Hiking in Europe: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Posted on September 1, 2011

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“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  

— John Muir

There are tons of hiking options in Europe, from a leisurely day stroll to the challenge of Mt. Etna in Sicily.

Hiking is the perfect way to escape and follow the road less traveled. If you are studying in Europe and love the great outdoors, there’s an easy way to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of a crowded city and into the wilderness. With the right preparation, the right gear, and a free day to spare, you can easily find a day hike from any major city in Europe.

 By Gina Mussio

When traveling to unknown places it may seem much less intimidating to simply follow the guidebooks and see only the most popular sites and eat at only the restaurants listed. It may seem impossible to break out of the cycle of generic travel plans, but there are a variety of ways you can set your own trail and ditch the travel itineraries.

Get off the beaten path and explore your destination through excursions like hiking.

Covering a country by foot is an intimate way to view and discover your newest destination and can be a perfect way to relieve stress and stretch your legs and your mind. Keep these pointers in mind when searching for a hiking adventure:

  • There’s a trail for everyone!
    Whether you are an Olympian athlete or a casual walker you can find the right trail for you. Hiking is a major pasttime in European countries like Germany, and even in Italy or Greece you can find a nice stroll through the countryside. Do a little research to plan your hike—decide what you would like to see, your fitness level and how long you’d like to hike by searching surrounding trails.
    Wikipedia provides a list of Hiking Trails in Europe, including trails in Italy, Germany, Austria and France.
    Want to do a really interesting excursion? Try Wadlopen, or mudflat hiking, in Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands.
  • It’s good for you.
    Hiking is a better workout than you might expect, sometimes burning up to 500 calories per hour. Not only that, but being outside and absorbing yourself in nature can significantly lower stress levels and even lower your blood pressure. Hike during your travels and you just might lose weight, clear your mind, and experience something new!  
  • It is always available.
    So you hadn’t planned a hiking trip before you came abroad, or perhaps you have one free day and are looking to explore the countryside — there’s always going to be an available place for your trek. Countryside trails, lengths of beach or national parks can all be prime hiking locations. Try local ski-resorts, which are often transformed into hiking zones in the summertime. Frequently the ski lifts run during the summer as well to tote you up the mountain if that’s more your style, then you can enjoy the view before starting your trek back down.
  • Breathtaking views.
    Speaking of views, your hike will most certainly end with a breathtaking panorama, one that is even more rewarding after your hard work getting there. Hiking can and will provide a different way to view a new area. You’ll have a chance to view the surrounding landscape in a personal way and have a sense of accomplishment after reaching your destination.

While hiking might not be something you ever considered before, it’s never too late to start!

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