Even if you’ve never climbed a mountain in your life, there are peaks all over Europe that are quite accessible to avid climbers and flat-landers alike. Simply pack your love of the outdoors, a sense of adventure and your hiking boots, and you’ll be ready to make your way to the top of the continent.
For a mountain experience that doesn’t require experience or gear, trek up Monte Titano, the highest peak in San Marino. Typically, visitors ride up the mountain in a car to get to the primary destination—three breath-taking mountain-side fortresses. The drive may be as scary as mountain climbing itself, with high cliffs, tight turns and incredible views of San Marino.
Eastern Europe offers many accessible peaks for beginner and intermediate climbers. In a matter of hours you could be on the summit of Rysy Mountain, the tallest peak in the Tatra Mountains and Poland’s highest point. Part of the Carpathian mountain range, the northwestern peak of Rysy is reached via Poland or Slovakia without the use of technical climbing, making it an attractive climb for hikers of all ages.
A popular Bulgarian climb takes place in Pirin National Park. Climbers are encouraged to trek up the highest peak of the Pirin; the 2900 m mountain known as Vihren. The trek up Vihren includes unforgettable views of the sparkling Vlahinski Ezera lakes, valleys that sit 1000 m deep, and breathtaking high walls of the massif’s North Face. The climb to the top of Vihren is well worth it; here, feast your eyes on all of the highest peaks of the Pirin as well as the Rila massif.
If you’re really ambitious, hire a professional guide or join one of many accredited climbing groups that offer training and acclimatization exercises that will prepare you for an exhilarating climb in the Alps, Europe’s highest mountain range. However, the easiest way to enjoy an alpine climb is to use lifts (cable cars) and cog railways to give you a kick-start, making summits like the Petite Aiguille Verte in the French Alps far more accessible to less experienced climbers.