When it comes to beautiful hiking trails, there’s nothing like Eastern Europe to amaze you. We’ll tell you all about our favourite routes here, with the top 10 trails to consider for your holiday adventure.
1. Kriváň Peak and Važecká Valley, Slovakia
This challenging trail is open only during the late summer/ early autumn months. The trek takes about 7 hours, climbing the High Tatras Mountains towards the peak of Kriváň. Expect awesome views of varied mountain landscape and lush forests en route. The panorama from the top is unforgettable, considering the peak overlooks the Slovak and Polish Tatras.
2. Štrbské Pleso – Tatranská Polianka, Slovakia
This moderate hike is a 6-hour journey from the Mlynická Valley to the peak of Tatranská Polianka. You can take this hike throughout the year, but the winter trek might prove treacherous because of the slippery ice. The longest hike in the Tatras will take you through various passes and lakes, where the forest landscape is breathtaking, with steep climbs.
3. The Donau-Auen National Park, Austria
The Donau-Auen National Park offers great vistas, but its undiscovered gem is the Lobau, a floodplain located in the northern part of the Danube River. Hiking all around it is an incredible experience—you’ll see a varied fauna, and the forest is absolutely enchanting. There are different routes to choose from. Most have a moderate difficulty level, and you only need minimal hiking equipment.
4. Klosterneuburg-Hermannskogel, Austria
This is among the most beautiful routes around Vienna. Its moderate intensity makes it appropriate for most hikers, and you don’t need anything special in terms of gear, except hiking sticks. Get to the train station of Klosterneuburg, and hike to Hermannskogel, which is the highest peak in Vienna. It’s a short, pleasant hike, and you’ll pass through a dark, mystical forest, with large fields and impressive streams, and also see a couple of churches on the way.
5. Karlštejn and the Bohemian Karst, the Czech Republic
This is a one-day hike with a diverse landscape, which is great for beginners or kids. You’ll see rivers and quaint villages, a magnificent gothic castle and walk through a nice forest with meadows, ravines, waterfalls and fjords. The walk uphill is easy, with quarries and cliffs that will take you to a quiet monastery below a cliff wall. The 11 miles can be hiked in about six unforgettable hours.
6. Štěchovice and the Vltava River Valley, the Czech Republic
This awe-inspiring landscape is rather difficult since the trail markings are lacking. So you will need good navigation skills. The walk along the Vltava River Valley will take you through a forest that has dams, villages, meadows and fords along the streams. The walk uphill is hard, but the views are amazing, with small cottages and ravines.
7. János Hill, Hungary
Janos Hill is the highest peak in Budapest, and the trails up are enchanting, albeit easy. There’s also a tower located on the peak, the Elizabeth Lookout Tower—a point from where you can see the whole city of Budapest. The easiest option starts at Normafa and ends up at the tower, but you can also start at the Zugliget train station and climb up. There’s a steep path, with dark forests to navigate through, which makes things all the more interesting.
8. Szárliget – Dorog, Hungary
This 20-hour long trail is on the outskirts of Budapest. It’s open throughout the year, but the best time to do it is the spring when you’ll find the wild lilac fully blossomed. The vivid green forests contrast with the red ammonium limestone in the region. There are various caves here dating as far back as the Megalodon, while the ancient Oligocene pool sediments are visible throughout the basins and mines.
9. Rozália téglagyár – Dobogókő, Hungary
A slightly easier trail that can be completed in under 6 hours, this will take you through another Oligocene-old landscape that was the setting of a clay mine two centuries ago. This is a volcanic landscape, and although you have clipped surfaces where you can find foot holds easily, there are also lots of debris, which can make you slip and fall. The climb on the other side of the mountain is easier, passing through dirt roads, a canyon, and an oak forest. The limestone gorge with creeks and quakes is amazing.
That said, we’re curious what awesome trail you’ll choose. Do you have any other suggestions? Leave us a comment below.