Best sustainable destinations for hiking in Europe
Do you want to hike in unspoiled landscapes among treasures which must be protected for future generations? Come and hike in the best sustainable tourism destinations in Europe.
Whether you are in the mountains of Romania or Slovenia or the valleys of the Spanish Basque Country, you can make unforgettable hikes in breathtaking landscapes and take the opportunity to taste local beers and regional products. All this awaits you in this selection of the best sustainable destinations for hiking.
EDEN, the acronym for "European Destinations of Excellence" is the largest European network of destinations rewarded by the European Commission for the quality of their tourist offers and their respect for the environment. EDEN is the promise of real experiences, real discoveries, real encounters.
Caldeira hiking trail
Faial - Azores - Portugal
Included in the Natural Reserve of Caldeira of Faial and in a section of protected landscape of the Central Area, this circular route located in the centre of the island, shows an important Geosite – Caldeira. With around 2 km in diameter, it was formed by several eruptions, intertwined with periods of calm over the last 400 thousand years.
The trail reaches heights between 840 and 1040 meters and it is advisable to do it on days of good weather and visibility. Along the trail the marks change between white, red and yellow from the intersection of Grand and Small Route and the yellow and red from Small Route. The crossings are properly marked on site, with signalling arrows.
Begin the trail at the viewpoint of Caldeira, cross the small tunnel accessing the crater and enjoy the view of its interior filled with abundant flora, typical of the laurel forest. Back to the road, go up the stairs and follow right by a dirt road towards the Chapel of São João.
How to get there: book your direct flights to Faial (or via Sao Miguel Island).
Where to stay: the “Quinta das Buganvilias” for the smile of the hosts, the beauty of the gardens, the view of the volcano and the local produce at breakfast.
Breathe the fresh air of the Julian Alps
Soca Valley - Slovenia
Dozens of trails are awaiting you in the Julian Alps. The unspoiled nature of the Triglav National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, and the irresistible beauty of the blue waters of the Soča river attract hikers from all over the world every year. The landscapes are breathtaking and you can observe rare plants, wild animals, and breathe the fresh air of the Julian Alps.
There are different trails, from the easiest to the most difficult. We definitely recommend the Soča trail and the Walk of Peace.
How to get there: book your flights to Ljubljana (1h30 by car).
Where to stay: the “Hotel Sanje ob Soci” located 3m from the Soča river.
One of the most beautiful sustainable destinations in Slovenia is awaiting you.
The mountains, hills and pastures in Bohinj are intertwined with well-marked and maintained hiking and mountaineering trails, with more than 400 km. You will find shelter in well-maintained alpine huts along these trails, where you can rest or even sleep over.
Hit the Bohinj Hiking Trail or choose among various tours to suit your abilities. Bohinj is also perfect for cycling and the circular Bohinj cycling route is the ideal choice for families.
How to get there: book your flights to Ljubljana (1h by car).
Where to stay: the 'Hotel Majerca' features a restaurant, a bar and a garden.
Hiking and trekking in Monte Isola
If you are interested in trekking or cycling, you are in the best place. Monte Isola is a special site to rediscover life’s simple pleasures on holiday.
Experience a direct connection with nature: the vegetation here is represented by the bushy copse wood with oak woods mixed with bay, hornbeam, ash and chestnut, You can walk around the island following the old paths which connect the eleven villages or you can rent a bike to enjoy the wonderful landscape.
How to get there: book your flights to Milan (1 hour 20 minutes) and cross Lake Iseo by boat and reach Peschiera from Sulzano (several crossings per day).
Where to stay: 'La Foresta Monteisola' is located on the peaceful shores of Monte Isola.
The countryside of Idrija is a true paradise for enthusiasts of outdoor activities in a pristine environment; go hiking or cycling at any time of the year, or go fishing, climbing, or pick herbs and mushrooms when the time is right. During the winter the plateaus around Idrija are packed with skiers.
How to get there: book your flights to Ljubjana (1h by car).
Where to stay: “Hotel Kendov Dvorec” for its à-la-carte restaurant.
Sveti Martin na Muri
Sveti Martin na Muri is not only one of the best sustainable wellness destinations in Europe, it is also an ideal destination to recharge your batteries in nature. It is the ideal destination for trekking and hiking in an unspoiled nature. You can also meet the inhabitants of this magnificent region, farmers, craftsmen... If you stay at the Sveti Martin Spa & Resort you will enjoy walks organized twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays.
How to get there: book your flights to Zagreb (1h20 by car).
Where to stay: the “Hotel Spa Golfer” offers a large wellness center.
The cheese Trail
Goierri - Spain
You like sport, wide open spaces and… cheese? Goeirri is the place for you.
GR-283, The Cheese Trail is a 100 km walk over the mountains and villages of the
Aralar and Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Parks; you can walk or run it in stages and organize as suits you.
There is also a Rail Trail Green Way, 4,2 km in length, joining the villages of Mutiloa and Ormaiztegi. It is ideal for family walks and affords the chance to round off your day by visiting the old mining area of Aizpea in Zerain.
How to get there: book your flights to Bilbao (30 min) or San Sebastian (50 min).
Where to stay: “Iriarte Jauregia” is a 17th-century palace located 30km from the coast.
Laško and its surroundings have the ideal natural features to provide countless possibilities for an active vacation in all seasons and for all ages. If you choose hiking or biking, you are sure to be impressed.
Explore the diverse landscape on the many hiking and biking trails crossing the surrounding hills and valleys, forests, clearings and meadows and passing the rich cultural heritage of this area.
How to get there: book your flights to Ljubjana (1h30 by car).
Where to stay: the 'Vila Monet' is set on the bank of the Savinja River.
Durbuy - Belgium
Breathe in, breathe out…The air of the forests around Durbuy, the smallest town in the world is truly invigorating.
This family-friendly walk will take you from Barvaux-sur-Ourthe to Durbuy, showing you the meanders of the Ourthe river, slaloming through impressive limestone massifs. Close to Durbuy, the trail goes up a ridge, offering splendid panoramas on the region before going back towards Barvaux.
Start: Julienas Park in Barvaux-sur-ourthe. Duration: 3h30. Level: Easy.
How to get there: book your flights to Liège (50 min) or Brussels (1h20).
Where to stay: “Glamping Adventure Valley Durbuy" offers multiple barbecue areas.
Do you know what is most valuable in the world? Space and silence. If you agree with this, Wild Taiga is a destination for you.
«Hikes’n Trails» arranges nature activities in the wilderness of South Lapland and Wild Taiga areas. The idea is to serve safe and adventurous tours with the principles of sustainability, responsibility and good service.
Because the expanses are huge and you could easily miss the most beautiful places, we advise you to work with professionals.
Where to stay: the 'Hotel Kalevala' offers 4 saunas, 2 hot tubs and various massage facilities.
Hiking in the Ceahlau Massif
Piatra Neamt - Romania
Walk on the sacred mountains of Romania. Ceahlău Massif, referred to as the Holy Mountain of the Romanians, is the second holy mountain of Orthodox Christianity after Mount Athos. Full of history, spirituality, legends and mystery, Ceahlău Massif impresses with its imposing, fortress-like appearance.
You will be taken by the picturesque beauty of landscapes and amazing views from each of the eight marked trails, and last, but not least, the uniqueness of its rocky cliffs shrouded in legend attract tourists from all over the world.
How to get there: book your flights to Lasii (2h by car).
Where to stay: the”Central Plaza Hotel” located in the city centre.
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Sustainable tourism in Europe
European Destinations of Excellence