You’ve ticked the Dolomites, Pyrenees, and most of Wales off your European hiking bucket list. Now it’s time to explore the incredible mountain ranges of Eastern Europe. Whether you’re after a gentle hike or a challenging trek, these hiking trails will leave you breathless for all the right reasons.
1. Take a breath of fresh air in Poland
Love walking, nature, and fresh mountain air? Not such a fan of treacherous rocky paths? Then the Morskie Oko Trail in the Tatra Mountains, also known as the Polish Alps, is the perfect choice for a day trip from Krakow. This immensely popular trail is 5.6 miles (9 km) long and you’ll pass stunning mountain and lake scenery. It’s a favorite trip for locals, from kids to grandparents, and the going is easy — it’s all on asphalt, so you can focus on enjoying the surrounding scenery. If you’re based in Wroclaw, a day hike at Rock City, just over the Czech border, is a fantastic place to see unique and fascinating rock formations.
2. Experience a natural high in Slovenia
If you want to be king of the mountains, you can hike the whole Slovenian Mountain trail. Summer and early autumn are the best months for a hike or trek here. This trail covers all the Alpine ranges in Slovenia, namely the Kamnik, Karavanke, and Julian Alps. Hiking the trail from start to finish will take you about 30 days. If you don’t have that much time to explore this forested wilderness, opt for a full day hike to Debela Peč. This peak is over 6600 feet (2 km) high and you’ll see amazing views of Lake Bled. If you’re a foodie, work up an appetite with a hike and traditional Slovenian food tour.
3. Step into a fairytale land in the Czech Republic
Some of the most inspiring landscapes and unbelievable rock formations can be found in Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic. No wonder it’s a favorite destination for hikers and climbers alike. It’s easily accessible from Prague, while the German part of the park is called Saxon Switzerland and makes a great trip from Dresden. Whichever country you’re visiting from, you’ll see soaring vistas of the sandstone rock formations. Join a hiking tour to see the best of the park and marvel at the iconic Pravcicka Gate, a location where The Chronicles of Narnia was filmed.
4. Reach for the skies in Romania
If you’d like to do some hiking with incredible vistas as a reward, the Retezat Mountains in Romania should be your next destination. These mountains form part of the Southern Carpathians, and there are over 50 lakes. Explore them on the Glacier Lakes Trail which lasts around eight hours over a 3-mile route. Before or after your hiking trip, be sure to check out some of Transylvania’s castles and forests, and take time to explore its capital, Bucharest.
5. Soak up the scenery in Croatia
One of the undisputed highlights of visiting Croatia is its coastline. But inland, Plitvice Lakes in Plitvice National Park is a favorite hiking destination with 16 interleading terraced lakes and waterfalls. Best of all, the lakes are easily accessible from Zadar, Split, and Zagreb, making a day-trip here a must if you’re an avid hiker and nature-lover.