At Atlas & Boots, where we aim to introduce newcomers to the great outdoors, we’ve meticulously curated a list of the best hiking journeys in Europe, ranging from city strolls to more challenging outdoor adventures.
Italy: Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
This journey encompasses two iconic European locations, the ancient city of Pompeii and the notorious Mount Vesuvius, making it ideal for both nature and history enthusiasts.
Starting with a day exploring the cobblestone streets of Pompeii, where the ruins have been perfectly preserved by volcanic ash and rock, the mysterious and expansive site reveals the deadly power lurking beneath Mount Vesuvius.
Since its famous eruption in AD 79, Mount Vesuvius has erupted multiple times, marking it as the only volcano to have done so on the European mainland in the last century. For some visitors, this only adds to its allure.
A short 20-minute hike to the summit, and roughly 30 minutes to descend, requires comfortable walking shoes and a sweater or light jacket, as temperatures on the volcano can drop significantly, especially outside of summer.
Spain: Teide Mountain, Tenerife
Located on the island of Tenerife, Teide Mountain is a stratovolcano standing at 3,718 meters (12,198 feet), making it the highest peak in Spain.
Measured from the ocean floor, Teide Mountain’s height is approximately 7,500 meters (24,600 feet), ranking it as the world’s third-highest volcanic structure. Geologically intriguing, it provides evidence of how oceanic islands evolve.
While seasoned hikers can trek to the summit via the Telesforo Bravo trail, less experienced hikers can take a cable car to an elevation of 2,000 meters. The length of the hike to the summit varies depending on the chosen route (confirm with a guide beforehand), offering breathtaking views of Tenerife and the neighboring Canary Islands.
Situated 50 kilometers northwest of Barcelona, Montserrat is renowned for its distinctive rock formations. After thousands of years of weathering, the mountain range exhibits limestone rocks that resemble giant troll fingers reaching towards the sky.
At the midpoint lies the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, one of Spain’s most venerated icons.
The surrounding Natural Park, Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat, provides the perfect hiking journey for first-time hikers in Europe. Ranging from a challenging five-hour trek to Sant Jeroni to an easier path from the abbey to Degotalls, each route offers panoramic views of the park.
Greece: Santorini, Fira, and Oia Night Hike
The cliffside villages of Santorini, Greece, with their whitewashed architecture against the backdrop of the mysterious caldera bay, make it one of Europe’s most popular destinations.
Escape the crowds on this nighttime hike to the cliffside towns of Fira and Oia. Local experts will guide you to the best viewpoints where you can marvel at the spectacular Greek sunset and witness the enchanting sight of thousands of lights across the island.
Wrap up this simple two-hour hike with a tasting of Santorini wines and a traditional Greek dinner—a perfect choice for first-time hikers.
France: Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes
This is one of the best hiking journeys for first-time hikers in Europe. An experienced guide will lead you into the wilds of the Rhône-Alpes region, providing stunning views of the renowned Mont Blanc peak.
Standing at 4,808 meters (15,774 feet), Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and ranks 11th in the world for topographic prominence (the height of the peak’s summit above the lowest contour line encircling it).
During this hike, you’ll learn about the history and heritage of mountaineering, gain insights into the region’s plant life and glaciology, all while enjoying a picnic lunch with local delicacies against the magnificent backdrop of the Alps.
Sweden: Storforsen Nature Reserve
Storforsen Nature Reserve is a lush expanse of forests, streams, and hiking trails. Its name is derived from the mighty Storforsen rapids, spanning 5 kilometers across the Pite River and dropping 82 meters (269 feet)—most of it in a turbulent waterfall.
Pite River is one of Sweden’s four undeveloped national rivers, and Storforsen Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Europe.
In November and December, the river pools freeze, and even the rapids may ice over. Ice dams force water into the surrounding forest, creating an extraordinary winter wonderland.
Keep an eye out for capercaillies, hares, squirrels, moose, and reindeer. There’s also a chance to spot otters and minks searching for open waters to fish.
Romania: Sibiu Mountains
The Sibiu Mountains in southern Romania showcase a magnificent group of peaks. Hiking here allows you to appreciate stunning landscapes, picturesque meadows, and the grandeur of the Romanian mountain range.
Starting in Paltinis and ascending to approximately 1,900 meters (6,233 feet) at Batrana Peak, the hike passes through dense forests, scenic pastures, and offers spectacular views of the Romanian mountains.
The region is a Natura 2000 site, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of protected animals such as wolves, lynxes, and capercaillies.
On this hike, traverse the blue wonderland of Iceland to reach the most spectacular outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull ice cap—Falljökull.
Admire the beauty of the surrounding mountains, stand in front of a real icefall, and gain insights into how Iceland’s glaciers form and their environmental impact.
This is one of the more challenging hikes in the best hiking journeys of Europe, so be sure to carry warm outdoor clothing, including waterproof jackets and pants, a warm headpiece, gloves, and sturdy hiking boots. You’ll receive professional hiking equipment and training from certified glacier guides.
If the idea of Arctic hiking leaves you feeling cold, worry not. Your expert guide will choose a suitable route for all levels within the group.
Before heading to the island of Kvaloya, Norway’s fourth-largest island, just 25 minutes from Tromsø city center, you’ll be provided with snowshoes and warm clothing.
Expect magnificent views of the Tromsø Strait and the Balsfjord, and keep an eye out for wildlife in Norway’s Arctic region. Conclude the hike with a taste of hot drinks by the fireplace outdoors or in a Lavvo after the trek.
These European hiking journeys offer a rich and diverse experience for first-time hikers, showcasing the wonders of nature, from ancient ruins and karst landscapes to volcanic islands and glaciers.