The Best Hiking Trails in Europe

For those with an adventurous spirit, hiking can be a fantastic way to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, scenery and beauty of the world around you, whether traveling in a foreign country or exploring your own. While hiking on mountains with a vast view of the ground below, or on beaches, deserts or beautiful countryside’s, it is easy to lose yourself in the beauty of the present moment. Anyone who loves hiking should visit some of the best trails in Europe; its diverse climate, history, ecological life and landscapes make it perfect for those of any preference. Anyone interested should check out these amazing European hiking trails.

The Pindos/Vikos Circuit: Northern Greece

By Bogdan Giuşcă

By Bogdan Giuşcă

Located in northern Greece, the Pindos mountain range offers incredible sights for even the pickiest hiker. The Pindos/Vikos circuit allows hikers to experience the beauty of historical stone villages, which are perched along the sides of the mountain range, as well as the unique and beautiful ecological life found in northern Greece and Albania. Anyone looking to complete this circuit in its entirety should be aware of its 58 kilometre length, making it up to a seven day hike for avid hikers.

Additionally, outside of the main trail one can find a variety of smaller shepherd’s trails that offer stunning views of the sprawling mountain range.

Hadrian’s Wall Path: Northern England

hadrians_wall_mapHadrian’s Wall is rich with history and stretches close to 76 miles from start to finish. Designed by Roman emperor, Hadrian, this wall was an effort to retreat and consolidate forces by creating a powerful permanent 14-foot high boundary to deter the near constant attack from the barbarians from the north. While most choose to not hike the entire trail, there are a variety of paths that are exceptionally beautiful which traverse volcanic rock ridges as well as the scenic moorland and lakes.

For anyone planning a trip to this region, the most attractive and historically rich paths can be found between Cilurnum and Walton.

Monte Rosa Circuit: Switzerland

By Wikipedia user Ingiro

By Wikipedia user Ingiro

Anyone who loves the climate and beautiful mounts of the Alps will thoroughly enjoy this high altitude and strenuous hike. This hike boasts beautiful mountain and valley views along with distinct ecological life that varies by altitude. The entire circuit should only be attempted by the most skilled hikers as it is nearly a two-week hike; luckily, there are a variety of portions accessible by car for anyone but the most dedicated hikers.

The Great Volcanic Ridge: La Palma, Spain

By  Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

By Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

This hike takes one through the scenic La Palma, a volcanic mountain island, in Spain. The beauty of this hike comes from the extreme effects that local volcanic eruptions have caused over time, creating unique plants, rock formations, craters and outcrops. This hike has no designated length, so one can visit more prominent and unique areas quickly, making it great for the preferences of anyone

All of these hikes are a fantastic way to get out and view the beautiful and historic landscape of some of the most fascinating countries in Europe; however, before choosing any one trail, be certain to prepare the proper equipment and hiking gear in order to ensure an enjoyable and safe time. When you go on hiking holidays, make sure you take the right footwear and comfortable clothing!

Author James Richings is a 25 year old traveller from the UK who writes for directline-holidays.co.uk. Follow him on twitter @richings_james.

Breaking in Hiking Shoes

Hiking is an enjoyable and healthy activity. However, with ill-fitting footwear, this beneficial activity soon turns into a nightmare.

by Brazzy 2005

by Brazzy 2005

Before traveling on any hiking trail, make sure your footwear is properly broken-in.

There are three basic types of hiking shoes: long distance hiking shoes, boots for backpacking, and boots for day trips. The breaking-in steps for each type of shoe is slightly different. For all hiking boots, however, the shoes should feel comfortable in the store. If any part of the shoe irritates you in the store, choose a different shoe model. No amount of breaking in will transform a poor fit into a good fit.

General Break-in Instructions:

Wear the shoes around the house with the socks you plan to wear on the trail. Watch for any signs of discomfort. Always lace the boots up firmly and keep the tongue aligned in the front of the shoe.

Take your boots out around town after wearing them in the house for 3-4 days. Gradually increase how long you wear the boots and

by Han-bich 2009

by Han-bich 2009

how far you travel in them. If you notice any pain at any stage, take a break for a while.

Add in a little extra weight (to mimic the weight of a hiking backpack) after wearing the boots out. Gradually increase the weight of the pack and the distance you travel. Your boots should fit comfortably at every stage. If not, take the boot to the store where you purchased them and ask them to stretch the boot to remove any remaining hotspots. Once your boots feel comfortable traveling several miles around town, you are ready to take them onto the trail.

Breaking in Lightweight Hiking Boots

In the store, look for shoes that have a flexible sole with an aggressive tread and as much cushioning as you can get while still

maintaining a lightweight shoe. The theory goes that one pound of weight on the foot equals five on the back, so lightweight shoes are essential for long hikes. Try to find hiking boots under two pounds, if possible. If any part of the shoe pinches or feels uncomfortable, choose a new style.

Breaking in Moderate and Heavy Weight Boots

Moderate and heavy hiking boots are perfect for hiking in tough terrain. However, they take longer to break in than lightweight hiking shoes. Expect to wear your hiking boots for several weeks around the house and town before they are ready to take out on the trail. You will know the shoes are ready when they flex easily and are slightly larger around your feet.

Proper preparation is the best way to break in any hiking boot. Do not try any quick breaking-in tactics, as these could ruin your hiking boots. Be patient, and remember that the more time you spend breaking in your shoes at home, the more comfortable you will feel out on the trail.

How do you break in your hiking boots?

Two Footwear Overheating Solutions for Cross Terrain Hiking

A guest post by Mike Smith from Hi-Tec UK.
Specialists in walking boots and tactel socks.

When setting out for a day’s hiking, you are often able to work out which is the right footwear without too much deliberation. As long as the terrain of your planned route doesn’t change too
much, you will only require one pair of hiking socks and one pair of walking shoes. However, some hikes may involve a variety of terrains, from easy walking through grassy fields, to clambering over more challenging rocky ground. Such a situation is more likely to arise if you are going on a hike that is going to take days rather than hours. Of course, a solid pair of walking boots will be able to handle all types of terrain. Yet, if hiking in warm weather, walking boots can cause your feet to overheat. As your feet perspire, it can make walking uncomfortable and even cause soreness. So, what can you do to overcome the problem?

Take Two

The first and perhaps most obvious option, is to take along two pairs of footwear. If you are likely to experience extreme terrain, then it is advisable to take walking boots to provide support to the ankle and sole areas. You could then pack a pair of walking shoes, which can be worn when the trail is less demanding. Of course, there is the weight factor to consider. Taking a pair of sandals can help keep your backpack weight down, whilst being the ideal solution on especially warm days. Be sure to avoid fashion sandals and source out a specially designed model that is suitable for hiking. These sandals should be comfortable, well-cushioned and manufactured from wicking materials to keep your feet dry.

hi_tec_shoes

In instances where you will encounter mid-difficulty terrain, you can further reduce the weight of you pack by taking walking shoes and your sandals; leaving your boots at home. Whichever two footwear models you decide to take, do not overlook the weight issue. Whilst your backpack may seem manageable when you try it on at home; you will soon feel the extra weight once you set off on your hike. Try to shed as much weight form your pack as possible, without leaving yourself short of the essentials.

Midway Approach

hi_tec_tactel_socksIf you don’t like the idea of taking two pairs of footwear, or simply can’t shave enough weight from your pack to make it a viable option, then you could instead opt for taking only walking shoes. This, of course, means that you will have less support around your ankles and soles when you reach the rougher terrain. To counter this, you should be wearing walking socks, which will offer some support to these areas.

In addition, you could also take along a pair of insoles, which can be added into the walking shoes as required for additional cushioning. Just remember to adjust your laces accordingly to make a little extra room for the insoles, or you may end up making your feet sore. Whilst the insoles will add a little weight to your pack, it is only minimal. In terms of the overheating issue, you could try a strong antiperspirant, such as Dove or Rexona. Just remember to get a little one can so that you can squeeze it into your backpack without losing too much room.

Hiking Etiquette

hiking-moyan-brennNothing is as invigorating as a brisk hike in the outdoor air. Hiking is an excellent way to view nature up close, exercise your muscles, and enjoy the beauty and scenery around you. Nothing ruins a good hike faster than someone who doesn’t follow appropriate hiking etiquette. If you are new to hiking, you may be unaware of some of the unwritten rules. However, even old hiking pros can still benefit from a refresher course in manners now and then!

Follow these basic hiking rules and you will maximize the safety and enjoyment of everyone during your hike:

Stick to the trail

Sticking to the trail is the first rule of a safe hiking experience. Trails are used for a reason, usually because they are the safest way to travel through a particular area. Going off-trail is not only dangerous, but it could harm the surrounding wildlife or plant ecosystem.

Share the trail

Chances are, you will encounter a fellow traveler at least once during your hike. Generally, slower travelers stick to the right and passing is done on the left, just like on the road. Bikers yield to hikers, horses, and motorized vehicles. Hikers yield to motorized vehicles and horses. Downhill travelers allow uphill travelers the right of way.

Keep things clean

Just like the Boy Scouts, you should always try to leave a trail cleaner than you found it. Always dispose of trash properly, and if you see trash littering the trail, pick it up and dispose of it. If you must urinate during your hike, take a few steps away from the trail to complete your business. Use biodegradable cleaning products, if possible.

Respect the atmosphere

Most people hike to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Respect this desire by keeping loud chatter and activity to a minimum. Rowdiness can not only disturb fellow hikers, but it will also disturb the surrounding wildlife.

Know and follow regulations

Before starting on any hike, make sure you know the regulations for that particular trail. Rules for building fires, eating, disposing of waste, and other trail regulations vary from trail-to-trail. Make sure you know the rules for your trail to avoid causing unnecessary and undesired impact on the area.

Chat with others

Greet others briefly, when you pass them on the trail. This is polite, and it can also act as a safety measure. Getting to know others on the trail can help prevent accidents and increases the safety of all involved.

 

What etiquette rules are important to you during hikes?