11 Thru-hikes to Explore in Europe & UK
1. Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is likely the most popular network to explore in Europe. The network covers ancient and historic pilgrimage walking routes. All the networks lead to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Camino Francés is the most famous of the Camino routes. It has been walked by hundreds of millions of pilgrims over 1200 years. At its longest, it stretches over 750 km (460 mi) from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago de Compostela. It is a walk full of culture, history, and spectacular views.
2. Camino del Norte
Find a pilgrimage of lush countryside, stunning beaches, and rich history on Spain’s Camino del Norte. The Camino del Norte, or The Northern Way, is the northernmost of the Spanish Camino routes, taking pilgrims through the beautiful green countryside of Northern Spain. Though it is less well known, it is said to be one of the oldest Camino routes. This Camino is a coastal route, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean from rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Lush green landscapes from coast to mountain await pilgrims on the Camino del Norte, and the delicious coastal cuisines of the region will have you stopping at every rural restaurant to sample the local flavors.
3. Coast to Coast
Walk the width of Northern England from steep mountains to cozy pubs on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Path. The Coast to Coast Path is a 192-mile route that runs from St. Bees on the Irish Sea across the width of Northern England to the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay. This spectacular two-week walk crosses three National Parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. The walk overs diverse terrains including steep mountain climbs, damp bogs, ancient ruins, pastures, medieval castles and monasteries, inviting villages, and cozy pubs.
4. Cotswold Way
Follow the Cotswold escarpment past scenic countryside and rich history on the Cotswold Way. The Cotswold Way is a National Trail in the United Kingdom that runs from Chipping Campden to Bath, following the beautiful Cotswold escarpment for much of its course. The trail leads through quintessentially English countryside with little villages of honey-coloured stone and open farmland all the way to the historic city of Bath. The route follows the Cotswold escarpment, the route often offers fantastic views of the surrounding country, including such famous landmarks as the River Severn, the Forest of Dean, the Black Mountains along the Welsh border, and the Vale of Evesham. As is the case with many trails in the United Kingdom, the Cotswold Way also passes many notable places of historic interest, including the location of the Battle of Lansdowne, Sudeley Castle, and the ruins of Hailes Abbey.
5. Croatian Long Distance Trail
High mountain trails, beautiful forests, and glittering coastline on the Croatian Long Distance Trail. The Croatian Long Distance Trail is a 2,145 km (1,333 mi) national scenic hiking trail that winds its way through the beautiful landscape of Croatia from the eastern terminus in Ilok—near the beautiful Fruška Gora mountain—to the most northern point, Sveti Martin na Muri, then to the most western point, Savudrija, and on southwards past scenic tourist destinations Split and Dubrovnik to the southernmost point, Prevlaka. The trail itself is characterized by an avoidance of asphalt roads. It instead takes hikers on a journey of mountain trails, rolling hills, beautiful forests, wide plains, glittering coastline, and three stunning national parks.
6. Hadrian’s Wall Path
Hadrian’s Wall Path is the first National Trail to follow the course of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This week-long walk is regarded as one of the most pleasant of the National Trails. The 84-mile (135km) trail follows the course of northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, a 2nd-century fortification built in the border country between England and Scotland on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in the year 122 AD. The walk traverses beautiful countryside, with small villages and welcoming pubs along the way.
7. Ridgeway Trail
The Ridgeway is a 87-mile (139km) National Trail that runs from Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. Part of this route follows Britain’s oldest road, dating back millennia. This is not a difficult walk and the rewards are many: stunning countryside, Iron Age forts, Neolithic burial mounds, white horses carved into the chalk downs, and picturesque villages.
8. South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a 100-mile (160km) National Trail that follows the line of chalk hills stretching from Winchester in Hampshire across Sussex to Eastbourne. Walking the length of the Downs is the best way to experience this beautiful landscape with its mixture of rolling hills, steep hanging woodland and windswept fields. You’ll also pass postcard-worthy picturesque villages with welcoming pubs, thatched cottages, and quintessentially English country gardens. This app is the companion to Trailblazer’s South Downs Way guide book.
9. Tour du Mont Blanc
Trek the European Alps through the epic peaks and stunning valleys of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s most famous hiking trails. This loop route passes through seven stunning mountain valleys around the spectacular Mont Blanc. This amazing scenery is classic European Alps: rugged spiky mountains, lush green valleys, strenuous mountain passes, and photo-worthy vistas. Hikers can start the loop from a variety of points in France, Italy, and Switzerland, including in Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley, Les Contamines in the Montjoie Valley, Courmayeur, Champex, and Martigny. The route also passes Chamonix, the famous resort which hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924.
10. West Highland Way
Explore the parks, moors, mountains, and lochs of Scotland on the famous West Highland Way. The West Highland Way is a 96-mile (154km) trail that passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Britain. From the outskirts of Glasgow it winds along the wooded banks of Loch Lomond, across the wilderness of Rannoch Moor, over the mountains above Glencoe to a dramatic finish below Ben Nevis—Britain’s highest mountain.
11. Czech Trail
The Czech Trail is an all-volunteer, non-commercial project of a group of enthusiasts who cooperate with Czech Tourist Club and offers an opportunity to set off on a beautiful and inspirational hike across the country, Czech Republic. We believe that anyone can do the Czech Trail. It is entirely up to you when, where and how you start. You can do the whole hike in one go, the North or South Trail, or do sections one by one. Do a bit each weekend. Go west to east, or east to west. Go from one hut to the next, or sleep in a tent. Walk slowly or quickly – or you can run.
The website gives you all the information necessary to start the hike. For more info you can check out the Facebook page Stezka Českem, where more experienced hikers offer their expert advice. Get the necessary information, check what other hikers have to share about the trail – and off you go. Because anyone can do this hike!