Europe has always been a premier experience for hikers, offering a little something for everyone from quaint villages to draw dropping mountainscapes. Whether you’re off to see Paris, Venice, or the Carpathian Mountains, everyone can find something that will ignite their passions and excite them. But, sometimes things can seem a little overwhelming when trying to plan that perfect trip. So, here are five tips to help you make your European hiking experience the best of a lifetime.
1. Pack the Right Shoes
While hiking through Europe might seem like the funniest adventure of your life, it certainly won’t feel that way if your feet are in pain. Making sure you pack the proper footwear is essential, and while not all expenses are necessarily worth going towards the high-end, this is an exception. Whether you’re planning on exploring the Caucasus first hand or strolling down the Champs Elysées whilst sipping an espresso, the right shoes will be your greatest asset. The last thing you want to bring on this experience will be blisters, so make sure you investigate the best travel shoes before you even think about walking out the door.
2. Take Advantage of the Train
Whilst on your hiking tour, make sure you take advantage of Europe’s incredible train system. Almost all countries will become accessible to you through railway lines once you’ve purchased your Interrail Global Pass. And to make this even more worthwhile, make sure you schedule your train trips for overnight, this way you’ll be saving money on accommodations being that you’ll literally just sleep on the train, and you won’t lose any precious daytime hours on travel and letting you see even more of what these amazing countries have to offer.
3. Take Advantage of Local Guides
While we all might think we’ve done our research and could now be considered experts on the area we’re visiting, the truth is you’ll never know as much as a local. So why not take advantage of them by using local tours? Walking tours allows you to see all the sites you’ve put on your must-see list as well as a few little stops you surely didn’t even think of. So rather than doing research on what sites to see, try doing some research on what tours will give you the best experience whether you’re looking for all of Europe or even just smaller cities. Tour guides are knowledgeable and fun, so don’t miss out on all the tips they’ll have to offer you.
4. Avoid Tourist Traps, Eat Like a Local
Europe is full of amazing and world-class food. So don’t waste your budget on expensive five-star restaurants that cater to tourists. Although some may really deserve the rating, more often than not the best places to get real, authentic local food is at the smaller, hole-in-the-wall joints. Take advantage of smaller appetizer portions so that you can really get a feel for what the local cuisine really tastes like. Not only will this be a more accurate experience, but you’ll be helping to keep a tight lock on your wallet and not break the budget. Most of the time, locals will be more than thrilled you’re willing to give their little place a try and will be more than happy to make recommendations or suggestions, so take them and let the food simply blow you away.
5. Check Out the National Parks
Whether you’re an avid nature guru or more of the indoorsy type, Europe’s National Parks are a definite must-see on any European hiking tour. With some of the best views in the world, your inner photographer is sure to jump for joy over these amazing photo-ops. Known for its great wildlife watching, Belluno Dolomites National Park is a definite for anyone stopping over in Italy. Or, if you’re heading down towards Spain, make sure to stop at Ordesa National Park, one of the first named national parks in all of Europe. No matter where you are, these parks will offer you a great chance to see the real beauty of our world.
There you have it. Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to really start planning this once in a lifetime trip and make it an unforgettable, incredible experience. Whether you’re looking for a quieter, more laid back type of trip or a riveting adventure story for years to come, Europe has a little something for everyone, so go take advantage of it all now.
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