Europe is a continent of undeniable natural beauties, topographic marvels and iconic historical landmarks. It is a place where giants of history roamed and a birthplace of the entire western world. Consisting of many smaller diverse states that are separated by both language and culture, not to mention borders if they are outside of EU. If you have ever wanted to try your luck with an exciting pilgrimage across the old continent, here are the best hiking in Europe.
Chamonix, Tour du Mont Blanc
The Alps are a rite of passage for all hikers that have decided to set their foot in Europe. The legendary mountain ranges have witnessed the rise and fall of many empires, countless wars and unbelievable changes. They stretch through numerous European countries – including France, Germany,Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
Of course, the number of trails you can choose from is overwhelming, but among all of them, Tour du Mont Blanc is probably the best one. Usually referred to by its acronym – the TMB – this hiking trail is almost certainly one of the most picturesque tracks in the entire Europe. The 170 kilometers long trail cuts through the countries of Switzerland, Italy and France and it will probably take you around 11 days to complete it in its entirety, unless you decide to cut it short.
Cauterets, France. Photo credit: Bike List
The Pyrenees are a natural wonder for many reasons. These epic mountains rival the Alps in their size and beauty, yet they offer a strikingly different feel – a much more Mediterranean, subtropical kind of impression, salty air and rock formations that have a much warmer hue. The Pyrenees are a natural border between France and Spain and they spread along the narrow stretch of land – technically known as isthmus – that connects the Iberian Peninsula to the Old Continent.
Of all the hiking paths on this mountain, you should probably kick it off with a Grande Randonnée favorite – GR 10. The 48,000 meters of pure ascent is a gargantuan undertaking, and in order to cover 865 kilometers of this trail, you will need approximately 50 days. Keep in mind that this trail is a challenge even for the seasoned hikers, so think really carefully whether you are ready to take it on and plan accordingly.
On the other hand, you can opt for a muscle-friendly variant and choose a specific fragment of this trail. For instance, the undeniably beautiful stretch that will put you on the trail through charming towns of Cauterets and Bagnères-de-Luchon would be a perfect choice. Of course, if you want to marvel at the incredible natural sights, camp out in Néouvielle national reserve.
Corsica, France. Photo credit: mountainleon.com
Corsica is a gorgeous island smack in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, off the western coast of Italy and south of France, to which it technically belongs. However, this island is not a mere speck in the sea – it covers an area of around 8,700 km2 and it’s a surprising and exciting playground for hikers. It boasts numerous and interesting trails, but the best known among them is famous GR 20, the most difficult of the Grande Randonnée trails.
It will take you around 17 days to finish it, provided that you are traversing along the traditional waypoints. The experience doesn’t have to be too demanding as you can adjust the difficulty depending on your physical fitness and sense of adventure. GR 20 is especially challenging during the summer, due to frequent summer storms and rains. If you plan on visiting the island during this period, make sure you bring all the necessary equipment. Brands like Go Travel offer travel accessories that can be useful during rainy days, such as 100% waterproof, handy ponchos or money belts.
If you ever get the chance to cross the canal and visit the grand countryside of Albion, let your sense of adventure guide you north, far north, to the exceptionally gorgeous green pastures of Scotland. Out there, get ready to embark on a 155 kilometer long trail known as West Highland Way (Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar in Scottish Gaelic).
It starts in a rustic hamlet of Milngavie which is 30 minutes away from Glasgow Airport. The trail will lead you through the legendary highlands, up to Fort William, which lies on the shores of placid Loch Linnhe. The trail continues along ancient roads and footpaths – which renders this particular hiking trail a truly unique experience. It will give you a feeling as if you have been transported through time to the 17th or 18th century.
Breathtaking peaks, serene valleys, idyllic slopes and incredible canyons await for all of those who decide to brave across the exciting trails hiking in Europe. For both Europeans and people around the world, embarking on such a journey is more than a mundane adventure. It is a pilgrimage through incredibly rich history and all of its events and rules that echo across these mountain ranges and expansive lands.