Hiking in Europe
Hiking in Europe is a varied and exciting pursuit. Whether you’re roaming the low, windmill-dotted hills of Holland or the primordial islands of Denmark, you're sure to encounter lots of native wildlife and sites of natural beauty, so pull on your most comfortable boots on and get going.
Holland is one of the easiest, yet no less rewarding, places to hike in Europe. But what it lacks in majesty it certainly makes up for in charm. Many of its trails cut winding paths through quiet beech forests or onto low hills overlooking the canals, lakes and waterways that break-up the rolling land.
There are several other walks that will take you through Krimpenerwaard, a rural area edged by slow-flowing rivers. Expect pleasant ambles on farmland trails interspersed with secret quays and pocketed views of the rivers. One such hike is the Bilwijk path, which is an easy 14km, involving fence-climbing and patches of uneven ground. A walking stick might be a good idea and wellies too, for the soggy grassland.
Near the Wadden Sea there are large expanses of mud flats, which tourists can walk over. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like walking along the bottom of the sea, then this is probably the closest you can get! You’ll be led by a team of expert guides who will point out the flora and fauna that you’ll discover on the way; maybe you’ll see a group of seals hanging around the dunes, or a flock of marine birds.
If you're looking for adventure, look no further than Denmark. It comprises 443 islands as well as the peninsula of Jutland, which is fringed with dunes and sandy beaches. Although now the land is mostly arable, but that doesn't mean you can't still find pockets of the timeless wild.
If you're someone who relishes verdant open spaces and unspoiled vistas then Germany is the place for you. Its landscapes are timeless, stretching from the Bavarian Alps to the Baltic Sea, beautified by forested uplands and the wide expanses of the Northern European Plain.
The snow-capped Alps are really the Holy Grail of mountaineering in Germany. If you're up for the challenge you can venture from hut to hut, taking winding paths and observing spectacles that are renewed each season: spring wildflowers, autumnal forests and summer swimming spots. Walking routes in the Alps range from wide, open spaces to steep, narrow causeways covered in snow all year round, so whether you’re a casual rambler or an experienced hiker, you’re sure to find something to suit you.
A hiking trail in eastern Germany which is among the most scenic in the world, Painter’s Way combines stunning mountain views and bizarre rock needles with lush, verdant forests, rivers and brooks. The area gets its name from the fact that many artists and painters used to head to the area for inspiration during the Romantic period.
France is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and part of the reason for this is its beautiful unspoiled countryside, perfect for hiking and walking.
Its trail system is a staggering 110,000 miles long, which can seem overwhelming, but the Dordogne is a good flowing compass to get you started. By following the river you'll discover quaint villages, chateaus and castles. You'll have chances to sample the exquisite cuisine, such as local specialities like strawberries and truffles, or, if you're eager to press on, you can cut a path to Beynac, which is perched on a limestone crag and still considered one of the most beautiful villages in all of France.
La Manche, Normandy
Sometimes referred to as the Hiker’s Paradise, La Manche has more than 7000km of hiking trails to discover with everything from beautiful footpaths and green-ways to guided walks across the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Alternatively, with national parks and nature reserves such as Contentin and Bessin or gorgeous areas such as Mortain and Coutances, even the most experienced hikers will find some scenery to take their breath away here.
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