Thru-hiking in Europe
Compared to other continents, like America, thru-hiking is less established in Europe. In 2018, as much as 7313 licences were distributed to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. However, this does not mean that you cannot find amazing thru-hikes in Europe. There are many adventurous and sometimes even surprising trails available here. Idyllic landscapes ranging from the fjords of Norway to the mountains of the Alps make hiking in Europe amazing. The length of thru hikes varies a lot. Some trails are only two weeks, whereas others can take up to six months to complete. Europe has something for everyone!
A rich history
Europe is mostly known for amazing cities with a rich history and culture. You can hike the region of the Iron Curtain in Germany or take the Grand Italian Trail (Sentiero d’Italia) along the frontline of WWI in the Dolomites. Next to a rich history, Europe has more to offer: amazing landscapes, perfect hiking trails, breath taking views and challenges that will make even the more experienced hikers sore after a long day. The nice thing is that a lot of these hiking trails are located near cities making them easily accessible. Despite the easy access and relatively high population in Europe, there are still pristine areas that will make you feel like you are the only person on the planet.
If you love nature, Europe is the place to be. Not only are you able to enjoy the many amazing views out there, but a lot of the trails are also accessible year-round. Every season will have its own challenges. Hike the Haute Route in late autumn and enjoy the snowy mountain tops and brightly coloured leaves or hike it during the summer and enjoy the blooming fields and flowers.
Another nice thing about hiking in Europe is that a lot of the long-distance hikes cross multiple countries. And with multiple countries come various cultures. Every country is different. Take for instance the Alpe Adria trail. This thru-hike starts on the highest mountain of Austria, de Grossglockner, and goes alongside the blue lakes of Carinthia and the wild nature of Slovenia to Muggia in Italy located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. When hiking this trail you will experience the nature and culture of these countries more intensely. And let’s be honest, what’s better than that?
The landscapes in Europe are very divers. This makes it possible to make a thru-hike on almost every type of terrain out there, you only have to decide what you want. If you choose The Penny Way, England’s first National Trail, you will walk from the Peak District to the Scottish borders and encounter some of England’s most iconic landscapes. Endless views, green pastures and hills alternated with muddy terrain, describe this trail the best. This is not comparable to the terrain you will encounter when hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc or GR10: rough rocks, narrow mountain trails and hard surfaces are what characterize these hikes.
Basically, Europe has some amazing thru-hikes to offer! Get inspired and choose the trail that fits you the best.