One of the finest seasons to enjoy the countless walking trails in Europe in spring. Just before the summer rush, as the days get longer, the weather is clement is the first sign of wildflowers and cherry blossom begins to bloom.
Nature in spring is best appreciated on foot and there is no end to amazing spring walks in Europe. Whether you prefer dramatic mountain capes, coastal paths, search for waterfalls hidden in undulating valleys or a forest trail, grab your hiking boots, load your backpack and download the sweatcoin app.
Walking in nature is good any time of year and there is plenty of evidence to show walking in nature has positive mental and physical health benefits. But springtime is arguably the best time to go hiking and lift your spirits. The cold winter months are fading and the summer is approaching.
Alsace Wine Route, Alsace Region, France
The Alsation route des vins takes you through some of France’s most charming villages which naturally serve the best wines in the region. If you’re allured by fine wine, you can’t go wrong anywhere along the 100 miles (170km) of trails.
It will be one hell of a trip if you cover the centurion of miles and sample every wine, but the smart option is to cherry-pick a section of the route where you will find vineyards making your favourite wines, spring events you want to see or place of interest.
The charming medieval villages along this route are postcard-perfect; colourful half-timbered houses, cobbled streets and alluring canals. The rolling hills and clusters of trees in the stunning countryside that divides them ooze a distinct charm as well.
Lake Bled and Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Slovenia is among the most fascinating countries in Europe but tends to get overlooked by visitors that generally head to nearby countries such as Croatia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland. But don’t let Slovenia escape your attention.
The Triglav National Park overflows with natural beauty. In the centre sits the magical Lake Bled, surrounded by walking trails that snake through the mountain forests and a sliver of coastline.
Located a short one-hour drive from the country’s capital, Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a magical place that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairytale or Game of Thrones. Whatever route you take will treat you to remarkable views of the lake and the picturesque village on the central island.
Spring is the best time of year to visit the Greek islands. Summers can be very hot and humid and attracts huge crowds from cruise ships. Greece is also a family favourite during the school holidays.
Naxos is one of the Cyclades islands, all of which are stunning by the way, but Naxos is generally quieter than its noisy neighbours, Santorini and Mykonos. With 15 hiking trails, it also has the most interesting and diverse selection of terrain to explore, many of which lead to medieval castles, quaint chapels or the ancient sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.
The stunning walking trails from the charming mountain village of Zillertal 40 km east of Innsbruck take you into the heart of the Alps. It’s also a less travelled path and gives you an excellent opportunity to acquaint yourself with some traditional Alpine culture of Austria.
Blessed with beautiful alpine pastures sweeping down the mountain slopes, sprint is the best time to visit to see how nature blooms once the ice melts. And the glaciated peaks in the distance are still there for all to see.
Along the walking trail, you also come across pop-up huts selling local delicacies such as cheese, smoked ham, cold cuts of meat and Kaiserschmarrn, shredded pancake, a favourite dessert of the Austrians.
Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany
Germany’s scenic Berchtesgaden National Park boasts some 260 km of footpaths and steep mountain trails that provide glorious views of the Alps in neighbouring Austria. The walking trails range from easy to hard so there is something for ramblers of all levels.
One of the best routes in the national park takes you from Königsee (King’s lake) to Röthbach Falls, Germany’s tallest waterfall. It’s a difficult trek but well worth the effort. You can also expect to discover an abundance of wildlife along the way including golden eagles, ibex and marmot.
Padis Plateau, Transylvania, Romania
Romania is another of the lesser-explored countrysides in Europe, but Transylvania opens you up to a magical land of fairytale castles, waterfalls, vineyards and blood-curdling legends.
Transylvania is a vast woodland of rolling hills and sprawling valleys. On Padis Plateau in the Apuseni Mountains, late April and early May is the peak of the country’s wildflower bloom. Once the snow melts away, the plateau comes to life with an ocean of beautiful purple crocuses.
Some of the valley walking trails in the Padis Plateau are cut short by dozens of fallen pine trees. If you want to see one of the many waterfalls in the region head to Cascada Bulbuci. A short, but steep climb upwards brings you into the stunning gorge which presents you with amazing views of two other waterfalls.
Su Gorroppu Gorge, Sardinia
Su Gorroppu gorge in Sardinia off the coast of Italy is the island’s most intrepid canyon and one of the deepest in Europe. Located in the dramatic Barbagia region, the canyon invites you to explore unparalleled views of dramatic cliffs, dense forests and awe-inspiring mountains.
There are routes for walkers of all levels. You will even find family trails which are ideal for children and pets. If you want something more challenging you will find everything from steep and strenuous hill climbs to rugged terrain where mountaineering skills are required.
Before heading out familiarise yourself with the colour scheme of the routes. Greens are the easy trails, yellow requires some climbing and ropes, and red is for expert rock climbers. Spring is an ideal time to visit because it’s fairly dry at this time of year so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain or navigating slippery paths.
Terrasses De Lavaux, I Chexbres, Switzerland
The nature trail overlooks the glorious Lavaux vineyards and brings you into contact with the unspoilt Swiss countryside a short distance from Lausanne. The 11km route starts from St. Saphorin and traces the shores of Lake Geneva until you reach Lutry. Walking at a steady pace, the walk takes 3.5-4 hours.
Regarded as one of the most scenic regions in Switzerland, the Lavaux vineyards, dotted with picturesque villages, are protected by Unesco World Heritage Trust in order to preserve its unrivalled beauty. If you intend to visit any of the wine cellars, you may want to book in advance to secure a place.
Djerdap National Park, Serbia
Running alongside the Danube, Djerdap National Park presents dozens of walking trails of various lengths and difficulty levels. The network of paths brings you into contact with breathtaking landscapes, an abundance of wildlife and a stunning view of the Romanian coastline.
Derjap was the cradle of Neolithic civilisation in Europe and the area continues to have important historic significance. En route, there are plenty of historical monuments to discover including the 2nd Century remains of Trajan’s Bridge, a Roman military fortress dedicated to the goddess Diana and the 14th Century Golubac Fortress.
Montserrat Mountain, Spain
Located 54km from Barcelona, Montserrat Mountain attracts visitors of all ages to investigate its peculiar rock formations. If you also want to explore the wonderful Benedictine Abbey Santa Maria, monastery, basilica and museums, take one of the shorter walking trails such as the Cami de la Sta Cova trail or the 1236m walk from the monastery to the highest peak, Sant Jeroni.
For a longer hike, take the Canal del Gat path from the monastery towards Sant Jeroni. The initial climb is steep and takes you into the forest before bringing you to some lesser-known trails offering spectacular views of the mesmerising rock formations.
This circular route takes around 6-hours to complete, but there are longer paths on the Southern side of the summit valley which run in between the rocks.
Weerribben-Wieden, Jabikspaad trail, The Netherlands
The Jabikspaad trail in the Netherlands has historical significance in that it’s an earlier stage of the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Starting from Sint Jacobiparochie, the village named after the apostle James, the 130km stretch through Friesland is broken into 20 stages.
One of the most spectacular routes takes you through the Unesco Heritage Nature Reserve of Weerribben-Wieden in the province of Overijssel. Along the trail, you should expect to see an abundance of wildlife, windmills, canals and quaint villages – the quintessential Dutch postcard.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
If you want to leave the crowds behind and explore pristine coastal scenery in a mystical land, head to the Isle of the Skye off the coast of northern Scotland. With sweeping landscapes, crystal lochs and the jagged rocks of the Black Cuillin, the breathtaking scenery comes alive in the spring.
Regarded as a trekkers paradise, the Isle of Skye has a wide assortment of hiking trails rich in wildlife to explore. On the coastal routes, if you’re lucky, you might expect to see dolphins, whales and basking sharks.
One of the most loved walking trails is Quiraing and an 11km viewpoint loop around gargantuan cliffs that slump down to create a bizarre landscape of looming towers. Head into the hidden valleys and heather moors to spot red deer and eagles circling above.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Spanning 30,00 hectares, Plitvice is easily Croatia’s largest national park and arguably the most attractive piece of this stunning part of the world. The magical landscape is dominated by a combination of meadows and forests, all of which segregate the region’s network of pristine lakes.
The lake system is divided into upper and lower and connected by a watercourse complete with flowing waterfalls that spill from dolomite and limestone rocks. Surrounding by thick forest, home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species, visitors have the opportunity to explore the lakes along with a series of constructed trails.
Taevaskoja Nature Trail, Estonia
The 3km long Taevaskoja nature trail near the city of Põlva, is one of Estonia’s most famous landmarks. Located on the banks of the Ahja River, the Taevaskoda Nature Trail is home to a unique type of sandstone which towers into the sky – known to the locals as “Heaven’s Hall”.
Regarded as Mother Nature’s masterpiece, the Taevaskoda nature trail gives you the opportunity to explore caves and bathe in the Emaläte Spring. Along the way are 10 observation points on the trail with boards providing information in English, Russian and Estonian.