Kempinski Blog Article
Countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic offer a lot of experiences to travellers, from bustling cities to beautiful natural scenery. Many examples of beautiful outdoor destinations exist, particularly offering hikers a healthy and enjoyable trip – whatever their experience in trekking.
Treks for beginners
If you are not experienced in hiking, there is no need to be afraid of the prospect of climbing hills and crossing forests – Central Europe offers something for every skill level.
Veliki Risnjak Peak, Risnjak National Park, Croatia
A shorter hike that is round trip can be completed in around a day, the ascent of the lush Veliki Risnjak Peak is a joy. All of the routes are paved, and rules forbidding off-piste adventures ensure that the scenery is completely unspoilt. If staying at Kempinski Hotel Adriatic in Istria, make sure you reserve a day to enjoy this jewel of Croatia.
The National Blue Trail, Hungary
A long, winding route across 1,128km of the Hungarian countryside, the National Blue Trail offers a range of sightseeing opportunities to hikers, including many castles and forts, three world heritage sites, the famed Danube Bend and a variety of natural wonders (including extinct volcanoes). Visitors can enjoy a selection of short and long distance walking tours, using Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest as a base from which to explore.
The Austrian Lake District
The beautiful town of Hallstatt is a great destination in itself, but thanks to a network of easily passable trails, it can also serve as a starting point for travellers wanting to explore the region's amazing scenery. Lakes, hills, villages – there are plenty of sights to take in.
Central Europe has lots to offer to hikers who want a challenge, and there are lots of routes that require a bit more endurance.
The trails above Mont Blanc's base resort Chamonix offer half-day and full-day hikes that are perfect for intermediates, allowing them to enjoy Western Europe's tallest peak from a safe distance. The trails provide alpine scenery at its very finest, without the need to invest in shoe spikes.
The Lauterbrunnental, Mürren, Switzerland
If you want the best in panoramic mountain splendour, Mürren is the place that you will find it. A tiny village in the midst of the Swiss Alps, it is the gateway to the Lauterbrunnental, the world's largest glacial valley, surrounded by forests, streams and no fewer than 72 waterfalls. The whole area is criss-crossed by trails – great for both campers and those who enjoy day hikes.
Alta Via 1. Dolomite range, Italy
Italy's northern mountain range is filled with delights for hikers, and the amazing rock formations, alpine lakes and forests have a unique charm that should not be missed. Long and short trails are available, and while the more strenuous, days-long treks are more difficult, they are certainly more rewarding.
Central Europe is home to some of the world's most difficult terrain – a haven for hikers that want to test their physical limits.
Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy and Switzerland
While Europe's tallest mountain offers a variety of route difficulties, it becomes an even more incredible destination when navigated by an expert. Totalling 170 kilometres and taking around ten days, the tour route takes walkers around the perimeter of the mountain, across three countries and past a wondrous selection of scenery that includes glaciers, wildflower meadows and harsh cliffs.
Höllental, Zugspitze, Germany
Germany's highest peak, Zugspitze, is one of Bavaria's most beautiful walking spots, and while there are a number of easier routes up the mountain, Höllental (Devil's Valley) is the most challenging.
A ten-hour hike up 9km of difficult terrain, the trail is certainly for the more experienced hiker, yet it offers some of the best views of the surrounding area, and a true sense of accomplishment when completed. When combined with a stay at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski in Munich or Kempinski Hotel Das Tirol in Jochberg, guests can enjoy both luxury and physical pursuits in equal measure.
Orla Perć, Tatra Mountains, Poland
The central European nation's mountain range is seen best from Orla Perć (Eagle's Path), perhaps Europe's most challenging hiking route. The 4.5km route, which stretches from the Zawrat pass to a finish at the Krzyżne pass, is beautiful, exposed, uneven and quite dangerous, meaning that only the most experienced hikers should cross it. Hire a guide and invest mountain climbing equipment – you will almost certainly need both!
For an active, energetic trip mixed with gorgeous natural scenery, nothing beats a hiking holiday. Know your limits, understand the routes, and you will set yourself up for an unforgettable experience.