Europe’s 5 Best Hiking Trails You Need To Explore

Looking for the best hiking trails in Europe? Look no further!

Europe is a hiking paradise for all. From scenic day walks to arduous week-long hikes, Europe has something for everyone. It boasts some of the most breathtaking trails full of incredible natural scenery. The variety of trails for hiking is endless. Whether you’re looking for stark arctic landscapes, snow-capped peaks, medieval castles, colorful flora and fauna, alpine lakes, glaciers, picturesque villages, spectacular countryside, or a combination of all, chances are there’s a trail for you.

While there are countless trails to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the list to showcase 5 iconic hikes that should be on every hiker’s bucket list. Each one is impressive in its own right. So, make sure to check out at least one of these trails on your next trip to Europe.

1. West Highland Way – Scotland

hiking europe

Distance: 151 km / 100 miles

Number of days: 7

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (depending on the weather)

Best time to go: March to May

At 96 miles the West Highland Way stands out as one of the best hikes in Scotland. Your hike on the West Highland Way starts from the town of Milngavie and goes all the way to Fort William. Milngavie is located 10 km (6 miles) northwest of Glasgow. It can take you around 6-8 days to complete the West Highland Way. The landscape is ever-changing but almost always breathtaking. Loch Lomond, Devil’s Staircase, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe are some of the best highlights of this hike. You can even catch some breathtaking glimpses of Ben Nevis- the highest mountain in Scotland at the end.

2. Kungsleden Trail – Sweden

hiking europe

Distance: 434 km / 270 miles

Number of days: 7-14

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to go: June to September

Kungsleden Trail is Sweden’s longest and most famous hiking trail. Thousands of hikers from all around the world visit the Kungsleden Trail each year with summertime being the peak season. The starting point of this hike is a town called ‘Abisko’. It will take you 7 to 12 days to complete this hike. Nikkolauta will be your final destination. Your legs need to be in good shape for this hike. On average, you will have to walk for over 15km per day. You will pass through stunning low alpine scenery of the Arctic tundra on this hike. There are plenty of areas where you can pitch your tent and enjoy camping in the wilderness. The trail itself is well-marked and well-traveled. Kungsleden Trail goes through 4 different national parks, each has its own unique attractions and sites. This hike is a fantastic option for those who want to experience extreme remote wilderness.

3. Tour du Mont Blanc – Switzerland, Italy and France

hiking europe

Distance: 95 km / 59 miles

Number of days: 7

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Best time to go: June to September

For extreme variations in scenery in one stunning place, head to Tour du Mont Blanc trail in France. This is perfect for those hikers who are searching for something challenging. Yet no technical skills are required. You can complete the hike in 11 days. But you can make variations to the route and spend more days hiking. You’ll start the Tour du Mont Blanc hike from the Chamonix Valley resort town of Les Houches. Hikers get to enjoy iconic Alpine vistas and experience remote wilderness from day one. From Les Houches, you’ll head to Bionnassay glacier. Most part of the hike will involve walking up high alpine ridges. Don’t forget to stop and take in panoramic views from Col de la Seigne and Croix-du-Bonhomme. On this hike, you’ll get to spend each night sleeping comfortably in charming mountain huts and lodges. The best time to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc is in the summer months of June, July, and August.

4. Rota Vicentina – Portugal

Distance: 450km / 279 miles

Number of days: 16 to 20 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to go: December to May

This is an extraordinary journey for anyone wanting to explore one of the best hiking areas in Europe. Bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, the Rota Vicentina hike is made up of two giant hiking trails: the Historical Way and the Fisherman’s Trail. Both trails offer marvelous natural scenery and diverse landscapes. You’ll be accompanied by soft sandy beaches and rugged coastal areas from the start till the end. One of the best things to do in this hike is to watch sunset views from Zambujeira do Mar. You’ll get to hike all the way to Cabo de San Vicente, the southernmost tip of Portugal. The trails aren’t over packed with hikers so is perfect for those who like isolated wilderness. However, the route is not recommended for those with fear of heights or vertigo. Spring and Autumn is the best time to embark on your Rota Vicentina adventure.

5. GR20 – France

Distance: 180 km / 111 miles

Number of days: 12-15 days

Difficulty: Challenging

Best time to go: Late June to early September

Last but not the least is the famous GR20 hiking trail which is considered by many as the toughest hike in all of Europe. This hike is perfect for nature lovers, as the trail is filled with iconic views and a plethora of rare flora and fauna. The GR20 trail is located in the heart of Corsica. Your adventure begins from the coastal town of Calenzana and ends in Vizzavona. But there’s an easier route for beginners which starts from Vizzavona and goes all the way to Conca. Either one is great. This hike should only be attempted by those who are in good physical shape, as there is serious elevation gain. On average, it should take you between 11-16 days to complete this epic hike. Avoid hiking in July and August if you don’t like crowded trails.

Is your favorite hiking destination included on the list? Let us know what your favorite hiking trails are in the comments below!

Looking for other places to go hiking? Check out the options for hiking in the U.S., and Canada.

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