Europe is one of our favorite places to go hiking. There’s no better way to explore the dramatic and varied landscapes here, from the snow-capped Alps to coastal trails to the remote, volcanic interior of Iceland. In this guide we list 20 of the best hikes in Europe, 20 amazing ways to explore this beautiful continent.
About the Hikes on this List
At the time that I am writing this, these are our 20 favorite hikes in Europe.
I expect this list to change in the near future, as we are planning a return visit to Italy, France, and Switzerland this summer. That means more hikes in the Dolomites and Switzerland plus 13 epic days on the Haute Route, as we hike from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. So, this list could look a lot different later this year.
We would love to hear what your favorite hikes are in Europe. Not only will it give us more ideas of where to go, but it will also inspire other travelers who read this post. Let’s face it, we can’t get everywhere (although we are trying!), so I am certain that there are some fantastic hikes in Europe that are not yet on this list.
Best Hikes in Europe
1. Puez-Odle Altopiano
Distance: 14.5 km (9 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 500 meters ascent, 1100 meters descent | Time: 6 to 9 hours
Let’s start with one of our favorite hikes in Europe and one of our favorite hiking destinations in the world.
The Dolomites are a spectacular place to go hiking. Hundreds of kilometers of trails crisscross this mountainous region, making it a playground for hikers in the summer months.
View from the Puez-Odle Altopiano Trail | Best Hikes in Europe
There is a long list of great hikes to do in the Dolomites, from short, easy trails to multi-day treks. Of the few trails that we hiked in the Dolomites, the Puez-Odle Altopiano was our favorite.
On this hike, the trail runs along some of the highest peaks in the Dolomites. A chairlift lops off the first big climb (shaving off about 700 meters), so you can enjoy those wonderful views without a lot of effort. For the entire hike, the views are some of the best we have seen from a hiking trail.
As stated earlier, we are planning a return visit to the Dolomites this summer and we have a long list of trails to hike. But if you have been here, we would love to hear your favorites (let us know in the comment section at the end of this guide).
LEARN MORE: How to Hike the Puez-Odle Altopiano
Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles) out-and-back | Difficulty: Strenuous | Elevation Gain: 570 meters | Time: 6 to 8 hours
Hiking to Kjeragbolten, this giant boulder wedged between two cliffs, is one of our favorite hikes of all time.
It’s not just because you get the chance to do something absolutely crazy, stepping out onto the boulder, but it’s also because this hike is tons of fun. From climbing sheer granite faces with the aids of chains, to descending down into valleys inhabited by sheep and their clanging bells, to views out over some of the most spectacular scenery in Norway, this hike is a pure joy.
Once at the Kjeragbolten, do you dare step out onto it?
Kjeragbolten | Best Hikes in Europe
This boulder sits 1000 meters off of the ground. It’s a bit unnerving, stepping onto it and then posing for the camera, but what an awesome collection of photographs you will have at the end of the day.
ANOTHER NOTABLE HIKE: Another notable hike in the area is Pulpit Rock. Both Kjeragbolten and Pulpit Rock can be done from the town of Stavanger. Pulpit Rock is shorter and easier to hike than Kjeragbolten and you get to stand on a large chunk of rock with beautiful views of the fjord. It’s a nice hike to consider if you want to stay closer to Stavanger and do a shorter hike.
3. The Eiger Trail
LOCATION: Jungfrau Region of Switzerland
Distance: 7.25 km (4.5 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Elevation Gain: 140 meters up and 800 meters down | Time: 2 to 3 hours
Eiger Trail | Best Hikes in Europe
The Eiger Trail is one of our favorite short hikes in Europe. This point-to-point hike follows the north face of the Eiger mountain. Along the way, you get jaw-dropping views across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Mürren and Grindelwald.
The views are unbeatable, it is mostly a downhill walk so you don’t have to be super fit to hike this trail, and it can be easily added onto a visit to Jungfraujoch.
If you are planning a visit to Europe with kids, this is a great hike to put on your list. Plus, the entire Jungfrau region is a delight to explore.
4. Mt. Blahnúkúr Mt. Brennisteinsalda Loop
LOCATION: Landmannalaugar, Iceland
Distance: 9.7 km (6 miles) loop | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 610 meters (2000 feet) | Time: 4 to 6 hours
Hiking up Mt. Blahnúkúr | Best Hikes in Europe
View of the Mt. Blahnúkúr Trail | Best Hikes in Europe
On top of Mt. Blahnúkúr | Best Hikes in Europe
Hiking Mt. Brennisteinsalda | Best Hikes in Europe
Landmannalaugar is one of the top spots to go hiking in Iceland. Its colorful rhyolite mountains, geothermal hot springs, lava fields, and unique hiking trails attract adventurous travelers all summer long.
There are several great day hikes to do in this area. The Mt. Blahnúkúr Mt. Brennisteinsalda Loop combines two of them into one epic day hike.
Starting with Mt. Blahnúkúr, aka the Blue Peak, the trail zigzags up the mountain. It’s a tough climb but your reward is one of the best views of Landmannalaugar.
The trail descends the opposite side of Mt. Blahnúkúr, and from here, you can add on Mt. Brennisteinsalda, for a different viewpoint of the area. From the top of Mt. Brennisteinsalda, you look out over the Laugahraun lava field and the trekkers on the Laugavegur Trail.
Once finished the hike, relax in the soothing waters of the People’s Pool, a naturally occurring hot spring located next to the Laugahraun lava field.
ANOTHER HIKING RECOMMENDATION: The Laugavegur Trek is a multi-day hike through some of the most extraordinary landscapes in Iceland. It is a 55 km (34 mile) trail from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk and it is typically done in 4 days and 3 nights, camping or sleeping in mountain huts along the way.
5. Plitvice Lakes
Distance: 8 to 11 km | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 4 to 8 hours
Plitvice Lakes | Best Hikes in Europe
View over Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes is one of the most unique places to visit in Croatia. With easy walking trails, boardwalks suspended over the turquoise water, stunning viewpoints, and photogenic waterfalls, this is the type of place that is perfect for visitors of all ages.
This park is a network of hiking trails and boardwalks that are linked together with shuttle buses and boats. There are numerous “programs” you can follow, which are suggested routes depending upon your starting point, your energy level, and how much time you have.
In our Guide to Plitvice Lakes, learn about a great loop you can hike, which is not listed as one of the main programs. See the highlights of Plitvice Lakes plus off-the-beaten-path viewpoints over the lakes.
LEARN MORE: Plitvice Lakes: How to Have the Best Experience
LOCATION: Lofoten Islands, Norway
Distance: 8.7 km (5.4 miles) out-and-back | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Total Ascent: 680 meters (2240 feet) | Time: 3 to 5 hours
The hike to Ryten has all of the ingredients of a perfect Lofoten Islands hike: sweeping vistas across the mountains and fjords, a fun but slightly strenuous hike to a mountain peak, and a breathtaking view of a white, sandy beach.
The icing on the cake is a “mini Trolltunga,” an outcropping of rock where you can get creative with your photos.
View of Kvalvika Beach from Ryten | Best Hikes in Europe
Another view from Ryten | Best Hikes in Europe
By Lofoten standards, this is a relatively easy hike. Most of the hikes we did in the Lofoten Islands featured a steep, strenuous, thigh-busting climb to a mountain peak, all for an amazing (and very worthwhile) view. Ryten is different. Yes, you still climb a mountain, but the trail is less steep and less strenuous. Along the way, the views keep changing, which keeps things interesting. But the real reason to do this hike is for that final view from the top of Ryten.
This is our favorite hike in the Lofoten Islands, although it is hard to narrow it down, since everything we did was amazing. Another notable mention is Reinebringen, but this hike has become so popular in recent years that crowd levels take away from the overall enjoyment…but the view from the top of Reinebringen is astounding.
LEARN MORE: How to Hike to Ryten and Kvalvika Beach
7. The Ladder of Kotor
Distance: 6.4 km (4 miles) one way; 12.8 km (8 miles) round trip | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 3 to 6 hours
Ladder of Kotor | Best Hikes in Europe
View of Kotor from the castle walls
For jaw-dropping views of the Bay of Kotor, hike the Ladder of Kotor.
This trail starts next to the Old Town of Kotor and right from the start, climbs uphill. I read that there are at least 70 switchbacks on the trail. Since we never counted them, I cannot give a definite answer of how many there really are, but it’s a lot. But the higher you go, the better the view.
There are several different ways to do this hike, which is why the hiking stats above list different distances. You can hike all of the way to the top of the Ladder of Kotor and retrace your steps back down the mountain. Or you can return to Kotor by walking the Kotor castle walls.
LEARN MORE: How to Hike the Ladder of Kotor
8. Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First
LOCATION: Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
Distance: 16 km (10 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Strenuous | Elevation: 860 meters (2,820 feet) ascent; 690 meters (2,260 feet) descent | Time: 6 hours
The start of the hike at Schynige Platte | Best Hikes in Europe
Faulhorn | Best Hikes in Europe
At the end of the hike, you have the option to add on the First Cliff Walk.
This is the second time the Jungfrau region is showing up on this hiking list (and it’s not the last), because it is a beautiful area to explore on foot, with a long list of hiking trails. The point-to-point hike from Schynige Platte to First is another one of our favorites.
The hike from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First is a big day hike. A scenic ride on a cogwheel train takes you high up into the mountains. For the next 6 hours, you hike past alpine lakes, rustic mountain huts, snow-covered trails, cows and their musical bells, and get to see some of the best views of Swiss Alps.
If you plan to visit the Jungfrau region in the summer months and are looking for a longer hike to do, this is one of the best.
Distance: 5 km (3.1 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Moderate | Time: 1.5 hours
Montserrat | Best Hikes in Europe
Montserrat is a rocky mountain range in Catalonia, Spain. “Montserrat” translates to “saw mountain” in Catalan, owing to this mountain range’s jagged, sawtooth appearance.
A visit to Montserrat is one of the best days trips from Barcelona. The train connects Barcelona with this area, where you have the option to ride a cable car or railway into the mountains, or hike up on your own two feet.
For active travelers, hiking to the monastery is the most adventurous way to get here. It’s a short but beautiful hike with great views along the trail. Once you make it to the monastery, you can extend the journey by hiking out to Santa Cova Chapel or hiking to Sant Jeroni.
LEARN MORE: How to Hike to Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain
10. Måtind & the Stave-Bleik Coastal Trail
LOCATION: Vesteralen Islands, Norway
Distance: 7.6 km (4.7 miles) out-and-back | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Total Ascent: 520 meters (1700 feet) | Time: 3 to 4 hours
Måtind | Best Hikes in Europe
Stave Beach | Best Hikes in Europe
With jaw-dropping coastal views, this is one of the prettiest and most underrated hikes in Europe. It’s also relatively short and easy to do.
The Vesteralen Islands is a group of islands in northern Norway, not far from the Lofoten Islands. Many travelers skip right past the Vesteralen Islands and Senja, going to the more popular Lofoten Islands. But this quiet, less touristy area is home to beautiful landscapes and some of our favorite hiking trails in Norway (Segla on the island of Senja almost made it onto this hiking list).
The Stave-Bleik Coastal Trail is a 9 km trail that runs point-to-point along the coastline. Måtind is the highest point along the coast and this is the spot where you get the best views.
You can do this as a point-to-point hike, starting at one end and hiking to the other or you can do what we did. Start near the midway point, hike to the top of Måtind for the best views of the day, and wander as far as you like towards Bleik and/or Stave. We have the full details on how to do this in our Guide to Hiking to Måtind.
11. Cinque Terre
Distance: 11 km (7 miles) | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 5 hours+
Vernazza | Best Hikes in Europe
Monterosso al Mar from the hiking trail | Best Hikes in Europe
The Cinque Terre is a group of five towns perched on the coastline of Italy, just north of Pisa. These colorful towns are easily recognizable, with their pastel buildings stacked on top of one another, overlooking the harbors below. Each town offers something a little bit different than the others, and part of the fun of visiting the Cinque Terre is picking your favorite one.
Hiking the Cinque Terre is one of the best ways to explore these five towns.
There is a 11 km trail (called the Blue Trail) connecting Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare. Some portions of the trail are very easy to walk, such as the paved section connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola, and other sections climb up and over hillsides with spectacular views along the coast.
It takes about 5 hours to hike the entire distance, not counting the time to explore and linger in each town. To hike between all five towns, set aside a full day.
One of the best things about this hike is that you don’t have to do the full thing. When you get tired, take the train to the next town, rather than hiking the trail.
This is also the only hike on this list where you can refuel with gelato, pizza, and wine, as you hike from town to town.
Could this be the best hike in Europe? 😊
LEARN MORE: The Complete Guide to Hiking the Cinque Terre
12. The Green Lake (Zelene Pleso) & Vel’ká Svišt’ovka
LOCATION: High Tatras, Slovakia
Distance: 13.2 km (8.2 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation: 365 meters (1,200 feet) ascent; 1,200 meters (3,930 feet) descent | Time: 6 to 8 hours
Green Lake (Zelene pleso) | Best Hikes in Europe
On the trail from Vel’ká Svišt’ovka to Zelene Pleso | Best Hikes in Europe
Another view of Zelene Pleso | Best Hikes in Europe
The High Tatras is another fantastic hiking destination in Europe. Jagged mountains, emerald green lakes, rugged hiking trails, and cable cars all come together to form the perfect adventure destination.
Hiking to the summit of Vel’ká Svišt’ovka was our favorite hike in the Tatras. The stunning mountain views and a visit to several vividly green lakes makes this a gorgeous hike.
A cable car shaves off the first major ascent, so this hike is easier than many of the hikes in the Tatras. Even so, this hike is not to be underestimated. It is a long hike, with a surprisingly difficult downhill section, parts of it requiring the use of chains. To get back into town, you also need to be prepared for the long, monotonous walk through a pine forest on a rocky, uneven trail. But it’s worth it for the views.
LEARN MORE: How to Hike to the Green Lake in Slovakia
ANOTHER NOTABLE MENTION: Rysy is another popular hike to do in the Tatras. Rysy is the highest point in Poland and the highest point in the Tatras that you can hike to without a guide. Most people get here by hiking from the Slovakian Tatras. We hiked to Rysy from Štrbské Pleso in Slovakia. This tough hike is 20 km (12.5 miles) long with 1,345 meters (4,415 feet) of elevation gain.
13. Hveradalir Geothermal Area
LOCATION: Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland
Distance: 11.5 km (7 miles) out-and-back | Difficulty: Moderate | Time: 4 to 5 hours
Hveradalir Geothermal Area | Best Hikes in Europe
Kerlingarfjöll is a mountain range located in Iceland’s central highlands. Tucked away within this mountain range is Hveradalir, a geothermal wonderland of steaming vents, boiling mud pools, and rainbow-colored hot springs.
The combination of hiking trails, rust-colored mountains, and clouds of steam creates one of Iceland’s most unique hiking and photography destinations.
From the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, you can drive or hike to the Hveradalir Geothermal Area. If you hike out-and-back, it’s awesome to see how the terrain changes from the lush, green landscape around the resort to the steamy, orange and yellow mountains of Hveradalir. The hiking stats above include the hike to and from the resort plus exploring the Hveradalir area.
14. Mürren Via Ferrata
LOCATION: Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
Distance: 2.2 km (1.4 miles) one-way | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation Loss: 300 meters (1,000 feet) | Time: 3 hours
View from the Mürren via ferrata | Best Hikes in Europe
This is the shortest but the most thrilling hike on our list of favorite hikes in Europe.
The Mürren via ferrata is a 2.2 km journey, part via ferrata and part hiking trail. You’ll cling to a cliff, climb down steep ladders, walk on a tightrope and a suspension bridge, and (with a guide) zip line across a ravine.
The best part is dangling over the Lauterbrunnen Valley, because the views are unbeatable.
LEARN MORE: The Complete Guide to the Mürren Via Ferrata
15. Fira to Oia
LOCATION: Santorini, Greece
Distance: 10 km (6 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 3 to 5 hours
Fira to Oia hiking trail | Best Hikes in Europe
Walking from Fira to Oia is one of Santorini’s top experiences. Hike along the rim of a caldera, explore the towns of Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Fira, and enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the islands.
If you go the entire distance, you will walk just over 10 km (about 6 miles). The walking path is a mix of paved, pedestrian streets and dirt hiking trails.
You can do this hike in either direction. For the best experience, walk from Fira to Oia. This makes it an overall downhill walk (although you will still have to walk up some hills), you get to see the amazing views of Oia in front of you, and you can end in Oia. Spend the rest of the day exploring the village, watch Oia’s legendary sunset, and then return to your hotel.
LOCATION: Svalbard, Norway
Distance: 5.4 km (3.4 miles) kayaking + 8.7 km (5.4 miles) hiking | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 11 hours
This experience is one of the most adventurous on this list. Due to its location, it is also the most remote.
Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago that is located in the Arctic Ocean. If you look at Svalbard on globe, it looks like it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from the North Pole.
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard. At 78° north, it is also the world’s northernmost city. This is a town where the streets have no names, reindeer wander through town, and there are more snowmobiles than people.
And this is where this adventure begins.
From Longyearbyen, you will kayak across Adventfjord. Once on shore, it is a 9 km hike out-and-back to the summit of Hiorthfjellet. Along the way, you get great views of Longyearbyen and the chance to see Svalbard reindeer.
View of Hiorthfjellet from Longyearbyen | Best Hikes in Europe
Kayaking across Adventfjord | Best Hikes in Europe
View of Longyearbyen (and a few reindeer) from the Hiorthfjellet hiking trail | Best Hikes in Europe
When we did this at the end of June, it snowed during the final part of our hike up Hiorthfjellet, making this hike even more memorable. We didn’t get to enjoy the view from Hiorthfjellet because of the snow, but I hear it’s an incredible view of the area.
To finish the experience, hike and then kayak back to Longyearbyen.
17. Gornergrat to Riffelsee & Riffelberg
LOCATION: Zermatt, Switzerland
Distance: 5 km (3.1 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 1.5 hours
View from Gornergrat
View of the Matterhorn from the hiking trail | Best Hikes in Europe
The Matterhorn | Best Hikes in Europe
This is another spectacular hike that does not require a whole lot of effort. And every step of the way you are treated to epic views of the Matterhorn…just as long as the weather cooperates.
Gornergrat is the location of the highest open-air railway in Europe. From Gornergrat, you get to see the second largest glacier in the Alps (Gorner Glacier), Switzerland’s highest peak (Dufourspitze), and the Matterhorn.
The hike from Gornergrat to Riffelberg is an overall downhill walk, so it’s a great hike for all ages and ability levels. Along the entire trail, the Matterhorn is right in front of you, which creates dramatic photo spots and great places to take a family photo.
You can end the hike early, going just to Riffelsee, or go a bit farther to Riffelberg. From Riffelberg, ride the train back to Zermatt or go even higher, adding on a visit to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
Distance: 18 km (11.2 miles) loop | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 1,310 meters (4,300 feet) | Time: 8 to 10 hours
Wildflowers along the trail | Best Hikes in Europe
View from Koscielec | Best Hikes in Europe
The hike to Koscielec is one of the toughest hikes on this list.
This hike starts and ends in Zakopane, Poland’s gateway into the Tatras. Along the trail, you will hike through fields of wildflowers, past alpine huts, and next to crystal-clear lakes. It is a very tough hike up Koscielec but your reward is panoramic views over both Poland and Slovakia.
LEARN MORE: How to Hike Koscielec in the Polish Tatras
Distance: 25 km (15.5 miles) point-to-point | Difficulty: Challenging | Total Ascent: 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) | Time: 8 to 10 hours
This is the toughest hike on the list and it’s one of the best.
26 waterfalls, 1 volcano, 2 glaciers, and 3 unique landscapes all combine for one of the most extraordinary hiking experiences on the planet.
Sunset Falls | Best Hikes in Europe
Baldvinsskáli Hut | Best Hikes in Europe
Thórsmörk | Best Hikes in Europe
Starting at the mighty Skógafoss waterfall, the land is lush and green as you hike past 25 more waterfalls along the Skógá River.
As you approach the ice caps, the green grass fades away, leaving behind a rocky, barren landscape.
From here, you hike between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, on fresh, black, volcanic soil, which is one of the youngest landscapes on the planet.
Once you begin the descent into Thórsmörk, the contrast is startling. Lime green moss covers the black soil and rocks, and eventually you will hike through a forest before arriving in Básar.
Distance: 28 km (17.4 miles) out-and-back | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 800 meters (2,625 feet) | Time: 10 to 12 hours
Trolltunga | Best Hikes in Europe
Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most popular hikes and one of the best hikes in Europe. It is a beautiful hike from start to finish but the main reason for doing this hike is to stand on the Troll’s Tongue, a thin sliver of rock that creates one of the most unique photo spots in Europe.
The hiking stats above are for the full hike but it is possible to shorten it. A small car pack was added which eliminates the first big climb of the hike. If you can get one of the few spots here, the hike comes in at 20 km (12.4 miles) with 300 meters (1,000 feet) of elevation gain. Not only is the hike shorter, it’s also a lot easier.
LEARN MORE: Everything You Need to Know to Hike Trolltunga
On Our Bucket List
On our bucket list is the Haute Route and more hikes in the Dolomites, but we will be checking these off this list in July 2022.
We would also love to hike the Hardergrat Trail in Switzerland, Aonach Eagach in Scotland, and the GR20 in Corsica. All of these are challenging hikes. The GR20 is a 112-mile trek that is often labeled as Europe’s toughest hiking trail.
Portugal, along with Madeira and the Azores, is a high on our to-do list. We had a big trip here planned that was cancelled during COVID, but hopefully we will get here soon.
What are your favorite hikes in Europe? We are always looking for new hiking trails and new hiking destinations and we would love to hear your list of best hikes in Europe (let us know in the comment section below). Thanks!
More Great Hikes from Around the World:
IN THE WORLD: 20 Best Day Hikes in the World
IN THE US NATIONAL PARKS: 20 Epic Hikes in the US National Parks
GREAT WALL OF CHINA: Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu on the Great Wall of China
NEW ZEALAND: How to Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
For more great hikes from around the world, check out our Hiking Travel Guide.
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