Sometimes exploring Europe means seeing sites like the Eiffel Tower or Stonehenge. Other times it means finding the biggest mountain you can and climbing right up to the top. Luckily, you won’t have to go far to find mountains, lakes and hilltops ripe for hiking. Lace up those boots, roll up your sleeping bag and prep yourself for a trip to the great European outdoors.
Start in Romania to set out to conquer the vast Carpathian Mountains. Depending on where you are, the mountains can range from snow-capped peaks, rocky countrysides or even lush waterfalls. Make your way west to experience the epic views at the Iron Gates located at the Serbia-Romania border. Whether you’re a first-time hiker in Europe or you’ve traversed the continent with nothing but a backpack, the Iron Gates always inspire. Go on a trekking tour of the area or take on the walking routes on your own.
But the Carpathian Mountains are just the beginning of your hiking adventure. Next, it’s off to Slovakia to climb the Tatra Mountains. At over 8,000 feet high, the mountains feature plenty of challenging trails and epic views. If you’re looking for the most challenging path, go to the Gerlach Peak. It’s the highest peak of the range and the rocky terrain is a sight to behold and makes for some of the most fabulous mounting hiking in Europe.
Next, stay in the Tatra Mountains, but slow down the pace in Poland. Take a walking route through the cities of Kraków and Kazimierz. There, you can relish the rolling views of the mountains while enjoying the local culture at museums and restaurants. But if you still want to climb mountain peaks, make your way up the northern summit of Rysy for Poland’s best views.
Of course, it’s not a European hiking trip without a stop at the world class hiking paths of The Alps. Start your Alps hiking trip by taking the walking paths around the beautiful scenery of Grindelwald in Switzerland. Then travel north to Germany to the Bavarian Forest National Park where you’ll see natural wildlife like wild horses, lynxes and bison. Or travel east to Slovenia, where you’ll find a pleasant mix of trekking tours, fabulous mountain hiking areas and world-class campsites. You may want to take your skiis with you, if you have room to bring them along. The Alps have some of the best winter sports facilities in Europe.
As for where to stay during your hiking adventure, there are always hostels and hotels along the way. But to truly experience the European hiking joys, just bring a tent with you and set up camp at any one of the parks or mountains you’re hiking. Lie under the stars and know that you’re doing your European vacation right.