5 Epic Multi-Day Hikes in Europe (With a Eurail Pass)
Europe has some epic multi-day hikes. Whether you’re looking for incredible scenery, dizzying heights, emerald green fields, snow-capped peaks, or even a combination of it all, chances are there’s a walk for you. Do you have what it takes to be on the trail for anything between 2 and 30 days? Then these are the hikes for you – and here’s how you can make it part of a rail trip through Europe.
Combining multi-day hikes with a Eurail Pass
A Eurail Pass can help you with this epic adventure. The starting points of most these multi-day hikes are easy to get to by train. In some cases, you might have to catch a bus to complete the last leg of the journey. If you’re combining a Eurail Pass with a multi-day hike, consider the following:
- Don’t activate your Eurail Pass until you’re confident that you’re ready to begin your rail journey. You’ll need to activate your pass within 11 months of the issuing date.
- If you intend hiking for several days, consider using your Eurail Pass either before or after the hike.
- Avoid purchasing a continuous pass which is valid during the course of your hike – you’ll miss out on rail travel days. A Eurail Global Pass can be a good companion to shorter multi-day hikes. It will let you get to the starting point and continue your journey afterwards.
1. Dolomite High Route (Alta Via 1), Italy
Italy’s Dolomites are among the most revered and respected mountains in Europe. Few hiking trails get you to the heart of this natural wonder like the Dolomite High Route, or Alta Via 1. The hike will take you past historical sites, along the shores of snow-fed alpine lakes, through serene fields, and along the edge of exhilarating precipices.
Length: 80 miles / 10 days
Starting point: Dobbiaco
Pro tip: The route is busiest in August but often snow-covered from October through June. The ideal months to walk the route are July and September.
More info: Alpine Exploratory
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Dobbiaco from many nearby cities including Innsbruck, Venice, Fortezza, and Munich.
2. Tour du Mont Blanc, France / Italy / Switzerland
France’s Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the European Union, so it has unsurprisingly been a magnet to adventurous travelers and locals for many years. The famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail takes in some of the best views of this iconic peak from three different countries along the way. Quaint alpine villages provide support between the long days of walking.
Length: +- 100 miles
Starting point: Chamonix, France
Pro tip: There are several ways to tackle this route, so be sure to plan your hike carefully and book hostels and other accommodation ahead of time.
More info: Autour Du Mont-Blanc
How to get there by train: There are regular SNCF trains to Gare de Chamonix Mont-Blanc from several cities throughout France and Switzerland.
3. Slovenian Mountain Trail, Slovenia
Slovenia is a haven for outdoor and hiking enthusiasts. The legendary Slovenian Mountain Trail will connect you with some of the country’s best natural attractions. This lengthy, well-maintained trail will take you across some of Slovenia’s steepest mountain ranges, including the Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps. There are more than 50 huts that line the route.
Length: 310 miles / 30 days
Starting point: Maribor
Pro tip: Don’t forget to pick up the Slovenian Alpine Association passport. You can fill it up with stamps you collect along the way.
More info: Slovenia.info
How to get there by train: There are regular direct trains from Ljubljana to Maribor station
4. El Camino (The French Way), Spain
The El Camino is possibly Europe’s best-known multi-day walking trail. It originally started out as an ancient Roman trade route, and then later became a Christian pilgrimage. But these days it’s a hiking trail that attracts a diverse selection of adventurers. The most scenic route is called The French Way, and it takes hikers past the banks of beautiful rivers, along the Pyrenees, and across spectacular countryside. You can start the trail from various locations, but hikers strive to reach the iconic finishing point of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
Length: 472 miles
Starting point: Several starting points; The French Way begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Pro tip: There are several variations on the El Camino that offer various lengths and different pros and cons. Read up about one that suits your time constraints and requirements before departing.
More info: santiago-compostela.net
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port along the Bayonne–Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port railway, which connect to larger towns including Bordeaux.
5. Kungsleden, Sweden
Sweden’s Kungsleden, or King’s Trail, is one of the most dramatic and popular on the continent. From start to finish it measures an impressive 270 miles. The shortened version from Abisko to Nikkaluokta takes trekkers through one of western Europe’s last unspoiled regions. You’ll go past vast birch forests, stark arctic landscapes, desolate tundra, and even giant glaciers, before leading them into the shadow of Mount Kebnekaise – Sweden’s highest peak. There are huts strategically located throughout the route to provide respite from any bad weather. Officials keep the path in pristine condition throughout the hiking season.
Length: 65 miles / 3 – 5 days
Starting point: Abisko Mountain Station
Pro tip: Most visitors go in August, so if possible wait until Europeans depart in early September.
More info: Visit Sweden
How to get there by train: There are several trains, as well as an occasional direct night train to Abisko Turiststation – the northernmost starting point – from Stockholm that takes approximately 19 hours.
While Europe’s main city centers offer fascinating architecture, history, and culture, few experiences can match the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the end of an epic hike in pristine wilderness. And when you consider just how stunning the scenery along these routes is, you’ll be sure to plan your next impressive trek very soon after. So why not continue the scenery theme and reach these hikes by train with a Eurail Pass?