The Best Hikes in Europe: Our Top 13 Picks for 2023
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Your Guide to the Best Hikes in EuropeAfter showing you where you can find the best hiking in the world, we’ve decided to narrow our scope and focus on a single continent instead. With 10 major and 100 minor mountain ranges, countless islands, beaches, forests, rivers and valleys spreading across more than 40 countries, Europe is a treasure trove of geographical and cultural diversity. From the windswept cliffs of Norway to the rustic villages of the Italian Riviera, from soaring Alpine peaks to the deepest ice caves of Iceland, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Deciding on our favorites wasn’t an easy task, but it’s one that needed to be done. Without further ado, here’s what we’ve prepared for you.
Best hiking trails in Europe (single and multi-day):Easy:
- Laugavegur Trail, Iceland — Top choice for volcanic landscapes
- Kungsleden Trail, Sweden — Top choice for trekking with the family
- Blue Trail, Italy — Top choice for seaside hiking
- Alpe-Adria Trail, Austria-Slovenia-Italy — Top choice for pleasure hikers
- Alta Via 1, Italy — Top choice for limestone lovers
- Camino de Santiago, Spain — Top choice for a historic hike
- Quiraing Walk, Scotland — Top choice for fantasy landscapes
- Villingardalsfjall Peak Hike, Faroe Islands — Top choice for a remote hike
- Samaria Gorge Hike, Greece — Top choice for gorgeous cliffs
- GR 20, France — Top choice for the toughest of the tough
- Tour du Mont Blanc, France-Italy-Switzerland — Top choice for an Alpine classic
- The Walker’s Haute Route, France-Switzerland — Top choice for a Tour Du Mont Blanc alternative
- Trolltunga, Norway — Top choice for an unforgettable photo-op
1. Laugavegur Trail, Iceland
The Laugavegur trek thrusts you into the mythical heart of Iceland, surrounded by contrasting scenery, colors, and landform. But luckily, you don’t need the strength and endurance of the Gods to enjoy it.
1. Laugavegur Trail, Iceland - Good to Know
4-6 days, depending on how much sightseeing you plan on doing.
Mostly undemanding, with the occasional steep hill or unbridged river crossing.
1,700 m (5578 ft)
Casual hikers looking for extraordinary views.
The Landmannalaugar area in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Icelandic Highlands.
From late June through mid-September.
2. Kungsleden, Sweden
Kungsleden, one of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails, passes through one of the least populated regions in Europe.
2. Kungsleden, Sweden - Good to Know
Easy to moderate
The full hike takes about a month to complete.
Mostly flat and undemanding, with a fairly gentle elevation profile.
Around 200 m (656 ft) per day on average.
Families and casual hikers.
Either of the two terminus villages—Abisko in the north or Hemavan in the south.
Mid-July to the end of August.
3. Blue Trail, Italy
Cars have been banned within the villages for more than a decade, which means that the best way to travel along Cinque Terre’s hiking trails is on foot, just as famous poets have done over the centuries.
– Stefano Lera in Why The Hiking Trails of Cinque Terre Are Poetry in Motion
3. Blue Trail, Italy - Good to Know
Mostly flat, with the occasional steep hill or set of stairs.
524 m (1720 ft)
Hikers looking for a soothing Mediterranean vibe.
The village of Monterosso.
Spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
4. Alpe-Adria Trail, Austria-Slovenia-Italy
One of Europe’s newest long-distance hiking routes, the project was designed for pleasure and convenience from the get-go.
— Martina Kosmina in The Ultimate Pleasure Hiker’s Delight: Meet the Alpe Adria Trail
4. Alpe-Adria Trail, Austria-Slovenia-Italy - Good to Know
Easy to moderate
1.5 months for a thru-hike, 6-8 hours for each of the 43 individual sections.
Quite easy, without any significant technical portions.
Around 26,000 m (85,300 ft)
Casual hikers and families (especially for a day hike).
The trail starts at the foot of Mount Grossglockner in the Austrian region of Carinthia.
Anywhere between April and October. Peak season runs from July to August.
Hiking the Alpe Adria Trail: Triglav and Soca Valley
The Three Nation Loop
5. Alta Via 1, Italy
When it comes to trekking in the Dolomites, the Alta Via 1 is number one (pun intended) for a multi-day hut-to-hut adventure.
— Augustina Lagos Marmol in The Best Hiking in the Dolomites: A Legacy of Limestone
5. Alta Via 1, Italy - Good to Know
Steep and rocky, with some ladders and cables thrown in for good measure.
7,700 m (25,260 ft)
Backpackers looking for a real challenge.
The Alpine lake of Lago di Braies, one of the most photographed spots in Italy.
May or June, right before summer break hits its peak, or in the fall, when temperatures are lower.
6. Camino de Santiago, Spain
Are you ready to become a modern-day pilgrim? Embark on your Camino adventure and earn your compostela—certificate for accomplishment given to hikers who have walked at least 100 km (62 miles).
6. Camino de Santiago, Spain - Good to Know
The Camino Francés route usually takes 30-35 days to complete.
Combination of woodland paths, hills, mountains, and paved roads.
Around 20,000 m (65,616 ft)
Experienced long-distance hikers with an interest in history, religion, or architecture.
There are various possible starting points in Spain, Portugal or France. Camino Francés begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a French village at the foot of the Pyrenees.
April through June; September-October.
7. Quiraing Walk, Scotland
Quiraing is a massive landslide with cliffs that slump down and create a really bizarre landscape of looming towers and pinnacles that guard hidden valleys.
– Gareth Williams in Why the Magical Isle of Skye Should Be Your Next Hiking Adventure
7. Quiraing Walk, Scotland - Good to Know
Undemanding, pleasant first half; the second half can get quite muddy.
392 m (1,286 ft)
Hikers looking for the most dramatic photo-ops
The trail begins at the car park on the east side of the road.
The best time to visit the Isle of Skye is spring, summer, and early fall.
8. Villingardalsfjall Peak Hike, Faroe Islands
All the culture, history and traditions are connected to the island’s nature. No matter where you are in the archipelago, you can feel the force of the sea and smell the sea salt and grasses. It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been.
– Albert Ojembarrena in Hiking in the Faroe Islands is Your Next Must-Do Adventure
8. Villingardalsfjall Peak Hike, Faroe Islands - Good to Know
Around 4 hours
Steep rocky terrain all the way to the top.
890 m (2,920 ft)
Hikers (and photographers) looking for dramatic landscapes.
The Villingardalsfjall hike starts in Vidareidi village, the northernmost town in the Faroe Islands.
May to August, when the weather is at its most stable.
9. Samaria Gorge, Greece
The Samaria Gorge is a veritable haven for biodiversity. Over 300 species and subspecies of plants and 900 animal species call it home.
9. Samaria Gorge, Greece - Good to Know
Downhill walk on rough terrain full of rocks, dirt, and several river crossings.
2,636 m (8,649 ft)
Competent hikers who enjoy biodiversity and can handle elevation change.
The Omalos Plateau, a tableland surrounded by the Lefka Ori mountain range.
You can only hike in the Samaria Gorge during late spring and summer.
10. GR 20
Once you enter this alpine labyrinth, you’ll likely forget you’re on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean.
— Anthony Laplagne in GR20: Ultimate Guide for the Toughest Trail in Europe
10. GR 20 - Good to Know
Around 2 weeks
Extremely rugged, full of steep ascents and descents.
10,500 m (34,500 ft)
This is a trek only for the fittest, most experienced and tenacious hikers.
Although it’s possible to do the trek in both directions, most hikers start in the village of Calenzana in the north.
from the end of June until the beginning of October.
11. Tour du Mont Blanc, France-Italy-Switzerland
Each pass of the Tour du Mont Blanc is different. While the itinerary of the days might be similar—starting in a valley, heading over a pass and back down to a different valley—the views on the Tour du Mont Blanc never cease to amaze me.
— Natalie Mirzoeff in Tour du Mont Blanc Hike: Route, Preparation & Tips for 2023!
11. Tour du Mont Blanc, France-Italy-Switzerland - Good to Know
Very diverse—paved roads, flat dirt trails, steep rocky paths, narrow mountain passes, stream crossings…
around 10,600 m (35,000 ft)
Fit long-distance hikers looking to bag a classic trek.
There are many different options, but most people start in the Chamonix Valley, right under Mont Blanc.
The summer months, from late June to early September.
12. The Walker’s Haute Route, France-Switzerland
Brace yourself for long daily hikes; patchworks of dramatic landscapes leading you from glaciated mountains reflecting in crystalline lakes to verdant valleys and meadows beneath 9,500-foot mountain passes.
12. The Walker’s Haute Route, France-Switzerland - Good to Know
Wide forest tracks, zig-zagging hillside paths and steep, rocky mountain paths.
Around 12,600 m (41,340 ft)
Tough trekkers looking for an alternative to the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Mid-July to mid-September, when the weather is mild and the snow has melted.
13. Trolltunga, Norway
The Trolltunga hike in Norway is one of those hikes where the end destination is phenomenal, but the journey itself is just as extraordinary and rewarding.
– Stian Ruud in Trolltunga Hike: Itinerary, Useful Info & Tips
13. Trolltunga, Norway - Good to Know
The first section of the trail is a steep ascent on stone and gravel. After that it gets mellower, with smaller climbs here and there.
800 meters (2,625 feet)
Hikers with good endurance who aren’t terrified of heights.
The hike usually starts at the village of Skjeggedal in Vestland county. Alternatively, you can start at Mågelitopp.
Mid-June to mid-September, when the warm weather makes for ideal hiking conditions. Outside of this time window, you must go with a guide.
Good-to-know Info for Hiking in Europe
When traveling to a different continent for outdoor adventures, there’s a lot of different factors to consider: available budget, destinations, what your goal is, season and weather, accommodation… But as we all know, preparation is the key to success—so you want to do it well. To help you plan your trip to Europe, here’s some information you might find useful before booking your flight.