Mountain lovers have plenty to enjoy in Europe. The snow-capped splendour of the Alps stretches for over 1200 km across eight countries including France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. The range is home to Europe’s highest mountain, the iconic Mont Blanc (4810m), and has many other peaks over 4000m. Other major ranges where there are great trekking opportunities are the Pyrenees, lying on the border between France and Spain, and Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains. Even longer than the Alps, the Carpathians form a 1500 km arc from the Czech Republic to Romania and encompass many lesser-known hiking destinations such as the Tatras and Transylvanian Alps.
In complete contrast, Europe’s extensive coastline offers hikers the welcome distractions of the sea and glorious beaches, often a great spot for a picnic or post-trek relaxation. Islands are a popular walking destination, often offering an incredible variety of landscapes in a small area and pleasant climate. Islands trekkers head for include those far flung European outposts in the Atlantic, the Canaries, Azores and Madeira, and Mediterranean islands such as Mallorca, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Cyprus, Crete and Corfu.