When we started hiking in Europe, we stopped hiking anywhere else. Okay, it’s mostly because of the food. I mean who wouldn’t want a Käse Rösti mid-hike or a celebratory beach-side seafood linguini at the end of a hike. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, along the coast, or through rural farmland (vineyard hikes anyone?), Europe hiking trails spoil you with delicious food, fresh dairy, wine, beer, schnapps, and of course romantic scenery. So, our definition of a best hiking trail in Europe is one that combines sensational landscapes with culinary rewards. After all, this is Europe.

At this point, our passion for hiking in Europe is an obsession, albeit a healthy one. So, this post outlines our favorite day hikes in Europe to date.

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Best Day Hikes in Europe

A collection of gorgeous day hiking trails in Europe for the epicurean:

  1. Olpererhütte, Zillertal Alps, Austria
  2. Seven Sisters Cliffs Walk, South Downs, England
  3. Saxer Lücke and Fälensee, Alpstein, Switzerland
  4. Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve, Portugal 
  5. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit, Sexten Dolomites, Italy
  6. Col dala Pieres Summit, Puez-Odle Nature Park, Dolomites, Italy
  7. Bobotov Kuk Summit, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro 
  8. Red Wine Trail, Ahr Valley, Germany 
  9. Santiago del Teide to Masca, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain 
  10. Seven Lakes Valley, Julian Alps, Slovenia

1. Olpererhütte, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Olpererhütte Day Hike, Zillertal, Tyrol, Austria

  • Where: Tyrol (Tirol)
  • Where to Stay: Mayrhofen in Zillertal Valley
  • Trailhead: Schlegeisspeicher reservoir
  • Distance: 13 km circuit
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Time Needed: 7 hours
  • When to Hike: Summer, Early Fall

This day hike to Olpererhütte (Olperer mountain hut) follows the Berlin High Trail, a celebrated Höhenweg (high trail) in the Zillertal Alps of Austria. This gorgeous Europe hiking trail serves up quintessential alpine landscapes filled with scenes of glaciated peaks, alpine pastures, and sparkling teal waters. It’s also a great introduction to mountain hut culture in the Austrian Alps.

There are a few different approaches in Olpererhütte, but we suggest hiking to this refuge via Friesenberghaus. It’s the “long way,” but it’s also the most captivating route.

To start this hike, drive or take the bus (from Mayrhofen) to the Schlegeisspeicher reservoir. From the lake, you’ll ascend two hours to Friesenberghaus. At the hut, grab a refreshing beverage – like an Apfelsaft or Johannisbeersaft gespritzt –  before continuing along the Berlin High Trail to Olpererhütte.

Soon after leaving the hut, you’ll hike past the Friesenbergsee (lake) and ascend 170 meters. The trail then levels out and you’ll follow a dazzling balcony trail to Olperer mountain hut. Shortly before arriving at the hut, you’ll cross a suspension bridge. 

When you arrive at the beloved Olpererhütte, grab a seat outside on the hut’s terrace. From here, you’ll have unobstructed views of the Schlegeisspeicher reservoir at the foot of 3,000 m+ peaks. There’s no better place to have a slow, indulgent lunch and a glass of wine. 

Insider Tip: Stay in the family-run Alpenhotel Kramerwirt in Mayrhofen. Their breakfast buffet is out of this world.

Learn More: Olpererhütte Day Hike

 

Recommended Itinerary: 7 Day Austria Road Trip


2. Seven Sisters Cliffs Walk, South Downs, England

Seven Sisters Cliffs Walk, England, Best Day Hikes in Europe

  • Where: East Sussex
  • Where to Stay: Brighton
  • Trailhead: Seaford
  • Destination: Eastbourne 
  • Distance: 21.9 km point-to-point
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: 7 hours
  • When to Hike: Spring, Summer, Fall

The Seven Sisters are a series of white chalk cliffs stretching from Cuckmere Haven to Birling Gap in East Sussex, England. Plunging into the English Channel, these shimmering vertical cliffs are best viewed on foot. 

The Seven Sisters Cliffs walk starts in Seaford and ends in Eastbourne, hugging the coast almost the entire way. 

Most people will visit the Seven Sisters Cliffs as a day trip from either Brighton, or London. We recommend starting in Seaford. From the Seaford train station, walk directly to the sea and follow the promenade to the eastern end of the beach. From here, you’ll be able to locate the coastal trail that enters Seaford Head Nature Reserve. Follow the trail in the direction of Cuckmere Haven

From Cuckmere Haven, you’ll walk inland to Cuckmere Inn in order to cross the river safely. After crossing the bridge, you’ll head back to the coast and follow the South Downs Way to Birling Gap and Beachy Head.  

For a full description of this trail, read our Seven Sisters Cliffs trail guide.

This is easily one of the most rewarding hikes in Europe. Start early and walk slowly, because you’ll want to relish every moment. 

Insider Tip: Order cream tea (tea with scones) at the Birling Gap Café.


3. Saxer Lücke and Fälensee, Alpstein, Switzerland

Saxer Lücke and Fälensee Day Hike, Alpstein, Switzerland - Best Day Hikes in Europe

  • Where: Appenzell Innerrhoden
  • Where to Stay: Appenzell
  • Trailhead: Brülisau Car Park / Hoher Kasten Tram Station
  • Distance: 16.25 km circuit 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Time Needed: 5:30 – 6 hours
  • When to Hike: Summer

Fälensee (also spelled Fählensee) is an alpine lake in Switzerland’s Alpstein mountain range. A spectacular circuit trail to Fählensee begins in Brülisau, Appenzell. To start the hike, take the Hoher Kasten Tram to the mountain station. At the top, follow the Erster Geologischer Wanderweg der Schweiz (Geological Trail) in the direction of Berggasthaus Stauberen. 

Along the way, you’ll pass Saxer Lücke (a “gap” in the mountain), where you’ll be treated to striking views of Kreuzberg, one of the most memorable mountains in the Swiss Alps. The trail continues to descend all the way to the lake. 

At Fälensee, grab lunch at the Berggasthaus Bollenwees, before continuing your hike down to the Brülisau car park. This might be the best place to get a Rösti mit Appenzeller Käse (cheesy hashbrowns) in the region. 

From the lake, the trail continues all the way down to Brülisau Car Park. 

While this hike isn’t technically difficult, it’s long and taxing on your knees, because you’re descending the whole time.

Learn More: Appenzell Travel Guide


4. Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve, Portugal

Praia da Marinha, Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve, Portugal

  • Where: Algarve
  • Where to Stay: Carvoeiro
  • Trailhead: Praia da Marinha 
  • Destination: Praia de Vale Centianes
  • Distance: 5.7 km one-way (11.4 km return)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed:  2 – 2.5 hours one-way (5 – 6 hours return)
  • When to Hike: Spring or Fall

Famed for its sunshine and spectacular beaches, Algarve is probably not the first place you think of when dreaming about hiking in Europe. However, if you’re visiting Southern Portugal in Spring, or Fall, coastal hiking should be your number one priority. 

One of the most beautiful coastal paths in Algarve stretches between Praia da Marinha to Praia de Vale Centianes. This 5.7 km trail (one-way) can easily be done as an out-and-back hike.

Insider Tip: Grab lunch at O Stop on Vale Centianes beach

Read our trail guide: Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

 

Recommended Itinerary: Algarve Road Trip Itinerary


5. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit, Sexten Dolomites, Italy

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail, Dolomites - Hiking in Europe

  • Where: Belluno and South Tyrol, Northern Italy
  • Where to Stay: Cortina d’AmpezzoToblach/Dobbacio or in Misurina. 
  • Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo 
  • Distance: 9.7 km loop
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • When to Hike: Summer, Early Fall

The loop trail around the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen in German) is one of the most jaw-dropping and accessible day hikes in Europe.

The trail starts at the mountain hut Rifugio Auronzo, which is accessible by a toll road (30 EUR for private cars). 

From Rifugio Auronzo, you can either hike on Trail 101 (right) towards Rifugio Lavaredo, or on Trail 105 (left) towards Langealm. Both ways are beautiful.

Though most people venture here to see the three peaks, they soon realize that Tre Cime is just the beginning of an unending visual feast that extends in every possible direction. 

Insider Tip: Make sure to grab coffee and cake at Langealm and a hearty South Tyrolean feast at the Drei Zinnen Hütte (Rifugio Locatelli).

Read our trail guide: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Day Hike

 

Recommended Itinerary: 7 Day Dolomites Road Trip


6. Col dala Pieres Summit, Puez-Odle Nature Park, Italy

Col dala Pieres Hike, Puez-Odle Nature Park, Dolomites

  • Where: South Tyrol, Italy
  • Where to Stay:  Selva, or Santa Cristina in Val Gardena
  • Trailhead: Col Raiser Cable Car mountain station
  • Distance: 13.8 km loop
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult 
  • Time Needed: 6 – 7 hours
  • When to Hike: Summer, Early Fall

The dagger-like Geisler (Odle) peaks are synonymous with the Italian Dolomites. The most well-known vantage points of these striking peaks are from the Seceda Ridgeline and from Val di Funes. However, our favorite viewpoint is from the lesser-known Col dala Pieres mountain summit. 

This unforgettable loop trail starts at the Col Raiser mountain station, accessible from Val Gardena. From here, you’ll hike to Rifugio Firenze and ascend to Forcella Piza. From the narrow mountain pass, the trail continues left to the summit, but we recommend detouring right to Rifugio Stevia for Kaiserschmarrn and the view of Sassolungo (Langkofel).

After reaching the summit of Col dala Pieres, you’ll hike over Forcella Forces de Siesles and back down to Rifugio Firenze. As you descend, the views of the Geisler peaks unfold spectacularly.

Insider Tip: If you want to savor the sunset on the mountain, you can stay in this hotel at the Col Raiser mountain station, or at Rifugio Fermeda

Learn More: Col dala Pieres Day Hike


7. Bobotov Kuk, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Hiking to Bobotov Kuk in Montenegro, Europe Hiking Trails

  • Where: Dinaric Alps
  • Where to Stay: Žabljak
  • Trailhead: Sedlo on P14
  • Distance: 10.6 km return 
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
  • Time Needed: 6 hours
  • When to Hike: Summer, Early Fall

Bobotov Kuk (also spelled Bobotov Kuv) is the highest peak (2,523 m) in Durmitor National Park and a favorite hiking destination in Montenegro. To start this hike, head to “Sedlo,” the pass on the scenic P14 road, which is 14 km outside of Žabljak. 

Initially, the trail is mostly flat, gently meandering across meadows for 1.5 – 2 hours. The surrounding mountains dazzle with their unique shapes and geological features. It’s like walking through a colossal sculpture gallery.

Soon after passing the small lake Zeleni Vrh, the trail starts to ascend dramatically. The final stretch to the summit is partially secured and requires a bit of scrambling. Hiking poles are a must on this hike.

Learn more: Durmitor National Park Hiking Guide

 

Recommended Itinerary: Montenegro Road Trip


8. Red Wine Trail, Ahr Valley, Germany

Red Wine Trail (Rotweinwanderweg), Ahr Valley, Germany

  • Where: Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Where to Stay: Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
  • Trailhead: Various 
  • Distance: Various (up to 35 km)
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time Needed: Depends how much wine you drink 
  • When to Hike: Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall 

The Red Wine Trail is a 35 km hiking trail from Altenahr to Bad Bodendorf in the Ahr Valley, Germany. Though the trail can be hiked from start to finish in two days, most hikers will walk a segment of the trail as a day hike. 

Winding through steeply terraced vineyards, this romantic walking trail connects wine-making villages in Germany’s largest red-wine-growing region. The whole point of this hike is to savor the beauty of the sloping vineyards whilst tasting the region’s celebrated pinot noir wines. So, it’s basically a winery crawl. 

We recommend starting your hike in either Altenahr or Mayschoß.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the wines in Weingut O. Schell in Rech and the Flammkuchen in Weingut Kloster Marienthal

Learn More: Ahr Valley Travel Guide


9. Santiago del Teide to Masca, Tenerife, Spain

Santiago del Teide to Masca Walk, Tenerife - Best Hikes in Europe

  • Where: Teno Mountains, Tenerife, Canary Islands
  • Where to Stay: Santiago del Teide, or Los Gigantes
  • Trailhead: Santiago del Teide
  • Distance: 8.5 km point-to-point 
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Time Needed: 3 – 3:30 hours 
  • When to Hike: Fall, Winter, Spring

When it comes to hiking in Europe, most hiking destinations are only accessible in the summer. However, there’s a wonderful exception. If you want to hike in Europe in winter, head to the Canary Islands. We spent one month exploring Tenerife Island from mid-December to mid-January, and we were blown away by the scenic diversity and the trail options. You can read about our favorite trails in Best Day Hikes in Tenerife

One particular hike you should know about is the point-to-point trail from Santiago del Teide to Masca village. After ascending to Degollada de la Mesa, take a quick detour to Pico Verde, where you’ll be treated to a birds-eye view of the serpentine TF-436 road.

Return to the Degollada and follow the ridge trail. You’ll ultimately descend to Mirador de Cruz de Hilda (viewpoint) and walk through the hamlet of El Turrón to Masca. As you descend, you’ll feel like you’re entering a magical kingdom, only recently discovered.

Insider Tip: After the hike, head to Los Gigantes for sunset. 

Learn More: Hiking in the Teno Mountains

 

Recommended Itinerary: Tenerife Road Trip Itinerary


10. Seven Lakes Valley, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Seven Lakes Valley, Slovenia, Best Day Hikes in Europe

  • Where: Triglav National Park 
  • Where to Stay: Ukanc, Lake Bohinj
  • Trailhead: Koča pri Savici mountain hut 
  • Distance: 6.2 km one-way (12.4 km return)
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult 
  • Time Needed: 3 – 3:30 hours one-way (7 hours total)
  • When to Hike: Summer, Fall 

Triglav Lakes Valley, aka Seven Lakes Valley, is a wildly enchanting day hiking destination in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. As the name suggests, the valley is defined by a string of seven lakes. You can hike to the Seven Lakes Valley from Koča pri Savici mountain hut (653 m), a mountain hut that’s accessible by car from the hamlet of Ukanc, located at Lake Bohinj.

The first lake you’ll pass in the Triglav Lakes Valley is Črno jezero (1294 m), or Black Lake. Next, you’ll continue to Triglav Lakes Hut (Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih), which is situated between the lakes Dvojno Jezero and Močivec. Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih makes for a good lunch stop and destination. Depending on how much energy you have, you can continue hiking up the valley to Veliko jezero (Jezero Ledvicah). 

Learn more: Julian Alps Hiking Guide

 

Recommended Itinerary: Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary


What are your favorite day hikes in Europe? Let us know in the comments below. 


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