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The Best Hikes in Europe: Our Top 13 Picks for 2024

Planning a hiking trip on the Old Continent, but don’t know where to start? Join us on this curated European odyssey to find the perfect destination for you.

Hiking is many different things to people—a way to escape the rush of city life and get in touch with oneself, aerobic exercise for the calorie counters, a wellspring of content for the selfie seekers…

But for us at 57hours, it is first and foremost a celebration of nature.

Our mission is to inspire you to get outside and explore the outdoors on unique, exciting, and sustainable adventures alongside expert local guides who act as stewards of the world’s most beautiful trails.

With that in mind, we’ve pooled together a list of the best hikes in Europe to help whet your wanderlust.

Hiker standing on a cliff watching the Godafoss waterfall in Iceland

Your Guide to the Best Hikes in Europe

After 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:

Moderate:

Strenuous:

1. Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

TOP CHOICE FOR VOLCANIC LANDSCAPES
Mind-blowing volcanic scenery
Simple terrain that doesn’t take away from the sights
Supported by a system of well-maintained huts
Notoriously fickle weather
Short hiking season
Hiker observing the Thorsmork nature reserve in Iceland from a rocky vantage point
The Laugavegur Trail runs from the geothermal springs of Landmannalaugar to the Þórsmörk nature reserve, which sits under an active volcano.

The 55-kilometer (34 miles) Laugavegur Trail is a multi-day hiking route in Iceland that takes hikers through a series of otherworldly landscapes which feature volcanic mountains, lava fields, glaciers, geysers, black sand desert, lakes, geothermal pools and so much more.

The hike starts in the Landmannalaugar area, known for its colorful rhyolite mountains, and ends in the Thórsmörk Valley. Along the way, you’ll experience some of Iceland’s most iconic sights, including the Hrafntinnusker geothermal area, the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, and the Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

The trail is well-marked with cairns and signs, and there are mountain huts and campsites along the way where hikers can rest and spend the night. Just be aware that the weather in Iceland can be extremely unpredictable, sometimes going through all four seasons in a single day, so always be prepared for sudden changes.

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.

– Saga Líf in Hiking the Laugavegur Trail: A Guide to the Heart of Iceland

1. Laugavegur Trail, Iceland - Good to Know

Difficulty:

Easy

Duration:

4-6 days, depending on how much sightseeing you plan on doing.

Terrain:

Mostly undemanding, with the occasional steep hill or unbridged river crossing.

Elevation change:

1,700 m (5578 ft)

Who is it best for:

Casual hikers looking for extraordinary views.

Starting point:

The Landmannalaugar area in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Icelandic Highlands.

Best time to hike:

From late June through mid-September.

Recommended guided tours:

Laugavegur Trail Guided Hike
Classic Laugavegur Hike
All-women Laugavegur Hiking Tour
Hut-to-Hut Hiking on the Laugavegur Trail
Tent-based Laugavegur Hike

2. Kungsleden, Sweden

TOP CHOICE FOR TREKKING WITH THE FAMILY
Diverse selection of beautiful landscapes
Very well maintained and equipped with a hut system
Suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels
No significant elevation change
Crowded by people and mosquitoes alike
Although it was first established in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until 1975 that Kungsleden was officially extended to include its present-day southern terminus in Hemavan.

Kungsleden, meaning King’s Trail, is the longest and most popular hiking trail in Sweden. It stretches for 440 kilometers (273 miles) from the village of Abisko to the village of Hemavan in the Arctic wilderness. Along the way, the route passes through four national parks, vast expanses of wilderness (including Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden), and culminates in the northernmost province of Lapland.

The trail features remote and rugged terrain, with snowy mountains, dense birch forests, moorland, glaciers, lakes, and offers exhilarating views of Sweden’s wildest landscapes. Low altitudes and flat terrain coupled with well-maintained trails make Kungsleden suitable for all hikers, even kids. Every 10-20 kilometers you’ll find a mountain hut offering simple accommodation and respite for the night.

There’s plenty of flexibility here; the trail can be hiked both ways, all at once or in sections. If you’re looking for the classic approach, the northernmost section of the trek is the most popular, as it takes hikers through Abisko National Park—famous for its mountain scenery and the Aurora Sky Station, a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights.

Kungsleden, one of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails, passes through one of the least populated regions in Europe.

– 57hours

2. Kungsleden, Sweden - Good to Know

Difficulty:

Easy to moderate

Duration:

The full hike takes about a month to complete.

Terrain:

Mostly flat and undemanding, with a fairly gentle elevation profile.

Elevation change:

Around 200 m (656 ft) per day on average.

Who is it best for:

Families and casual hikers.

Starting point:

Either of the two terminus villages—Abisko in the north or Hemavan in the south.

Best time to hike:

Mid-July to the end of August.

3. Blue Trail, Italy

TOP CHOICE FOR SEASIDE HIKING
Goes through all five villages of Cinque Terre
Beautiful views of the Ligurian Sea
Plenty of shops and restaurants to check out
Often gets quite crowded
Can be affected by landslides after heavy rain
Village of Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy
The Blue Trail was created from centuries-old footpaths, mule tracks, and trading routes that were used to connect the fishing villages to the interior.

Cinque Terre is a series of five colorful fishing villages perched on the cliffs above the Ligurian Sea in Italy. Most of the hikes here are relatively easy and can be done in a day, the Blue Trail (Sentiero Azzurro) being no exception. This 12-kilometer (7.5 miles) point-to-point path connects all five communities into possibly the brightest jewel of Mediterranean hiking.

The Blue Trail takes 2-4 hours to complete, but we encourage you to take your time and give ample attention to each village, paying visits to local shops and restaurants to sample the delicious seafood and wine the region is known for. There are also plenty of rest stops and scenic viewpoints along the way.

Because of the Mediterranean climate, the trail is open year-round, but some sections may be closed due to landslides or other natural hazards, so it’s important to check the conditions before starting your hike.

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

Difficulty:

Easy

Duration:

2-4 hours

Terrain:

Mostly flat, with the occasional steep hill or set of stairs.

Elevation change:

524 m (1720 ft)

Who is it best for:

Hikers looking for a soothing Mediterranean vibe.

Starting point:

The village of Monterosso.

Best time to hike:

Spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

Recommended guided tour:

Hike the Mediterranean Paradise of Cinque Terre

4. Alpe-Adria Trail, Austria-Slovenia-Italy

TOP CHOICE FOR PLEASURE HIKERS
Passes through three beautiful Alpine countries
High-quality accommodation (with great cuisine to boot)
Can be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks
Accommodations can be scarce during the summer months
Not as challenging as some other treks of similar length
Hikers on the Alpe-Adria Trail
The Alpe-Adria-Trail connects the region of Carinthia in Southern Austria, Slovenia, and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in Northeast Italy.

The Alpe-Adria-Trail is one of the latest additions to Europe’s constellation of long-distance treks. Passing through Austria, Slovenia and Italy, the route consists of 43 stages, each around 20 kilometers long (6-8 hours of walking time). Its name comes from the fact the trail starts on Grossglockner (the tallest mountain in Austria) and ends in the seaside town of Muggia in Northeast Italy.

Contrary to what its name might suggest, the trek features few Alpine stages, with most of them winding through open countryside, along pristine lakes and rivers, through verdant forests and picturesque towns. Similar to how geographical features transcend borders on a map, here languages, traditions, and cuisine spill over national lines and create unique blends of influences.

Along the way, you’ll visit the sites of famous WW1 battles, historic castles and medieval churches, go wine tasting in local vineyards, and sunbathe on the Adriatic coast. Completing the entire 750-kilometer (466 miles) trek would take a month and a half, so most hikers opt for completing a section or two at a time.

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

Difficulty:

Easy to moderate

Duration:

1.5 months for a thru-hike, 6-8 hours for each of the 43 individual sections.

Terrain:

Quite easy, without any significant technical portions.

Elevation change:

Around 26,000 m (85,300 ft)

Who is it best for:

Casual hikers and families (especially for a day hike).

Starting point:

The trail starts at the foot of Mount Grossglockner in the Austrian region of Carinthia.

Best time to hike:

Anywhere between April and October. Peak season runs from July to August.

Recommended guided tours:

Hiking the Alpe Adria Trail: Triglav and Soca Valley
The Three Nation Loop

5. Alta Via 1, Italy

TOP CHOICE FOR LIMESTONE LOVERS
Phenomenal views of the Dolomites
Features some of the finest rifugios in Italy
Suitable for hikers new to multi-day treks
Takes a lot of time and effort to complete
The trail signs can sometimes be unclear
Massive limestone peaks of the Dolomite Mountains in Italy
The highest point of the standard Alta Via 1 trek is Rifugio Lagazuoi, which sits at 2,752 m (9,029 ft).

We can’t talk about the best hiking in Europe without mentioning Alta Via 1. This long-distance hiking trail is located in the Dolomites, also known as the “Pale Mountains”, which occupy an area of around 16,000 km2 (6,177 sq mi) in Northeast Italy. The trail is considered to be one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes in Europe, offering hikers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and pristine alpine lakes.

Despite its difficulty, Alta Via I is still one the most approachable of all the high routes in the area. Starting from Lago di Braies in South Tyrol and ending in the province of Belluno, it covers a distance of approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) and takes between 7 to 14 days to complete. Sections of the trail are punctuated by quaint rifugios or huts where local delicacies are served.

The trek will take you through some of the most dramatic landscapes in the Dolomites, including high-altitude meadows, deep valleys, and massive limestone formations. To complete it, you’ll need a good level of fitness and experience in mountain hiking, as there are some steep ascents and descents, as well as exposed sections that require careful attention.

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

Difficulty:

Moderate

Duration:

7-14 days

Terrain:

Steep and rocky, with some ladders and cables thrown in for good measure.

Elevation change:

7,700 m (25,260 ft)

Who is it best for:

Backpackers looking for a real challenge.

Starting point:

The Alpine lake of Lago di Braies, one of the most photographed spots in Italy.

Best time to hike:

May or June, right before summer break hits its peak, or in the fall, when temperatures are lower.

Recommended guided tour:

Hiking Tours of Alta via 1 and 2

6. Camino de Santiago, Spain

TOP CHOICE FOR A HISTORIC HIKE
Ever-changing landscapes that include everything Spain has to offer
Well-marked, with easy access to food and accommodation in villages
Perfect for quiet reflection
The final 100-kilometer stretch is quite touristy
Mostly flat and not technically challenging
Scallop marking on the Camino de Santiago hike
The lines of the scallop mark metaphorically represent the different routes pilgrims can take, with all trails leading to the same finish line at Santiago de Compostela.

Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage route that leads to the city of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where the remains of the apostle St. James are believed to be buried. The route has been walked by pilgrims for over a thousand years, first by Christian pilgrims, then by the eager hikers of the modern world.

There are several ways to reach the terminus from various parts of Europe. The most popular route is Camino Francés, which starts in the French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and covers a distance of approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) over the course of several weeks.

The hike is both a cultural and historical experience, with diverse landscapes, medieval architecture, and charming communities strewn along the trail. Many hikers embark on the journey for spiritual reasons, while others do it for the physical challenge and sense of adventure.

The route is marked by yellow arrows and the famous scallop shells. You’ll never find yourself in the middle of nowhere as there are many albergues (hostels for pilgrims) where you can grab a bite and spend the night.

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). 

— 57hours

6. Camino de Santiago, Spain - Good to Know

Difficulty:

Moderate

Duration:

The Camino Francés route usually takes 30-35 days to complete.

Terrain:

Combination of woodland paths, hills, mountains, and paved roads.

Elevation change:

Around 20,000 m (65,616 ft)

Who is it best for:

Experienced long-distance hikers with an interest in history, religion, or architecture.

Starting point:

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.

Best time to hike:

April through June; September-October.

Recommended guided tours:

Self-Guided Camino de Santiago Hiking Tours
Guided Camino Frances Walking Tour
Guided Camino Portuguese Walking Tour

7. Quiraing Walk, Scotland

TOP CHOICE FOR FANTASY LANDSCAPES
Astonishing landscapes taken straight out of fairytales
Geological wonders you won’t find anywhere else
Packs a lot of punch in a short amount of time
Too short—we want more!
Watch out for sheep poop
Aerial view of the Quiraing landslip on the Isle of Skye
The Quiraing is an enormous landslip on Trotternish, the northernmost peninsula of the Isle of Skye.

The Isle of Skye feels like a portal to another dimension where giants roam the land and dinosaurs lay their bones in misty lochs. This majestic Scottish island is home to the looping 6.8-kilometer (4.2 miles) Quiraing Walk, one of the most dramatic day hikes in the world.

The trail begins at a nearby car park and follows a path up the hillside towards the Quiraing plateau. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Trotternish Ridge and the Inner Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. Some of the most famous features of the Quiraing are the Needle—a tall, narrow pinnacle of rock that juts out from the plateau—and the Prison—a jagged tower of grass and rock dominating the skyline.

Also notable is the Table, a flat-topped rock formation that offers a great spot to rest and take in the view. Once you reach the top of the hill, you’ll find yourself on the Quiraing plateau, which is a unique landscape of rocky outcrops, deep gullies, and steep cliffs. The trail follows the edge of the plateau, offering sweeping views of the surrounding terrain.

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

Difficulty:

Moderate

Duration:

2-4 hours

Terrain:

Undemanding, pleasant first half; the second half can get quite muddy.

Elevation change:

392 m (1,286 ft)

Who is it best for:

Hikers looking for the most dramatic photo-ops

Starting point:

The trail begins at the car park on the east side of the road.

Best time to hike:

The best time to visit the Isle of Skye is spring, summer, and early fall.

Recommended guided tour:

Hiking Tours of Storr and Quiraing on the Isle of Skye

8. Villingardalsfjall Peak Hike, Faroe Islands

TOP CHOICE FOR A REMOTE HIKE
Lovely view of the isthmus where the village of Viðareiði is located
On a clear day you can see half a dozen islands in the distance
The trail is well-marked with plastic poles
Requires a fee to access
Very steep from the get-go
Person hiking towards the Villingardalsfjall mountain in the Faroe Islands
Peaking at 841 meters (2,760 ft) above sea level, Villingardalsfjall is the third highest mountain in the Faroe Islands.

The Villingardalsfjall Peak Hike is a popular hiking trail on the Faroe Islands known for its scenic beauty and challenging terrain. The hike starts at the village of Saksun, where you’ll follow a path that winds up the side of the mountain. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the vast landscape—deep fjords, smooth green-carpeted hillsides, and the Viðareiði settlement below.

The trail is quite steep in places, and you’ll need to scramble over rocks and boulders as you climb. Luckily, it’s also well-marked and maintained, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way. As you near the top of the mountain, the markings will become less clear. Don’t follow the cairns to the left, but rather continue pushing up towards the summit.

At the top of Villingardalsfjall Peak, you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree view few hiking trails can match. The Faroe Islands are like an enchanted fairytale land hidden from the rest of the world, and its unique setting makes it one of the best places to hike in Europe.

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

Difficulty:

Moderate

Duration:

Around 4 hours

Terrain:

Steep rocky terrain all the way to the top.

Elevation change:

890 m (2,920 ft)

Who is it best for:

Hikers (and photographers) looking for dramatic landscapes.

Starting point:

The Villingardalsfjall hike starts in Vidareidi village, the northernmost town in the Faroe Islands.

Best time to hike:

May to August, when the weather is at its most stable.

Recommended guided tour:

Hike and Sail the Mythical Faroe Islands

9. Samaria Gorge, Greece

TOP CHOICE FOR GORGEOUS CLIFFS
The longest gorge on the continent
Massive cliffs decorated with rare flora
The trail is well-marked with plastic poles
Requires a fee to access
Very steep from the get-go
The island of Crete is located on the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, where the African tectonic plate collides with the Eurasian plate. As a result, the area saw a lot of seismic activity, and one of the larger fractures gave birth to the Samaria Gorge.

Located on the Greek island of Crete, Samaria is the longest gorge in Europe, stretching for a whopping 16 kilometers (10 miles). As one of the biggest hiking attractions in a country filled with natural and historical wonders, it frequently sees hundreds, sometimes even thousands of visitors per day.

Hiking through the Samaria Gorge can be challenging, as it involves walking on rocky terrain and navigating steep descents and ascents. The trail gets quite narrow in some sections where the gorge cuts deep into Lefka Ori, the White Mountains of Crete.

This 5-7-hour hike begins at an altitude of 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) at the Omalos Plateau and descends towards the coast, where it ends at the village of Agia Roumeli. The whole way down, the trail is framed by rugged cliffs, pine forests, and the crystal-clear waters of the Samaria River. If you can handle the steepness, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best day hikes in Europe.

The Samaria Gorge is a veritable haven for biodiversity. Over 300 species and subspecies of plants and 900 animal species call it home.

— 57hours

9. Samaria Gorge, Greece - Good to Know

Difficulty:

Moderate

Duration:

5-7 hours

Terrain:

Downhill walk on rough terrain full of rocks, dirt, and several river crossings.

Elevation change:

2,636 m (8,649 ft)

Who is it best for:

Competent hikers who enjoy biodiversity and can handle elevation change.

Starting point:

The Omalos Plateau, a tableland surrounded by the Lefka Ori mountain range.

Best time to hike:

You can only hike in the Samaria Gorge during late spring and summer.

10. GR 20

TOP CHOICE FOR THE TOUGHEST OF THE TOUGH
Alpine terrain on an idyllic Mediterranean island
Eternal bragging rights for any hiker who completes it
Gorgeous scenery all the way through
Requires extreme physical and mental effort
Fickle weather that changes in the blink of an eye
Female hiker on a rocky section of the GR20 Trail in Corsica
The fastest known time on the GR20 is held by the greatest trail runner of all time, Killian Jornet, who completed this extremely difficult route in just 32 hours and 54 minutes.

GR20, the twentieth “Grande Randonnée” or “great hike”, is a long-distance trail that crosses the French island of Corsica north to south. It’s considered by many to be the most challenging hike in Europe, with rugged terrain, steep ascents and descents, and narrow ridges which define the island’s jagged spine. Walking it is already challenging enough, but some hardcore athletes go as far as running it in hopes of breaking the speed record.

The trail covers approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles) and can take up to two weeks to complete. Divided into 16 stages, it takes hikers through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Corsica, including snow-capped peaks, rocky ridgelines, dense forests, and crystal-clear lakes.

To complete the thru-hike, you’ll need a very high level of fitness and experience with hiking on mountainous terrain, as there are some technical sections that require a good deal of scrambling. The trail is well marked with red-and-white stripes and there are refuges and campgrounds along the way where you can rest and spend the night.

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

Difficulty:

Very strenuous

Duration:

Around 2 weeks

Terrain:

Extremely rugged, full of steep ascents and descents.

Elevation change:

10,500 m (34,500 ft)

Who is it best for:

This is a trek only for the fittest, most experienced and tenacious hikers.

Starting point:

Although it’s possible to do the trek in both directions, most hikers start in the village of Calenzana in the north.

Best time to hike:

from the end of June until the beginning of October.

Recommended guided tour:

Hiking the Full GR20 Trail in Corsica
Hiking the North GR20 Trail in Corsica
Hiking the South GR20 Trail in Corsica

11. Tour du Mont Blanc, France-Italy-Switzerland

TOP CHOICE FOR AN ALPINE CLASSIC
An Alpine trek through three distinct cultures
Ever-changing, ever-gorgeous landscapes
Quaint villages and mountain huts serving local delicacies
Will set you back quite a bit thanks to its costly stops
You’ll encounter lots of people on the trail
Hiker on the Tour du Mont Blanc
According to some estimates, around 20,000 people complete the Tour du Mont Blanc every year.

The 170-kilometer (105 miles) Tour du Mont Blanc, one of the most celebrated (and trafficked) long-distance trails in the world, circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland. Filled with iconic Alpine vistas and enough rustic charm to fill a dozen photo albums, it’s a staple of any self-respecting hiker’s bucket list.

Although there are many different starting points you can choose from, the trek traditionally begins and ends in Chamonix. Every day of the Tour is a new feast for the senses—from the cold granite spires of the Aiguilles to the sun-kissed slopes of Les Contamines; from the whistling of high winds above Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France, to the jingle of cow bells in Val Ferret.

Throughout these 6-12 days, you’ll pass through picturesque villages and mountain huts, where you can rest and recharge with local delicacies belonging to three different cultures. The trail involves some steep ascents and descents, so you should have a reasonable level of fitness and endurance to complete it.

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

Difficulty:

Strenuous

Duration:

6-12 days

Terrain:

Very diverse—paved roads, flat dirt trails, steep rocky paths, narrow mountain passes, stream crossings…

Elevation change:

around 10,600 m (35,000 ft)

Who is it best for:

Fit long-distance hikers looking to bag a classic trek.

Starting point:

There are many different options, but most people start in the Chamonix Valley, right under Mont Blanc.

Best time to hike:

The summer months, from late June to early September.

Recommended guided tour:

Classic Guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek
Luxury Guided Mont Blanc Hiking Tour
Self-Guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek

12. The Walker’s Haute Route, France-Switzerland

TOP CHOICE FOR A TOUR DU MONT BLANC ALTERNATIVE
Beautiful big mountain scenery and rustic Alpine charm
Easy access to accommodation with delicious food and drinks
Excellent alternative to the megapopular Tour du Mont Blanc
There’s no fixed route, so you need to find your own
You need to be very fit to complete the trek
Path on the Walker’s Haute Route leading towards the Matterhorn
The Walker’s Haute Route takes hikers across 10 of the highest mountain passes in the French and Swiss Alps.

Stretching from the base of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France, to the striking fin of Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, the Walker’s Haute Route combines rolling pastures and high mountain passes to form one of the best multi-day treks in the world. With only a fixed starting and ending point, it can take anywhere between 7 to 14 days to complete the trek.

The hike takes you through both serene and dramatic Alpine landscapes, stringing together massive glaciers, verdant meadows, and picturesque villages. Along the way, you’ll encounter challenging terrain, including steep ascents and descents, snowfields, and exposed ridges. The reward for this challenge is access to unparalleled views of some of the tallest mountains in the world.

Along with other determined hikers, cows, ibex, and chamois will keep you company throughout your trek. To successfully complete the Walker’s Haute Route, you’ll need plenty of energy, which is where the hotels and huts come in. Do yourself a favor and try the local delicacies—this is also a culinary journey!

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.

— 57hours

12. The Walker’s Haute Route, France-Switzerland - Good to Know

Difficulty:

Strenuous

Duration:

1-2 weeks

Terrain:

Wide forest tracks, zig-zagging hillside paths and steep, rocky mountain paths.

Elevation change:

Around 12,600 m (41,340 ft)

Who is it best for:

Tough trekkers looking for an alternative to the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Starting point:

Chamonix, France

Best time to hike:

Mid-July to mid-September, when the weather is mild and the snow has melted.

Recommended guided tour:

Haute Route Trek: Hiking From Chamonix to Zermatt

13. Trolltunga, Norway

TOP CHOICE FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE PHOTO-OP
Untouched Nordic landscapes
One of the greatest viewpoints on Earth
Close to several of Norway’s national parks and scenic routes
The weather is prone to sudden changes
You might have to wait a while for your turn on the rock
Hiker sitting at the edge of the Trolltunga rock in Norway
Trolltunga was formed during the Ice Age 10,000 years ago, when glacier water froze in the cracks of the mountain and broke off in large chunks, leaving this protruding rock hanging in the air.

When it comes to trekking in Europe, the Trolltunga trail in Western Norway stands with the best of them. This scenic 28-kilometer (17.4 miles) out-and-back trail will take you through the Nordic wilderness and up to a majestic cliff jutting out 700 meters (2,300 feet) above Ringedalsvatnet Lake.

The trail can be challenging, especially during bad weather, as it involves some steep climbs and river crossings. However, most of the difficulty stems from the length of the trail. If you’re planning on doing it one day, make sure to start early. But if you’d like to immerse yourself in the untouched nature, consider camping under the northern sky.

The name Trolltunga translates to Troll’s tongue. Why, you ask? According to legend, there once was a troll who, thinking himself immortal, stuck out his tongue to mock the sun and was in turn petrified. As you journey through Norway’s vast landscapes shaped by ancient glaciers, you will be humbled just the same. Deep fjords, valleys, and waterfalls—this unique hike has them in spades.

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

Difficulty:

Strenuous

Duration:

8–12 hours

Terrain:

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.

Elevation change:

800 meters (2,625 feet)

Who is it best for:

Hikers with good endurance who aren’t terrified of heights.

Starting point:

The hike usually starts at the village of Skjeggedal in Vestland county. Alternatively, you can start at Mågelitopp.

Best time to hike:

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.

Recommended guided tour:

Hiking to Trolltunga Cliff in Norway

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.

What’s the best season for hiking in Europe?

The answer to this question, of course, depends on where you’re going. There are beautiful hiking destinations around Europe available at any time of the year. Come springtime, the hidden trails of Tuscany are in full bloom. In summer, we love hiking the Via Dinarica, which runs from Slovenia to Albania. The mild temperatures of Portugal’s fall season are perfect for hiking the Rota Vicentina. And don’t get us started on winter hiking in Iceland under the northern lights!

As you can see, there’s no shortage of options. As a rule of thumb, however, try to aim for summer if you’re going to hike in Northern Europe or in the Alps. In Mediterranean countries, where summers get prohibitively hot, spring and fall are your best bet. Winter months are great for scenic lakeside hikes, snowshoeing tours in the mountains, and trips to sunny islands such as Malta, Madeira, or the Canaries for rejuvenating walks without crowds or scorching heat.

What’s the best country for hiking in Europe?

It’s impossible to pick the best country for hiking in Europe. However, strong cases could be made for Italy, France, and Iceland, which all appear on our list and include many other world-class trails that deserve honorable mentions. Too many to count!

What are some cheap hiking destinations in Europe?

If you’re hiking in Europe on a budget but still want to experience a first-class adventure, some destinations you should definitely check out are Georgia’s Caucasus mountains, the Tatra Mountains between Slovakia and Poland, or the Julian Alps in Slovenia—recently we fell in love with hiking the Juliana Trail. Whichever one you choose, you can’t go wrong!

The Best Hikes in Europe At Your Fingertips

There we go, the hardest part of the job is done. The list of the best hikes in Europe is finally in your hands—now it’s your turn to go out and enjoy what many consider to be hikes of a lifetime. Start with our suggestions and curate your own best-of list. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

Psssst, by the way… If you happen to see someone wearing a red hoodie with “57hours” emblazoned on their back out there in the great outdoors, don’t be shy, give us a holler! You never know, we might just let you in on what’s the next big thing in the hiking world.

About the author
57hours Writer and Bouldering Enthusiast

For Marko, literature came first and the outdoors followed. Lermontov took him galloping across the Caucasus, Wordsworth brought him along for a tour of the Lake District, and Conrad sent him sailing down the Congo—but for better or worse, it was 57hours that got him to climb his first route outside. When he’s not penning articles, you can find him in the bouldering gym, taking photos on the streets of Zagreb, or at home brushing up on his Japanese skills.

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