Often celebrated for its rich history, diverse cultures, and picturesque cities, Europe is also home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes for hikers. From the rugged peaks of the Swiss Alps to the ancient trails of the El Caminito Del Ray in Spain, Europe offers a hiker’s paradise that caters to all levels of experience and interests.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through the enchanting world of European hiking, showcasing the continent’s stunning natural wonders. Without further ado, here are the best hiking trails in Europe;
El Caminito Del Ray, Spain
Elevation gain: 400 meters
Time to complete: 3 hours
Embark on a journey that unveils the stunning vistas of Andalucia as you ascend peaks, wander through quaint whitewashed villages, and meander past enchanting orchids and mountain towns.
In the past, this trail earned a notorious reputation as one of the most perilous hiking routes in Europe and worldwide, owing to the deteriorating condition of the pathways. This led to its closure for four years to facilitate extensive restoration efforts.
Today, with the trail fully rejuvenated, boasting safety railings and robust walkways, it no longer carries the ominous label of a dangerous hike. However, this transformation in safety measures in no way diminishes the allure of the surrounding landscapes.
Revel in the breathtaking spectacle of the gorge, the canyon, and the river that serenely flows beneath the path, gracefully curving through the heart of the gorge.
For the intrepid souls who grapple with vertigo, brace yourself for a unique feature along the trail: a section of glass flooring that grants you a fascinating perspective on the staggering altitude you’ve attained.
Also, a spine-tingling wire suspension bridge awaits at the trail’s zenith, guiding you across the chasm at a dizzying height, where awe-inspiring vistas will leave you breathless.
Elevation gain: 900 meters
Time to complete: 12 hours
Trolltunga, which translates to “troll’s tongue,” encompasses a 27-kilometer-long trail with an ascent of 900 meters. Completing this hike may require about 12 hours, possibly less if you’re in excellent physical condition. Nevertheless, the time invested in this trail will undoubtedly rewarded when you reach the summit.
During your trek, you will encounter several captivating sights, such as mountain glacial potholes and the majestic Ringedal Dam.
However, the true highlight awaits you at the mountain’s peak – an awe-inspiring precipice that stands at an elevation of 1,100 meters above sea level, dramatically suspended 700 meters over the glistening waters of Lake Ringedalsvatnet below. Take your time and fully absorb the breathtaking vistas from this remarkable vantage point.
Ladder of Kotor, Montenegro
Elevation gain: 900 meters
Time to complete: 12 hours
The Kotor Ladder, also known as the Cattaro Ladder, is among Montenegro’s most beloved hiking routes. With an elevation gain of 940 meters, it offers a challenging ascent that rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas. Gazing from the opposite side of the Vrmac peninsula, you can witness the full grandeur of this remarkable trail.
Originating in the historic coastal town of Kotor, this scenic pathway winds its way up the mountainside. This trail, harkening back to the 19th century, was initially constructed by Austrian forces to serve as a vital military route to their frontier.
Beyond its strategic purpose, the road also served as a lifeline for delivering essential supplies to the military stationed in the region.
Monte Rosa, Italy and Switzerland
Elevation gain: 11,600 meters
Time to complete: 6 days
Standing at a towering 4,554 meters, Monte Rosa is an immense mountain massif that straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy.
This colossal mountain range is home to the most extensive expanse of land above the 4,000-meter mark in the Alpine region, boasting an impressive collection of 18 true peaks, with 12 soaring beyond the 4,000-meter threshold. As such, this remarkable massif has many diverse hiking routes to explore.
One of the more popular choices for intrepid hikers is the “Spaghetti Tour,” a winding trek that takes four to six days to complete. It guides adventurers across the rugged terrain of Monte Rosa and grants them access to some of its loftiest summits.
Along this exhilarating journey, hikers can reside in some of the highest mountain huts in Europe, particularly on the Italian side. These mountain huts are celebrated for their delectable pasta dishes, an appealing culinary aspect that inspired the tour’s unique name.
Pico do Areeiro, Portugal
Elevation gain: 1,796 meters
Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Time to complete: 8 hours
This hiking trail is ideal for families but best suited for older children, typically those aged ten and above. The trail has some steep ascents and descents, which could pose safety concerns for toddlers.
The journey begins at Pico do Areeiro, the second-highest peak in Madeira, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas. The trail is well-marked, ensuring it’s easy to navigate. It winds along a ridge, passing through tunnels, and ultimately culminates at Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira.
The views from this vantage point are undeniably spectacular. While the trail isn’t overly challenging, it does involve a fair amount of climbing, so it’s advisable to be in good physical condition to enjoy the experience fully.
Europe’s diverse landscapes offer extensive hiking opportunities, from coastal walks to high alpine adventures, making it a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re an experienced trekker or a novice hiker, the old continent has something to offer.
So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and embark on a journey through Europe’s natural wonders – where history, culture, and nature unite to create an unforgettable hiking experience.