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Top 7 Fall Walking Routes in Europe

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Fall is the perfect season for engaging in a trip with more physical activity. Days are bright but without the steamy energy-sapping heat of summer. As the shadows lengthen, fall color can be spectacular. Europe has so much to offer, from river valleys and famous wine routes to alpine meadows, dark lakes, and lofty mountains. Now’s the time to polish your hiking boots, pack your camera and join nature in a final fling outdoors before winter sets in.

Let’s take a look at the walking routes we’ve chosen…

Fontainebleau Forest, Paris, France

Fontainebleau Forest
Fontainebleau Forest

Taking its name from the breathtaking royal residence of Chateau Fontainbleau, the extensive Fontainebleau Forest is the second-largest forest in France. Easy to reach just 40 minutes by train from Paris, this dramatic forest has over 1000km (620 miles) of walking trails so you might want to enjoy a tour led by a local guide and naturalist. The most popular route is the Massif des Trois Pignons (Mountains of Three Cogwheels). On the edge of the natural forest, it is considered a medium to hard level of difficulty. You need strong footwear to navigate 25 rocky mounds and large boulders which are a popular training ground for athletes. The circular walk is almost 5 miles in length with a total climb of 141 feet. The reward is dramatic scenery on a hike that is at its prettiest in late summer.

Jamtland Triangle, Sweden

Jämtland, Sweden

Nowhere has bigger open skies than Sweden! Explore the Jamtland Triangle over three days, starting and finishing at the STF Storulvan Mountain Station. Stages are manageable at 7, 12, and 10 miles respectively. The area has the feel of Lapland with an Arctic chill in the air in autumn. You’re very likely to see wildlife foraging for final stores of food before hibernation and reindeer sightings are commonplace. Evenings of hearty food around the log fire are the perfect end to each day. If you’re lucky you may see the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), a priceless experience.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland is surely at its best as the trees begin to change color. Lush green bracken turns rusty red and purple heather and yellow gorse add to the splendor of the Scottish Lowlands. Why not combine a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland’s elegant capital city, with some memorable walks around breathtaking lochs and glens? Just a caber-toss from the city, Arthur’s Seat rises to 251 meters elevation, offering fantastic views. There are several routes to suit different fitness levels, including an optional scramble over Salisbury Crags and the chance to admire the Folly atop Calton Hill.

Arthur’s Seat takes its name from the legendary late 5th century, King Arthur. It is topped with the remains of a hill fort that dates back about 2000 years. Allow two to three hours to complete the ascent and descent of this extinct volcano. Enjoy astonishing bird’s eye views of the city, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh Castle, and the distant Firth of Forth. This short but memorable hike incorporates history and legend with some of the best views in Scotland.

Alpine Hike in Lucerne, Switzerland

Mt Rigi, Lucerne, Switzerland

Fall provides one last chance for a breathtaking Alpine hike before the snow sets in. Combine one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world with a hike on Mount Rigi when you visit the lovely lakeside town of Lucerne. Known as the “Gateway to Mount Rigi” Lucerne is about 75 minutes from hiking trails on the mountain, but getting there is equally breathtaking.

Take the ferry from Lucerne to Vitznau then ride the cogwheel train up the mountain to Rigi Kaltbad. From there the hike to the mountain hamlet of Rigi Klösterli is along a flat former railway. Allow about 1 hour 15 minutes for the out and back hike. This leisurely amble may not be the most strenuous, but it gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy superb lake views with surrounding alpine peaks and fall colors reflected in the still waters. It’s magical!

 Read on for even more beautiful walking routes in Europe…

Hiking the Madonie Mountains, Sicily

The Madonie Mountains in northern Sicily are a hiker’s paradise at any time of year, but in late summer they truly excel. Peaceful rubble-strewn hiking trails are surrounded by enchanting hillsides covered in reds, golds, and browns as nature takes on its autumnal hues. You may spot soaring royal eagles on the wing as you explore this natural park on loop trails varying from 2 to 10 miles in length.

One of the shortest and easiest hikes is the Stachellaub-Bäume – Cozzo Luminario Loop from Rifugio Crispi which is just over 2 miles, ascends 675 feet, and takes about 80 minutes to complete. Expect plenty of climbing along the way and pause to catch your breath by gazing at the stunning panoramic views. Reward yourself with a gastronomic feast of salami, cheese, olives, mushrooms, and fine Sicilian wine.

Castles and Wine on German’s Rheinsteig Trail

Connecting Bonn with Wiesbaden, the 200-mile Rheinsteig Trail meanders along the Rhine passing countless fairytale castles and endless vineyards. As temperatures fall, the vines take on a burnished tone of red and yellow. This is the harvest season and winemakers welcome hikers for a tasting of freshly pressed grape fruit. If you fancy a 3-day hike, explore part of the Rheinstag from Sty Goar to Lorch am Rhein. A ferry will return you to your starting point the easy way!

Hike and Sauna in the Low Tatras, Slovakia

For spectacular autumnal walks, look no further than the Low Tatras National Park. Despite the name, they are the second-highest mountains in Slovakia! Take a hike around the shimmering Vrbické Pleso, the largest natural lake in the Low Tatras range which is known for its rocky mountains and tree-lined slopes.

The area is at its most glorious in autumn. Just two minutes from the glacier lake is one of the oldest mountaineer chalet/huts, now known as Hotel Mikulášska chata Jasna. Visit the Wellness Center and enjoy a sauna, steam room and then relax on heated loungers overlooking lake views. It’s a completely invigorating way to enjoy a mountain hike, with a little cheating!

It’s very easy to combine a memorable hike with any of our personalized tours – just ask!

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By: Admin on September 23, 2021    2 Comments


  1. I am an avid walker and I do recommend guided walks to my clients.
    I would like to have more information about your Walking Program and will gladly book your tours.

    Thank you for the excellent information you have sent on this one email!

    Roseli D’Agostino

    By: Roseli D'Agostino says: on September 30, 2021 at 1:28 pm
    • Hi Roseli! So happy to hear that you enjoyed our post. Please email reservations@finestjourneys.com and we’d love to hear more about what you’re looking for and plan your perfect trip!

      By: Anca Vladuca says: on October 4, 2021 at 9:27 am
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