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Europe is filled with trekking and hiking trails that rank among the best in the world. Whether a seaside hike or mountain top trek, trails can take you to the remotest and most pristine landscapes the continent has to offer. Each trail has its own personality and unique challenges. Around each bend and over each hill, a new sight and experience awaits. Here’s a little run down of five of the best European hiking destinations.
In Central Europe, there is no better place to hike than through the mountains and valleys of Austria. The Hohe Tauern National Park, the largest national park in Central Europe, offers boundless opportunities for hikers. With a trail system of around 1,200 kilometres, hiking here is suited for walkers of all abilities. With a rugged terrain, the park is also perfect for more adventurous hikers who wish to climb. The park is also home to Austria’s highest mountain and the stunning Krimmler Waterfalls. Hiking trails are also plentiful near some of the country’s most scenic towns, including Graz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck.
The picturesque French island of Corsica is ideal for secluded hikes. From Calenzana, you can hike to the epic GR 20, the Fra li Monte. This challenging 200-kilometre trail traverses the island from the north shore to south and takes approximately two weeks. Along the route, there are few villages and accommodation options, with self reliant camping often being the best option. The GR 20 trail can get very busy during August, so the best time to experience it is in the late spring or early autumn. Shorter hikes also connect Calenzana with Cargese along a beautiful mountain and seaside route.
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You can find around 200,000 kilometres of marked trails in the diverse landscapes of Germany. Many of the country’s national parks provide the best hiking trails. The dense beech woodland of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park has several trails, including the Kellerwaldsteig route. This 167-kilometre loop trail travels through low mountain ranges and valleys, oak forests, and the shores of the Edersee. In Bavaria, the Alps provide majestic views and thrilling challenges, including trails at the majestic Berchtesgaden National Park and along the idyllic Konigsee.
Scotland offers a wealth of hiking experiences among stunning landscapes dotted with lakes, mountains, and ruins. Scotland’s Great Trails is a network of long-distance routes across the country. One of the most dramatic is the Great Glen Way between Fort William and Inverness. The hike takes you to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain, as well as through dense forests and along the shores of the famous Loch Ness and Loch Lochy nestled among imposing mountains, and to the historic Caledonian Canal. A number of coastal routes also connect quaint fishing villages, including the Fife Coastal Path.
In Spain, you can explore towering mountains, forgotten villages, Roman ruins, and spectacular valleys along routes of varying lengths. One of the most famous hikes is the Way of Saint James, also known as the Camino de Santiago. Crossing through eight regions, the historic hike follows a thousand-year-old pilgrimage route that ends at the Cathedral of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. It is best done between June to October, although July and August are the busiest months. There are also memorable hiking opportunities in Spain’s mountain ranges and valleys, including the Pyrenees in the north and the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia.
This article was created on behalf of VIP Ski, specialising in providing accommodation in the Alps, from Val d’Isere family chalets to St Anton luxury hotels.