We all know what Europe has to offer when it comes to landscapes and trails. But it’s a big continent out there.
From the Peak District to the Katu-Yaryk Mountain Pass in Ulagan, finding your perfect hiking destination can take some time – especially if you’re planning on travelling further afield for your next outdoor adventure.
We’ve been busy scouting out the best bucket list hiking trails in Europe to help you get the most out of your hiking trip. Searching far and wide to find the trails you’ll want to write home about, we’ve handpicked our favourites each with their own, unique identity and that will leave you hungry for more!
This one’s for the ramblers, the wanderers and the explorers. For those who get that oh so familiar urge to pull on their boots, and those who spend hours daydreaming about their next hiking destination from their desk at work.
Velebit Hiking Trail – Croatia
Croatia has grown into a must-visit region over the last decade. Home to sensational coastline and stunning locations, this is one of Europe’s newest hiking hotspots. But don’t be fooled, it’s also one of Europe’s finest.
The 109km² Northern Velebit National Park is simply breathtaking. This small corner of the globe is a hiker’s paradise – nothing more, nothing less. The Park itself plays host to Croatia’s biggest mountain and, due to preservation laws, is only accessible by predetermined trails.
But these aren’t your normal trails.
Stretching out across chasms and caves, around lakes and up mountain sides, expect some incredible views and an unforgettable experience. You won’t want to leave!
Morskie Oko Lake to Rysy Peak, Tatras – Poland
The largest, and fourth deepest lake in the Tatra mountains, the Morskie Oko lake (Eye of the Sea) is a spectacle in itself. But travel to Poland on your next hiking adventure, and this is only the beginning…
Just like Velebit, the Tatra Mountains fall within protected parkland – with both the Polish and Slovak sides continue to attract hordes of winter and summer sports enthusiasts throughout the year.
For those bold enough to make the journey, one popular trail stands out from the rest – the hiker’s pilgrimage from Morskie Oko to the peak of mount Rysy. With the highest of its three summits reaching heights of 2503m, Rysy presents a formidable trek, but offers one of the widest and richest summit panoramas in the Tatras.
Laugavegurinn/Fimmvörðuháls Pass – Iceland
One of Europe’s beautiful beasts, the unforgiving Laugavegurinn trail is extraordinary to say the least. The pinnacle of everything that’s good about the ethereal Icelandic landscape, this hiking destination will put you to the test.
High altitudes, bitter temperatures and monstrous winds are extremely testing, and require a calm, cool, experienced head. However, if you think you’re up to it, don’t let that put you off. This is undeniably one of the most astonishing treks in Europe.
Due to its brutal nature, the trail is usually only open to the public for a few months every year (late June to early September). So make sure you travel at the right time to make the most of Iceland’s iconic environments.
From waterfalls to wildlife, to glaciers to gruelling mountainsides, this famous volcanic region is a rich haven for the dedicated hiker looking for a fresh bucket list challenge.
- How to find the perfect hiking destination
- The hiker’s guide to EPIC European adventures [Interactive map]
- Foot aware: Columbia Canuk Titanium Omni-Heat OutDry Extreme
Kungsleden – Sweden
Take on one of Europe’s most remote and volatile destinations. Hiking along the Kungsleden (King’s Trail) in northern Sweden takes some serious nerve and gusto. But for those ready to raise the bar, this intrepid trek is a must.
Located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, the region is steeped in untouched forest which stretches beyond the horizon, and is home to some of the most spectacular glacial valleys on the planet.
Hikers will experience the rushing Abisko River as they make their way through epic mountain passes towards Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular wilderness you’re ever likely to set eyes upon, you’ll encounter everything from waterfalls and glaciers, the indigenous Sami people and daylight at midnight.
Burgenweg (Palatinate to Alsace) – Germany/France
The German-French trail Burgenweg weaves through the Palatinate forest (one of Europe’s biggest), and connects the Palatinate and Alsace regions.
If you’re looking for a unique hiking experience, this could be it.
Given the much coveted premium rating by the German Hiking Association, the trail cuts through the low mountain region and passes by eight ancient castles, mighty rock formations, vineyards and viewpoints that will leave you wide-eyed and open mouthed. Not only will you witness the stunning German wilderness, but you’ll also cross the border and find yourself in Alsace, which ranks as one of France’s most charming idyllic regions.
One of the less known trails on the list, Burgenweg offers a more scenic experience that is accessible to any keen hiker wanting to get back to nature and explore Europe like never before.
The choice is yours…
When planning your next hiking trip, it’s important to be realistic about your own ability and those you’re adventuring with. The trails on this list vary in distance and intensity, but they do give a real taster of what’s out there.
The diversity of Europe’s landscape is what makes it such a fantastic destination for hikers from the world over. With so much choice, there’s no better time to find your perfect bucket list journey!
So what are you waiting for? We know where we’re going in 2017 – do you?