Find adventure on these European long-distance hikes

A trail in Corsica | Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash
A trail in Corsica | Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Find adventure on these European long-distance hikes

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

The New Year ushers in goals and resolutions. If yours included getting in shape and exploring Europe a bit more, why not combine the two? The continent is brimming with hiking trails crisscrossing between countries. From pristine coastal walkways to steep Alpine climbs, long-distance hiking is a fantastic way to keep your fitness and adventure goals in check. Don’t let the distance daunt you – these hikes can be done all at once or broken into shorter, more reasonable distances over time. Here are eight trails worth checking out.

El Camino de Santiago (Spain)

One of the most well-known long-distance hikes, this pilgrimage is actually a series of different routes which all lead to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The most popular starting point is via Camino Frances along the French border in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Stretching more than 800 kilometers, hikers wander through the craggy Pyrenees and discover rustic villages of northern Spain. If you’ve got lots of time on your hands and want to be a traditionalist, start your journey from your front door.

GR 20 – Corsica (Corsica)

The beautiful island of Corsica sits in the middle of the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean. The French territory is also home to one of the most difficult and rugged hikes in Europe. Traversing from the northern end to the southern tip, trekkers soak up 180 kilometers of spectacular mountains and vistas and experience approximately 12,000 meters in elevation gain. Due to the rough terrain, this one is geared toward more experienced hikers with a good fitness level.

Haute Route (France and Switzerland)

Translating to the “High Route,” the Haute Route is a stunning trek linking the posh Alpine centers of Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland. The picture-perfect 180 kilometer-long trail winds through glacial valleys, jagged summits and serene lakes. Along the way hikers ascend through the trails of the impressive Mont Blanc to the famed peak of the Matterhorn.

John O’ Groats to Land’s End (Scotland, England and Wales)

Beginning at the northernmost point in Scotland, this massive 1,400-kilometer trail winds through Scotland and ends at the southernmost point of Land’s End in Wales. Popular with cyclists and hikers, John O’Groats to Land’s End (JOGLE) is also often done in reverse. Trek past the United Kingdom’s highest peak of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, through the scenic Lake and Peak districts and finally to the Cornish coastline in south Wales.

Get lost in Luxembourg on the Mullerthal Trail | Photo by Will Roberts on Unsplash

Mullerthal Trail (Luxembourg)

Perfect for hikers of every ability, the Mullerthal Trail is nestled in the lush forests of eastern Luxembourg. The pathways actually consist of three tracks of varying distance, equaling 112 kilometers in length. Stunning rock formations, tumbling waterfalls, rolling green meadows and lovely castles dot the landscape along the way.

Slovenian Mountain Trail (Slovenia)

One of the oldest hiking trails in Europe, the Slovenian Mountain Trail leads adventurers along almost 600 kilometers through the Pohorje Hills and Julian Alps. Connecting 23 mountain tops, the route also passes through the Karawanks, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps to the town of Ankaran on the coast with plenty of gorgeous panoramas and vistas.

Trekking on Mont Blanc | Photo by Charlie Hammond on Unsplash

Tour de Mont Blanc (France, Italy and Switzerland)

One of France’s renowned peaks, Mont Blanc tops out a little more than 4,800 meters tall. Tour de Mont Blanc encompasses more than 170 kilometers around the massif and passes through three countries. Hikers wind through picturesque valleys and ascend steep alpine ridges. This trail also links up the Haute Route trail to create a much longer journey.

West Highland Way (Scotland)

Spanning a little more than 150 kilometers from north to south, the West Highland Way is a fabulous tour of Scotland’s heartland. Beginning just north of Glasgow in the small village of Milngavie, hikers make their way past scenic lochs, pastures full of Scotland’s famous Highland cattle and through the stunning Highlands before finishing further north in Fort William.

Europe is full of amazing long-distance treks. Dust off your hiking boots, plot your next adventure and hit the trails.

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