The Best Hiking Regions in Europe

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy a beautiful destination is to simply take off on a hiking trail and experience it all first-hand. And the truth is, this may be more of an option than many people realise, even at popular destinations. Many tend to discount the option of hiking if there isn’t a famous trail or natural park on hand. In reality, though, great hiking can be enjoyed just about anywhere.

But where is it particularly satisfying? We gave it some thought and compiled a list of some of the best hiking destinations in Europe, where you and your family can enjoy a more active vacation. 

The Tour du Mont Blanc leads through stunning Alpine scenery.

Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Italy, Switzerland

We’ll start with one of the more ambitious options for a European hiking getaway: Tour du Mont Blanc, a trail that circles the towering peak of Mont Blanc and snakes through France, Italy, and Switzerland. There are various specific routes to take on this tour, with the longer ones amounting to treks of over 160 kilometres. To be clear, however, the trails aren’t particularly daring or difficult, aside from their length. Climbing Mont Blanc itself is a different story, though this trail is meant to help you enjoy the beauty of the mountain and the otherworldly quality of the surrounding lands without actually climbing. And, as Fodor’s notes, the hike even offers the luxury of hostel, hotel and resort accommodations along the way (as opposed to just camping!). 

Valleys, plains and rugged peaks in Jotunheimen, Norway.

Jotunheimen National Park – Norway

This is another hiking area that’s fairly demanding of its visitors. The Tour du Mont Blanc trails are demanding in sheer length, but Jotunheimen can sometimes offer challenging conditions or terrain. Essentially a gorgeous national park showcasing northern European wilderness in all its natural beauty, Jotunheimen is best enjoyed with “robust fitness,” as recommended in The Guardian’s look at some of the best walks in Europe. That said, the general landscape of the area is unlike any other hike in Europe. In particular, the Besseggen Ridge walk, a narrow land bridge between two lakes of completely different colours, is a favourite for adventurous tourists.

Montes de Malaga national park in Spain.

Montes de Malaga – Malaga, Spain

Nestled near the Mediterranean in the Andalusia region in southern Spain, Malaga is truly a destination that has it all. The city itself is fascinating to behold, thanks to various Roman and medieval ruins that remain standing. Furthermore, BritishAirways advises travellers heading to the Malaga area that they should keep in mind that world-class beaches are just a short drive away on Costa del Sol. Renting a car and moving between the city and the beaches makes for a beautiful and relaxing vacation. In addition to these attractions, there is some truly serene hiking in the area. In particular, the Montes de Malaga park area just outside the city offers some wonderful trails. They’re fairly easy walks through wooded hills and small peaks surrounding the city and looking out over the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. 

Cutesy churches and lakeside tranquillity in Austria's Lake District.

Lake District – Austria

For another relatively easy-going option, the Lake District in Austria makes for some picturesque, leisurely walking. If you’ve never been to the area before, it will probably seem like something straight out of a story book: charming lakeside villages surrounded by mountainous peaks, deep blue and glassy lakes dotted here and there for miles in any direction, etc. Walking Holiday Info lists Obertraun and Salzburg as great starting points for Lake District hikes, and showcases everything from mountain forests to lakeside hikes, as well as mountain lodge accommodations you may find along your route.