Made up of series of sharp jagged mountain peaks, the Alps are arguably one of the most spectacular mountain ranges on Earth. About 1,200 kilometers long, they are spread across no less than eight European countries—France, Monaco, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. A region of rugged snowcapped mountains and lush green valleys dotted with cows and lakes, the Alps are a spectacular place to explore on foot. There are countless day hikes for you to enjoy, but more adventurous travelers may want to do a long-distance trek, of which there also are plenty. There are literally thousands of mountain huts in the Alps where you can rest your head at night after a long day of mountain walking.
Our Top 10 Hikes in the Alps :
10. Lech River Trail, Austria
The Lech River Trail in Tyrol, Austria, is a 125-kilometer hiking trail that follows the Lech River from its source to the small mountain town of Füssen. It runs through the Lechtal Valley and past spectacular landscapes, and although it may look rather long—it takes about a week to complete it—most of the trail is downhill.
9. Lago Goilett, Italy
This moderate day hike in the Italian Alps starts in Breuil-Cervinia just across the Swiss border, leads up to Plan Maison and then continues to Lago Goillet, a gorgeous artificial lake. The hike is about 22 kilometers long and involves ascending more than 2,700 meters. The views are absolutely worth it, though.
8. Austrian Lakes, Austria
The Austrian Lakes region in Austria can’t be described otherwise than picture-perfect. There are several trails crisscrossing the region, trails that invite you to go on day hikes, but that can also be linked together to create multiday hikes. Towns that you should consider visiting include Bad Ischl, Attersee and, especially, Hallstatt.
7. Swiss Glacier Trail, Switzerland
This is a magnificent hike toward the largest glacier in Europe. The hike is no longer than 11 kilometers and shouldn’t take longer than three and a half hours, an excellent afternoon activity. The views of the vast glacier, backed by more than 30 mountains higher than 1,200 meters, are stunning.
6. The Emperor’s Crown, Austria
This is one of the very best hikes in Austria, a marvelous trail that leads through the heart of the Wilder Kaiser Mountain Range, which literally means Wild Emperor. This moderate six-day hike will take you through wildflower-carpeted alpine fields, along beautifully still lakes and underneath majestic mountain peaks.
5. The Red Trail, Slovenia
The Slovenian Red Trail is a ten-day section of the much longer Via Alpina, a fabulous trail that runs along the entire length of the Alps. This particular section takes in the best of Slovenian Alps, including highlights like the Julian Alps, Triglav Lakes and the Karavanke Mountains.
4. The Eagle’s Walk, Austria
The Eagle’s Walk is the crown jewel in the crown of Austrian hiking trails. It runs through the heart of Tyrol and spans the whole length of the region. It’s about 230 kilometers long and is broken up into 33 sections. The total elevation gain is no less than 23,000 meters, but on the bright side, there’s also a 20,000-meter elevation loss.
3. Bernese Overland, Switzerland
One of the most breathtaking regions in Switzerland, the Bernese Overland is a place of sheer mountains, pretty villages, clear alpine lakes and green alpine meadows. The network of hiking trails is overwhelmingly dense, giving you a plethora of options for day hikes, weekend hikes and long-distance hikes. The choice is yours completely!
2. Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Switzerland and Italy
The great Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most famous and popular long-distance hiking trails in the Alps. It circles the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, and runs through three different countries on the way. 170 kilometers long, it takes ten to twelve days to finish.
1. Haute Route, France and Switzerland
An epic hiking and skiing trail, the legendary Haute Route connects the towns of Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland, the two respective towns on the bases of Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. It traverses jaw-dropping mountain passes and crosses enormous glaciers. The Haute Route is without question one of the most spectacular multiday hikes in the world.