11 Long Trails to Hike in Europe

Have you ever wanted to backpack through Europe and actually, you know, go backpacking? Then you’re in luck! Along with great history, great food, and great wine, many countries in Europe also have great hiking trails. So if you’re planning a months-long Eurotrip, or are just getting away for two weeks in the summer, make sure to check out some of the amazing hiking Europe has to offer.

santiago-cathedral-by-night

1. El Camino de Santiago

Length: 500 miles

Country: Spain

Also known as St. James’s Way, the Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage route to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. While there are plenty of hostels along the path – no camping required! – the trail has gained popularity over the years, which has lead to crowds of pilgrims walking the path during the peak hiking season (June to September).

 

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2. Tour du Mont Blanc

Length: 110 miles

Country: France, Italy, and Switzerland

Tour du Mont Blanc is one of Europe’s most popular hiking paths, circling the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. The hike is usually completed counter-clockwise over the course of 11 days. There are several huts along the route that provide beds, bathrooms, and cooked meals, though the popularity of the hike sometimes makes it difficult to find accommodations. Unfortunately, wild camping is illegal in France.

 

photo via

3. Haute Route

Length: 112 miles

Country: Switzerland and France

The Haute Route starts at Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, and winds through the French and Swiss Alps to finish at the famous Matterhorn. The trip usually takes two weeks, and hikers gain 12,000 ft in elevation over 112 miles. The Haute Route is less crowded than the Tour du Mont Blanc, which means it will be easier to find accommodations at hostels. While tenting in the wilderness is perfectly legal in Switzerland, it is illegal in France.

photo: tramplite.com

4. Nordkalottruta

Length: 500 miles

Country: Norway, Sweden, and Finland

The English name for this hike is The Arctic Trail because – surprise! – the entire route is in the Arctic Circle. The trail winds through Sweden and Norway, with a brief stop in Finland, ultimately crossing international borders a total of 15 times. There are plenty of huts along the route, and wild camping is legal in all three countries. While best hiked in the summer, the Nordkalottruta can also be completed with cross-country skis during the snow season.

View more photos here.

photo via

5. Kom–Emine

Length: 447 miles

Country: Bulgaria

The Kom-Emine is Europe’s longest uninterrupted high-mountain path. The trail usually takes a little under a month to complete, and there are around 30 mountain huts to accommodate hikers. The trail goes over Botev Peak, which is the highest summit of the Balkan Mountains. Fun fact: Bulgarian runner Kiril Nikolov holds the FTK record, having completed the trail in 4 days, 13 hours, 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

Iceland Trail

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6. Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls

Length: 34 miles and 16 miles

Country: Iceland

Combining these two routes together allows a hiker to witness the best of what Iceland has to offer: hot springs, glaciers, and volcanoes. Together, these trails can be completed in under a week, though they are only accessible between mid-June and late-August. There are several hostels along the route, and wild camping is legal in Iceland.

West Highland Way

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7. West Highland Way

Length: 96 miles

Country: Scotland

The West Highland Way is the most popular walking route in Scotland, with over 80,000 visitors every year. This trail allows hikers to experience the full Scottish countryside, from the pastoral landscapes, to the rugged Scottish Highlands. Wild camping in Scotland is legal, and there are several hostels and inns along the trail. In 2010, the West Highland Way was co-designated as a part of the International Appalachian Trail.

View more photos here.

photo: globetrotter-magazin.de

8. Grande Traversata delle Alpi

Length: 620 miles

Country: Italy

The Grande Traversata delle Alpi – translated as the Great Crossing of the Alps – runs through the Piedmont region of Italy. The trail is best hiked between July and September, with stopovers in small mountain villages for overnight stays. According to the GTA website, overcrowding is not an issue, as managers of hostels and inns will “find accommodation for everyone in homes (or barns) of the village”. Now that’s some Italian hospitality!

9. Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

Length: 186 miles

Country: Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs along the shoreline of Britain’s only coastal national park, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The path passes 58 beaches, 14 harbors, and goes over more than 100 footbridges. While wild camping is not allowed in the park, there are a number of campsites for hikers, as well as hostels, B&Bs, pubs and inns for hikers to enjoy.

kungsleden

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10. Kungsleden

Length: 270 miles

Country: Sweden

Kungsleden, which translates to The King’s Trail, is a hiking path in Northern Sweden. This trail passes through the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Europe. There are 21 huts along the trail and, for a small fee, hikers can pitch their tents right outside them. The peak hiking season is from June to September, and the trail can also be crossed on skis during the winter season.

View more photos here

photo: mountainhikingholidays.com

11. Slovenian Mountain Hiking Trail

Length: 370 miles

Country: Slovenia

The Slovenian Mountain Hiking Trail is the oldest hiking track in Europe. This trail covers all the Alpine ranges in Slovenia: Kamnik Alps, Karavanke, and Julian Alps. There are 58 huts and two museums on the trail, and the route also passes through the Škocjan Caves.

View more photos here

BONUS!

Cinque Terre Coastal Trail

Length: 8 miles

Country: Italy

While not a long trail by any means – you could hike the entire Cinque Terre Coastal Trail in a day – the beauty of this path is not to be missed. The distance is perfect for a weekend getaway, and the little fishing towns along the route are wonderfully romantic. If you’re looking to spend some time exploring the towns, consider staying the night at a hotel. There is a train you can hop on at the end of your hike to return you to the start of your trip.

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Comments 2

  • Maylis (Rock-Hopper) : Dec 1st

    In France, wild camping (staying a few days in a non designated camping spot) is forbidden however you can stealth camp in most National Parks usually from 7 pm to 8 am (no one will check if you leave your spot at 8.30 :)) and generally speaking if you are one hour walking from any entry of the park, you should be totally fine. Along any GR (Grande Randonnée > long trails of France), you can usually stealh camp without too many issues since you are arriving late and leaving early. Otherwise, you can try talking to farmers, I had no issues pitching my tent i fields along the GR10 every night when i was not in the forest.

    There is more info here but it’s in French 🙁
    https://www.lecampingsauvage.fr/legislation-et-reglementation/camping-sauvage-bivouac

    Other amazing long trails in French;
    – GR10 : crossing the Pyrenees from Hendaye (Atlantic Ocean) to the Mediteranean sea.
    – GR20 : crossing Corsica through the middle – gorgeous views!
    – Stevenson Way, etc, etc!

    Many trails to do in France 🙂

    Reply
  • Nadine : Dec 26th

    Thanks I took notes from your post.

    Reply

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