Looking for the most beautiful hiking routes in Europe to delight your inner adventurer? From mountainous treks to coastline pathways, discover the crème de la crème of Europe’s most stunning walking routes. Hiking is a great way to experience your destination and discover it from a local’s perspective. So, pack your hiking boots and map (by which we mean a smartphone with map access) and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
1. Tour de Mont Blanc, Switzerland: The astonishing mountain trail spanning three countries
This epic hiking route has been named one of the world’s greatest walks for good reason. Covering 170 km distance and with 10km of ascents and descents, this hike is not for amateurs. The route is as rewarding as it is challenging. It spans 3 countries, offering captivating Alpine views that range from snowy peaks to panoramic lake views. The route takes around 11 days to complete, during which you will experience the heart of the local culture and taste authentic Alpine cuisine. Fun fact: the route was discovered by Swiss geologist, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, who was searching for a way to climb Mont Blanc and ended up walking the entire circumference of the mountain!
2. Corsica GR20, France: The mythical island-long trek
This legendary walk is a 180km-long footpath that covers the length of the whole island of Corsica! The hike is arguably the most challenging of all the GR routes and takes hikers 15 days to complete. The journey can be split into a GR20 North and a GR20 South route, each of which takes a week to complete, if you want a shorter hiking trip. Highlights of the route include the spectacular cliffs of Aiguilles de Bavella, the highest mountain of South Corsica, Monte Incudine, and the gorgeous glacial lakes of Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello. Completing the Corsica GR20 trail should be on every adventurer’s bucket list!
3. Cinque Terre, Italy: The fairytale-like coastal adventure
Cinque Terre is a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 5 charming pastel-coloured towns, perched on the edge of a dramatic coastline in Northern Italy. The best way to experience them all is by embarking on a hiking trip that takes you through all five towns! Known as the blue trail, the 11km trail through the towns takes 5 hours to complete. But, we recommend doing it over the course of 2-3 days so that you can take your time exploring the beautiful towns. Experience the heart of the local culture, enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, and take in the breathtaking coastal views, while taking on this fairytale-like trail.
4. Norweigan Fjords, Norway: An oasis of routes across the majestic Norwegian inlets
The Norwegian fjords are small inlets that make up the greater part of Northern Norway. With over 1,000 fjords to be discovered, hiking is one of the best ways to get to the heart of the area. There are many trails to pick from, depending on the level of difficulty and the area you want to explore. One of our favourites is the Preikestolen hiking route. This 8km route will lead you to the spectacular Pulpit Rock. At 600m high, Pulpit Rock is one of the most famous viewing platforms in the world and offers dramatic views over the captivating Lysefjord. Another world-famous hike is the Kjerag hike, home to the Instagram-famous boulder Kjeragbolten. The hike is 10km long and, at 1,084 metres above sea level, boasts incredible panoramic views.
5. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: 8 ways into the heart of Croatia’s natural wonderland
Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage-awarded National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. The park is a natural wonder with 16 crystal clear lakes and 90 gorgeous waterfalls. There are a total of 8 hiking routes of varying levels of difficulty and duration. Trails K-1 and K-2 last a total of 8 hours and will take through the entire park. But, if you are looking for a moderate level hike, we recommend Trail C or H. Both trails take you through both the upper and lower lakes and take 4-6 hours to complete. If you are on the lookout for adventure, you can also stop for a sailing or kayaking excursion in the lakes. A great way to immerse yourself in this all-natural wonderland.
6. Samaria Gorge, Greece: Your dramatic pathway to the Libyan sea
This majestic gorge might just be Crete’s best-kept secret! Tucked away in the rugged White Mountains of Crete, the Samaria Gorge is the second biggest canyon in Europe. This exciting 16km trail takes you through the heart of the Samaria National Park. Starting at the top of the gorge, you will hike through dramatic clifftops to reach the so-called “iron gates” at the narrowest part of the gorge. At the end of the route, you will find the charming coastal village Agia Roumeli. The village is only accessible to hikers, so you will find no tourists there other than your fellow walkers. Take some time to explore the village, or reward yourself with a reinvigorating swim after the challenging walk.
7. El Camino del Rey, Spain: The once-scariest now-most-scenic pathway in Andalucia
While this hike used to be known as one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world, the trail has since undergone a transformation to appeal to all travellers- not just adrenaline junkies! Following a 4-year renovation, the trail now consists of a secure wooden platform attached to the steep sides of the El Chorro gorge, which all travellers can access. The path is about 8km long and takes 2-3 hours to complete. The trail has not lost all of its adrenaline-inducing traits, however. 2km before the end of the path, you will encounter “The Walkway of Death”, a bridge suspended 100m above the ground amongst the cliffs. Now that’s ending a hike on a high note!