-Melissa Rush on activejunky.com
Miles Traveled: 11.2 miles
Highest Elevation: 1,158 ft.
Hiking to the northernmost point of continental Europe makes Spain’s Cape Finisterre feel like child’s play. Only accessible by foot, the secluded, rocky trail ends at sea level. Prolong the stay at this isolated, dramatic point by camping overnight—and, depending on the season, witnessing the midnight sun or northern lights—before making the return journey to North Cape.
Best For: Hikers seeking northern exposure
West Highland Way
Miles Traveled: 96 miles
Highest Elevation: 1,800 ft.
This rugged trek through the Scottish highlands follows 18th century military roads and ancient footpaths that are now used by around 85,000 hikers each year. Bear witness to Scotland’s understated splendor as the walk winds alongside one of Scotland’s largest sea lochs, Loch Linnhe, and the beautiful bogs of Rannoch Moor. The trail ends at the base of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles.
Best For: Harry Potter fans take note: at the hike’s end, the train used for The Hogwarts Express in the movies can be taken for a beautiful 84-mile round-trip ride.
Miles Traveled: 65 miles
Highest Elevation: 6,926 ft.
This section of the epic 275 mile “King’s Trail” showcases some of the trail’s highlights in just a week. Breathtaking glaciers, open tundra, and Sweden’s highest peak—Mount Kebnekaise—are all present on this journey 100 miles inside the Arctic Circle. While the terrain is tough, comfortable huts spaced about a day apart welcome hikers each evening.
Best For: Adventurers looking to go longer than 10 days—the full hike naturally splits into four one week segments, making it easy to turn this trip into a month long trek.
Miles Traveled: 7 miles
Highest Elevation: 4,265 ft.
Only accessible by foot or train, the Cinque Terre trail meanders along the rocky Italian coast. While this postcard perfect hike is often swarming with tourists, the crashing Mediterranean below and the warming sun above make it absolutely unforgettable. Stop in between towns for a slowly savored meal and glass of vino.
Best For: Families or older hikers—trains can easily be subbed for steps between towns.
Tour Du Mont Blanc
Location: France, Italy, and Switzerland
Miles Traveled: 104 miles
Highest Point: 8,478 ft.
A walking tour through the Alps, the trail circumnavigates the EU’s tallest mountain, 15,781 foot Mont Blanc. As you pass through meadows, glaciers, and rocky hillsides, you’ll also travel through three countries—France, Italy, and Switzerland. While the mileage is intimidating, there’s no need to bring a tent or even food; there are frequent villages and huts along the route to fill up (think: fondue and wine vs. trail mix) and rest—from dorm style accommodations to high-end hotels.
Best For: Hikers seeking a mix of nature and local culture.
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