The best hiking destinations in Europe

7 most beautiful trekking routes in Europe

Holidays in Europe are usually associated with comfortable hotels, entertainment and an extensive cultural program. And this time we decided to go off the beaten path and tell you what interesting Europe has in store for those who can’t sit in the city.

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Trekking tour through Europe – a great option that will provide a vivid experience and enjoy the beauty of wild and not so wild nature, and at the same time allow you to relax. For this it is not necessary to be a sportsman, because trekking in Europe is available to almost any tourist. And our mini cheat sheet will help you to choose the best route:

1. Sentiero Azzurro (Azure Trail), Cinque Terre, Italy

Perhaps one of the easiest and most comfortable routes, which is suitable even for tourists with children: the whole way goes along the “civilized” coast, if you get tired (or if the children get tired), at any time you can take a train to return home.

Views of Cinque Terre

The length of the route is 12 kilometers, the start is in the town of Riomaggiore, the finish is in Monterosso. The Azure Trail winds along the coastline, crossing towns and villages such as Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. There are some ups and downs along the way, but the path is very simple and it is manageable by anyone with a little training. The route is also good because you can stop in each of the towns along the way for as long as you want to explore more, or you can walk away from the main route and go up the slopes to be in silence.

You can walk Sentiero Azzurro at any time of year, but we would recommend the fall or, at most, the spring – minimal tourists and not as hot as the summer.

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Hint: the hardest part of the trail is at Monterosso, so it makes sense to save your strength for the “final throw” at the end of the trail. You can also split the hike into two stages and take a breather in Cornilla, which is right in the middle of the trail.

You can get to the starting point of the trip, Riomaggiore, from Milan, Bologna, Florence or other nearby Italian cities by train.

2. Grand Randonne (GR 20), Corsica, France

The crossing is more difficult than the previous one, even if only because of its length (180 km, 15 sections of 4-8 hours each).

Grande Randonnee trekking route

It is best to go here either in June or in September. Firstly, the influx of trekkers is much lower than in July and August. True, there are fewer hotels at this time, too. Secondly – comfortable weather conditions, thanks to which even the beginners can feel on a route quite confidently. But from October to May the weather conditions worsen. In winter it is snowy, and even in May on the passes the abundance of snow is not uncommon, which requires certain skills from travelers. In addition, not all passes are safe, so, going on a hike, it is desirable to have some experience.

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The route begins in Calenzana, in the north of the island, 12 km from the town of Calvi, and in Conca (in the south). You can go all the way in either direction, but it is easier to do it from south to north. If you are not going to walk the whole route, there are numerous exits all along the trail, so that you can find the best length of the journey for you. Alternatively, like many European tourists, you can walk only halfway to Visavona, and from there continue your journey around the island by train.

To get to your destination (Calenzana) you will need to change flights, as there is no direct flight connection between Ukraine and Corsica. The most convenient way is to take a flight from Kiev to Nice or Marseille, and then take a ferry to Corsica. Learn more about ferry transportation from France here.

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3. the Leygavegur route (Fimmvurduhauls Pass), iceland

The entire round-trip crossing is 80 kilometers long. There are lodges along the entire route where travelers can rest (they are open from late June to mid-September). Well, for those who do not want to pass it all, there is a reduced version: to pass 20-25 miles through the pass Fimmvyurduhauls, go through Toorsmerk park and finish the way at the waterfall Skaugafoss. It will take you a day to do it all.

The Fimmwurduhauls Pass

Note: although the trail is quite far from big cities, there are regular buses from Reykjavik to the start of the trail, Landmannalaugar Hut.

4. The Way of St. James/The Road of the French Kings, Spain

This road is very well equipped with everything travelers need, and there are regular rest houses along the way where you can stay overnight and have a snack. However, for unprepared beginners the route can be quite difficult. Therefore, many people do not pass the entire route to begin with, but “join” the stream of pilgrims on one of its sections or choose one of the shortened routes. The most popular is the Way of the French Kings/The French Way, which begins in Saint-Jean-Pierre-de-Pore, passes through the Pyrenees and leads to Galicia, Spain, with stops in Leon and Pamplona.

The Way of St. James

The best time to hike is spring and autumn, when the heat goes down and there are a lot less people on the route.

On a side note: if you are going to do this route not just as a tourist but for religious reasons, you need to get a Pilgrim Passport, which will allow you to pay less for lodging and food on the road. This can be done at the starting point of the route in a special office for pilgrims.

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To get to the starting point – St. Jean Pied-de-Port – will have to go in stages: first from Kiev to Paris, and then you can take a train to Bayonne, and then to the place of departure (the whole journey takes about 7.5 hours).

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5. Southwest Coast Trail (UK)

This is the best way to explore the Foggy Albion, as it offers some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery.

The Southwest Coast Trail

The trail runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, and is 1,016 kilometers long in all. The trail runs entirely around the southwest coast of Britain, passing through the westernmost point of the island, and connecting the towns of Minehead and Poole. The route also crosses the county of Cornwall, where you can admire the colorful scenery. Most of the route follows the coast, with a few inland sections.

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Travelers should keep in mind the main feature of the route – the bays . You will meet them one after another on the way, resulting in constant elevation differences – frequent ascents and descents may lead to knee pain (especially for unprepared hikers). So we advise to be equipped with painkillers just in case. And of course we have the notorious English weather: changeable, with frequent rains and strong winds. So a raincoat, warm clothes and a windproof jacket will be very useful.

To get to the starting point of the route – Minehead – from Ukraine, the most convenient flight from Kiev to Bristol and from there to Minehead from Bristol Temple Meads station (with change of bus in Taunton).

6. Mont Blanc Tour (Italy, Switzerland, France)

This hike is universal in that it passes through three countries at once: Italy, France and Switzerland. Only here will you have the opportunity to enjoy views of the highest mountain chain in Europe with glaciers, cliffs, green pastures and steppes.

Tour of Mont Blanc, Switzerland

The hike around Mont Blanc starts in Valle d’Aosta and on the way you will go down to Lake Combal, through high mountain pastures with stunning views, to Lake Checrouit and further, to the valley floor, to Dolonne and Courmayeur.

The best time to go to Mont Blanc is from June 15 to mid-September. Of course, you can do it earlier or later, but keep in mind that then almost all the mountain shelters may be closed, and do not forget about the unpredictability of the weather.

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The traditional route begins and ends at Les Houches, its length is about 170 kilometers, and the passage takes 7-11 days. You will have to get to Les Houches by car, as the commune is quite far from major cities. The fastest option is to fly from Kiev to Geneva or Bern, and from there by car to the starting point.

7. The Tatras, Slovakia

The Tatras are a great choice for those who are still gaining experience in hiking tours. Here you can easily find a simple and scenic route that will make you feel like a real adventurer.

Zelené Pleso Lake in the Tatras

For example, in the High Tatras, go to the beautiful glacial lake Zelene Pleso, which is a three-hour walk from Tatranská Lomnica. The route is very easy, but at the same time you can enjoy the beautiful nature and walk through the forest to your heart’s content. And if you have enough energy, continue the route further, to the mountain Jagnácý Štít (2229 meters). Near the lake there is a camping site where you can rest and eat, which is especially convenient if you go into nature with children.

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The Lesser Tatras are not worth ignoring either. Choose the Janoškovy Lazy trail, which is near the town of Těrchová. The trails are well-marked and well-organized, and the longest and most difficult hike will not take more than 3 hours. So feel free to go there with kids. We recommend that you take something to eat with you, because you will only be able to eat before the hike, at the foot, and in Terhov itself.

The easiest way to get to Tatranská Lomnica is by plane from Kiev to Košice and from there by car to your destination.

How to prepare for trekking?

In terms of difficulty, there is a wide variety of treks, and in some of the routes we offer (such as the Way of St. James or Cinque Terre) it is always possible to stay overnight or take transport. That said, even for the easiest option, good physical condition is not a bad thing – it will be easier to walk and you can enjoy the trekking itself. Therefore, study the complexity of the chosen route, assess your strength and listen to the advice of experienced travelers.

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Your main task is to strengthen your legs and develop your endurance. Pay special attention to cardio-training. Consult with a trainer, which exercises for the legs are most effective for strengthening the muscles. Running, especially cross-country running, is excellent for developing endurance. This not only strengthens the muscles, but also develops an adaptation to uneven ground, reducing the chance of injury. Those who work out at the gym, we advise to pay attention also to the step-trainer. On a treadmill, alternate running and walking, varying the speed and angle of incline.

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If you choose a more difficult program, it is also worth preparing your back and shoulders for carrying a backpack – carry a backpack when possible, gradually increasing its weight.

Before the trip we advise you to take care of your health: crepatica after active training, bruises from falling off the bike, untreated sore throat – not the best thing you can take on a trip.

Be sure to take care of your own first aid kit. If you usually take a minimum of medication, this time bring more plasters, tourniquets, ointment for injuries and other products that are used for bruises, abrasions and sprains.

Don’t forget to take out travel insurance – it’s a must if you choose an active vacation. Even if you accidentally slip and twisted his foot, there may be a need to consult a doctor abroad – it is possible that such a consultation will cost you more than a hundred euros. And having insurance is a guarantee that all spent money will be refunded when you return home.

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