The Most Beautiful European Hiking Destinations
West Highland Way, Scotland
West Highland Way in Scotland is the most popular hiking trail in Great Britain. This long distance trail in Scotland is 95 miles long and takes about six to ten days to complete. It leads from Milngavie (close to Glasgow) all the way to Fort William. The path will take you through the Scottish Highlands. About half of the path exists on old trading routes and military roads, the other half makes hikers walk through dried up rivers and creeks.
Scotland is known for its natural beauty, and so you will see lakes, mountains, quant towns and breathtaking views during your walk. Most of the path is well filled with accommodations and stores, except for the northern part along Loch Lomond. In case you want to do some sightseeing during your hike: you will pass by a hiding place Robert Roy once used. And Harry Potter fans will want to walk up to Fort William, where the Harry Potter train leaves, just to name a few.
Pindus Mountains, Greece
The Pindus mountain range runs through the north of Greece and southern Albania. The hike is 36 miles long and will take four to six days to complete. The mountains, peaks, plateaus, gorges and valleys of the Pindus Mountains make for a stunning landscape.
The mountains are home to many villages that you will stumble upon during your hike. You will also pass by a number of attractions and sights, like the impressive Meteora monasteries and Vikos Gorge, (claimed to be) the steepest gorge in the world. Thanks to the villages and sights, there are many places to spend the night.
Alta Via 1 or Dolomite High Route 1, Italy
Alta Via 1 is 93 miles long and winds along the mountain range in northeastern Italy. The area offers routes for beginners as well as advanced hikers and with varying lengths. The route is lined with huts ran by families who will serve you a home cooked meal and where you can sleep in a clean bed.
The entire Dolomite area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you are sure to have some impressive and unforgettable views during your hike. You will even pass by some old battle sites from the first World War. This trail is best done in July through September, when there is no snow. Try to avoid August if you can. This Italian summer holiday month will leave the path the most crowded of the year.
Slovenian Mountain Trail or Transverzala, Slovenia
The Slovenian mountains have over 4,000 miles of trails! The Slovenian Mountain Trail is the most popular one and covers all the alpine ranges in Slovenia. The trail is the oldest and first interconnecting trail in the country and the oldest hiking trail in Europe. It leads from Maribor to the Adriatic Sea. Along the way, you will find over 50 huts, two museums and a cave system.
Before your hike, get a book from the Mountaineering Association of Slovenia, in which you can collect stamps at control points. The hike finishes (or starts) in Ankaran, where you can jump right into the sea for a refreshing dive.
Knivskjellodden may not be the longest hike you will take, but the location definitely makes up for it; you will be walking the most northern point of mainland Europe. No, North Cape is not the northernmost point of mainland Europe, even though it is widely believed. The walking path to Knivskjellodden is the only way to reach the peninsula, it is about 11 miles long (round trip).
Thanks to this seclusion, Knivskjellodden is not as touristic and busy as the North Cape, where you will find a huge car park, tourist shops and restaurants. The path to Knivskjellodden is lined with balancing rock sculptures built to help guide the way when the weather gets foggy. Hike this route during the summer, as it will be covered by snow the rest of the year. Do not forget to sign the visitor’s book!
Where will your next hike lead you?
Main Image Photo Credit: © iStock/canebisca
About the Author: Milou van Roon runs a Digital Media Agency called Explorista Media that is dedicated to making travel brands into online rockstars. She’s hardly ever home in The Netherlands, and regularly abuses the European low cost flights under the excuse of 'blogging about it’ on budget travel blog http://explorista.net. Be sure to follow her adventures on Instagram (@Explorista).