There are times in life when nothing is better than taking a real break. It’s not enough to just get on a plane to see a new place. It’s not enough to just get in the car and drive. Even a microadventure isn’t enough. Sometimes it has to be a real adventure, like hiking. Just you, your backpack, nature, and nothing else – the adventure of hiking.
1. Ireland: Hiking between legends and goblins
In the hiking paradise of Ireland, rugged coasts alternate with lush green hills, moors, and clear lakes. The weather is fairly mild year-round, but it tends to be warmer and drier between May and September. Even in summer, it’s a good idea to pack a warm (waterproof) jacket. A hot tip is the 2,600 km long Wild Atlantic Way coastal road, from which you can set off to numerous hiking highlights such as the Bricklieve Mountains with their stone age graves, the Slieve League Cliffs, the untamed Connemara, or the famous Cliffs of Moher. The Bluestack Way, a 65 km long hiking route, on the other hand, leads you inland to beautiful lakes such as Lake Eske and the Bluestack Mountains. It’s likely that you will only encounter some sheep in the midst of the unspoiled nature. Given this idyll, it’s no wonder that the Irish love hiking! In summer and autumn, hiking festivals take place all over Ireland, where you can hike with locals and then have a drink in a friendly pub.
2. Sweden: One with nature
The Scandinavian wilderness, interrupted only by deep blue lakes with lonely log cabins on the shore, is a real destination of desire. The Swedes themselves love the fresh air and their beautiful nature. There are enough hiking trails and even hidden paths off the main routes. The most famous and truly impressive is the Kungsleden – the king of the European long-distance hiking trails. A total of over 400 km long, you can of course also choose shorter stages and walk past ice-cold mountain streams and through wooded tundra or climb Sweden’s highest mountains in the Fjäll. Things are a little tamer in Södermanland around the capital Stockholm. In addition to forests and countless lakes, Sweden’s castles and historical sights await you here. Incidentally, the right of access applies in Sweden. Adventurers can wild camp in nature for up to two nights as long as nothing is disturbed or destroyed. A special highlight is the Fjällräven Classic hiking event, which invites beginners and old hands to multi-day trekking in Swedish Lapland in the summer at the best time for hiking.
3. France and Spain: The Way of St. James
The Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a network of pilgrimage routes that lead to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, where the remains of St. James are believed to be buried. The most famous route is the French Way, which starts in the Pyrenees and travels about 800 kilometers through the heart of Spain. Along the way, hikers pass through beautiful landscapes, charming towns and villages, and historical landmarks. Many people undertake the pilgrimage for spiritual or personal reasons, while others simply enjoy the opportunity to hike and discover new places. The Way of St. James can be challenging at times, with long distances and varying terrain, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the Way of St. James is an unforgettable journey that combines physical exercise, cultural discovery, and personal reflection.
Even if you have only recently been hiking in hiking boots, the hiking trail is technically manageable. You can also almost never get lost thanks to the well-marked network of paths and the many hostels. To avoid the crowds of pilgrims in the summer, it is best to set off in the spring or autumn. But then you can expect the authentic pilgrim experience: peace, contemplation, nature, and encounters with special people.
4. Greece: To the seat of the gods
Hiking in Greece has the advantage of experiencing the beauty of the country away from the tourist crowds. And with unique coastal landscapes, gentle hills, or enchanted fog forests, Greece is truly blessed. True trekking enthusiasts take their Greek hiking trip to Mount Olympus, the home of the ancient gods. At a height of 2918 meters, the gods are said to have decided the fate of mankind here – of course with a breathtaking view over the national park of the same name. In western Greece, spectacular gorges and refreshing lakes make the Pindos and Zagori regions a hiking Eldorado. And if you want to combine beach and sunbathing with an active holiday, we recommend the Greek islands. Especially Crete (Samaria Gorge), Rhodes (Monolithos Castle) or Corfu (Corfu Trail) lure with fine sandy beaches and pretty cities with radiant white houses as well as with a picturesque hinterland. Between the Greek world of legends, olive groves and ancient temples, you walk here on the paths of the great philosophers. And if you stop in an rustic tavern in the evening and let the soul of Greece melt on your tongue, you are right in the sweet life.
5. Nepal: On the roof of the world
The “roof of the world” inspires respect in every outdoor enthusiast with giants like Mount Everest or Annapurna. But don’t worry, Nepal is also a dream destination for less experienced climbers and pleasure hikers. One of the most beautiful treks in Nepal, which is technically between easy and medium, is the Langtang Valley Trek. Especially for culture enthusiasts or if you want to watch grazing yaks in their natural environment, a real highlight! The popular Annapurna Circuit is demanding. The circular trek leads through Nepalese rainforest and traditional mountain villages around the second highest mountain in the world – a tour with a guide is recommended. Don’t underestimate the challenge, after all, you reach a height of an impressive 5416 meters (Thorong La Pass)! The family-friendly Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is an alternative. It is best to plan your hikes or trekking tours depending on the altitude in the months of February to May and September to December, as the monsoon determines the climate in much of Nepal in the summer. From October to April, the Chitwan National Park in the tropical south of Nepal is also an unforgettable experience. With a little luck, you will be accompanied by tigers, Asian elephants and screaming monkeys.