These long-distance hiking routes offer a life-changing challenge with mind-blowing views. Here are 7 of the best multi-day hiking routes in Europe.
Sure, a good beach break has its appeals, but a hiking holiday is a fantastic choice if you want to see more than just the sea and the bar. By travelling on your feet you’ll get to explore at your own pace and get off the beaten track. It’s a great way to experience a country’s people and culture by getting away from the major cities and visiting the countryside. You’ll also find accommodation and the cost of living cheaper, and the people more welcoming by and large. If it’s travel inspiration you’re looking for then we’ve got you covered!
Here are 7 of the best multi-day hikes in Europe:
1. Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Italy, and Switzerland
This 170km classic takes in endless natural beauty as you traverse Europe’s biggest mountain range. The hike is usually completed in about 11 days and as it’s a loop you can start off wherever you want. Due to weather conditions, hikers have to complete it in the summer. The route is dotted with accommodation, ranging from simple refuges to charming bed and breakfasts and you’ll often wake to spectacular views. Over the course of your holiday, you’ll complete more than 10,000m of ascent so it’s not for the faint-hearted.
2. Cinque Terre Coastal Trail – Italy
This trail is dripping in Mediterranean beauty. The name of the route comes from the five towns you’ll reach on route: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. All five are on the UNESCO world heritage list and are achingly picturesque. The hike is just 11km and so can be completed in six hours. However if you do have the time we recommend spreading the walking out over a long weekend so you have plenty of time to stop for food, wine, and dips in the sea.
3. Camino de Santiago – Spain
People have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain for hundreds of years. There are many routes to take and any journey over 100km is enough to earn you your ‘Compostela’ or pilgrimage certificate. You can improvise your journey but the most popular is the Camino Francés that starts in St. Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. The full route is about 780km long and takes roughly a month to complete, though you can join at any point if you have less time.
4. West Highland Way – Scotland
Just over the Irish Sea lies the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The West Highland Way is the most popular hiking route in the area and takes in 154km of rolling hills and rugged mountains. The trail runs between Fort William in the north down to Milngavie and takes about a week to walk in full. If you fancy extending the route you can keep going past Milngavie all the way to Glasgow. Highlights along the way include Glen Nevis, Rannoch Moor, and Glencoe.
5. Hardangervidda Transverse – Norway
The Norwegian national park that gives its name to the route is one of the wildest and most remote parts of Europe. Getting there is an adventure in itself. The landscape is vast and sparsely populated, you may not see many people between the hostels and huts at the end of each day. This is wild hiking so the full route, taking between 1-2 weeks, is recommended only for experienced travellers. There are shorter multi-day hikes on offer also.
6. Peaks of the Balkans – Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo
This is the youngest route on the list having only been popularised in the early 2000s. It was created with the promotion of peace in mind following the Kosovo war. The route is just under 200km, covering the Accursed Mountains in Albania, western Kosovo, and southern Montenegro. The original loop takes about 10 days to complete and features equal time in all three countries. There are longer, alternate, routes available that take in some of the other major sites in the region. The path takes in very remote areas that don’t see much tourism so a guide is recommended if this is your first visit to the region.
7. GR 20 – France
This head to toe trek of the island of Corsica is often described as the toughest in Europe. With that in mind a high level of fitness and experience is necessary to tackle this mountainous route. There is a very little flat here, only up and down for twelve or so days but the views are undeniable, it looks like little else in Europe. The trek features the notorious Cirque de la Solitude, a fairly nail shredding climb that occurs roughly halfway through before things ease up – relatively. The brutal route can be split in two for an easier time and it’s recommended that you should tackle it in June or September; when the sun isn’t too hot and before the route has been snowed over.
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