Taking care of our mind as well as our body has never been as important as now. There has been a change in attitude toward re-discovering nature, reconnecting with ourselves, and realizing the mental health benefits of exposure to the great outdoors. Hiking has many benefits, including beautiful views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. It's also good for the soul.
The world's best hiking trails have something for everyone: thrilling heights, stunning scenery, and demanding landscapes. Europe is home to some of the best hiking destinations in the world, with a wide selection of countries offering unique experiences. There are both daunting long-distance routes and more easily accessible day treks, making Europe a hiking paradise. We have made a list of 10 of our favourite places to hike in Europe:
1. GR20 - CORSICA, FRANCE
Corsica is home to one of Europe’s toughest long-distance hikes. The GR20 trail runs for 180 km through the heart of Corsica, passing through rugged alpine terrain, crystal clear lakes, and Mountain Huts or refuges for shelter and resupply. The routes are challenging as they are jagged and rocky, however it is known for being popular and well-marked.
The entire route, which can take up to 15 days to complete, is normally only attempted by experienced hikers. For those who want at least part of the experience, the trail is divided into a North (the hardest) part and a South section (slightly flatter).
Where to stay:
GRAND HÔTEL DE CALA ROSSA & SPA
After undergoing major renovations, the hotel is now a truly unique place, a friendly, elegant and refined retreat, blending heritage and modernity. In the heart of a luxurious private peninsula, along a white sandy beach, this Eden has successfully perpetuated a long tradition of hospitality, attracting international guests of all generations.
Ideally located between the sea and the mountains and built on a former orchard in the very heart of the village of Bastelica in Corsica, the hotel Artemesia offers a designed and modern lodging, perfectly integrated in the exceptional surrounding natural environment.
At the southern tip of Corsica, between Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio, you will find the Hotel U Capu Biancu, a perfect mixture of authentic Corsican simplicity with a touch of refinement which makes it really enjoyable. The location, perfectly nestled above the gulf of Sant’Amarza with stunning views will almost make you feel as if you were at the end of the world.
2. CINQUE TERRE - ITALY
Cinque Terre’s coastal trail connect the five fishing villages that make up Cinque Terre. The hike takes five to six hours and is set against stunning coastal scenery and steeply terraced cliffs. If you would rather slow down your hike and pause at the most scenic stops, you can stop at any of the villages along the way and start hiking the next day.
This trail can be hiked in two directions: from Monterosso or Riomaggiore. If you start in Riomaggiore, you'll have access to all of the simple, paved paths first, before moving on to the more rugged and challenging trails. The last section of the path, between Vernazza and Monterosso, is the most difficult, leading you through narrow passageways and up rough stone steps to the hike's best viewpoint.
Where to stay:
This truly is a great base for discovering the beautiful region of Cinque Terre. You drive off the main road of Levanto and within 6 km arrive at a green and peaceful oasis - and smiles all round. It’s that sort of family friendly atmosphere and relaxed ambience mixed in with design of high order and modern niceties.
HOTEL DEL LIDO
When we say seaside hotel, we mean seaside hotel. The completely renovated Hotel del Lido is literally on the water’s edge. Not any water’s edge, mind, but in the historical centre of Lerici, one of the most impressive places to be in Liguria and a few minutes from “Cinque Terre” close by to Portovenere and Portofino.
LA SOSTA DI OTTONE III
On top of the tremendous views of the coast that take in sea and land, what you get is a fantastic base from “Cinque Terre”, and you also get the feel and tempo of a real medieval village.
3. CANARY ISLANDS - SPAIN
The Canary Islands are all designed for walking and each has its own uniqueness. On La Gomera, the scenery is the most distinctive, as though you were trekking in South or Central America. Take a long weekend to trek El Hierro if you want to go further.
Tenerife has the world's third highest volcano, pine trees, ravines, and coastal roads, and the island has the fewest hikers of the three. Gran Canaria also has spectacular valleys and rugged shorelines to explore, but it lacks the huge volcano, so the views are better. All of the islands have different trails lasting from a few hours to 2-3 days.
Where to stay:
BEACH HOUSE 93
The unique Beach House 93 is located right on the coast and invites with a covered terrace and plunge pool with panoramic view over the wild ocean. The interior design of the house was inspired by the island’s famous artist, Cesar Manrique, and there are interesting touches throughout the whitewashed building - from exposed stonework to the coloured wooden beams.
Those looking to explore magnificent countryside and enjoy a peaceful retreat need look no further than Ibo Alfaro. This recently restored manor house is some 150 years old and perched on a really impressive slope with breathtaking panoramic views of the Hermigua valley, hill ranges as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
La Señorita House is a beautiful holiday home situated next to the charming village Tejeda in the Canary Islands region. The place is nestled in an idyllic setting, surrounded by nature with mountain views. This is a perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature.
4. PICO DO ARIERIO - MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
The Pico Ruivo is Madeira's highest point, a challenging hike with two equally beautiful paths. The hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo is the most well-known on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The trail has steep ridges and some parts of the trail lead you along narrow pathways and dark tunnel chambers. While it's a good day hike, it's not suitable for complete beginners. However, if you are up for the challenge, you are guaranteed spectacular views over the whole island, as well as an array of wildflowers and the volcano crater valley.
Where to stay:
This secret place - The Hotel Atrio - overlooks the beautiful island of Madeira. The small family owned hotel is settled on the sunny south side of this green island and welcomes its guests with panoramic views of the deep blue sea and the green mountains.
ESCARPA - THE MADEIRA HIDEAWAY
This place welcomes its guests with privacy, luxury comfort and panoramic views over the deep blue ocean. The resort offers 9 ocean view rooms and three luxury villas. All are settled within the typical green garden and each with its own privacy area.
ESTALAGEM DA PONTA DO SOL
The location of the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol is amazing. Basically, it is set on a high ravine in the south coast of Madeira. This provides guests with fantastic views of the blue ocean and plenty of sunshine and light.
5. EL CAMINO DEL REY - MALAGA, SPAIN
This trail has been described as "one of the most dangerous hikes in the world." In other words, it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Most people are familiar with this hike because of the three-kilometer walkway segment that brings hikers 100 meters above ground along the steep walls of a narrow gorge. After major upgrades to make it safer and incorporate some unusual features, such as a glass floor in some areas, this portion of the trail reopened in 2015. This unique hike will provide you with breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush unlike any other.
El Camino del Rey is situated only 50 minutes away from Malaga, which means you can integrate the hike into other holiday plans.
Where to stay:
CORTIJO EL GUARDA
El Guarda is a gorgeous 500 year old Cortijo in a lovely rural setting with stunning far-reaching views, conveniently located close to the whitewashed villages of Alcala del Valle, Setenil and Olvera and within easy reach of one of Europe’s most beautiful historic towns, Ronda.
Spain has always been good at design and Halcyon Days definitely match with that statement! The apartments are situated in the touristic heart of Málaga, only 300 m from the famous cathedral and Calle Larios, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, paved with marble tiles and well-known as a true shopping paradise.
Charming boutique bed & breakfast in the heart of Andalusia, close to Alhaurin de la Torre. It is nestled in an idyllic setting, with stunning mountain views and only 20 km away of some of the best beaches at Costa del Sol.
6. DOLOMITES - ITALY
The dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage. There's history here, with trails named after WWI battles and abandoned bunkers to be found along the way. There are dozens of possible trails in the Dolomites, 4-hour trails or 3-week trails. For beginners, a 5-6 hour trail is already a good start. We recommend you do the "Three Peaks Hiking Trail" to discover some of the most emblematic places of this stunning national park.
Throughout the area, there are numerous guides who can lead treks. You can even go it alone, but make sure you have a good guidebook, a map, and experience trekking in remote areas.
Where to stay:
Surrounded by a spacious garden and the spectacular Dolomites, Mi Chalet in La Villa is an exclusive hideaway for a luxurious holiday for two. The chalet is made with high-quality materials, providing optimal comfort as well as large windows with panoramic views of the Dolomite Mountains.
MOUNTAIN LODGE TAMERSC
Your authentic and exclusive holidays in the UNESCO World Heritage site Dolomites. In the nature reserve Fanes-Sennes-Braies, in the heart of the Dolomites, you will find the unique Mountain Lodge Tamersc.
APPARTAMENTI LA SAJUN
Located in Alta Badia in the Dolomites, La Sajun apartments offer an unforgettable stay where you can disconnect from everything and create wonderful memories.
7. SAMARIA GORGE - GREECE
Samaria Gorge in Greece is one of Europe's longest canyons. Situated in southern Crete, a 16-kilometer trek begins near the Omalos settlement at an altitude of 1230 meters. The hike between Xyloskalo trailhead and Agia Roumeli is usually covered in 5 to 7 hours.
There will be plenty of natural structures to see, as well as stunning flora and fauna. You can also stop by the church and village ruins along the way to learn more about Crete's fascinating past.
Where to stay:
If you are looking for a place to relax, rest and recuperate from your busy life, an apartment at Panokosmos is just the right choice. Located on top of a hill, 400m up in the foothills of the White Mountains of Crete and offering incredible panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the vast range of mountains.
Initially a family farmhouse from the 1800s consisting of three separate buildings, Verekinthos Villas is one of those places with an interesting past and an even more interesting present. From the grape press, chicken coop and stable it used to be and after partially burning down in the past, the farmhouse was lovingly rebuilt and restored by Nikos Papafilipakis in 2002.
One of the many old and well-preserved houses in Chania is the Pandora Suites, a 10-room house that has its own superb patio, roof terrace where breakfast is taken when weather allows and fantastic all-encompassing vistas over the bay of Chania.
8. THE EAGLE WALK - TIROL, AUSTRIA
The Eagle Walk is a long-distance hike in Tirol. The 420 km route is divided into 33 stages and takes you around the province, with multi-day and day hikes to suit all tastes and fitness levels. The Eagle Walk begins in St. Johann in the Kitzbühel Alps and finishes in St. Christoph am Arlberg. There is also a special version of the Eagle Walk in East Tirol, which starts in Ströden and finishes at the Stüdlhütte hut on the Großglockner mountain, the highest peak in Austria.
Where to stay:
BOUTIQUE HOTEL TRÄUMEREI #8
The Träumerei#8 forms the historic old town of Kufstein and is the dreamy sleeping quarter of the famous traditional restaurant AURACHER LÖCHL. Safely located between the fortress and the softly flowing river Inn, your invited on a relaxing adventure with our 34 uniquely designed and extremely comfortable themed rooms
TENNERHOF GOURMET & SPA DE CHARME HOTEL
The Tennerhof Gourmet & Spa gives you the charming luxury of being the smallest and most romantic 5 star hotel in Kitzbühel. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on a hillside and surrounded by the majestic mountains, this family owned hotel guarantees a unique and pleasant atmosphere with its 39 exclusive rooms and suites.
Breathtaking alpine panorama meets incomparable luxury. Located just a stone's throw away from Kitzbühel, the wonderful Maierl-Alm & Maierl-Chalets welcomes you with its direct access to the ski run.
9. CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - SPAIN
The Camino de Santiago is a long-distance Catholic pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Although the Camino is actually a network of trails, the Camino Francés, the most common road, runs from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. This is also the most scenic route and has attracted an ever-increasing and diverse crowd. The route was originally an ancient Roman trade route, and later, a Christian pilgrimage. The trail has been traveled by kings and queens, legions of Catholic pilgrims and Roman armies.
Where to stay:
This 18th century country house has managed to retain much of its original architecture, including the chapel and the old library. Some rooms are housed in the former stables but as in the main house are fully equipped with the best quality comforts of today. Surrounded by 15,000 square metres of garden and located only 7 kms from Santiago de Compostela.
CASA GRANDE DO BACHAO
Casa Grande do Bachao is a beautiful manor house located within a 100-hectare estate. The house itself dates back to the 18th century and consists of two separate buildings: the Casa Grande and the Caseros, as well as a typical granary. Casa Grande do Bachao’s secluded rural location provides guests with complete tranquility whilst at the same time only being a 15-minute drive away from Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia.
This super little hotel lies on the Porta de la Peña Street, one of the seven gates that lead into the old quarters of the city. Most of the major monuments are within walking distance from here, including the city’s ex-libris, the Cathedral of St James, so the location is second to none.
10. SEVEN HANGING VALLEYS TRAIL – ALGARVE, PORTUGAL.
This walk of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is breathtaking. It is one of Europe's most scenic walks and accessible to all ages. The trail near Portimao goes along the dramatic coast from Praia do Marinha to Praia de Vale Centeanes.
The path is well-marked and easy to navigate. You can stop along the way to take a boat tour of the popular Benagil cave or relax at the beautiful Praia do Carvalho (Carvalho Beach). An incredible and unspoiled natural environment awaits you. Respect for nature is a top priority for the Lagoa municipality, which provides an unforgettable experience to visitors from all over the world. The paths and beaches are immaculately maintained. You can see the fauna and flora, as well as beautiful birds.
Where to stay:
Casa BonTon is a hideaway in the historic centre of Lagoa. It welcomes its guests with a unique collection of art and design items combined with modern Portuguese style.
This elegant holiday Villa invites with a unique combination of modern design, white elegance and a perfect location directly by the blue sea. This Villa is located only a few meters away from the beach and a short walk to the nearby restaurants and bars.
CASA PORCHES 26
The Casa Porches, a luxurious villa near the coastal town of Carvoeiro in the Portuguese Algarve, is an oasis of calm and relaxation. Surrounded by nature and with an enchanting sea view, it is just a few minutes from the famous beaches of Praia da Marinha and Praia de Benagil.