Dracula) that is suspended on a rocky cliff. From there, the trail will lead you to the Fagaras Mountains and make your way towards the highest peaks in Romania.
A gap of Dunloe, Ireland
The Gap of Dunloe is an iconic hiking trail in Ireland. It is a spectacular hiking route that lets you explore the narrow mountain pass between the Purple Mountain and MacGillycuddy Reeks. The entire route spans 11 km in length and may also opt to drive this route.
According to its builders, this circular route is part of the famous Ring of Kerry in Ireland. This is sought after and visited by tourists. To hike the entire path can take 5 hours, although it varies on how many stops you make along the way.
The first part of this route takes you through a mountain trail until you reach an open terrain. From there, you will navigate steeper slopes until you make it to the purple mountain.
As you make your way back to your point of origin, you will stumble upon a string of lakes. It creates a stunning vista that is the perfect consolation after hours of challenging walk.
Slovenian Mountain Trail
As a 500-km hiking trail within the country of Slovenia, the Slovenian Mountain Trail can take up to 30 days to complete for the entire route. However, there are options to hike only a few sections of the whole trail. This is said to be a part of the best 3-day hikes in Europe.
As you go on with your hiking trail, it is rated with a moderate difficulty level by hiking experts. This means that it would be suitable for beginners to experienced hikers alike. All tourists are invited to take the hiking challenge when they visit the country.
Even when Slovenia is not mainly known throughout Europe as a hiking mecca, Slovenia has many excellent hiking opportunities such as this one. This trail is going to make you famous mountains like the Julian Alps.
Other natural beauties waiting to be explored during your trail include glaciers, valleys, meadows, and forests. Add this to your list of the top hut to hut hiking Europe has today.
With its vast landscape, the Laugavegur measures with a 54-km trail. Accordingly, you can take 3 to 5 days to complete. Located in Iceland, this hiking trail is easy, so it is excellent for beginners to tackle.
To ensure the best hiking experience, you can pick a day with pleasant weather to tackle this trail, and it will be one of the best hiking trips in Europe. This hiking trail is known for its unforgettable landscapes such as mountains, volcanoes, arctic deserts, canyons, lava fields, and ice caves.
Indeed, the natural views that this trail has to offer are one of the main reasons why it is a must-do. And if that’s not enough, you will be rewarded for your efforts to hike this trail with a view of the Northern Lights.
Arran Coastal Route, Scotland
Also known as Arran Coastal Way, the Arran Coastal Route is a 107-km long-distance hiking trail. This is a circular or loop route, which is challenging and rugged so that it might be suited for experienced hikers. The highlight of this hiking trail would be the Isle of Arran coastline.
Also, you can take a week to complete this trail, depending on your pace. The great thing about this trail is that you can start and end it at any location you desire. It was designated as Scotland’s Great Trails in 2003.
Highlights along this route include an optional ascent to Goatfell, which is a stunning viewpoint and the highest peak on the island. You will also make your way through picturesque villages such as Sannox and Corrie. Other notable sights along the route include Lochranza and the ruined castle.
Before you end your hiking trip, you should never miss the headlands of Dippen Head, and Benna, and the Glenashdale Falls. With so many picturesque scenes along the way, it is without a doubt among the best day hikes in Europe.
Legend Trail to San Giacomo Church, Dolomites, Italy
The Dolomites is one of the most popular destinations for hiking in Italy. This mountain range is comparable to the Pyrenees Mountains and Transylvanian Alps in terms of popularity among hikers.
There are many hiking routes available for those who want to conquer the Dolomites. However, the Legend trail to San Giacomo Church is one of the best. This hiking excursion is one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have.
There are 30 themed trails available, making it one of the best day hikes in Europe. You will get to breathe in the new scenery as well as marvel at scraggy peaks and meadows in bloom.
Cinque Terre Mountain Trail
The Cinque Terre Mountain Trail is a 40-km hiking route in Italy. You can complete the trail for 2 to 5 days, depending on your pace. It takes adequate hiking experience to embark on this trail as it is moderately difficult. Along the path, you can find a wide range of accommodation options such as hotels, B&Bs, and guest houses.
Cinque Terre is one of the most iconic sights in the Italian Riviera’s coastline. The view from the cliffs looking down on the turquoise waters that glisten from the sun is beyond compare to anything else in the world. There are numerous other smaller sections of this trail, of which you can skip some if you want to avoid the crowd.
The trail known as High will take you to the charming region of Portovenere and then the luxurious area of Levanto. For the coastline views, the Cinque Terre Mountain Trail is one of the top hiking vacations Europe has to offer.