10 Unforgettable Treks and Walking Holidays in Europe

Last Updated on June 2, 2021 by foxintheforest

If you’re looking for a trekking holiday that isn’t in your backyard, you can find some of the best treks in Europe. Discover the beauty of the iconic Alps, walk the famous pilgrimage paths of Spain, or revel in the beauty of the Mediterranean by foot. Set aside some time on your getaway and indulge in these unforgettable walking holidays in Europe as told by local European bloggers and trekking experts.

Find “The Way” along this famous walking holiday in Europe

by Inma of A World to Travel

The Camino de Santiago or “The Way” in Spain is one of the most famous walking holidays in Europe. From the middle ages, pilgrims from all over Europe, moved by faith, have approached on foot, on horseback or by bicycle to Santiago de Compostela, in the stunning Galicia. At the end of the road, the remains of one of the apostles rest in the gorgeous cathedral in Santiago’s old town. People have been trekking the Camino de Santiago for centuries.

Today, The Way people walk this historical route for a variety of reasons. From foodies to low-cost holiday seekers, sporty people, and many others; the Camino lacks the intense religious sense of yesteryear. Even so, its iconic nature makes it one of the best treks in Europe. Most people start their journey in Roncesvalles.

To obtain the pilgrimage, one needs to walk at least 100km. The stages vary in difficulty, and you can choose which one you take one based on your ability. There are low-cost (or even free) hostels for walkers to spend the night, making this a budget-friendly trek in Europe.

best walking holidays in Europe

Image by Inma from A World of Travel

Soar among spires on the Haute Route in Switzerland

by Miguel of Travel Sauro

Considered one of the most scenic trails in the Alps (and in the world), the Haute Route Trek offers endless adventure and spanning vistas, making it one of the best treks in Europe. The original path, which can be completed in about 10-14 days, starts in the French town of Chamonix and ends in the Swiss town of Zermatt. That’s right, you’ll be crossing international borders on foot!

This circuit takes you along unforgettable landscapes such as rocky peaks, amazing glaciers, blue lakes, huge valleys, traditional villages and, mountain huts. In addition, it traverses below the summits of 10 of the highest peaks in the Alps, and crosses several high passes. You’ll see that it gets more exciting day after day. Its stunning mountain scenery makes this iconic trekking route one of the most beautiful walking holidays in Europe.

If you are in a good shape, it shouldn’t be too difficult to complete. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to walk for about seven to eight hours a day, cross 2,900 meter high passes, and walk along rugged terrains. The path is well marked, so you won’t really need a guide. Despite that, I recommend that you bring a good GPS device or download a GPS app on your phone. Thus, you’ll avoid getting lost on certain points.

Need more info on how to be prepared to hike day in and day out? Check out the ultimate guide to hiking.

Best treks in Europe

Image courtesy of Miguel of Travel Sauro.

Find solitude in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains

by Andra of Our World to Wander

If you want to experience the beauty of the Romanian Carpathians then you definitely need to try a trek. And one of the most beautiful trails in Europe is the one leading to the Mălăiești Hut, a beautiful hut situated in the Bucegi mountains. It spoils its visitors with incredible views over the surrounding landscape.

What is great about trekking in the Bucegi mountains is their accessibility. From Romania’s capital, Bucharest, you simply need to take an hour and a half train ride all the way to Bușteni, the starting point to a lot of treks. If you start really early you can even do the trek in one day, but it’s worth it to stay in the hut for a night. But it would be a pity to miss the sunset and the sunrise from the hut.

So the best option is to start from Gura Diham Hut and follow the path leading to Mălăiești. It will take you approximately five hours to get there and you don’t need a guide. The trail is not that difficult, but keep in mind that the area is populated by brown bears. And also make sure to book a place in the hut as it is a very popular place, especially during the summer. And it will only cost you around USD 10 per person per night. Enjoy the nature in all its splendor.

best walking holidays in Europe

Image by Andra of Our World to Travel

Trek along the iconic Tour du Mount Blanc in France

by Mags of The Family Freestylers

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s classic high altitude multi-day treks and arguably the most iconic walking holiday in Europe. The route circles Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe and crosses three countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland. This famous 170km (105 miles) trek boasts magnificent alpine scenery with breath taking views over the snow capped Alps. Overall, the trail is considered moderate to strenuous so come prepared to earn some of the most spectacular mountain views in Europe.

The trek is grueling in places with an accumulated height gain and loss of approximately 10,000m climbing over 10 mountain cols (mountain passes) and descending into ten valley floors. Accommodation along the way is a mix of hotels or B&B’s in towns and villages on valley floors or in high altitude mountain refuges accessible only on foot along the route. It’s also possible to have meals at the refuges and camp close by.

The entire hike is normally undertaken in 11 days but many people choose to hike half of it one year, returning the following year to finish the trail. This trek can be hiked self guided – the trail is well marked, but note that the high mountain passes require a degree of mountain safety and solid navigation skills (in the event of bad weather). There are many companies which guide groups and also luggage handlers who are able to transport your luggage from point to point on the trail.

Become a strong hiker, with these tips for tackling your first peak.

Best walking holidays in Europe

Image by Mags of The Family Freestylers

For an epic, multi-day European trek filled with history and sea views, check out the Lycian Way in Turkey.

The best Trek in Europe to experience the Gods: Mount Olympus, Greece

by Helena of Just for One Summer

Mount Olympus, home to the twelve ancient Greek goods, is one of the most iconic mountains in the world and an absolute must for any hiker visiting Greece. There are few different routes to the summits of Mount Olympus but the easiest and most popular ascent starts at Litochoro and passes through Enipeas canyon and Prionia with an overnight stay at Spilios Agapitos Refuge. You’ll need two days to complete this iconic European trek. Expect to hike eight to nine hours each day.

Litochoro at the entrance to the Enipeas Canyon is an ideal base for trips to Mount Olympus. It has plenty of accommodation, taverns, and shops and can be easily reached from Athens by car, bus or train. The trail to the top starts at the upper side of Litochoro and roughly follows the Enipeas river to Prionia passing beautiful pools and waterfalls multiple times. It takes around six hours to complete the traverse and is much harder than it looks! From Prionia you’ll need another three hours of a steady climb before settling down at the refuge for the night.

For the final ascent to the top wake up early to ensure clear skies and enough time for the return. It takes at least three hours to reach the first of the summits, Skala. From here, you can either embark on a hair rising scramble to the highest peak Mytikas or hike to the slightly lower but much easier Skolio. Either way, your efforts will be rewarded with breathtaking views of this legendary mountain along one of the best treks in Europe!

walking holidays in europe

Image courtesy of Helena of Just for One Summer

Discover ancient Rome in England’s Hadrians Wall Walk

by Carol of Wayfaring Views

The Hadrian’s Wall Walk is a slow stroll through England’s ancient Roman history. The wall represents the old Roman border between England and Scotland. Hadrian had an ongoing beef with the Scots and in 122 AD he built the wall and staffed it with 11,000 Roman soldiers in order to “keep out the barbarians.”

In 2003, a site management scheme was point into place that would both protect the ruins and also allow hikers along the ancient pathway. The walking path runs along what remains of the wall and its remarkably well-preserved ruins and offers an excellent historical walking holiday in Europe.

The Hadrian’s Wall Walk is a coast to coast path running eighty-four miles from Newscastle-Upon-Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway. However, you can do the best bits of the wall with a four-day itinerary between Hexam and Gilsland. On this section, you’ll hike forty miles through rolling countryside and sheep pasture with plenty of time to get a history lesson at Chester’s Fort, Housesteads Fort, Birdoswald fort and many of the milecastles along the way. Enjoy one of Europe’s best walking holidays along the Hadrians Wall Walk.

best walking holidays in europe

Image courtesy of Carol at Wayfaring Views

Trekking and hiking the Făgărași Mountains Ridge, Romania

by Iuliana of Authentic Travels

Situated in the middle of the country, the Făgărași Mountains feature the highest peaks in Romania (Moldoveanu – 2544m and Negoiu – 2,535m). It’s a matter of național pride to climb these peaks. If you aren’t from this wonderful nation, the stunning scenery will captivate any hiker, so check out one of the best treks in Europe.

Totaling almost 70 kilometers, the main ridge of Făgărași can be hiked within a minimum of a five-six-day trek (six to eight hours of hiking per day). The trail is of moderate difficulty and a few short sections are equipped with cables to help you through the steep bits. Many people (especially foreigners) trek solo. On this iconic European trek, you will meet lots of people and groups of trekkers from all over the world. If you are not a regular trekker, but still want to trek the Făgărași ridge, be sure to train beforehand and get a guide. The trail is demanding and requires a good physical condition to be completed.

There are two ways to hike the ridge of the Făgărași Mountains:

  • Start in Turnu Roșu village (the western edge of the main ridge), hike the whole ridge in five to six days and then climb down in Rudărița (the eastern edge of the main ridge); or the other way round, but the ascent from Rudărița is long and monotonous.
  • Take the cable car to Bâlea Lake (2034m). Bâlea is located exactly at the middle of the ridge. From there, you can hike the eastern half of the ridge (Bâlea – Sâmbăta/ Rudărița – Moldoveanu summit is on this section) or the western half of the ridge (Bâlea – Turnu Roșu – Negoiu summit is included in this section).

Prefer to day hike? Here’s a look at Europe’s most breath-taking hikes.

best treks in Europe

Image courtesy of Iuliana of Authentic Travels.

Island hop by foot in Ios, Greece

by Cristina of Greece Logue

The hike from Mylopotas to Klima as a 1.5 to 2 hour hike on the island of Ios, Greece. You can stay anywhere on the island, but the port area or the Chora area are the best as there are plenty of accommodation options and there are also bus stations.

The hike starts at the end of Mylopotas beach. This walking holiday in Europe can be done both guided and unguided. Since they were re-doing the markings on the trail (last year, n.a. 2017) a guide is recommended, since the signage isn’t always clear.

You won’t need any special gear, except for a good pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a bandana. If you do the hike during summer, leave early to avoid the mid-day sun. Make your trek extra special by packing a picnic lunch to enjoy by the beach.

Throughout the hike, you have the sea to your right (as you go from Mylopotas to Klima). The views are spectacular, and you can watch the ferries as they come and go from the island. Do the hike in May and you’ll have Klima beach for yourself.

walking holidays in europe

Image courtesy of Cristina of Greece Logue.

Ditch winter and head to the beach on the Fisherman’s Trail in Portugal

by James of the Portugalist

The Fisherman’s Trail is a 125 km trail that stretches from the Cabo de São Vicente in the Southwest tip of the Algarve to Porto Covo in the Alentejo. The route hugs the Western Coast of Portugal, is exclusively pedestrian, and is an incredibly photogenic route that crosses over some of the most scenic beaches in Southern Portugal.

The trail is broken up into five stages and four complementary stages. Each stage is no more than 25 km. Some people walk the entire stretch in one go, while many others just complete a section or two so. Depending on the length of your trip, you can either treat it as a day hike or a multi-day hike.

The Portuguese tourism board have carefully developed the route and there is accommodation available along each section. There are also plenty of restaurants and even luggage transfer services – how is that for a trekking route in Europe?! There is no need for a guide or special equipment, although normal hiking gear is recommended.

Because the Algarve can reach temperatures of 40°C and more during the summer months, it’s best to attempt this walk in spring, autumn, or even parts of winter.

Best treks in europe

Image courtesy of James of the Portugalist.

Trek through the green scenery of Scotland’s West Highland Way

by Gemma at Two Scots Abroad

The West Highland Way is one of the many treks in Scotland but this one differs from others because it is a popular multi-day hike which takes you past lochs, up hills and into valleys making it one of the most scenic walking holidays in Europe. You can do it solo as it is well-signposted or as part of a group.

The WHW starts at Milngavie just outsides of Glasgow and ends in Fort William. Wayers can choose how many days to trek for but usually, they take one week to complete the route. To keep costs down there are camping spots as well as B&Bs and hotels for those looking to ensure a dry night’s sleep! The hardest part of the hike is said to be the Devil’s Staircase. However, many actually find it to be a breeze in comparison to the challenge of hiking over multiple days.

best walking holidays in Europe

Image courtesy of Gemma at Two Scots Abroad

From beaches to grassy highlands, iconic ruins to dramatic mountain vistas there is a walking holiday in Europe for every kind of hiker. Discover the best treks in Europe and hike to your heart’s content. Where will you trek next?

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The best multi-day trekking routes in Europe. Iconic walking holidays in Europe. Europe's best treks. Trekking itineraries for Europe. #Europe #travel #trekking #hiking #nationalparks

Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

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Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.