Europe’s natural landscape provides some of the most picturesque vistas on the planet. While there are many ways to experience Europe, one of the best ways to truly appreciate it in its full glory is by hiking on foot! Here are some of the best multi-day hikes you can tackle on our favourite continent!
ALTA VIA 1
The Dolomites in Italy are one of the most stunning mountain regions in Europe. The Dolomite High Route, or Alta Via 1 takes you through the heart of this natural wonder, past historical locations, world war 2 sites, alpine lakes, stunning fields and up jagged peaks! The hike is 120km and takes around 10 days to complete. Staying in local refuges will allow you to experience Italian hospitality and cuisine at its very best! Be sure to invest in a good backpack for your trip and check out our favourite camera backpacks for hiking!
This Swedish path stretches 110 kilometres from Nikkaluokta to Abisko and vice versa, which adventure blogger Aaron Teoh claims can be undertaken in week. Kungsleden bisects one of the largest remaining untouched areas of wilderness in all of Europe. Apart from taking you through thick birch forests, gorgeously rocky tundras, glaciers, and even a sauna next to a lake, Kungsleden also allows hikers to set up camp nearly anywhere on the trail. There are also a number of huts in which you can stay overnight scattered along the path. This means that hikers can comfortably set their own pace and take their time appreciating the stunning sights. Meanwhile, those looking for a challenge can opt to cut down the week’s worth of hiking to just a couple of days.
TOUR DU MONT BLANC
The Tour du Month Blanc is 170km long as passes through Europe’s biggest mountain range. The hike is usually completed in about 11 days and travels through France, Italy and Switzerland to circumnavigate Mount Blanc. It is considered one of the best hikes in Europe.
CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
The El Camino is potentially the most famous multi-day walking trail in Europe! Originally it was an ancient Roman trade route, it then became a Christian pilgrimage and today, it is a hiking trail that people from all over the world travel to experience. The full route is around 780km long and takes at least a month to complete and so many people join at different parts along the trail. Any journey over 100km is enough to earn you your ‘Compostela’ or pilgrimage certificate.
CINQUE TERRE COASTAL TRAIL
If it’s the sun-kissed beauty of the Mediterranean you’re after, look no further than the Cinque Terre Coastal Trail in picturesque Italy. The trail is named after the cinque or five towns of Monterosso, Manarola, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Vernazza – all of which are historic and beautiful enough to make in on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While the 11-kilometre-long hike can be completed in a matter of just six to eight hours straight, it’s not necessarily the best way to appreciate the Cinque Terre. If you want to make the most out of your trip to Italy, make sure to stop at each of the five towns to take a dip in the sea, sample the local cuisine (and wine) and enjoy a stay in each of the villages to appreciate the local hospitality (minus the crowds of day trippers)!
Iceland is famous for being one of the most beautiful and unspoiled countries in Europe. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rugged and verdant valley of Thórsmörk in the Icelandic highlands. Nestled between three glaciers, there are two hiking trails that directly end in this scenic valley. Laugavegur takes a couple days and starts in Landmannalaugar. On the other hand, Fimmvörðuháls is a bit shorter and is doable within eight to ten hours, starting at Skogafoss and putting you through rough terrain until you reach Thórsmörk. If you’re thinking why the area’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it literally translates to “Valley of Thor” – named for the still popular Norse god of thunder.
Perhaps the best proof of Thor’s continuing relevance is that most people reading this are probably imagining Chris Hemsworth in full battle attire. And while Marvel’s depiction of Thor may be the most famous, it’s far from being the only modern version of the character. From an online standpoint, European platform Slingo has many games inspired by “Thor culture,” including Nordic Heroes, Thunderstruck, and Thunderstruck II. These games borrow imagery from Nordic legend as well as the other modern and more colourful iterations of the ancient god of thunder. But for those who want an even deeper connection with the old Nordic gods, it’s time to brave a pilgrimage to the green, cold paths of Thórsmörk. If you feel a need to rest from all these hikes, Iceland is also home to countless natural geothermal pools to soothe your aching muscles – just one of our 10 Reasons To Go On Honeymoon to Iceland (In Winter).
PEAKS OF THE BALKANS
The Peaks of the Balkans trail is a 200 km hike through the borders of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. The hike was established following the end of the Kosovo war in an attempt to promote peace in the region. The path takes you through stunning remote regions that don’t feature many tourists and takes around 10 days to complete. In addition you take longer, alternative routes which also visit some of the major sites in the region. The Peaks of the Balkans sees you spend equal time in all three countries and witness some of the stunning scenery that these three Balkan beauties have to offer.
WEST HIGHLAND WAY
The Scottish Highlands are one of the most beautiful places in the UK. The West Highland way is one of the most popular hiking routes in Scotland and is 154km of rolling hills and rugged mountains. The trail connects the towns of Milngavie and Fort William and takes about a week. It is one of the best ways to experience the diverse beauty of Scotland and perhaps warm up each night as you toast your adventures with a local whisky!