There’s something so special about a hiking holiday. Few moments are as serene as when you’re standing on top of a mountain and gazing out across the landscape, revelling in the world’s beauty. It’s one of the most spiritual, and concurrently exhilarating, activities you can do.
If you’re craving that feeling and are desperate to don your hiking boots, you’re in the right (virtual) place! Europe has plenty of mountains to explore. Here are just six of the best.
1. The Dolomites: Val Gardena, Italy
Autumn is the most glorious time of year to see Italy’s sublime Dolomites. Ask anyone. The UNESCO World Heritage mountain range shines red in the fall sunlight, giving it a flame-like effect against the azure horizon. With a variety of hikes on offer for walking enthusiasts, including sunset strolls and challenging trails, you won’t regret your venture into this stunning pocket of the world.
WHERE TO STAY
As romantic as sleeping under the stars on a mountaintop may sound, most of us would probably prefer a room in an elegant mansion! The handsome Hotel Stetteneck, founded in 1913, is an exquisite property based in the heart of the Dolomites. Not only are you a stone’s throw away from all of the range’s best routes, the views from the hotel itself are unmatched. You couldn’t pick a better place to recharge.
2. Kleine Scheidegg: Wengen, Switzerland
‘The highlight of any trip to Switzerland’, the mountain pass Kleine Scheidegg is where outdoorsy adventurers go to relax and re-energise prior to venturing up the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks. Between June and October, the Jungfrau Eiger Walk weaves hiking and history together as it leads you past mountain huts, a manmade lake, church and more. The Lauberhorn trail is just as satisfying, too. A ski resort in winter, this dramatic route offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Swiss countryside. Two incredible ranges to explore in one area… who could ask for more on their next hiking holiday?
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Falken is the only intact building of its period that still runs as a hotel. Built in 1894, this classic property is rich with details that will transport you to another time, including art nouveau lights and a chalet-style face. Tucked away in the rolling hills of Wengen, this well-kept secret is probably one of the most charming properties in our entire Collection.
3. Connemara National Park: Connemara, Ireland
No matter how large your travel party is or the level of your athleticism, Connemara National Park has walks to suit all abilities and tastes. From gorgeous grasslands to heavenly heaths, there’s plenty of ways to engage with the rich Irish countryside, here. Those keen on a mountain hiking holiday will be particularly won over by Diamond Hill. From the top, you can admire a striking and commanding view of Connemara and County Mayo, along with views of the seemingly endless blue sea. ‘Beautiful’ is too small a word to describe it.
WHERE TO STAY
Conveniently located ten minutes away from Connemara National Park is Renvyle House Hotel and Resort, a four-star getaway on the Irish coast. There are so many remarkable aspects to this property that it would be impossible to list them all at once, so here’s just a taste of what you can expect: a private beach, award-winning restaurant, access to 150 acres of incredible countryside and a truly fascinating story to tell. Don’t miss it.
4. Strážov Mountains: Zliechov, Slovakia
Did you know that the Strážov Mountains have been protected by the Strážov Mountains Protected Landscape Area since 1989? As one of the largest mountain ranges in this area of Slovakia, there’s plenty of interesting feats of nature to see here, including preserved rock formations and thermal springs. Located in what’s arguably one of the quietest regions of the country, this sight’s a little off the beaten path – but we think that adds to its appeal. It’s unlikely that you’ll see many other tourists as you wander from village to village, accompanied by the gentle call of the birds and soft breeze. The perfect getaway for some quiet reflection.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Gino Park Palace offers guests a sense of grandeur and history that modern hotels would struggle to replicate. That being said, it’s more than equipped to deal with all your modern needs during your Slovakian hiking holiday, too: a highlight being its decadent spa, which was dubbed the best in the region at the Local Tourism Chamber Awards in 2018.
5. Vanoise National Park: Savoie, France
Now you know when you go to the French alps that you’ll be in for some mountainous magnificence. Vanoise National Park, in particular, is absolutely filled to the brim with glittering glaciers and peaks. Admire sprawling forestry, a range of flora and fauna and breathtakingly blue skies and waters as you take one of the many, many hiking trails available, each of which offers a slightly different experience from the last. We especially recommend taking at least a little of the Route des Grandes Alpes on your next hiking holiday here, which stretches between Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean. Encompassing 684km, you’d be forgiven for not completing the entire thing on foot..!
WHERE TO STAY
Whether you’re skiing, hiking or simply want to hole up in a cabin-style hotel next to a cosy fireplace, Hotel l´Hélios & Spa should be on your radar. Visually striking against the rugged alpine landscape, this property will astonish you from the moment you set eyes on it… and continue to do so throughout the rest of your stay. From its luxurious spa to beautifully decked out rooms, it’s every traveller’s ideal spot.`
6. Mount Venelifjell: Bendiksmyr, Norway
For a quick but impressive walk that the whole family can enjoy, take note of Mount Venelifjell, which literally translates to the ‘beautiful mountain’. Hikes here generally last between one to four hours and will lead you through peaceful forests and over winding, scenic trails that demonstrate how the route earned its name. What’s more, the route can be broken up with a lot of different activities on the way, such as by fishing or free swimming at the crystalline Lake Venelitjørni. You’ll acquire mountains of memories.
WHERE TO STAY
If we could pick one word to describe Dalen Hotel, it would be ‘extraordinary’. The staff go above and beyond to make you feel special, and add a unique flair to every aspect of your getaway to ensure it feels like a dream. Between its heavenly hospitality and proximity to Norway’s most captivating countryside, this is bound to become a front runner in your list of most-loved hotels.