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My top tips to find the best places to hike near you whether you’re looking for an easy hike or a multi-day hike.
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This summer many of us are feeling the need to get outdoors more than ever after spending so much time indoors and hiking is a great way to do so. Hiking has had such an impact on my life that I go for a day hike almost every weekend and do a multi-day hike at least once a year. How do I find places to hike near me?
Let me tell you!
If you’re new to hiking and looking for an easy hike, it can be daunting to know where to go. Here’s how you can find the best places to hike and the best hiking trails near you – no matter where you are in the world.
Related Reading: The Best Hiking Backpacks.
How to Find The Best Places to Hike Near You in Europe
First of all, I’d recommend checking out our Hiking in Europe Facebook Group. It’s an interactive community of over 1800+members. You’ll get lots of inspiration and can ask other hikers for their recommendations.
I’m a huge fan of these types of groups that foster a community of like-minded hikers. You can get so much valuable information and create real connections.
Related Reading: Day Hiking Packing List
You can also find lots of information on our blog.
Multi-day hikes in Europe:
The Tour du Mont Blanc Trek (TMB) is not only one of the most popular hikes in Europe but one of the best treks in the world with so many paved trails and amazing hikes! So if you love dirt trails, alpine lakes and some peace of mind then hiking the Tour du Mont Blac is more than just a nice option for you. Its the perfect option!
The 170 km, 8000+ elevation gain trek around Mount Blanc Massif, the highest peak (4810 m) in Western Europe is a classic! You’ll hike the beautiful trail of the classic route and see the beautiful scenery that takes you through France, Italy, and Switzerland. Make sure to come prepared for all the green spaces with views!
Hiking in La Gomera offers a unique hiking experience and incredible hiking trails. I loved it and couldn’t believe how much the landscapes changed and how quickly on such a small island. The incredible views though are still stunning and great for beginner hikers and those looking for outdoor adventure! I recommend this hiking trail for all its levels of experience.
The volcanic island has so much diversity with many endemic plants. You’ll find everything from lush green forests, the largest and best-preserved Laurel Forest in the world, to succulents.
The island is comprised of valleys and steep hills that rise dramatically from the sea. You’ll hike along coastal paths, in lush green forests, through red rock, the largest banana plantation in La Gomera, and drought-resistant succulents in drier parts.
The West Highland Way in Scotland is one of the best long-distance hikes in all of Europe. I loved it. It starts in Milngavie, just outside of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.
You’ll hike in changing scenery that takes you through miles of trails of the Scottish Highlands. On your last day, you’ll pass Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Scotland. You’ll finish in Fort William, known as the adventure capital of Scotland. This is great during the summer months, I recommend it.
The last 100 km of the Camino de Santiago in Spain is a good alternative if you don’t have time to walk the full Camino. Today, approximately 200,000 pilgrims walk the route. And while many don’t walk it for religious reasons, it maintains a spiritual element.
You’ll meet many pilgrims seeking meaning in their lives, who are trying to overcome tragedy, who are seeking peace, or who are open to seeing what revelations appear from walking the Camino.
Cinque Terre is the most popular spot on the Italian Riviera with a lot of options for all levels of hikers. It consists of five medieval fishing villages and a national park so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for the perfect hike of a quick day trip, or a strenuous hike. It’s one of my favorite trails and a popular day trip. With so many options to choose from you can decide the length and difficulty of trail you want to go on.
It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll hike the coastal route between these villages on a historic route that has connected villagers for centuries. This popular day hike route is extremely popular so we recommend going off-season if possible. Fortunately, the mild climate makes it a great destination for most of the year, and the cliff views are just out of this world.
In addition to Cinque Terre, you’ll explore other trails that most visitors miss. You’ll come for Cinque Terre but the quieter trails may just end up being your favorites with their dramatic scenery but without the crowds.
One of the highlights is the hiking trail that leads to San Fruttuoso Abbey. It’s a 1000-year-old monastery that’s only reachable by foot or by boat! Most people come by boat but you’re not most people, so naturally, you come on foot.
When you think of traveling from Bologna to Florence in Italy, you probably think of taking the train or going by car. Instead, consider hiking the historic Path of Gods Italy trail for an unforgettable journey.
The journey to conquering the path of gods takes an hour by car and it will take you 6 days to hike it but it’s SO worth it! And offers a unique opportunity to explore parts of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy that most travelers and avid hikers miss.
Europe is a great destination for hikers and an amazing place for backcountry trips! You’ll find thousands of the best hiking trails in Europe ranging from easy-going gorgeous coastal routes to rolling hills to challenging climbs in the Alps. That’s both good news and bad news but always with amazing views!
The good news is that there’s something for hikers of all fitness levels. The bad news is that with so much choice it can be mind-boggling.
Even if you know you want to hike in the Alps, for instance, they’re 1200 km (750 miles) long. And you have to choose which country you want to visit.
The Alps are found in seven different countries: France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Not to mention the thousands of amazing hikes filled with the natural beauty outside of the Alps! Plus you can come hike during the hot summer days or have winter hiking adventures too.
Related Reading: How to Get to Cinque Terre
Apps To Find the Best Places to Hike From Easy to Difficult Hikes Near You
Hiker in Cinque Terre, Italy
Recommended Reading: Best Walking Holidays in Italy
Outdoor Active (Europe)
Outdoor Active is both a website and app. You can use it to search for trails by area and can search by length, difficulty and/or elevation gain. There’s a free version and a pro version.
The free version used to have more features. However, it’s now limited, so I’d recommend searching their website instead of using the app directly.
AllTrails.com offers users a similar experience to Outdoor Active. You can both search and track your hikes. You can also customize your search. Ie. if you’re looking for the best dog-friendly or wheelchair-compatible hike near you, this app is an excellent choice.
Gaia GPS (Worldwide)
Gaia GPS lets you search for hikes by location. What I love most about this app are its topographical maps. Having said that, I usually use another site to find a hike that has better search functions. Then, I import the GPS tracks into Gaia GPS and use it to navigate.
Kamoot is another great hiking app that helps you find, plan and record your adventures. You can plan every part of your hike on the built-in planner. The planning function lets you plan everything even the type of surface you want to hike.
Each app has its pros and cons but all have a free version so download a few of them and see which works best for you.
Related Reading: How to Convince Your Reluctant Partner to Go Hiking
Join Local Hiking Groups to Find Hikes Near You
Local hiking groups are one of my favourite ways to discover amazing hiking trails near you, especially day hikes. The best ones (in my opinion) are a mix of online and actual hiking. Look for a group where you can get information and also sign up for actual hikes. It’s a great way to meet other hiking buddies and learn from more experienced hikers.
You’ll find many of these groups on Facebook. Do a search for “hiking in your location). If you’re looking to go on actual hikes with people, check out Meetup.com. Do the same search and you’ll likely find a hiking group that organizes hikes you can join.
Another great group to join is the local chapter of your alpine club. You’ll find lots of experienced members that you can learn from. In addition, many chapters host educational events and hiking and mountaineering events.
If an alpine club isn’t listed in the link above, do a search in Google for “alpine club in your location” or search for “hiking club in the Canadian Rockies” and see what comes up.
Related Reading: 5 Best Hikes Near Las Vegas
Do a Google Search to Find Easy Hikes Near You
I often find hikes near me by doing a Google search for “best hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen”, or “easy hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen”. Then several different sites will come up. Often those sites have their own search filters so I can choose a hike based on the difficulty, length and elevation gain.
I live in Germany and a few of the sites I frequently use are Bergtour-Online.de, Bergfex.com, and Hoehenrausch.de. They usually include GPS tracks so I’ll download the GPS tracks and import them into Gaia GPS, which you can do for free.
Insider Tip: If you’re doing a Google search in a country where English isn’t the official language, do the search in the local language. You’ll find way more options.
If you don’t speak the local language, use Deepl.com and type in something like “best hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen,” and it will show “beste Wanderungen in Garmisch-Partenkirchen” in German. The results will be in the local language. From there, use Google Translate to get the details.
Related Reading: Best Hikes Near Seattle
Visit Tourism Boards or Official Park Sites To Find Easy Hikes Near You
Tourism boards and official park sites can be a great way to find the most scenic hiking trails near you. This is especially true if you’re looking for an easy hike since they almost always include a few very accessible hikes.
For example, when you visit the National Park Service for Yosemite, you’ll see they have a range of hikes for all levels.
Related Reading: Best Gifts for Hikers
Crowdsource on Social Media To Find the Best Hiking Trails
This is one of my favourite ways to find places to hike when I’m going to a new place. I’ll post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter something like “I’m going to Costa Brava in Spain. What are the can’t-miss day hikes there?” You may be surprised at the number of responses you get, and it’s a great way to get recommendations from locals.
Related Reading: The Best Hiking Leggings
Keep Track of Where You’ve Hiked
I recommend using a hiking logbook. That way you can remember where you hiked and all the details. I do this for every hike, and it’s a great way to remember hikes that you want to do again or if you want to recommend one to another hiker.
I believe in tracking your hikes so much that I created my own custom hiking logbooks. Check them out:
Keep Track of Places You Want to Hike in the Future
When you’re researching where to hike, you’ll likely come across more than one that looks interesting. I bookmark these in Pocket and tag them for easy reference. I live in Bavaria, Germany so I use tags like “Easy Hikes Bavaria”, “Difficult Hikes Bavaria”, etc. This saves me a TON of time.