12 of the Best Hikes in Europe
If you plan to travel to Europe alone this year and love to explore nature, here are some beautiful and easy hikes in Europe that you can add to your adventure.
While Italy is a top destination for walking with an unmatched variety of beautiful landscapes: from lakes and coastal walks to nearby hiking trails in the mountain regions across Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, many sites in Europe offer exciting hiking trails and walking paths in the European Alps, along rivers, lakes and picturesque mountain villages.
12 Best Hikes in Europe
Here are the 12 most beautiful day hikes in Europe, suggested by fellow active travellers.
The Mount Sciliar (Schlern) in South Tyrol – Italy
In 2013 I spent a few days in Bolzano and went on a few hikes in its beautiful surroundings. The Mount Sciliar hike (a.k.a. Schlern) is very spectacular, not only for its peculiar spikey shape, which has become an emblem of South Tyrol and the Dolomites also for the beautiful settings. The Alpe di Siusi (a.k.a. Seiser Alm) is one of the largest high-altitude meadows and pastures in Europe, and it attracts active travellers who love hiking from all over the world.
In Alpe di Siusi, you can start this beautiful hike from Compaccio, go through the trail to the first Saltria Mt. hut, and continue walking to reach the summit through the circular path Mt. Pez Bolzano Mountain Hut (Schlern-Haus).
Here, after a 3-4 hours hike, you can have a break and a warm meal, and if you want, you can also stay overnight to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise. On the next day, you can hike further to one of the two highest peaks. This is an easy hike for solo traveller and families with kids, and anyone who wants to go hiking in the Dolomites.
Michela of Rocky Travel
Catinaccio – a 2-day-hike in the Dolomites
The Catinaccio Mountain in South Tyrol, Northern Italy, is an ideal location for multi-day hikes. The starting point of our two-day trek at an altitude of 2,300 m was easily accessible by cable car. From here, we spent two days circumnavigating the beautiful Dolomite mountain.
On day one, we tackled the Via Ferrata to the Santner pass and continued upward to an elevation of 2,600 m, where we spent our night at the Grasleiten hut. Total hiking time on day one was around 5 hours. Spending the night there in the middle of nowhere was an impressive experience, and I would recommend getting up early in the morning to watch the sunrise over the mountains.
On day two, we continued our circumnavigation of the Catinaccio until we reached Paulina hut after around seven hours. This is where our hike ended, and we took a different cable car back down to the village.
By Mike of 197travelstamps
The Seekarspitze Hike on the border between Austria and Germany
When I was living in Munich, I had the perfect base to explore the nearby Alps at Germany and Austria’s border. The Seekarspitze is a great day hike, offering fantastic views of the mountains, so it was the perfect place for me to take some friends who visited me for the weekend.
We drove from Munich south into Austria, parked our car in Achenkirch and started our hike up to the Seekarspitze. The walk’s difficulty is probably medium – while it is undoubtedly quite steep and therefore exhausting at some parts, it’s manageable for everyone who’s relatively fit. There are also enough signs on the way so that you won’t get lost. After around 3 hours, we made it to the top and enjoyed our lunch snack with fantastic views of the beautiful landscape.
Since we got some energy left, we decided not to go down the same path but rather kept hiking along the rim to the top of nearby Seebergspitze – something I can recommend if you still got some time left. From there, it was some 3 hours more to reach our base again; there’s also a beautiful cottage on the way, offering drinks and snacks. You should plan around 7-8 hours for the whole hike – making it perfect for a long but beautiful day!
By Patrick of German Backpacker
Hiking the Langkofel (Sassolungo) in South Tyrol, Italy
The picturesque Val Gardena is located in South Tyrol, Italy and has some beautiful treks. One of the most beautiful day hikes is a trip to the Sassolungo, or Langkofel, the most majestic mountain in this area, overlooking everything and can be seen from afar. The best point to start the hike is on the back of the hill. But don’t take the gondola to the top. Instead, you walk up, which should take about one and a half hours more or less.
Once at the top, you will get a breathtaking view of the gorge and the Rifugio Toni Demetz hut. There, after another hour, you can take a break and have a local meal before heading downstairs. There are several options. You can either go down the trail to St. Ulrich or St. Christina, both beautiful little mountain villages. Walk along meadows and through beautiful forests at the mountain’s foot before arriving back down in the Gardena valley.
By Clemens Sehi of the Travellers Archive
Kanisfluh Hike Vorarlberg, Austria
When you think about Vorarlberg, the first things that come to mind are ski slopes and snow wonderland. But this beautiful state in western Austria is also the perfect summer destination for nature lovers and hikers. Be ready to wake up in the middle of the night to face the darkness of the forest, the chilly winds and a curvy and slippery trail. Kanisfluh is one of the highest mountains in the Bregenzerwald region, and its peak is 2,044 meters above sea level.
Getting up there is not easy, but worth it. It is a 5 km trail with an altitude gain of 576 meters. The hiking trail starts from the car park in the middle of the mountain, don’t forget to bring a headlamp or torch, warm clothes, hat, and gloves. It’s summer in Austria, but the temperatures are freezing at the top of Kanisfluh. It took us around 3 hours to finish the Kanisfluh Sunrise Hiking. At the top, we were rewarded with a stunning sunrise, puffy clouds and a view to die for.
From the top of Kanisfluh, you can see as far as Constanza Lake, the borders with Germany and Switzerland. Wrap up this hiking adventure with a traditional mountain breakfast at Edelweiss Restaurant, close to the car park. Then you are ready to discover other great things to do in Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg.
By Natalie of Love and Road
Hiking in Germany along the Rheinsteig
Hiking along the Rheinsteig (the river Rhine banks) in West Germany is a great outdoor activity and can cater to all ages and abilities. The entire trail is 320 km long, but it is easy to choose parts for a day or multi-day hikes in Europe and stay in traditional guesthouses along the way.
The path has some steep hills leading to fantastic views and flatter parts leading across vineyards and through quaint German towns. There are plenty of pit stops along the way for snacks, lunch and even a glass of wine that is made in the area. Some boats run regularly along the river, so it’s possible to walk some of the ways and take a boat ride back.
Rohan of Tales of a Book Packer
Hiking in Switzerland, to the Alpine Town of Murren, Jungfrau
In the Jungfrau Mountain Region of Switzerland, you will find the charming Alpine village of Murren. Although relatively small (you can walk from one end to another in 10 minutes), the magic of Murren lies in the majestic view you can have of the Eiger-Mönch-Jungfrau mountains. From Interlaken, you can hike the 22 km to Murren as a day trip and take the scenic train.
If your legs still have some energy, why not continue to Schilthorn? You will find the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant where James Bond’s On Her Majesty Secret Service was filmed in this peak. Not bad for a day filled with adventures, right?
By Raphael Alexander Zoren of Journey Wonders
The Garda Trek in North Italy
Lake Garda is one of my favourite hiking destinations in Northern Italy because there’s no other place where the Alpine and Mediterranean atmosphere combine quite as well. Garda Trek is a recently opened network of three loop-shaped trails around the lake.
Depending on the season of your visit, you can choose between hiking the Low Loop, a 2-day trail around the lakeshore, or the Medium Loop, a 70 km path including a stop at “Rifugio San Pietro”, one of the most scenic huts in the region.
If you’re visiting in summer, we recommend hiking all or a part of the Top Loop, a long-distance trail in Europe that lasts about a week, crossing the ridges of mountains overlooking the lake and including overnight stops at various amazing mountain huts.
By Margherita of The Crowded Planet
The Sentiero Azzurro Hike
The Sentiero Azzurro hiking trail in Italy is one of the most scenic and beautiful in Central Europe. Known as the “Blue Path”, which connects the five towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore (hence the name Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands”), it is famous for its stunning views over the sea.
The total length of the path is 12km, and while the track is well-marked, the actual ground you will be walking on is mostly dirt and rocks, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear. The whole hike can be done one day, with stops at each of the five towns to enjoy an Italian gelato or focaccia.
The Sentiero Azzurro is part of the Cinque Terre National Park, and you will have to pay an entry ticket to hike it. Tickets are 8 EUR for walking access to the park, or 15 EUR if you want the hop-on-hop-off option with local trains. Even if you’re planning to walk for the entire route, this ticket can be quite convenient and work out cheaper if you need to take a train back to the town.
The hike itself is hugely varied, with its coloured houses, breath-taking views over the sea, jagged coastline and vineyards. The Sentiero Azzurro in Italy is indeed a stunning hike, which you can’t miss.
By Greta of Greta Travels
Walking the Path of The Gods in the Amalfi Coast Italy
The Path of The Gods or the Sentiero Degli Dei passes through the fascinating gorges, cliffs and precipices of the Amalfi Coast. It runs from east to west between the hamlet of Nocelle, the highest neighbourhood of Positano, and Bomerano in the Agerola district.
However, we decided we would walk as far as Praiano, a distance of approximately 5.6 km, which took us around 3 hours. Once we set off along the walking trail, the pure spectacle of the Amalfi coastline captivated us at every turn. We hiked past towering limestone mountains, colourful wildflowers, and ancient abandoned stone houses through forests and meadows of long grasses.
We discovered that farmers still grow vines on terraces carved into the hillside, using donkeys for transport along the narrow pathways. Once we got to the top of the village of Praiano, we decided to terminate the walk here and trudge down the 1700 stairs to this lovely little place. After what seemed like hours of calve-burning downhill stairs, we eventually came to the narrow cobbled laneways of the beautiful village of Praiano.
By Kathy Marris of 50ShadesofAge
Hiking in Switzerland the Schynige Platte
The Schynige Platte, right in the heart of the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, is a simply unmissable place. There are countless hikes to do in the area, depending on how long you want to hike and how difficult you want it to be. This being Switzerland, all the trails are incredibly well-marked and well-kept, with markers indicating the estimated time each trail will take you all along the way.
You can either hike up to the Schynige Platte station from the small village of Wilderswil or take an old cogwheel train. Using the station as your starting point, you can embark on many beautiful hikes suited for various fitness levels. Since I had a train pass, I took the train up to Schynige Platte and then hiked from the Tuba summit.
The summit had beautiful views of Interlaken and its two lakes — the turquoise Lake Brienz and the deep blue Lake Thun. As you’re hiking, you can’t miss the “3 mountains” — Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, lined up three in a beautiful row — cheering you on during your hike. You can take countless trails from the starting point of Schynige Platte if you want a longer or more strenuous hike, and all are sure to be insanely beautiful.
By Allison of Eternal Arrival
Hiking la Vallée de la Chevreuse National Park in Paris
La Vallée de la Chevreuse National Park, 40km south of Paris, proposes hikers multiple tracks through the forest combined with some exciting heritage. This is one of the best Paris day tours for nature lovers, far from busy Paris. Our favourite hike starts at La Verrière.
This 18km hike goes through the woods and fields to the cute town of Chevreuse. Along the hike, there are some beautiful sights like the remains of an ancient abbey (XIII century), old mills or a medieval castle still watching over Chevreuse and its valley. The last part of the hike goes through the town and is its Chemin des Petits Ponts.
This scenic path follows a little canal lined with old tanneries and wash-houses, each with a small bridge to cross the canal. This hike ends at Saint Remy de la Chevreuse, where we take the train back to Paris.
By Elisa of World in Paris.
Hiking Solo in Europe or with a group
Hiking in Europe is a safe activity, and most of the hiking trails are well-marked. You only need to prepare well for hiking, and then you can feel confident to go solo too.
If you prefer hiking in a group of like-minded nature lovers, check out my Tours of Italy, I will be organising a hiking tour of the Dolomites and more places.
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March 24, 2018 @ 4:31 pm
I’m not much of a hiker, but damn, maybe I should be! Def saving this for future travel 🙂
Raphael Alexander Zoren
March 25, 2018 @ 7:07 am
Thanks for sharing!!! Those destinations sure look wonderful!!!! 😀
March 27, 2018 @ 3:54 am
What an amazing post, pure wanderlust and adventure, make me want to go hiking right now! Cheers, Nat.
March 27, 2018 @ 7:55 pm
Stunning photos! Especially love the Amalfi coast one. Have stumbled your post to keep it in my roster.
March 28, 2018 @ 8:45 am
Magnificent post. Love reading your blog. I would love to visit those destinations. So beautiful places to visit. Thanks for the post. Keep sharing.
March 29, 2018 @ 10:49 am
I am not a hiker, but when I see the beautiful photos, I wish I was!! Very good post!
Lisa Michele Burns
April 1, 2018 @ 12:33 am
What a list! The Catinaccio has been on my wish list for so long…haven’t got there yet! I did some hiking around Briancon in France…Saint-Veran is gorgeous too.
April 5, 2018 @ 4:49 pm
This made me miss the stunning scenery in South Tyrol 🙂 Can’t wait to go back!
April 17, 2018 @ 5:18 pm
Thanks for sharing. Love your blog.
Jennifer @ Urban Fairways
May 7, 2018 @ 3:21 am
Looks like you had a great time! Those photos are so gorgeous.
October 13, 2021 @ 2:50 pm
Great blog with beautiful photos! Loved reading it throughout.