Are you seeking a new adventure in an unknown territory? Maybe you already hiked through the many picturesque places of France and Italy and you are looking for something else.
Maybe you know USA hikes as your own pocket, and you feel you could use another challenge. Well then, do we have a treat for you! Read on.
It’s time to find out the hidden gems of Eastern Europe. All the way through the massive Carpathian mountains, down to the Croatian coast, we’ll show you places less known, beautiful, packed with friendly people and extremely cool tracks to explore and see. Make sure to bring your camera along, because this is something you will not want to keep only as a memory. Hikes through the heights of Slovakian Tatras on the northern side, or the Julian Alps of Slovenia with their high peaks, crystal clear lakes and beautiful cottages will give you the thrill you have been looking for.
We guarantee you, none of these hikes will leave your heart cold. More likely, they’ll keep it warm and you’ll keep wondering how come nobody told you about this just yet. Well, now we did. So you have it. Just remember, we told you first!
Jeseniky Mountains – Czech Republic
If you get tired of Prague and Karlovy Vary, head out to Jeseníky Mountains to get yourself into a fairy-tale romantic landscapes (picture) that will win your heart immediately. These mountains have hundreds of well marked routes for hikers, but it is also very welcome to bikers. If the countryside doesn’t win you over, the springs at spa towns for sure will.
Kasmu – Estonia
The north is dark and scary and cold especially when The Winter is Coming – in the Game of Thrones, but not in Sender de Kasmu, a beautiful 9,8 miles of easy hiking trail. The Gulf of Finland, a part of the Baltic Sea gives you a rare opportunity to experience something really new and beautiful.
Rysy Peak, Tatras – Poland
Morskie Oko lake (Eye of the Sea) has been selected as one of the top five most beautiful lakes in the world (picture). Start your hike here and go all the way up to the Rysy peak at 2,499 meters (8,114 ft). An easy, but still underrated route of beauty awaits you there.
Chopok, Low Tatras – Slovakia
If you really want to enjoy your hiking and the people around you, then explore the less known Low Tatras (picture) in Slovakia. Jump over from Chopok to the highest peak in Low Tatras: Dumbier at 2,043m (6,703 ft) and after this 3 hour hike rest just below Dumbier peek by a pint of beer at Chata M.R. Stefanika at 1,740m (5,708 ft).
Retezat National Park, Carpathians – Romania
Combine a trip to the land of Count Dracula in Transylvania with a unforgettable scenery in Retezat National Park (picture) in Romania. This is as far from civilization as you can get. Covered by the last remaining ancient forest in Europe, in this wild part of Earth you’re in touch with nature big time. You are into a treat where there is a bigger chance to see a wolf or bear tracks rather than something that reflects civilization. Enjoy “The Land With Blue Eyes” at its full.
Rila Mountain – Bulgaria
Already gaining popularity, this Bulgarian mountain is on one of the Europe’s big hiking maps. Still, there are scenes of awesome that you can just lose yourself in. Walk self-guided on the easy path, or have a guide with you on harder ones. Visit the Seven Rila Lakes, climb up to the Musala Peak at 2,925m (9,740 ft) or visit the highest dam in the Balkans, the Kalin dam at 2,394m (7,972ft). Don’t forget to visit the biggest and most visited monastery in Bulgaria, a part of UNESCO heritage, the Rila Monastery (picture).
Valbona valley – Albania
What was once an isolated and forgotten little land on the South of Balkans has shown in the last couple of decades that openness brings hidden beauty to all mankind. Discover Albania’s South natural gems such as the National Park of Llogora, the cities of Gjirokaster and Berat and of course, do not miss the Albanian Alps where you will be stunned with the mountain panoramas. Visit the mountain village of Theth and discover the beauty of Valbona valley (picture).
Bay of Kotor – Montenegro
Boka Kotorska or Bay of Kotor is the only fiord in the Mediterranean and an UNESCO world heritage site. ‘Nuff said. Sandy beaches, lots of National Parks, the largest lake in the Balkans – Skadar lake (picture) – and the Durmitor massif would make Montenegro a dream come true place to visit for every hiker even without the Tara River Canyon. But then there is the Tara river canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe. We’ll just stop talking about UNESCO heritage. It’s easier to presume everything in Montenegro is somehow priceless, protected, unique, and beautiful.
Velebit Hiking Trail, Velebit – Croatia
You probably heard of the breathtaking Croatian coast, but did you know that the Velebit mountain (picture) offers just as great experience? For those in love with hiking, the Velebit trail is something not to be missed. Start at Zavižan at the north Velebit and hike for days all through the beautiful scenery of these rocky mountains. Get to Sveto Brdo at 1,751m (5,745ft) the highest peak of Velebit, and if you get to the Paklenica National Park at the end of the trail, you’ll know you’re just minutes from the beautiful seaside where you can dive deep into one of the most clear sea water in the world.
Triglav, Julian Alps – Slovenia
Choice of both easy and hard hikes, Slovenia offers a little bit for everyone. With paths running through amazing beauties such as Lake Bled (Bledsko jezero) or Lake Bohinj, it is hard to imagine a place more beautiful to spend the time hiking. Get to the highest peek Triglav at 2,864m (9,396ft) and be on the top of Slovenia to enjoy the marvelous view that will leave you breathless.
Easy Hikes in North-Eastern Hungary – Hungary
Finally, if you are done with all the surrounding mountains, why not visit the Hungarian – very easy and accessible – trails in the North East. Check out Hortobagy – the largest natural grassland in in this area with animal rarities such as the Hungarian Grey Cattle. Or perhaps the Bükk National Park, or even the Limestone Cave on Aggtelek (Baradla). And then finish with the famous Tokaj, the most popular Hungarian wine valley. Enjoy the great food and even better wine, and if you had enough of the latter, maybe the language won’t present a problem either.
Is your favorite place not on the list? Tell us what’s your Hiking Paradise in the comments below.
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