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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Day Hiking in Europe

It’s no secret- Europe has incredible hiking opportunities. Vast countryside, dramatic coastlines, jagged mountains, and so many more landscapes fill the continent with thousands of trails to explore. With so many countries to choose from, it’s difficult to decide where to base a hiking holiday. Don’t know where to start? I have you covered! I’ve asked some travel bloggers for their personal recommendations to compile this comprehensive list of the best day hiking in Europe. This is a LONG post full of information! Read on and start planning!

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Switzerland

When thinking about day hiking in Europe, Switzerland is an obvious choice. The Alps are home to some of the most famous mountains, and hiking here is definitely something for the bucket list. Here are some of the top day hikes in Switzerland!

Zermatt 5 Lakes Hike

By Smita | My Faulty Compass

One of the hidden gems in Switzerland, the Zermatt 5 lakes is not only fairly easy to do but also offers some of the best views in Switzerland! The hike takes you to 5 stunning mountain lakes: Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee, and offers spectacular views of the famous Toblerone mountain, the Matterhorn!

The hike covers a distance of 9 km with a 240 m ascent and 520 m descent on mostly wide dirt tracks, with some switchbacks. It takes ~3 hours to complete the hike – though most people take longer since it’s difficult to stop taking pictures of the magnificent views! Spending time relaxing at one of the lakes while admiring the natural beauty is one of the most tranquil experience to be had in Switzerland. 

One of the best things to do in Zermatt, this hike is best attempted during the summer. To start the hike from Zermatt, take the underground funicular to Sunnegga followed by a cable car to Blauherd. The first lake Stellisee is located a short walk from the Blauherd cable car upper station. This is the lake where the famous Matterhorn reflections can be captured in the water! As you continue on the hike, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose a favourite lake – they are all so beautiful! The hike ends at Sunnegga from where you can take the same funicular back to Zermatt.

The Hardergrat Trail

By Jackson | The Journey Era

The Hardergrat Trail is an incredible ridge-hike above the town of Interlaken in Switzerland.  It’s one of the toughest day hikes in the world due to its ominously narrow ridge, enduring long-distance, and tough incline. The trail begins near Brienz and follows the ridge all the way along the Brienzersee (Brienz Lake) to Harder Kulm Station. It takes most hikers at minimum of six hours to complete and there are many parts with very, very steep drop-offs. The Hardergrat trail is definitely recommended for experienced hikers only and to be avoided on wet days as the steep cliffs can be unforgiving and there have been a number of tragic incidents on this route. The Hardergrat hiking trail has almost 2000m of incline and is 20km in length.

The best way to do the hike is to catch the train up to Brienzergrat from Brienz and then hike all the way across the narrow ridge to Harder Kulm and then take the train down from Harder Kulm Station to Interlaken. The best route is to get the early train (it’s also half price) at Brienz and then work your way to Harder-Kulm Station and make sure you catch the last train down. Alternatively, if you are a hiking guru, you can hike up to Brienzer Rothorn, all the way along the ridge to Harder Kulm Station and then down to Interlaken for a total of almost 30-kilometers and 3000m+ of incline throughout the day.

The Eiger Trail

By Erika | Erika’s Travelventures

Not many hikes around the world get to hold the title of being a UNESCO World Heritage hike, but that goes to show exactly how incredible the Eiger Trail is. Nestled at the base of the incredible Swiss Alps and boasting views of the lush Grindelwald valley and the snow-capped Jungfraujoch mountain, it’s no surprise this Europe day-hike is as famous as it is. 

The standard Eiger Trail hike is of easy difficulty, and can be a fun activity for an active family or beginner adult hikers. The trail runs between two train stations that are already a good distance into the mountains – Alpiglen to Eigergletscher. The trail is 6 km, and takes 2-3 hours depending on speed. From Alpiglen is a 780m ascent before reaching the highest point, Kleine Scheidegg, then an 80m descent (or vice versa). Kleine Scheidegg is a train station and tiny resort village with incredible views of the Jungfraujoch “top of Europe” mountain. The perfect place for lunch and a rest.

If you’re an avid hiker looking for a challenge, skip all the trains and hike the entire day from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen, via the Eiger Trail. This extends the scenic hike to a whopping 18 km and 6-7 hours to complete, with over 1000 meters in elevation gain/loss each way. 

Spain

Spain is another amazing destination for day hiking in Europe. Mild winters make this destination a perfect winter escape. There’s so much diversity in the kinds of hiking trails you can expect here – from the mars-like terrain of Tenerife (climb Spain’s highest mountain!) to the lush coasts.

Los Cahorros

By Joanna | The World In My Pocket

Los Cahorros in Monachil is one of the most spectacular day hikes in Sierra Nevada mountain range, suitable for everyone, including children. The trail starts in Monachil village and follows the river with the same name through the forest, passing by an old plant and a still active irrigation channel fresh water from the mountain. From here, the path transforms into an Indiana Jones course, with hanging bridges, waterfalls, and a narrow canyon walk which passes through a cave. A bit of dexterity is required to crawl underneath the rocks or hang on the metal bars to go across the uneven mountain wall. No worries though, it is not dangerous, as the river is just half a meter below and you can always avoid the lower rocks by walking through it.

The hike is circular, but many people prefer to stop at the end of the canyon and return on the same way back. The second part of the trail is more demanding, as it steeply goes up the mountain. Due to the high temperatures in summer, people prefer to do only the first half, which is shaded. Some people come here just to enjoy the waterfalls and swim in the pools underneath them.

The total length of the hike is 7.2 kilometers and it can be completed in 3 hours, if you don’t stop for a refreshing swim in the river. It is a moderate hike.

Cami de Ronda

By Kristin | Snorkel and Hike

The Cami de Ronda is a stunning coastal hiking trail running the length of the Costa Brava in Spain and is perfect for hikers of all levels.  Although hiking the entire length of the trail would take about a week, it’s easy to hop on and off the trail from any of the towns along the coast.  

The most popular and beautiful section of trail hugs the rocky cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean running from Palamos to Llafranc, and is approximately 12km with some moderate climbs. Plan for about 4 hours of hiking time, but make sure to bring a bathing suit to enjoy some of the gorgeous secluded beaches.  

Shortly after leaving Palamos, you’ll make the climb to Cap Gros for incredible views before making your way past the ruins of Sant Esteve Castle, through a keyhole pass in the cliffs, above the famous El Golfet beach, and ending with a stroll along the promenades in Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc.  

If you want to push on a bit further, continue past Llafranc for another 12km on to Begur. You’ll be rewarded with views of the Sant Sebastia lighthouse and numerous secluded beaches. Be aware that this section does have a few steep climbs and descents.

La Moroma, Malaga

By Paulina | Paulina on the Road

When it comes to the numerous things to do in Malaga, hiking in la Maroma, Malaga, Spain is indeed one of the best things. La Maroma is the highest peak in the province and at 2,065m it belongs to a small range known as “Sierra de Tejeda”. 

The three most common ways of climbing up the peak area from the village of Canillas de Aceituna, the village of Alcaucin, and lastly, from the Granada side – via Robledal. Out of these three, The Alcaucin one is the shortest and easiest route. You can also take a guide along. It takes about 5 long hours to reach the top but the view is worth the investment. 

The hiking route ascends quickly and the views become all the more spectacular. It’s the best to go for the hiking on a clear day, as you’ll be able to see from the top of La Maroma as far as Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Blanca to the west, and the whole Sierra Nevada to the east. Besides, you can even have a view of Africa at the opposite shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Though winter and Spring seasons are also suitable times around the year for hiking as the weather above is relatively stable.  

Ruta del Gollizno

By Tim | Universal Traveller

Ruta de Gollizno is a beautiful hike near the Spanish city of Granada. The hike starts in the small village “Moclin” and has a length of around 8 kilometers. The first part is going more or less downhill the whole time until you reach a river. On your way down you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains!

The highlight of the route; however, is the middle part where you will walk through a natural gorge that was carved by the constant flow of waters. Until this point, the hike is rather easy, although it depends on the season. During summertime, it can get really hot!

To get back to your starting point you will of course have to hike up the same amount of meters in height that you hiked down in the first part. Including photo stops it took us around four hours to complete the route. Once back in Moclin you will probably be very hungry. I recommend you getting some Spanish food tapas at a small local bar, called “Bar la Plaza”. If you are lucky you can sit outside in the sun; however, when I went there it was really packed. After I tried the food I knew why.

The United Kingdom

The UK is an incredible day hike hub. Before moving to Edinburgh, I never considered it a hiking destination, as I thought the rainy weather would be miserable to hike in. Now, I think it’s one of the best spots for day hiking! From Scotland’s highlands to England’s coastline to Wales’s hills, the United Kingdom offers some of the best day hiking in Europe!

Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh, Scotland

By Marta | Temporal Globe

Hiking is one of the coolest and possibly most rewarding things someone can do while travelling. But what about hiking an extinct volcano?! That’s just next level.

Arthur’s Seat is the tallest top of a group of four hills in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it last erupted about 350 million years ago. It’s located in the lush 640 acres Holyrood park off the city centre and gives an unforgettable view of the whole city. Some even say this is where the famous Camelot used to be!

There are different routes to reach the summit. The most spectacular is the one that starts at the Salisbury Crags. Right at the beginning, you’ll have to choose between two trails. Pick the one on the left and follow the footpath. The trail is fairly easy, and except a small section where it gets slippery, it is a steady climb up. It takes between 30 to 60 minutes to reach the 250m top, depending on your fitness level and how much you like to take photos along the way.

The views from Arthur’s seat are just incredible. You can even spot Edinburgh’s castle from up there! It’s the perfect day hike if you’re in the city and want to get away from the crowds.

Lochnagar, Cairngorms National Park (Scotland)

By Graham | My Voyage Scotland

Want to have something in common with Queen Victoria? Why not visit the mountain that acted as a muse to Lord Byron’s poem Lachin y Gair and that the queen herself hiked back in 1848. Lochnagar takes about 6 hours to cover 11 miles, reaching an altitude of 1155m.

Aside from connections to the Queen and a famous poet, it’s one of the nicest hillwalks of the Cairgorms National Park. Starting from the Glen Muick car park, the trails are easy to follow, going across the River Muick and passing by some small gorges. My favourite part is a slight detour to Meikle Pap, which allows you to get a full view of the iconic northern corrie. Closer to the summit the trail gets a steeper and requires a bit of a boulder scramble. The circular route back includes views of the Glas Allt falls and goes past a royal lodge often enjoyed by Prince Charles.

Some of the best glamping pods in Scotland are nearby. I stayed in some glamping pods in the Cairngorms Park to stay in nature a little longer and they provided a place close by to crash after a long day of hiking. I would call this an intermediate hike due to the boulders and the length – your legs will be tired the next day! It’s great for the variety of geography and the cultural connections – something to enjoy for the nature lover and history buff alike.

Pen-Y-Fan, Brecon Beacons, Wales

By Pauline | BeeLoved City

If you are looking for an incredible hike in Europe, Wales will be an amazing playground for you! Wales is home to 3 beautiful national parks. They all offer great hikes and one of the best is Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons. It’s the highest peak in the south of the United-Kingdom (886 meters high).

There are several paths that will take you to the summit but the best one is the horseshoe ridge walk. It will take you about 6/7 hours to complete this 10 miles long walk. You will start from the carpark and go up towards Corn Du. The way up is quite steep. It is a challenging walk so you need to be prepared for that but once you reach the top, you’ll discover stunning 360 degree views over the Cwm Llwch valley. Take a moment to appreciate it. If you are lucky enough to go on a sunny day, it will take your breath away! 

You can then complete the loop and walk back down Craig Cwm Sere until you reach the car park again.
The Brecon Beacons are one of the most beautiful National Parks in the UK and Pen-Y-Fan is definitely going to take your breath away!

Mam Tor, Peak District (England)

By Roshni | The Wanderlust Within

One of the most famous day hikes in England, is Mam Tor in the village of Castleton. This relatively easy hike takes only two hours (round trip) but provides panoramic views of the Peak District, all the way from Edale Valley to Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors. Mam Tor is commonly known as the Shivering Mountain and is a 517m (1,696 ft) hill in Hope Valley. The name Mam Tor, means ‘Mother Hill’, as frequent landslides on the eastern face of the hill have resulted in a multitude of “mini-hills” beneath Mam Tor, which are part of the 6.5 mile hike.

The trail starts from the main car park in Castleton, and passes two show caverns, Treak Cliff and Blue John Cavern, which are both popular tourist attractions in the Peak District, so it’s worth visiting on your way to or from the Shivering Mountain. The footpath of the hike is stone surfaced and runs all the way up to Mam Tor and over the Great Ridge. As the hike takes only a few hours it is  a popular choice for families (and dogs!) as well as seasoned trekkers. Mam Tor can hiked all year round, but you should be prepared for snow in the winter, but for the best weather without any crowds, I would suggest hiking Mam Tor during Autumn when the landscape has changed colours.

Norway

Norway’s hiking spots are unparalleled. The tall mountains, deep glaciers, and insane fjords cover the entire country, making it one of the best spots for day hiking in Europe. The famous hikes are iconic for a reason – the views the entire way up are incredible! After hiking the famous hikes, there are plenty of hidden gems to explore.

Trolltunga

By Jiayi | Diary of a Nomad

One of the most incredible hikes you can do in Europe is the one to the stunning Trolltunga in Norway. Trolltunga (which translates to “the troll’s tongue”) is a rock formation sticking horizontally out of a mountain, about 1,100 metres above sea level. Many tourists hike there for the incredible views it offers.

The hike is difficult — the length for a roundtrip is around 28 km with an ascent of close to 800 meters, and it’ll take you roughly 10 to 12 hours in total to complete (breaks included). Despite the difficulty level of the hike, it is completely worth it because the views that’ll accompany you throughout the way are simply breathtaking. In fact, Trolltunga is one of the dreamiest destinations on earth

The hike to Trolltunga begins with a strenuous climb — a constant 1 km ascent through steep stone steps and rocky trails. You’ll then come across flatter terrains with a number of smaller climbs. Don’t worry; you’ll be rewarded along the way with magnificent views of the nearby mountains and streams. The beauty of the scenery around you will take your breath away and make you forget about the exhaustion you might be feeling! Once you reach Trolltunga, there will likely be a line of people waiting to step out onto the rock for a photo. Take your time here and enjoy the epic views over the fjord; it’s a kind of beauty that’s hard to believe.

Myrdal to Flåm

By Deanne | Scenic and Savvy

Norway abounds with natural beauty… mountains, fjords, waterfalls, rugged coast and fertile valleys. Hikers get a taste of it all as they make their way from the mountain railway station of Myrdal down to the coastal village of Flåm. Myrdal is conveniently located on the popular Norway in a Nutshell scenic rail journey. The 11-mile (18 km) hike begins just outside the Myrdal train station. Follow the signs to Rallarvegen – an access road used in the construction of the railway and also a popular route for bicyclists.

You’ll traverse 21 hairpin bends as you start the trek down the mountain. Soon after, the route follows a less steep unpaved road along a river leading you through the fertile Flåm valley more than 2800 ft (853m) below where you started. This stunning trail provides dramatic scenery at every turn as it winds around waterfalls, rivers, valleys and farms nestled into the countryside. The entire hike takes roughly 4 hours, but you have the option of boarding the famous Flåm Railway part way down.

The best time to hike this route is June through September as the top of trail may be closed in late spring and fall due to too much snow. Either way you’ll want to dress in layers as the temperature can vary greatly from the top of the mountain down to the fjord region. Plan this adventure into your Norway in a Nutshell journey and experience a spectacular view of Norway’s unbridled beauty.

Pulpit Rock

By Bradley | Dream Big, Travel Far

Norway is well known for it’s astounding natural beauty and epic hiking opportunities. But one of the most famous of all is the Pulpit Rock hike. A sheer cliff drop offering unbeatable views out across the fjord below. And one of the best picture spots you’ll find anywhere in the country. But be warned, because it’s such an incredible spot, up to 5000 people hike here each day!

That’s right, in peak summer months, literally thousands of people descend here and the hike to and from the spot becomes somewhat of a conga line. That’s why, it’s best to get up super early and be one of the first people to get started walking. When we visited in November, it wasn’t very busy and we left really early.

This meant we got to capture tonnes of photos and have no queues at all there or back. The total hike takes between 4-5 hours to get there and back. But if it is super busy and you have to walk more slowly, then the hike could take much longer. I would say it’s somewhat of an easy to intermediate hike, as there’s few truly difficult or awkward spots. However, there is a relatively large amount of steep ups and downs so it can get tiring, so don’t take it lightly. It’s a 7km round trip and a total of 330 metres in elevation gain.

Portugal

Portugal’s coastlines offer amazing hiking destinations, where you can stay in old castles, eat fresh seafood, and enjoy beautiful scenery. Inland Portugal has just as much to offer, with incredible valleys and vineyards. Often overlooked, Portugal is a great place to do some of the best day hiking in Europe!

Fisherman’s Trail

By Dean and Laynni | Routinely Nomadic

One of the great long-distance treks in Europe is the Rota Vicentina in Portugal, stretching from the Alentejo Region all the way down to the Algarve. The Fisherman’s Trail (Trilho dos Pescadores) is by far the most popular section, involving roughly 4 days of spectacular hiking along the beautiful, wind-swept Atlantic coast. And, within that expanse of photogenic sand dunes and phenomenal ocean views, the 6-hour stretch between charming Porto Covo and bustling Vila Nova de Milfontes stands out for its extraordinary scenery.

With only around 200 metres of elevation gain, this portion of the Fisherman’s Trail is much more accessible to the average day-hiker than many of the most popular mountain trails. However, it is still 20 kilometres long and roughly 2/3 of the day is spent trudging through soft sand, so it definitely offers a challenge and will ensure you feel you’ve earned your sunset drinks on one of the popular terrace bars of Vila Nova de Milfontes. Plus, one of the best parts of hiking in southern Portugal is the weather – its temperate climate makes it a year-round destination, and the Fisherman’s Trail is the perfect choice for a stunning day hike that isn’t overly strenuous.

Bispo to Cabo de St. Vicente

By Alya & Campbell | Stingy Nomads

A day hike from Vila do Bispo to Cabo de St. Vicente in the south of Portugal deserves to be on a Europe hiking bucket list. Cabo de San Vicente, the southwestern-most point of Portugal and mainland Europe is a stunning rocky cape with a beautiful lighthouse. The trail follows the coast offering breathtaking views: rugged cliffs, dramatic drops, unspoiled beaches, and the turquoise blue ocean. The hike is part of the Rota Vicentina network that includes several day hikes and two long-distance treks.

The total distance of the trail is 21 km. It takes about 5 hours to complete it. The walk can be combined with a beach holiday in Sagres or Lagos. The route starts at Vila do Bispo, a small coastal town in the Algarve, and finishes at the lighthouse of Cape St.Vicente. From the cape, you can walk to Sagres (6 km) or take a shuttle bus. The route is well-marked with small wooden poles with painted blue and green stripes. Spring is the best time for walking in the Algarve. The weather is nice; it’s warm and sunny but not too hot, there are not too many people, fields along the coast are covered in flowers, and storks build their nests on the edge of the cliff. The hike from Vila do Bispo to Cape St. Vicente is an easy trail suitable for any hikers.

Levada Fajã do Rodrigues, Madeira Island

By Edyta | Say Yes to Madiera

If you would like to feel like hiking through a jungle… in Europe, Madeira Island will be a great place to visit. This small Portuguese island on the Atlantic is an amazing hiking destination. It prides itself mostly on its levadas, which are small irrigation channels built to transport water from the mountains, but nowadays are also used as hiking paths.

One of my favourite levada hikes on Madeira Island is Levada Fajã do Rodrigues. What makes this hike unforgettable is that it takes you to the heart of a primary Laurisilva forest. With its high trees, huge ferns and beautifully covered in moss and flowers rocks, Levada Fajã do Rodrigues feels like a lush, green jungle.

It is a “moderately difficult” hike and the distance is approximately 8 km. Make sure you will take a long break once you reach the end of the hike – a beautiful Ribeira do Inferno stream, to enjoy the tranquillity, the magical green scenery, the fresh air and beautiful waterfall and forest sounds. To reach the stream, you will need to go through a long tunnel which takes approximately 20-25 minutes to cross, so a flash light is a must on this hike.

Germany

Germany has so much to offer – from sweet small towns to the Black Forest to mountains! If you’re looking for a wide variety of landscapes and scenery, Germany is a wonderful place to start day hikes from!

Berchestgarden

By Nicholas | Roadgoat

Experience incredible views of the German Alps by taking a boat ride across the Königsee and then hiking to Röthbachfall, Germany’s tallest waterfall at over 1,540 feet! Filled with stunning snow-capped mountains, fields of wildflowers, and crystal clear glacier lakes, this hike is one of the most beautiful in all of the Alps, perhaps challenging those found in Switzerland.

Begin this hike at Königsee, where you will need to buy a boat ticket to Salet, as there are no hiking trails along the lake towards the waterfall. Once you’ve reached Salet, continue on the trail towards the Obersee and Röthhbachfall. The trail itself covers 8 kilometers (5 miles) and is rated medium difficulty. The more challenging aspects of this trail is the ascent and descent mid-way around Obersee, where you will that the rocks are uneven, two-way traffic, and often only a cable in the rock face to hold on to. On your way to the falls, you will encounter some friendly cows, who wander throughout the incredible greenery! Remember to wear layers, as this area can be chilly in the morning, as well as a lightweight jacket. In the summer, you may even want to take a dip in the lake, so definitely bring a towel to do so! Get those hiking boots muddy, enjoy the beautiful German Alps, and explore what Berchestgarden has to offer!

Nebelhorn

By Kelly | The Weekend Wanderluster

The Nebelhorn is a mountain with panoramic views, where you can see over 400 peaks in the mountain range and even enjoy the restaurant at its peak. For those only wanting to hike one way, you can take the Nebelhornbahn cable car up or down the mountain from the center of Oberstdorf to its 2200m peak.

As Oberstdorf is a popular ski area in the winter and has also hosted championship ski jumping, it is quite an accessible town.You can reach Oberstdorf by taking the Autobahn A7 and then turning off onto the B19 south, which takes you straight into the town. From Munich it is approximately 190km and a 2 hour drive. There are also excellent regional train connections through Kempten and some of the other Allgäuer towns.

The Nebelhorn offers multiple options for every level of hiker. Those not wanting much elevation can take the cable car to the top and enjoy the flatter hikes to the mountain lakes from there. There are also two stations the cable car stops at on the way up if the elevation gets to be too much. The views from the top are absolutely incredible and you will feel as if you are in the Sound of Music!

This hike takes 1-5 hours depending on the route chosen. It is an easy or intermediate hike (depending if you walk all of the trail or part of the way, and you gain 1100 m.

Basteibrucke

By Emily of The MAndagies

One of the coolest day hikes in Europe is hands-down exploring the Bastei Bridge in Germany! This experience is unlike anything else in Europe – a short trail leads you to some of the most beautiful views in Saxon Switzerland National Park!

The trip to the Bastei Bridge (German: Basteibrucke) in the Elbe Valley from Prague requires a two-hour drive and one border crossing from the Czech Republic into Germany. This can also be taken as a day trip from Berlin! Elevation gain and length are minimal, but the trail does require some stairs. There is no need for tough hiking boots, you can just wear regular shoes as you explore the area. If you spend time exploring all the trails, set aside about an hour to complete them all. You can also reach the area by public transportation, and take the 45-minute hiking trail up the hill to the bridge.

This is an incredible trail for many reasons, but the most prominent reason for visiting Bastei Bridge is for the history of the area and the unique sandstone pillars that scatter the landscape. Hundreds of years ago, the Neurathen Castle stood on these pillars, but only the bridge remains, which has been replaced with the modern stone one today. Here, you can explore the several viewpoints of the rolling hills and quaint European valleys below. If you are looking for an easy, enjoyable day hike in Europe, put the Bastei Bridge in Germany on your list!

Italy

Italy is one my favourite spots in Europe for day hiking. After living in Rome, I fell in love with the coastal walks, and the Dolomiti are so impressive that I temporarily moved to them! Here are the 5 best day hikes in the Dolomites, and below are more of Italy’s best day hikes!

Portofino to San Fruttuoso

By James | Travel Collecting

The hike to San Fruttuoso starts from Portofino. To get to Portofino, which is a small village centered on a tiny bay crammed with boats, there is a ferry several times a day from Rapallo and Santa Margherita Ligure. The lane from the boat dock goes straight up a staircase. This is the start of the hike, and it is steep, but has pretty views of houses and small terraced fields with olive groves. It eventually flattens out and you can see Portofino Bay as a tiny bright blue dot in the distance. Then the trail skirts along the hillside, with frequent views of the Mediterranean Sea far below. It passes more isolated house,  fields of wildflowers and woods. The trail ends at a series of steep switchbacks through a cool wooded area.  There are tantalizing glimpses of San Fruttuoso before it bursts into full view.

In San Fruttuoso Bay, there is a Tenth Century abbey and a small beach covered in deck chairs and umbrellas. This is the perfect spot for a dip to cool off after the hike. It is possible to hike back, but even better to spend the day having lunch at one of the seafood restaurants and relaxing on the beach before taking another ferry back to Rapallo via Portofino. The hike can be done in reverse, but there is no beach at Portofino, so this direction makes the most sense. This intermediate hike is 3 miles one way and takes roughly 2 hours, with 863 ft of elevation gain.

The Path of the Gods, Amalfi Coast

By Alessia & Toti | Italian Trip Abroad

There is a part of Amalfi Coast that is not relying on beach relaxation and dreamy vacation, but nor about beautiful landscape and incredible adventures.

The Path of Gods is an extraordinary route, filled with legends, that is running uphill of the beautiful scenario of Amalfi Coast. An 8 kilometer trek, following the ancient mule routes, starting from Agerola, most known for the tasty mozzarella. The Path of Gods known in Italian as the “Sentiero Degli Dei”, is a trail of 4 to 5 hours depending on your fitness. You will walk on top of the cliffs, above Positano and other beautiful picturesque towns, enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Amalfi Coast. It is not an easy path, especially because of the high temperature in summer, but is enjoyable because of the scenario. You will get lost in the agriculture surrounding, with forests and lemon trees, until the point that the trail will open you insane scenarios of shimmering Mediterranean sea and high cliffs, just above hillsides and rocky beaches. The trail will end at Nocelle, nearby the most known Positano, the last part of the path of Gods is the most difficult. Also, you can decide to continue a little path down the cliff, with a 1500-step staircase that leads to the awesome Arienzo and the beautiful bay. For many, this hike is a once in a lifetime adventure.

Sassolungo Loop

By Paul | Anywhere We Roam

Sassolungo is an imposing mountain in the Italian Dolomites and the highest point in the Langkofel group. The trail that circumnavigates Sassolungo takes in views of high alpine meadows, jagged mountain peaks and imposing rock faces. It’s one of the most incredible day hikes in Europe.   

Over the course of the 17.6 kilometre trail which takes around 6 hours, the views appear to change at every corner. From cows grazing in lush meadows over Alpe di Siusi to rocky outcrops with rows of jagged mountain peaks arranged behind, there’s rarely a moment without stunning scenery on the Sassolungo hike.  

With an elevation of 1,000 metres it’s a challenging hike, but there are plenty of atmospheric rifugios to rest along the way. Friedrich August Hutt has a stunning setting with chairs arranged over one of the best views in the Dolomites. Rifugio Vicenza sits at the top of a 300 metre climb up a gravel track, wedged between two imposing rock faces. Rifugio Comici is a welcome rest stop under the colossal rock face of the Stella massif. 

While the hike is long and there’s some climbing, there are no particularly tricky sections and the path is in good condition the whole way around.  

Croatia

Croatia may be known for it’s coasts, but there are some amazing hikes that span the countrysides and mountains, too! Here are some hikes in Croatia for some of the best day hiking in Europe!

Pljesevica Hike

By Becki | Meet Me In Departures

One of the most incredible days hikes you could do in Europe is the Pljesevica Mountain trek in northern Croatia. It boasts one of the most stunning views in the country looking out over the rolling Croatian countryside. 

The Pljesevica hike is located in the Dinaric Alps and is approximately 13.6km long, the trail does go the top of the mountain and back down the other side into Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s reasonably challenging so you’d want to have at least a good level of fitness. It will take the whole day to complete the circuit for an average speed walker.

 The start of the trail is from a small village called Korenica. It’s relatively easy to follow the trail because it’s marked with painted red and white circles on the trail at about every 10 metres. 

The hike starts fairly flat as it goes through pretty Croatian farmland. It then starts heading uphill, going through forested areas. Some parts of the trail are covered by the trees (which is great for when the weather is hot) It ends up at an uphill scramble through shrubbed terrain and then out onto an old shingly road leftover from the Yugoslav war. 

At the top of the mountain, you’ll find loads of abandoned buildings and an old runway from the Yugoslav war. This includes spooky derelict barracks and bullet hole-ridden checkpoints. If you’re into abandoned places, then you could spend ages up here exploring. It’s at the top of the hill that you’ll see the natural stage, a giant rock overlooking the valley below. 

Vintgar Gorge

By Anjali | Travel Melodies

Just about 4.6 km from Bled, Vintgar Gorge is one of the most popular day hike destinations in Slovenia and Europe. For a good reason. It’s an easy hike that involves a walk through wooden walkways and wooden bridges with sandy paths in-between across and along the clear waters of Radovna River cascading from Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav.

The trail remains fascinating all through as it reveals the ever-changing moods of Radovna. The river waters transition from being calm and emerald-colored at the wider sections of the gorge to being wild and turquoise-colored at the narrow parts of the gorge. The high point of the hike is at the end of it – Šum Waterfall! Also, don’t miss the historic stone railway bridge above the waterfall. For the best view of the waterfall, take the stairs down from the Gostilna Vintgar Cafe, and as soon as you cross the bridge on the left, a gravel path will take you to the Šum Waterfall.

Most people retrace their steps back to the entrance from here, but some hiking enthusiasts follow the loop trail through Podhom to the parking lot. To enjoy the hike in peace, plan to hike early in the morning (as soon as it opens) or late in the afternoon (after 4 pm) as hordes of tourists from tour buses (usually arrive at 10 am) spoil the entire experience. This beginner hike is 3.2 kilometers, with 80 meters of elevation gain. It takes roughly 2 hours to complete.

Romania

Romania is such an underrated travel destination for hiking! It has some amazing day hiking in Europe. Here are some great options if you’re considering Romania for a hiking trip.

Rimetea

By Sean | Living Out Lau

Located in the countryside of Romania is a quaint little town called Rimetea. It is a place that is known for a stunning phenomenon where the sun rises twice a day, once above the horizon and once again above the massive Piatra Secuiului mountain. Though the 1000 or so residents have grown accustomed to this natural beauty, many tourists come to do Piatra Secuiului for the challenging but rewarding day hike.

The hike to the top of the mountain takes about an hour, but don’t mistake this hike as an easy hike. Hikers start at 650 meters elevation and have to hike up an extra 480 meters in one hour. Many parts of the trails are steep and rocky, and some parts are so steep you can touch the ground when you lean forward. Filled with loose sand and gravel, the trail is very technical and requires hikers to choose their footing carefully. Rimetea is the only place I have gotten hurt hiking and I have done a 5-day trek in the Andes Mountain of South America. But once you have conquered the soaring giant, you are rewarded with views that belong on a travel magazine. Miles of Romanian countryside lay naked in front of your eyes, exemplifying the beauty of simplicity!

Harghita Tour

By Szabi | Gabriella Guesthouse

The mountain of Harghita is the largest andesite mess and the largest volcanic body in the whole of Europe. It takes roughly 2.5 hours to hike to Harghita. You start at the foot of the mountain, which is 1600 meters above the sea level, and you ascend to the peak at 1801 meters.

The road to the peak isn’t very precarious, so this would be a good beginner hike. We stopped on the road for many times to take pictures, with incredible views of the surrounding nature the entire way! The last stage of the road is full of small shrubs and rocks, but the final 100 meters opens up to a stunning panorama view, where you can see 100 miles away! On the mountaintop, there’s a heritage site of Hungarians, full of headboards, crosses, flags and pile of stones.

France

With some of the most iconic mountain ranges, France is a no-brainer for some of the best day hiking in Europe! Incredible mountain views span a good amount of the country, but there are also so many other gems to explore.

Gorges de Kakouetta

By Jennifer & Tim | Luxe Adventure Traveler

The South West of France is absolutely chock full of beautiful sights, including some of the most gorgeous natural sights in all of France. Deep in France’s Nouvelle Aquitaine region and located practically on the France/Spain border is arguably one of the region’s most beautiful natural sights. It’s the mysterious Gorges de Kakuetta, a deep and long canyon formed some 80 million years ago. Hidden away in the high cliffs of the Pyrenees, the canyon was only found in the 20th century. A short cave entrance cut through the soaring cliffs reveals a world all its own and a micro-climate often described as an Amazonian jungle right in the mountains of France. 

The Gorges de Kakuetta is the perfect day hike suitable for any ability. The canyon stretches for two kilometers, making the in and back out hike to see the moss covered canyon with its spectacular waterfalls an easy 4-kilometer round trip hike that can be completed in just 2-3 hours. After an initial steep climb through a forest for just a few hundred meters, the trail levels out to be relatively flat. Though relatively short in distance, you can easily spend an entire day admiring this unique nature site in France’s Pays Basque. Pack a picnic to take along on the day hike, find a spot near one of the many waterfalls and while away a few hours relaxing in the always cool and fresh canyon. Of course, a highlight of the day hike is the 20-meter high La Cascade waterfall, which visitors can even walk behind.

Cirque de Gavarnie

By Izzy & Phil | The Gap Decaders

The Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees is a stunning natural bowl of rock, surrounded by sheer cliffs which glisten with waterfalls. The hike out to the cirque from the small village of Gavarnie is mostly level, following a proper path, and beautiful in itself, but nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking moment when the vast cirque first comes in to view. The sheer height and drama of the cliffs, the numbers of waterfalls surrounding the cirque (especially in spring) the wildflowers in the valley and the picture-perfect stream are mother nature’s incredible offerings. This is surely one of the best hikes in the Pyrenees.

To hike to the cirque and around it before returning to the village on the same route will take around 4-5 hours. The route is short, just 8.5km long with a 250m elevation gain. You’ll want to explore the cirque valley and climb up to the biggest waterfall, which will add steps and time to your hike, as will enjoy a packed lunch by the tinkling and clear stream. This is an easy one, perfect for families, although scrambling across loose shale for the final 50m or so to reach the snow melt as it rushes down the cliff face is not for the faint hearted!  

Greece

Some of Greece’s best day hiking is on the many islands it offers! One of the most popular islands, Santorini, is a great place to check out the day hiking scene in Greece!

Fira to Oia

By Laureen | My Fab Fifties Life

Fairly easy but offering one of the world’s most spectacular views, the 10km hike from Fira to Oia Santorini Greece is a must.  You can hike either direction and take a bus back, but I would recommend the round trip because the changing light along the crater’s rim throughout the day is magical.

Santorini in itself is sublime, but get away from the crowds and enjoy this hike.  Despite the fact that the hike itself is more popular than ever before, many visitors chose to only stay in the villages and never take the time to experience this hike.  It will surely be one of your most memorable travel experiences.

Mostly flat with a few easy inclines, part of the trail has been paved in the last decade, but some of the trail remains a dirt path, much as it was a hundred years ago.  It can be hot and dusty so be sure to bring water. Start early, and the hike will take you three to four hours depending on your pace.  Have lunch when you reach the end, then turn around and head back again, marveling at the crater and scenery people come from all over the world to enjoy.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has Bohemian Switzerland National Park (not in Switzerland!), which offers a multitude of stunning day hikes with gorgeous views. Here’s one of the best day hikes in Bohemian Switzerland National Park!

Hřensko Loop (with optional Gabriela’s Trail!)

By Veronika | Travel Geekery

Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the North of the Czech Republic belongs to one of the most precious areas to discover in the country. It’s full of unique sandstone creations and lovely little villages. Pravčická Gate, a unique sandstone arch, is the main star here, having appeared even in the Chronicles of Narnia. It is the largest natural stone arch in Europe and second largest in the world. You can see it on a beautiful day hike – either a loop one from the town of Hřensko, or instead of returning to Hřensko, you can take a trail called Gabrielina stezka (Gabriela’s Trail) to the village of Mezní Louka.

From Hřensko to the Gate, it’s 4,9 km and takes roughly 2 hours following a red marked trail. The hike goes uphill (280 m total elevation gain), but is not strenuous. The path is wide and smooth. If you choose to take the Gabriela’s Trail, count with 5,6 km and about 2 hours 15 minutes of easy hiking through forests.

Once you reach the Gate, you can also walk around and admire the views of the landscapes around you. Right next to the Gate sits a beautiful wooden structure, which used to function as a hotel for affluent guests at the end of the 19th century.

Slovenia

Still a bit of a hidden gem destination, Slovenia offers incredible hiking with fewer crowds than popular hiking countries! Emptier trails, coupled with the views Slovenia has to offer, makes Slovenia a great destination for the best day hiking in Europe.

Plitvice Lakes Day Hike

By Anjali | Travel Melodies

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is an outdoor lovers’ heaven, with 16 interconnected crystal clear lakes divided into 12 Upper and 4 Lower Lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, and easy yet beautiful hiking trails. Its flat terrain makes it an easy day hike destination in Europe.

There are 4 hiking trails inside the park arranged in 7 different routes based on the entrance you choose. Trail C is one of the best hikes within Plitvice as it takes you through both the Upper and Lower Lakes area, and some of the best waterfalls of Plitvice. This is an easy hike that’s around 8 km (4.9 miles) long and takes anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to complete. Though, the hike is so stunningly gorgeous that you’d not want it to end.

You walk on a paved boardwalk across and along the lakes for most of the part except for an electric boat ride across Lake Kozjak and a few detours for panoramic viewpoints. If you want to enjoy the hike without crowds, then I’d recommend visiting during the spring and autumn months. You can visit the park as a day trip from Zagreb, but staying for a day near Plitvice Lakes gives you ample time to take in the beauty that it has to offer.

Austria

I LOVE day hiking in Austria. The country has amazing nature trails and rock climbing, making it an outdoor lover’s paradise! Here’s one of the best day hikes in Austria.

Schafberg Mountain

By Places of Juma

Austria is one of the best places for hiking in Europe. One of the most scenic ones can be found in at the edge of Lake Wolfgangsee , at the famous Schafberg Mountain. For reaching the top at 1732 meters you can either take the nostalgic red cog railway or the hiking trail number Nr.20. The hike is not that difficult, but you will have to challenge a difference in altitude of 1188 meters. All in all, the tour up to the summit takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. In that time, you will always enjoy a marvelous panorama of Lake Wolfgang and the surrounding mountains. Once you reach the top, you will have the most amazing views down to the many glittering lakes of Salzburg and Upper Austria.

If you are tired, don`t worry. Just take the Schafbergbahn for your way back. Today this red train is one of the famous tourist attractions in Austria and a must visit when you go to Salzburg or Upper Austria. Taking a ride with this nostalgic gear steam locomotive, which is among the oldest in the world, is an unforgettable experience!

The hike up to Schafberg Mountain is recommended from May to the end of September. Best you go early in the morning, so you will avoid the heat.

Ireland

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! Ireland is a great destination for day hiking followed by a visit to the local pub.

Slieve League

By Emer and Nils | Let’s Go Ireland

While many people have heard of the Cliffs of Moher as one of the main attractions in Ireland, not a lot have heard of the even more impressive cliffs of Slieve League (or Sliabh Liag in Irish) in County Donegal. As one of the highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way, the astounding views of the 600 meter tall cliffs that slope to the sea will take your breath away. 

There are several different viewing platforms that allow you to get remarkable views of this marvellous scenery. Bunglass Viewpoint, near the upper car park, is the most famous and provides you with unrivalled perspective of the cliffs.

Photo by Martin Fleming, Creating Agency: Fáilte Ireland

The Pilgrim’s Path is the most popular hiking route in this area and is suitable for intermediate level hikers, who have a head for heights. This linear route takes about 2-3 hours to complete and is about 8 km long (there and back) with an elevation gain of 425 meters.

Beyond the Pilgrim’s Path lies the One Man’s Pass. This is a difficult route that should only be attempted by experienced hikers with the right equipment on dry days with clear visibility and no wind. 

Areas around the coast often have changeable and unpredictable weather so make sure to keep updated with the current weather conditions. Due to the remoteness of the location, you should not always rely on mobile phone reception or internet connectivity.

Bulgaria

Last but not least, Bulgaria is a great destination for the best day hiking in Europe. Highly underrated, this country has amazing views and trails to explore!

Seven Rila Lakes, Sofia

By Rose | Where Goes Rose?

One of the most beautiful day hikes in Eastern Europe has to be the Seven Rila Lakes hike, a two hour from Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia. As the name suggests, there are seven lakes that comprise a scenic hiking circle with spectacular views from the top point. It requires a hike of about two hours to reach (and is pretty steep at the end), but from the peak you can spy all seven lakes in one view. These include the Kidney with its oval shape, the Eye, the Tear the Twin (two lakes joined together).

The Seven Rila Lakes are ancient glacier lakes caused by erosion. In winter months, they are still snowy but in summer, they’re a dream to hike with clear views reflecting off the lakes. You can even drink the crystal clear water straight from the source of the streams. You can reach Seven Rila Lakes by car, bus or tour from Sofia. Unless you want to add a very steep hike of an additional three hours, it’s best to catch the Pionerska chair lift from the parking area to the start of the hiking trail. Here you can spend several hours watching wild ponies and capturing photos of the scenic lakes. It’s truly a beautiful and invigorating day out.


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