Where to go rock climbing and bouldering in Europe

Climbing takes you to the edge of it all.

Once you’ve conquered one route, you can’t help but look for the next. Once you’ve been to the edge and back again, the urge to do it again becomes even stronger.

Here’s eight European climbing destinations to consider for your next adventure…


Three giants, side-by-side. Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the name given to the Italian alpine mountain trio: Cima Ovest, Cima Grande, Cima Piccola.

Climbing in the Dolomites is a must for any climber. And these immense limestone towers are streaked with an extensive network of routes that are up there with the most unique in the world.

Tre Crime has five recognised peaks, and routes include two of the toughest alpine climbs anywhere—Panaroma (14b) and Bellavista (14b). Both were first ascended and free climbed by Alexander Huber.

Other popular routes include Yellow Edge (Piccola), Hasse-Brandler (Grande) and Bellavista (Ovest).

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Paklenica is one of the climbing community’s best kept secrets. Shaped by countless rock faces, caves, crags and gorges, the National Park offers a huge selection of routes (590 in total), many of which look straight onto the dramatic Adriatic Sea.

The true classic among the Paklenica climbs is the 350m vertical ascent up the north and northwest faces of Anica Kuk. The three popular multi-pitch routes Velebitaski, Klin and Mosoraski may be steep and unforgiving, but the nature of the beast is what makes each one so memorable.

Beyond the unmissable Anica Kuk, smaller climbs line the karst river canyon, which stands out for the remarkable contrast between their grey rock chimneys and the smattering of greenery.

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No climbing rundown would be complete without a trip to the Peak District.

This renowned destination is littered with crags, boulders and vertical rock faces for climbers to grapple with. It’s also home to what is regularly lauded as Britain’s most popular crag, Stanage Edge.

Now that’s quite a claim—especially when you think about all the other hiking spots in the UK. But it’s well deserved. This collection of quality gritstone climbs on the border between Derbyshire and South Yorkshire is irreplaceable.

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Sun, sea, and superb climbing. Situated on the southernmost side of the Crete, Agiofarago is one of many famous climbing regions on the island.

Known for its sharp and jagged rock formations, the area is characterised by some of the toughest climbs you can find in Europe. With both single and multi-pitch routes hitting 8b+ in difficulty, Agiofarago offers up a real treat for climbers on the hunt for challenge.

Be sure to hit the beach too. This little nook of Agiofarago doesn’t only boast white sands and clear seas—it’s also a great spot for climbers to get to grips with the best of Crete.

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Costa Blanca’s prominent climbing hub throws something new at you every time you visit. Whether it’s a brand new wall or buttress to climb or a summit you’d never noticed before, there’s always something different to explore.

Sella’s 425 climbing routes vary considerably in both grade and terrain. During peak season some routes become almost too busy, while quieter sections such as the Hidden Valley and The Divino were made for technical climbers with an appetite for danger.

Arguably the best destination on the list, Sella is the complete climber’s getaway. And with so much to choose from you won’t want to come home anytime soon.

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The Swedish city of Västervik is surrounded by miles of archipelago, dense pine forests and all-important boulders and granite cliffs. The region’s reputation as a European go-to spot for bouldering has grown rapidly over the last decade and shows no sign of slowing.

Bouldering is the ultimate pursuit for those who relish the pure, social and problem solving sides of climbing, and Västervik is a prime location. Top-rated local crags include Vo Västervik, Äskestock, Lysingsbadet, Vargblocken and Rövargrottan Loftahammar.

As Scandinavian climbing adventures go, this is right up there. And with a brand new climbing centre opening its doors just a few years ago, there’s easy access to gear and lessons too.

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We’ve explored the Palatinate or Pfalz region in eastern Germany before.

With large rolling hills coated by one of Europe’s biggest stretches of forest, it’s little wonder the region is a bucket list destination for hikers from all over the globe.

However, what you may not know is that Palatinate and climbing go way back. The sport has been part of the region’s tradition for over 100 years.

Thousands of climbers every year visit Germany in search of the climbing network, made up of over 200 rocks faces. Remarkable in appearance, the boulders and sandstone high-rises so synonymous with Palatinate make up incredible routes including Mühlenberg, Trifels and Haart.

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Bulgaria probably isn’t the first country that springs to mind when it comes to climbing.

Make no mistake though, there’s bags of reasons why it should be.

Host to some of the lesser-known climbing gems in Europe, the country’s stunning backdrops are slowly but surely putting it on the global map—and the Iskar Gorge is up there with the best.

The 70km gorge, which passes through the Balkan Mountains is known for its caves and epic canyon walls made from both lime and sandstone. The Prohodna karst cave is one that every climber should rise to.

Two natural entrances light the inside, making routes far more accessible.

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The raw and wonderful nature of climbing means there’ll always be another rock face to defeat. And that’ll change you. It’ll take you to places most people don’t even know exist, it’ll drive you to chase new challenges. It’ll help you see the world.

Have you found your next fix yet?