If you’re planning a trip away but you’re working with a limited budget, a hiking holiday could be the best option for making your money go a lot further. Makes sense really. Aside from getting yourself to your chosen destination, all you’ll need are your trusty walking boots and lashings of good old-fashioned enthusiasm. Walking is a fantastic way to relax and you’ll discover breath taking landscapes, that you just wouldn’t have access to via any other means of transportation.
If a hiking holiday sounds just the ticket, take a look at our guide to the top 5 hiking destinations in Europe. We’ve picked some of our favourite locations and included some helpful hints and advice that make hiking on a budget possible.
Austrian Lake District
The Austrian Lake District has to be one the most stunning areas in Europe. With its sloping mountains, lush forests and crystal clear lakes, it’s also something of a walker’s paradise. This is a great destination for walkers more interested in taking in the views, than strenuous hiking and there are a plethora of picturesque towns dotted around the shores of the lake, where it’s possible to relax with a dish of apfelstudel (apple strudel) and admire the scenery.
The best way of saving money is the route you take to the lakes. Lots of budget airlines fly to Salzburg, after which it’s possible to take a bus to Hallstat where you can begin your walking holiday. Take a look here, for a detailed guide to transport in the region, including details of getting to Hallstatt via train and bus.
Pulpit Rock, Norway
It’s no surprise that the famous Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock in English, attracts up to 200,000 people every year. With amazing views over the surrounding Lysefijorden and a selection of moderate to challenging hiking routes, the location is competing to become the most-visited natural tourist attractions in all of Norway.
The rock itself is a cliff nearly 2000 feet about the fjord and is almost completely flat. It was formed around 100,000 years ago, although several large cracks have appeared in the cliff over recent decades. Local folklore says that on the day seven sisters marry seven brothers in the town at the base of the cliff, the plateau will break way and fall into the water. Fingers crossed you’re not standing at the top the day this happens!
The site is only around 25 kilometres from Stavanger and there are plenty of affordable accommodation options if you’re planning on making a visit. You can find a selection of hostels in the city here at Hostelling International, which has locations throughout the rest of Europe.It’s also worth thinking about renting an apartment, which can be just as cheap. What’s more you’ll have your own kitchen, meaning you can cook your own food.
The Grand Randonnee, Provence, France
This 224 mile hiking trail may have only opened in March, but it’s already proving to be a popular choice for those embarking on a French walking holiday. Taking in gorgeous locations such as the Etoile Mountains and the Southern Provence, the routes combine rural tranquillity and exiting urban locations. This is the perfect choice if you’re the sort of walker who likes to live out of a backpack, as there are plenty of campsites along the route – another great option if you’re on a budget.
If that sounds appealing, you’ll need to equip yourself with a decent pack that’s large enough to carry all of the supplies you’ll need during your walking trip. Osprey rucksacks are a great choice, as they’re designed to provide maximum carrying capacity, whilst ensuring that walkers stay comfortable. They’re fully adjustable, to provide a close fit that’s comfortable on long walking routes. UK readers can find a selection of Osprey rucksacks online at Cotsworld Outdoor, which offers free delivery on all orders of £30.
You may not have considered Slovenia for a walking holiday, or any kind of holiday for that matter. But this central European country is often described as one of the continent’s best kept travel secrets; although with cheap flights, affordable accommodation and fantastic walking opportunities, it’s doubtful that it will remain a secret much longer.
Ljubljana, the country’s capital, rivals anything that the more well-known Vienna or Prague has to offer when it comes to beauty and culture, and is the perfect place to begin your Slovenian walking holiday. A popular route is a self-guided trail between Ljubljana and Trieste, finding accommodation at farmhouses along the way – so it’s great on a budget. This type of route is for the more adventurous walker, who’s not afraid to take matters into their own hands, although it’s undeniably a fantastic way of exploring the country.
Ben Nevis, Scotland
Climbing the highest peak in the British Isles may sound like an intimidating challenge, although in reality, it’s one that can be accomplished by walkers of all capabilities. What’s more, with a campsite at the base, it’s the perfect place for a hiking trip on a budget.
Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment walkers get when they reach the 4500 ft. summit of Nevis. The views are spectacular, providing you’ve made the climb on a clear day – if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to glimpse Northern Ireland in the distance! The mountain attracts more than 100,000 climbers a year, although it’s advisable to avoid climbing the route outside of the summer months.