Today we are treated to a guest post by Rachel Campbell on one of my favourite topics – walking. Rachel considers five of the best walking trails in Europe. Be warned, this post make you want to travel!
We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by vast, open landscapes and astonishing scenery in the UK and just across the water in Europe, where we are able to lace up our boots, pull on our waterproofs and set out on a hike, ramble, or jaunt.
If you are currently looking for a new walking experience, take a look at some of the best trails that Europe has to offer below. Whether you want to be wowed by new scenery, become immersed in a different culture or experience nature at its very best, you can be sure to find something that truly takes your fancy.
The Camino de Santiago
Soak up age old history and legendary heritage, along with a wealth of natural beauty, through Spain’s Camino de Santiago.
Often referred to as the Way of St. James, this 500 mile trail located in Northern Spain began as a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of the Apostle James. Nowadays, hundreds and thousands of trekkers and cyclists make their way along the Camino de Santiago every year in order to absorb the rich history and admire the spectacular views, all in the gloriously warm climate that Spain has to offer.
Should you wish to challenge yourself and complete the entire trail in one, it can take around 30 to 40 days for the average walking enthusiast. However many visitors choose to walk a section of the pilgrimage in a week and revisit a number of times to complete it.
The Camino de Santiago
The Italian Dolomites
The Italian Dolomites is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. You can walk amongst lush woodland, clear blue lakes and natural wildlife, all while admiring the breathtaking views of the Dolomites towering over you.
For the more adventurous walkers who like a good hike, there are numerous miles of walking trails up the Dolomites themselves. Reaching the summit offers stunning panoramic views of the Austrian border and the Alps.
The Dolomites are a year round attraction; by spending a week or two in the surrounding quaint villages, you will be able to truly experience this walker’s paradise.
The Italian Dolomites
The Laugavegurinn hiking trail offers you something a little bit different. The 55km long walk begins at the Landmannalaugar nature reserve in south west Iceland, and ends when it reaches the Þórsmörk nature reserve.
A trail like no other, it provides travellers with a vast variety of scenery within a short distance. Along the somewhat strenuous route, you will be delighted by views of volcanic vistas and glistening glaciers, mountains that emanate watercolour hues of purple and blue, and of course the hot springs that attract many walkers to these parts every year.
Those new to walking may want to attempt some of the other trails included within the list before heading to Laugavegurinn. Although the walk itself isn’t too difficult, the harsh winds and adverse weather conditions can make it tricky.
Tour du Mont Blanc
Hiking enthusiasts can also choose to revel in the delights of one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful mountain trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc. Snow peaked summits will surround you as you travel across the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland, including the world famous Mont Blanc.
At ground level you are able to immerse yourself in a floral fantasia of over 1,000 different species of wild flowers, including dazzling orchids and stunning gentian. Higher up the mountain trails, you can find spectacular scenery and panoramic views of the three surrounding countries.
The Tour du Mont Blanc offers a challenging walk but you are sure to be rewarded along the way, as no corner will ever be turned without an astounding view to accompany it.
The West Highland Way
A list of top five walking trails wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the greatest in the UK. At just 96 miles long, the West Highland Way isn’t the longest. However, within its short distance, the trail still has great awe and beauty.
Scotland is a country steeped in myth, legend and natural wonders, and the West Highland Way will provide you with a true taste of Scottish culture. Setting off from Milngavie and finishing at Fort William, you will be treated to stunning views as you pass by Loch Lomond and look up at the heights of Ben Nevis.
If you are thinking about walking along the West Highland Way, be sure to visit between May and September to avoid the abundance of midges that are present throughout the rest of the year.
A view on The West Highland Way.
Wherever you choose to walk, there are likely to be charming sights and scenery for you to enjoy along the way. However, if you are looking for guaranteed beauty and thought-provoking scenery, we would highly recommend embarking on one of the five trails above.
Rachel Campbell is a content writer for Headwater Holidays, holiday specialists who offer walking and cycling holidays in various countries around the world.