Walking and Climbing
An active and enjoyable way to discover Europe is hiking. You can walk in couples, as families, or with a group of friends. You can opt for an easy, pastoral route or chose an extreme mountain trail.
This is the best way to reach seldom-seen and protected spots, see breathtaking scenery, and have incomparable cultural experiences, whether in one of our wonderful European countries or a pan-European region. Vacations without borders: that’s our suggestion!
The European Ramblers’ Association is an umbrella organization for all the hiking associations in Europe, its objectives being to develop sustainable hiking, to protect Europe’s cultural heritage, and to safeguard rural space. Their European Code of Good Walking encourages mutual respect between walkers and the countries they visit.
The length of a hike is extremely variable, ranging from a ramble of a few hours or a full-day hike, to trekking in the mountains for days, or even for weeks, with accommodation en route.
Europe offers, hiking enthusiasts 11 long distance paths (identified by the letter “E” followed by a number). These paths follow the existing network of both large and small trails in each country. They allow you to crisscross Europe, from north to south and from east to west. The length and variety of these trails is impressive: you can hike the entire trail or choose sections of it, according to the amount of time you have available.
So get your boots on, grab your hiking poles, keep maps and compasses at hand, and embark on an extraordinary adventure!
Among these eleven paths, the E6 path starts in Finland and crosses to the southwest of Sweden, via Stockholm and the lake region. From there, it takes you on to Denmark and all the way to the border of Germany to Lübeck, a Hanseatic town. Next, you follow the southwest Baltic coast via Kiel, continuing to Brunswick and, after passing through part of the Bavarian forest, you reach Austria and the famous Wachau region, the city of Melk and its famous church.
After that, the route takes you to Slovenia, a hiker’s heaven. Wherever you are, you’re surrounded by nature at your fingertips. Next, get acquainted with the Dinaric Alps where fantastic scenery is waiting for you. Path E6 crosses the country via the Julian Alps and limestone (karst) country to lose itself in northern Greece in its “backbone”, the Pindus Range. You’ll see ski stations and villages perched high up in the mountains, such as Samarina, the highest village in Greece. You’ll also see the Via Egnatia, one of the ancient Roman roads. You’ll have crossed 5,200 kilometers/3,230 miles and seven different European countries.
Path E4 starts in Tarifa, at the extreme southernmost tip of Spain. You’ll walk northward, crossing Andalusia: it’s your turn to marvel at the Alhambra in Grenada, Murcia, Ronda and its dramatic setting. Continuing higher still, in the route takes you to the Pyrenees, via Andorra and headed for France. Just follow your nose and you’ll visit the sublime regions of Languedoc, the Cévennes, the Ardèche and the Rhône Valley en route to Switzerland, the crest of the Jura, and Lake Constance. In Germany and Austria you can choose between two paths; one is easier than the other. Both trails will lead you to Hungary.
Here the trail is called “The Blue Route” and leads you all the way across the Hungarian countryside from the Austrian to the Slovakian border, passing by Budapest and Lake Balaton. A little tour in Bulgaria, across the mountains of Rila and Pirin, takes you to Greece. The path leads you across northern Greece to the central part of the country and onto the Peloponnesus. Along the way you’ll be immersed the beauty of the Greek countryside and the cultural richness of the country, and have the opportunity to visit unforgettable sites such as the Meteora monasteries or the cities of Delphi, Corinth, or the ruins of legendary Sparta.
Jump aboard a ferry and continue the route to Crete. Once there, don’t take off your hiking boots, but go and explore the Samaria Gorge. Another little voyage towards Cyprus, and you’ve reached the end of Path E4. In Cyprus, the E4 trail links Larnaca with Paphos and its pine forests, nature reserves and the Cedar Valley, passing Cape Gkreko, ascending towards Mount Troodos, a few steps from the Monasteries, and then descending towards the Akama Peninsula. The trail lets you discover typical rural areas and areas of great natural beauty, all with impressive historical, archeological, cultural, and ecological value. You’ll have traveled 10,000 km/ 6212 miles and visited nine European countries.
The Via Alpina offers an itinerary which takes in eight alpine countries. This route traverses the principal chain of the Alps several times linking Trieste (Italy) with Monaco, passing through Bavaria (Germany), Lichtenstein, France, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland.