The most gorgeous short hikes in Europe
Each of these five short hikes is an introduction to a stunning part of Europe away from well-trodden hiking trails. All the walks can be completed in a few hours and the paths are well signposted.
Ladder of Kotor, Montenegro
The Ladder of Kotor is what remains of a historic cross-country route that connected the Unesco-listed town of Kotor with the former royal capital, Cetinje. The “ladder” (a steep zigzagging path) starts from a height of 940 metres and offers spectacular views of Kotor bay.
Starting from the Krstac pass, near the village of Njeguši, the trail drops down onto an old military road with more than 70 hairpin bends, passing through the village ruins of Spiljari and the captivating chapel of St Ivan. Continue down towards the beautiful Venetian fortress of San Giovanni and finish the hike on a stairway leading to the centre of Kotor.
Four miles, two hours, easy, visit-montenegro.com
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
The Fairy Pools are a group of clear blue waterfalls cascading over dark grey rocks, with the magical Cuillin mountains as an impressive backdrop.
Park at the Fairy Pools car park outside Glenbrittle and the trail begins off the side of the road. Within 20 minutes, you’ll see a stepping stone river crossing that leads to the gateway of Fairy Pools. If you are feeling brave enough, take your swimwear and go for a dip. This is an out-and-back trail; you choose when to turn back.
Five miles, three hours, easy, isleofskye.com
Pico do Arieiro Trail, Madeira
This trail links the two highest peaks in Madeira, Pico Ruivo (1,861 metres) and Pico do Arieiro (1,817 metres), traversing part of the central mountain massif.
Start at the top of Pico do Arieiro and follow the mountain crest through tunnels and along narrow pathways. From the path you can peer down at the volcano crater valley and enjoy wildflowers in myriad colours, especially in spring. The hike’s finale is an unforgettable panoramic view of the entire island at Pico Ruivo, before taking the footpath down to Achada do Teixeira.
Five miles, four hours, moderate, visitmadeira.pt
Lake Bohinj circular, Slovenia
Just an hour’s drive from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, Lake Bohinj is the country’s largest glacier lake, situated inside Triglav national park and surrounded by the grandeur of the Julian Alps.
Starting and finishing at the lakeside village of Ribcev Laz, the trail leads past a handful of secluded beaches and on to Slap Savica, a majestic waterfall and source of the nearby Sava river. From the path there are plenty of magnificent views of the lake, with the surrounding mountains mirrored in it.
Seven miles, four hours, easy, sloveniaforyou.com
The Flysch route, Spain
In the Basque region of northern Spain, the Flysch route is a coastal hike through a geological marvel made up of unique, natural rock formations dating back over 50 million years.
Starting at the chapel of San Telmo in the town of Zumaia, the path descends towards the spellbinding rocky coastline then climbs up into a picture-postcard farming landscape before a gentle drop on to Sakoneta beach. Here you can see the strange Flysch rock formations close up, enjoy a swim and admire the enthralling cliffs at sea level before continuing to the finishing point at Deba. It’s no wonder the Game of Thrones crew chose this as a location: it’s a real journey through time.
Source: The Guardian.