Europe has so much to offer with bustling cities, beautiful beaches and endless sites to discover. You don’t just have to rent a car or hop on the local transport to see the country. Hiking enthusiasts will be thrilled to know there are also hundreds of trails and treks to be explored. Here are some destinations worthy of being placed on your bucket list. From the hardcore to a more relaxed approach (myself definitely needing the latter), there is someone for everyone who enjoys the fresh air and the journey.
Italy: Tour Du Mont Blanc
The Tour Du Mont Blanc is iconic in the trekking world, and it has something for everyone. Lower experience levels can opt for routes around the base of the beauty that straddles three countries (France, Italy and Switzerland), while experts can get the thrill of heading to the summit. With such vast distance to cover, you really can basque in the culture and discover beautiful landscapes, local experiences and incredible food.
Those interested in the trails crossing the borders watch how the environment changes and enjoy the history still scattered along the tracks, such as the standing roman footbridge.
Germany: The Black Forest in Germany
The black forest got its name from the thick, dense pine and fur trees, creating dark atmospheric scenes among the forest. Think enchanted forest from the Brother’s Grimm tales. There are many options, but the main trail spans 177 miles and winds through quaint villages and beautiful landscapes. And how can you not try the famous cake made with ingredients made in the area? The Black Forest gateau. Better yet, make sure to stop off at the two villages claiming the title of inventing it in Bad Godesberg and Baden-Württemberg.
Spain: Camino de Santiago
This trek is suited to the spiritual ones of us. While you don’t have to be spiritual or religious, the journey is one of the most famous pilgrimages. There are many different routes and distances you can choose to take that all lead to the final place at Santiago de Compostela. With this trip, you also have the chance to receive a Compostela (the official certificate of completion). To get the Compostela, you must get a pilgrim’s passport in which you collect stamps from churches, cathedrals and sites along the way. You must also complete the last 62 miles of the journey by foot or on horseback. If you do get the Compostela, it’s a great way to show people after as well!
If the spiritual journey is not for you, you can still walk the scenic paths just for the fun of it.
Czech Republic: Krkonoše mountains
The Krkonoše mountains are the most well-known mountain range in the Czech Republic. This hiking destination is a must for adrenaline enthusiasts as the mountain is full of recreational activities such as skiing, cycling and hiking. The Krkonose national park is full of breathtaking views, colourful meadows and dotted with quaint cottages. For those who enjoy a quieter stroll, the Rychory nature trail is terrific for untapped nature and calmness away from the crowds. If you are looking for exhilarating hikes and day activities but like to take some time to rest and relax, then Janské Lázně spa town is the perfect place to have a mixture of exercise and relaxation. (I won’t judge if you end up staying in the spar instead)
Greece: Cyclades Islands
The Cyclades are a perfect destination for those fond of the quintessential Greek island experience and the explorers among us. If you don’t fancy spending the whole trip in one place, then this might be the answer. With many islands to explore amongst the archipelago (a collection of small islands), you can have something different for each day. The hiking trails differ in difficulty and popularity from island to island, with some clearly signed and mapped out and others left to explore and design your own path.
A great island to visit for hiking options is the island of Kea, with more trails than any other island and a quick 1.5-hour trek to Karthea, the beautiful ancient city.
Of course, I am going to save one of the most fun for last. If you like wine and a good selection, this might be the vacation spot for you. The Alcase is known for its beautiful colourful landscapes and pitstops of vineyards and wine tastings, perfect for those who love the outdoors but want to keep the frivolity of a holiday. (I know I feel less guilty trying all the wine when I am walking it off!) Season dependant, there are also other activities and events going on that can further add to the experience. So why not grab your walking boots and a glass?
Whatever you choose, getting out into the fresh air and the natural beauty these places have to offer. It really doesn’t matter whether you can scale a mountain or take a gentle stroll along the scenic coast. Walking is the way to see the sights!