Are you an adventurer seeking breathtaking natural landscapes, picturesque trails and invigorating experiences? Look no further than Europe for some of the best hiking and walking adventures. As the vibrant colors of autumn paint the continent, it's the perfect time to lace up your boots and explore the diverse terrains that Europe has to offer. From England's rugged moors to Switzerland's majestic peaks, the Netherlands' enchanting countryside and France's captivating trails, we've compiled a list of the best places to hike in Europe.
When it comes to the best places to hike in the fall, England offers a diverse range of landscapes that outdoor enthusiasts will love. One of the most iconic regions for hiking is the Lake District. This area is home to England's highest peak, Scafell Pike, as well as quiet lakes, rolling hills, and charming villages. The Lake District National Park features an extensive network of trails catering to all abilities. Whether you're looking for a leisurely lakeside stroll or a demanding hike to a summit, the Lake District has something for everyone. Popular routes include the Catbells Walk, a moderate hike offering breathtaking views of Derwentwater, and the challenging but rewarding Helvellyn via Striding Edge.
For those who want a dose of literary history, England's countryside is brimming with trails that take you through landscapes immortalized in famous works of literature. Dartmoor, located in Devon, inspired the eerie settings in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Explore the expansive moorland as you follow the Dartmoor Way, a long-distance circular trail.
While the Netherlands might be known for its flat landscapes and vibrant tulip fields, you’ll be surprised to learn it also offers some of the best hiking in Europe in September. The Hoge Veluwe National Park, located in the central part of the country, is a true gem for nature lovers. The park spans over 55 square kilometers and encompasses diverse habitats, including heathlands, dunes and dense forests. Wander through the ancient woodlands, listen to the rustling leaves under your feet, and spot wildlife such as red deer and wild boar. The Kröller-Müller Museum, located within the park, is home to an impressive collection of modern art and is worth a visit during your hiking adventure.
De Biesbosch National Park, situated in the southern part of the Netherlands, offers a unique hiking experience in a freshwater tidal wetland. This pristine area is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts, with numerous species of waterfowl and wading birds calling it home. Traverse the network of trails that wind through reed beds, lush meadows and winding creeks. Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the waterways, immersing yourself in the serene beauty of this natural wonderland. With its well-maintained paths and flat terrain, the Netherlands provides a comfortable and accessible hiking experience for all skill levels.
Regarding hiking Europe in October, the majestic Alps steal the spotlight. Switzerland offers unparalleled natural beauty, with its soaring peaks, sparkling lakes and pleasant alpine villages. During the fall, as the crowds thin out and the landscapes transform into a symphony of colors, the Swiss Alps become even more enchanting.
The Swiss National Park, located in the eastern part of the country, is a paradise for hikers seeking untouched wilderness. Established in 1914, it is the oldest national park in the Alps and covers an area of over 170 square kilometers. Roam through pristine landscapes, dense forests and alpine meadows as you encounter a variety of wildlife, including ibex, chamois and golden eagles. The park offers a network of well-marked trails, ranging from gentle walks to challenging hikes, allowing visitors to explore its natural wonders at their pace.
The Swiss Alps offer countless options if you prefer a shorter yet equally rewarding hiking adventure. The town of Zermatt, nestled at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn, is a popular base for exploring the surrounding trails. Bask in the alpine splendor as you hike to Gornergrat, where panoramic views of the surrounding peaks await. In Grindelwald, another alpine village, you can embark on hikes that showcase the beauty of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. The trails are unspoiled, and the Swiss transportation system ensures easy access to trailheads, making it convenient for hikers to explore the region.
France offers an abundance of choices that cater to all levels of fitness and interests. The Pyrenees, known to offer some of the best hiking in Europe, stretch along the border with Spain, boasting dramatic landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. The GR10 trail traverses the entire length of the Pyrenees, allowing hikers to explore breathtaking vistas, rural villages and historic sites. Embark on this long-distance adventure and enjoy the rugged beauty of the mountains. As you ascend to higher altitudes, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls and verdant valleys. Along the way, encounter traditional Pyrenean culture, sample local cuisine, and discover the stories and legends that have shaped the region.
The French Alps offer a wealth of hiking journeys for those seeking alpine splendor. The iconic Tour du Mont Blanc is a must-do for avid hikers. This legendary trail circles the Mont Blanc massif, taking you through France, Italy and Switzerland. Marvel at the breathtaking views of towering peaks, glaciers and pristine valleys as you journey through alpine landscapes that are truly one of a kind. The route is dotted with mountain refuges, where you can rest and savor hearty meals made from local ingredients. Whether you complete the entire circuit or explore shorter sections, the Tour du Mont Blanc promises an unforgettable adventure.
From the untamed beauty of England's Lake District and its literary trails to the surprising landscapes and accessible trails in the Netherlands to the alpine splendor and world-famous routes in Switzerland, each destination promises a unique and memorable experience for those seeking the best hiking trails in Europe.