When it comes to hiking, Europe is a treasure trove of destinations that offer breathtaking trails and peaks. Whether you’re looking for a snow-covered summit or a tranquil lake hike, Europe has something for every adventurer. From the Arctic wilderness of Abisko in Sweden to the iconic Mont Blanc peak in Chamonix, let’s explore 20 of the must-visit hiking destinations on the continent.
20 Best European Hiking Cities
1) Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria, is a hiker’s paradise nestled in the heart of Europe’s alpine region. Boasting mild climate and a variety of terrain options, it caters to every type of hiker. The Nordkette mountain range, accessible by the Hungerburg funicular, treats visitors to stunning panoramic views. From easy walks to challenging climbs, Innsbruck has it all, making it one of the best cities for hiking in Europe.
For the more adventurous, the Patscherkofel Mountain is a challenging hike leading to unparalleled summit views. Conversely, the Bergisel Ski Jump Hill offers a leisurely walk with breathtaking vistas and a visit to the Bergisel Ski Jump stadium, the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.
2) Chamonix, France
Chamonix, nestled in the Mont Blanc range, is a haven for hikers and adventure enthusiasts. Offering a blend of stunning scenery, challenging trails, and thrilling experiences, it’s a hiker’s dream come true. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, watches over the town, providing awe-inspiring views.
The Mont Blanc Circuit is a favorite, offering incredible vistas of mountains, glaciers, valleys, and alpine villages. On the other hand, the Balcony Trail is perfect for families or less experienced hikers, providing stunning views and a manageable two-hour hike.
Chamonix is not only a hiking destination but also a hub for adrenaline junkies, with activities like paragliding, making it one of the top destinations for adventure seekers worldwide.
3) Bergen, Norway
Bergen, in southwestern Norway, is a year-round outdoor paradise with fjord views, mountain peaks, and lush forests. One of the most popular trails is Mount Ulriken, the highest peak in Bergen, offering panoramic views from 643 meters above sea level.
Mount Fløyen, accessible by a funicular or foot, presents breathtaking views of the city, fjords, and mountains. For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, the nearby island of Fedje offers a 17-kilometer hike along the rugged coastline and through fishing villages.
Shorter family-friendly hikes abound, making Bergen one of the best cities for hiking in Europe, thanks to its natural beauty and accessibility.
4) Zakopane, Poland
Zakopane, a charming town in the Tatra Mountains, the highest in Poland and part of the Carpathian range, is a must-visit for hikers. The Giewont trail leads to Giewont Peak, a recognizable Tatras landmark with a challenging hike but rewarding views.
The trail to Morskie Oko, a glacial lake surrounded by mountains, offers a personal favorite and stunning natural beauty. Zakopane is not just about hiking; it’s known for its traditional Highlander culture, wooden architecture, local cuisine, and folk music concerts.
Accessible from Krakow, Zakopane provides affordable accommodation options, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking a weekend retreat from Krakow.
5) Granada, Spain
Granada, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia, is famous for the Alhambra Palace and its hiking opportunities. The Sierra Nevada National Park features a diverse range of trails for all levels, from easy strolls to challenging treks. Mulhacén, the park’s highest peak at 3,478 meters, provides breathtaking panoramic views and glacial lakes, such as Laguna de la Caldera, perfect for picnics and swimming.
The Cahorros del Rio Chillar, a natural gorge outside the city, takes hikers through narrow paths and stunning waterfalls, suitable for all ages. Granada, rich in history and culture, allows you to explore the medieval Albaicín neighborhood, savor Andalusian cuisine, and enjoy a flamenco show. A unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty makes Granada one of the best cities for hiking in Europe.
6) Shkodër, Albania
Shkodër is a hidden gem for hiking enthusiasts, surrounded by mountains and offering access to the Albanian Alps. Valbona Valley National Park, a popular destination, provides breathtaking views of rugged terrain, crystal-clear rivers, and lush forests. The hike to the mountain village of Theth is an absolute highlight.
The Komani Lake trail is a hidden gem for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Along the shores of Komani Lake, you’ll enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and river, a peaceful and serene hike.
Shkodër also offers glimpses into Albania’s rich history and culture, with the impressive Rozafa Castle and the bustling Ottoman-era bazaar. Shkodër’s mix of natural and cultural attractions makes it a must-visit destination.
7) Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken in Switzerland is one of the best cities for hiking in Europe, offering a range of trails for every level of hiker. The Hardergrat trail, a challenging ridge hike, delivers spectacular views of surrounding peaks and valleys. Meanwhile, the Grindelwald-First hike provides a scenic walk through alpine meadows and pastures.
Beyond natural scenery, Interlaken boasts charming villages, historic churches, and traditional Swiss chalets. The famous Jungfrau railway takes you to the highest railway station in Europe at 3,454 meters above sea level.
Hiking in Interlaken promises an unforgettable adventure filled with natural beauty, diverse wildlife encounters, and unbeatable weather.
8) Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany, is an Alpine paradise for hikers. The Partnach Gorge, with towering rock walls, waterfalls, and crystal-clear water, is a stunning natural attraction. The Kramerplateauweg offers breathtaking views of mountains and valleys, perfect for hikers of all levels.
The Zugspitze peak climb is a must-do for more experienced hikers, with panoramic views of the region. It’s also possible to take a cable car up the Zugspitze and hike down the mountain, enjoying the stunning views along the way.
In addition to hiking, Garmisch-Partenkirchen boasts the quaint charm of Bavarian architecture and delicious cuisine.
9) Tatra Mountains, Slovakia
The Tatra Mountains in Slovakia provide an excellent alternative to the Polish side, offering spectacular views and a wide variety of hikes. Strbske Pleso, a stunning glacial lake, is a great starting point for hikes in the area.
The hike to Rysy, the highest peak in the Tatras, is a favorite among hikers. The Belianska Cave, an enchanting underground world, adds a unique twist to your adventure. Thanks to its affordable accommodation and the charming town of Poprad nearby, this region makes for an excellent hiking destination.
10) Zermatt, Switzerland
Nestled beneath the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is a paradise for hiking and mountaineering. The Five Lakes Walk offers picturesque views of the Matterhorn reflected in clear mountain lakes.
Gornergrat, accessible by a cogwheel train, provides a stunning panoramic view of the Swiss Alps. Zermatt offers hiking experiences for all levels, from leisurely strolls through the forest to more challenging ascents.
Switzerland’s traditional charm is alive in Zermatt, with car-free streets and cozy mountain lodges. Plus, it’s a gateway to Europe’s highest cable car station, the Klein Matterhorn.
11) Abisko, Sweden
Abisko, Sweden, is an Arctic wilderness haven for hikers. The Abisko National Park offers hiking along the King’s Trail, a long-distance route through the Arctic Circle region.
The Abisko Sky Station, accessible via a chairlift, provides front-row seats to the Northern Lights in winter. For more challenging hikes, the Kungsleden trail leads through some of the most stunning and untouched wilderness in Europe.
Abisko is a place where you can experience the untamed beauty of the North, including pristine lakes, vast tundra landscapes, and incredible wildlife.
12) Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, a collection of five picturesque fishing villages perched on the cliffs of the Italian Riviera, is famous for its hiking trails. The Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) connects the villages and offers stunning coastal views.
The trail through the vineyards and olive groves is an enchanting experience, connecting you with local agriculture. Monterosso al Mare and Riomaggiore offer beautiful beaches to relax on after a day of hiking.
Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with colorful houses, seafood cuisine, and a relaxed coastal atmosphere, making it a unique and picturesque hiking destination.
13) Snowdonia, Wales, UK
Snowdonia National Park in Wales is a natural wonder and hiking paradise. Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, is the most popular summit for hikers.
Snowdon’s Pyg Track offers a challenging route with stunning views, while the Llanberis Path is suitable for a more leisurely hike. The Snowdon Mountain Railway provides an alternative way to the summit.
Apart from hiking, Snowdonia offers diverse outdoor activities and a wealth of local culture, ensuring a memorable adventure.
14) Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO-listed coastline in southern Italy, provides both cultural and natural beauty. Hiking along the Path of the Gods, or “Sentiero degli Dei,” offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Ravello, a charming town perched on the cliffs, is an excellent starting point for hiking, and the town of Amalfi offers the opportunity to explore the town’s maritime history and culture. Don’t miss the chance to taste fresh local seafood and limoncello.
The Amalfi Coast is a blend of Italian tradition, crystal-clear waters, and dramatic cliffs, making it a unique hiking destination in Europe.
15) Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
Durmitor National Park, nestled in the Dinaric Alps, is a lesser-known gem for hikers. The Black Lake, or Crno Jezero, is a popular starting point for hikes, surrounded by stunning peaks.
The Bobotov Kuk trail leads to the highest peak in Durmitor and offers jaw-dropping views of the Tara Canyon. The Tara River Canyon, Europe’s deepest gorge, provides the opportunity for white-water rafting for adventure seekers.
Durmitor combines natural beauty, alpine lakes, and a taste of Montenegro’s culture and history in its charming villages.
16) Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is a unique hiking destination with its stunning network of cascading lakes and waterfalls. The boardwalk trails provide a fantastic way to explore the park.
Hiking along the upper and lower lakes, you’ll witness emerald waters, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. The park is an excellent destination for birdwatching and nature enthusiasts.
Croatia’s natural wonders and hiking opportunities make Plitvice Lakes a must-visit destination for outdoor lovers.
17) Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a fantastic base for hikers looking to explore the country’s stunning landscapes. The Golden Circle route, featuring Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall, provides diverse hiking opportunities.
Iceland’s unique terrain, including geothermal springs, volcanic landscapes, and glaciers, makes for a distinctive hiking experience. Don’t forget to relax in the Blue Lagoon, a famous geothermal spa, after a day of hiking.
Reykjavik offers a blend of modern city comforts and easy access to the wild beauty of Iceland’s natural landscapes.
18) Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal
Peneda-Gerês National Park is a hidden gem in northern Portugal, offering lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and rugged terrain. The Pedra Bela viewpoint provides panoramic views of the park’s diverse landscapes.
The park is known for its wild horses, megalithic sites, and traditional mountain villages. The Soajo village, with its stone granaries and cobbled streets, is an excellent starting point for exploring the park.
The park combines cultural and natural experiences, making it a unique hiking destination in Portugal.
19) Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia, famous for its unique rock formations and hot air balloon rides, is also an excellent hiking destination. The Rose Valley and the Red Valley offer trails through surreal landscapes with carved churches and fairy chimneys.
Göreme, a charming town in Cappadocia, is an ideal starting point for hikes. Don’t forget to explore the underground cities, a testament to the region’s rich history.
Cappadocia’s extraordinary geology and history make it a one-of-a-kind hiking destination.
20) Madeira, Portugal
Madeira, a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, is a haven for hikers. The Levada trails, featuring a network of narrow irrigation channels, take you through lush forests, waterfalls, and dramatic landscapes.
Pico do Arieiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, offers a challenging hike with panoramic views. Madeira’s rich flora, including exotic flowers, adds a colorful dimension to your hiking experience.
Madeira offers a blend of subtropical beauty and outdoor adventures, making it an excellent hiking destination in Europe.
Europe beckons with its diverse array of hiking destinations, each offering awe-inspiring trails and majestic peaks. Whether you’re in search of snow-clad summits or the serenity of a lakeside trek, Europe stands as an adventurer’s paradise, brimming with experiences waiting to be uncovered.
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