Hiking in Europe – where do you start! There are so many places to visit and explore. London and Paris are of course beautiful destinations in Europe, but not ideal for the seasoned walking fans. At the request of our hiking enthusiasts, we compiled this ultimate list of 24 hiking places that you must explore in Europe!
24 Hiking destinations in Europe
Do you like rough mountains or do you prefer to walk through green meadow landscapes? Do you want to take a walk through the forest or are you going up a mountain path? Explore the glaciers of Sweden and Iceland on your next hiking trip or enjoy the palm trees on the tropical coast of Madeira. Stroll through villages in Tuscany or meet the locals on the Irish Beara peninsula. Stay close to home or explore the borders of Europe.
1. Tuscany, Italy
In many ways, this hilly region full of vineyards and farming villages is the very essence of Italy. What fewer people know is that Tuscany is also home to several protected natural areas. Enjoy the tranquility of the countryside, look for unforgettable views and explore the region’s lush forests. Stay away from the big cities and coastal areas – the best walking routes can be found around towns such as Volterra, Pitigliano and the Monte Oliveto Maggiore monastery.
2. Gauja National Park, Latvia
This is a hiking destination for those who want something completely different: the mysterious forests in this nature reserve have so far been discovered by few hikers. A pity, because Gauja National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. Explore the natural springs, fascinating cliffs, dark caves and bizarre sandstone formations! In addition to beautiful nature reserves, the park also has hundreds of cultural and historical monuments to visit.
3. Romsdal, Norway
Few destinations in Europe can match the breathtaking fjords along the coast of Norway. Hikers experience the Romsdal region as the pinnacle of Norwegian nature – think fjords, rugged mountain ranges and the occasional glacier. The landscapes in this area are perfect to explore on foot. For example, walk over the Romsdalseggen for the ultimate views or climb the challenging Trollstigen.
4. Beara Peninsula, Ireland
This is one of the least known places in Ireland. Despite this, it is one of the most beautiful travel destinations that the green island has to offer. The Beara Peninsula is a beautiful area in the southwest of Ireland. Walk through hilly countryside, rugged cliffs, colorful villages, mighty cliffs and fields full of sheep!
5. Hortobágy National Park, Hungary
The Hungarian Hortobágy National Park is not only a beautiful nature reserve, but also an important place of cultural heritage. This huge grassland in eastern Hungary is inhabited by traditional herders and their livestock: water buffaloes, horses, Racka sheep and gray cattle.
6. Pembrokeshire, Wales
Hiking in Wales, is less known than other parts of the UK. It is therefore still a relatively undiscovered hiking destination. Undeserved, as far as we are concerned, as Wales offers breathtaking views, unforgettable landscapes, fascinating historic buildings and romantic villages. The Welsh region of Pembrokeshire is made up of dramatic landscapes, unusual buildings, inviting villages and a diverse flora and fauna.
7. Cappadocia, Turkey
The bizarre rock formations in this Turkish region seem to belong in a fairytale. Yet this strange area simply arose naturally. Stroll through this unique landscape and learn about the history of the area by visiting ancient cave dwellings. For those who really want to get into the area, there are now even caves in the area transformed into hotels.
8. South Bohemia, Czech Republic
One of the most beautiful travel destinations in the Czech Republic lies between Prague and the Austrian border. South Bohemia is a wetland nature reserve that is perfect for unforgettable walks through forests, along lakes with beaches and over rugged mountain areas. Learn not only about the fascinating natural landscapes, but also about the fascinating history of this area, where some people still live according to ancient traditions.
9. Hadrian’s Wall, England
For those interested in (especially Roman) history, this is definitely one of the must-see places. Hadrian’s Wall was built between AD 117 and 138. and was no less than 117 kilometers (73 miles) long. Parts of the wall and associated military structures can still be admired. There’s history every step of the way as you pass fine examples of Roman settlements and forts together with cosy pubs, bustling market towns and great views too.
10. The Lofoten, Norway
This Norwegian archipelago is known for its relaxing views and characteristic fishing villages. The landscapes in Lofoten are the pinnacle of rugged beauty. Some colorful houses are brightly outlined against a background of dark gray rocks with a layer of white snow or green grass. Alternate hiking with a relaxing kayak tour and experience the midnight sun in summer.
11. Peaks of the Balkans, Albania / Kosovo / Montenegro
The Balkans are a huge mountain range in Eastern Europe, but the ‘Peaks of the Balkans’ trail leads past some of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. One breathtaking landscape is followed by another in this region of rocky mountains, vast moors and dark green forests. Travel through three unique and fascinating Balkan countries on this mountainous tour!
12. The Highlands, Scotland
Of course, it is impossible to leave the Scottish Highlands out of a list of European must-see places. This famous nature reserve is known for its raw beauty and well-maintained hiking trails, such as the West Highland Way and the lesser known – but just as special – Rob Roy Way. Enter an area with iconic mountains, stunningly beautiful valleys and charming Scottish villages.
13. Triglav, Slovenia
Triglav National Park is located in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. The protected area is named after Slovenia’s highest point, the 2,863 meter high mountain Triglav. This area is also called the Valley of the Seven Lakes. Anyone walking through this idyllic Alpine landscape will quickly understand where that name comes from. The region has also long been the setting of an ancient Slovenian legend about an enchanted mountain goat. Maybe you will soon be face to face with this mysterious animal?
14. Dolomites, Italy
The iconic peaks of the Dolomites act like a magnet for hiking enthusiasts. It’s no surprise, then, that this is one of our favorite destinations in Europe! The Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2 are famous hiking routes in this region of steep mountain sides, soothing alpine meadows and impressive glaciers. The cosy villages in the valleys make the area even more snug.
15. Sarek National Park, Sweden
In the municipality of Jokkmokk, in Swedish Lapland, lies the impressive Äpar massif, a series of high mountains, green valleys and dozens of glaciers. Sarek National Park is located around this nature reserve. This high-altitude area has traditionally been the habitat of the Saami, the indigenous people of Lapland. Discover the environment in which they have lived for centuries. The Rapa River Delta is considered one of the best views of all European holiday destinations!
16. Galicia, Spain
Every hiker will have thought about the Camino, the famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Not only are the historical and religious values of this route attractive, but also the natural wealth of Galicia. This northern region in Spain is one of the must-see places, thanks to its many natural parks, coastal areas and woodlands. Also important: the food in Galicia is mouth-watering!
17. Plitvice, Croatia
This national park in Croatia seems to have come from a fairytale. Azure blue lakes with dozens of waterfalls, surrounded by green trees and plants. Bathe in the lakes and walk on the footbridges that have been built over the water. Although this destination has become very popular and thus more crowded in recent years, the natural beauty of the area is hard to match.
18. Samaria Gorge, Greece
The Greek island of Crete is today one of the more famous European holiday destinations, yet many travelers are unaware of the natural value of this island. A hike through the Samaria Gorge is a challenge, but it is rewarded with amazing views. The sheer walls of the canyon tower over you as you explore an area of forests, huge boulders and babbling brooks.
19. Thorsmork, Iceland
Iceland is an ideal hiking destination for adventurous travelers. Thorsmork is a nature reserve that is only accessible in summer. The volcanic mountains and glaciers of this beautiful part of Iceland are among the most impressive natural areas in the world. It is not without reason that this is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Iceland, especially popular among photographers!
20. Mont Blanc, France / Italy / Switzerland
As the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc should of course not be missing on a list of must-see places. Alpine meadows, attractive mountain trails and idyllic huts are on the route. For most people, a climb to the top may be too much, but several routes along the base and slope of the mountain are well worth the effort!
21. Madeira, Portugal
This Portuguese island is located off the coast of Africa – so the landscapes and climate here are slightly different from most other parts of Europe. If you land on Madeira, you will soon feel like you are in an earthly paradise. Palm trees, rugged cliffs and pristine rainforests: this mountainous island is an explorer’s dream!
22. The Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest is one of the best destinations in Europe for hiking. Don’t let the name of the area discourage you: the predominant color in this part of Germany is without a doubt green! Follow one of the many routes through the forest, climb a number of mountain peaks for phenomenal views and stay in typical German villages.
23. High Tatras, Slovakia / Poland
This is one of the best accessible high mountains in Europe and thus an excellent European holiday destination for those who like to hike on quiet, clearly marked mountain paths. That does not mean that the seasoned hiker will be bored here for a moment! The views of the different peaks are at least as impressive as those of difficult mountain ranges!
24. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Films and series such as Game of Thrones suddenly made this destination extremely popular in Europe. But even those who don’t follow that TV series have reason enough to visit the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The area has a unique geographic composition, with iconic hexagonal pillars. A rugged coastline, basalt rock formations and beautiful castles pass by.
Well, that about covers our Hiking in Europe – 24 Places to explore feature. We hope you enjoyed it and are filled with lots of ideas for your next hiking adventure. Hillwalk Tours offers self-guided walking holidays in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and along the Camino Frances in Spain. We’d love to help you book a trip so don’t hesitate to get in touch!