The 10 most beautiful hiking trails in Europe
Every hiker probably dreams of the Great Appalachian Trail or the wondrous landscapes of New Zealand. However, you can also find natural areas close to home that are just as impressive as these distant destinations. Find your next hiking destination in our list of the most beautiful hiking routes of Europe!
1. Beara Way, Ireland
Ireland is one of Europe’s best destinations for hikers. The island offers a choice of dramatic cliffs, unique geological landscapes and winding mountain valleys. Along Ireland’s west coast is the Wild Atlantic Way, a spectacular 2,600-kilometer coastal route. One of the highlights of this route is the Beara Way, a tour of the Beara Peninsula.
2. Peaks of the Balkans, Albania/Montenegro/Kosovo
This is probably the least known of our most beautiful hiking trails, but the mention is well deserved. The Peaks of the Balkans Trail is an undiscovered gem for hikers in Europe. In two weeks you will discover the natural and cultural richness of three different Balkan countries. Trek through the Albanian highlands, where shepherds live with their flocks.
3. Tour du Mont Blanc, Switzerland/France/Italy
This classic can’t miss on a list of Europe’s most beautiful hiking trails. In about 10 days you explore the area around the highest mountain in Europe: Mont Blanc. The round trip runs through France, Italy and Switzerland over a distance of 170 kilometers. The imposing stature of the mountain massif is continuously visible as you hike through green valleys and over rocky paths surrounded by mountain goats. Those who find the full hiking route too challenging can walk shorter stages or use cable cars and buses.
5. Alta Via 1, Italy
Like great giants they look down on the green landscape of northern Italy. No one will argue that the Dolomites are among the most beautiful natural areas in Europe. Brave the imposing rock formations via this 120-kilometer hiking route. In ten days you trek from the northern Dobbiaco to the southern Bulleno. Explore battlefields from the First World War, hike steep hillsides and stay in cozy mountain huts.
6. West Highland Way, Scotland
This classic is perhaps the most popular walking route in the UK. And rightly so. Anyone who has once had a taste of the Scottish Highlands will lose heart to this rugged natural area. Dramatic landscapes follow one another in rapid succession. Mirroring Scottish lakes, valleys carved out by glaciers and rugged mountain ranges lie on the route, which ends with the largest mountain in Great Britain. In short: 155 kilometers of unspoiled natural landscapes.
7. On the Hardangervidda, Norway
You have beautiful hiking trails and you have the most beautiful hiking trails in Europe. Norway cannot be missing from the latter category. Norway itself is a chain of the most impressive landscapes, but Hardangervidda National Park is perhaps the most impressive area in the country. The nature reserve covering thousands of square kilometers is the largest highland plateau in Europe.
8. Hadrian’s Wall, England
If you want to learn something about history while hiking, northern England is the place to be. The trail along Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most popular hikes in the country. The trail runs 135 kilometers from the east coast to the west coast of England. Rolling hills and quintessentially British towns line this long-distance walk through the countryside. The hiking trail has little elevation change and is therefore great for families and novice hikers.
9. The Hot Springs Trail, Iceland
The Laugavegur (Icelandic for Warm Springs Road) is a four-day hike in the south of Iceland. All of Iceland is blessed with beautiful landscapes, but this route is a collection of highlights. In 4 or 5 days, you’ll hike past geysers, over glaciers and through volcanic hillside areas. Don’t like wading through rivers, sleeping in tents and living off a self-supplied food supply? Then this trek might be a little too wild for you. Those who are warm to this description will totally enjoy this adventure through the Icelandic landscape.