I am very much a country girl at heart and although I do love exploring Europe’s bustling cities and staying in hotels or Airbnb apartments I still enjoy spending time in the great outdoors both at home at abroad.
Every year I go camping with my family in the UK giving me the chance to enjoy getting back to nature. When casting my eye further a field I have come across some really inspiring destinations in Europe where you can take in the sights of the countryside. Here are my top 5 European walking destinations, in collaboration with Inntravel.
My husband and I visited Switzerland as part of our European tour honeymoon and we spent a couple of days exploring Lucerne which sits amid snowcapped mountains around the beautiful lake and we were captivated by the stillness of the water and the majesty of the mountains.
Between the Eiger and the Matterhorn lies some stunning walking opportunities. Explore among towering, snow-capped Alps starting from the famous north face of the world’s most recognisable mountain to high-mountain passes on true alpine trails and deep into valleys via lakes, forest and classic mountain villages. Switzerland is well known for its culinary delights so be sure to sample local cheeses and chocolates along the way!
If you’re a first timer why not try a self-guided walking tour of Switzerland, like the Inntravel’s From the Eiger to the Matterhorn walk, which provides hotel-to-hotel walking, allowing you to explore classic routes and little-used trails shared by the tour company.
Last year I turned 30 and as my gift, my sister took us away for a week in Montenegro. I have to admit I didn’t really know anything about this country before going but we had a lot of fun travelling around the Bay of Kotor and visiting all the villages and towns en route.
Although Montenegro’s coast is popular with tourists for its stunning views across the Bay the interior is made up of exciting Balkan wilderness, refreshingly undeveloped and ready for anyone looking for an active holiday. The Durmitor National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, formed by glaciers and is traversed by rivers and underground streams with 23 mountain tops over 2300 meters of altitude.
The park boasts the deepest gorges in Europe, the Tara river canyon and you will find dense pine forests interspersed with clear lakes with a large range of endemic flora. Trails can be accessed from the well-serviced hub of Zabljak, on the edge of the park.
I have always wanted to visit our neighbour island of Ireland with its spectacular natural beauty, rich history, unhurried pace of life and legendary hospitality. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the Irish countryside with many fantastic walks to take in on a holiday.
The Kerry Way is a low-level circuit of the spectacular Iveragh Peninsula, a region of wild, natural beauty steeped in history and legend. Kerry’s hills are eerie and wet, but atmospheric with the range called MacGillycuddy’s Reeks being a fine example of Irish mountainscape and makes a superb centrepiece for a long weekend.
County Wicklow, often referred to as ‘the Garden of Ireland,’ is a picturesque landscape of serene lakes, glacial valleys, majestic mountains, forests and farmland. The Wicklow Way, one of the first waymarked trails to be established in Ireland, visits this unspoilt region and combines the culture-rich city of Dublin with remote mountain trails and secluded valleys. Keep an eye out for stunning Sika Deer and Red Squirrels as you walk near Powerscourt House near Enniskerry!
I have fond memories of exploring this Greek island which is said to have been the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. Heraklion, the capital, is home to a renowned Archaeological Museum, housing Minoan artefacts and Knossos, a Bronze Age settlement of workrooms, living spaces and store rooms close to a central square decorated with high colour frescoes showing people, mythological creatures, real animals, rocks, vegetation, and marine life.
If you’re looking to discover some history along your walk then why not visit Crete? The island offers access to a variety of routes, taking in necropolises, deserted coastal paths and olive groves. Don’t miss the beautiful Sirikari Gorge with the Acropolis of Ancient Polyrrinia around a 30-minute hike from the Sirikari village.
The south-west is a flowery paradise in spring. Walk an early-day circuit from roadless Loutro up the mountain to Anopolis, returning down the Aradena Gorge. Loutro is a quaint seashore village, perched on craggy rocks and nestled in a cove, affords an opportunity to experience life in a less accessible part of the island. After your walk why not indulge in some delicious fresh seafood caught by local fishermen?
I have visited Austria a couple of times taking in the sights of the City, Vienna, as well as the stunning mountainous landscape of Innsbruck which is a perfect Christmas break destination.
Austria boasts a landscape dotted with mountains, valleys, lakes, and forests perfect for holidays with hiking and biking among the most popular activities. Trails here are available for all preferences and ability. Hallstatt is a perfect hub for exploring the Austrian lake district. From here you can travel between steepled villages on easy footpaths, indulging in the odd lake crossing.
If you’re a fan of Austrian food then the Bregenzerwald’s famous Cheese Trail is for you! Along the route, you can sample regional delicacies by farmers, alpine dairymen, cheesemakers and restaurants. The Cheese trail network is made up of Farmers, alpine dairymen, cheesemakers, restaurants, inns, museums, railways and tourist organisations dedicated to the cultivation and the maintenance of culinary delights and regional culture. Who can resist?
Are you planning a holiday in the great outdoors? If so, check out the giveaway below to get you started by winning a Mammut Xeron Element Rucksack perfect for storage while hiking. Good Luck!