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Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Shawn Michaels, who loves to write about his outdoor travel experiences ans shop for hiking gear.  You can read his blog, which focuses on hiking boots, thesmartlad.com, here.

In this post, Shawn reveals his seven top hiking spots in Europe. Note that most of these are not exactly walks in the park — although one is just that, and another is relatively easy — but active  backpacking boomers can set their sights on some or all of them.

I was only familiar with a few of these, but the photos alone make me want to grab my hiking sticks and see how far I can go through some of Europe’s most enticing scenery.

Story and photos by Shawn Michaels

Plitvička Jezera: 

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera (also known as Plitvice Lakes National Park), is a group of 16 lakes and a UNESCO legacy site because of its stunning perspectives, its fauna, and one of kind turquoise waters.

The park is honeycombed with hiking trails, and its lakes, waterfalls, tufa formations, and wildlife make this a truly spectacular place to hike or stroll.

Alta Via 1:

The Alta Via 1 is a mobile trail through the Italian Dolomites, running for about 70 miles (115 km) from Dobbiaco in the North to Belluno in the South.

The most elevated point is over 9,000 feet (2,752 m). A portion of the Alta Via 1’s most invigorating and demanding hiking comes around Passo Falzarego and the old fight locales from World War One.

Discretionary areas with links let the walker investigate the lofty rough slopes and passages, including the popular Galleria Lagazuoi.

The Alta Via takes you through the Ital;an Dolomites.

The Alta Via takes you through the Ital;an Dolomites.

 

 

High Tatras:

 National Park High Tatras (Vysoke Tatry) lies in the north of Slovakia. The High Tatras is the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains, which tower over the vast majority of Eastern Europe.

Approximately 25 tops measure over 8000 feet (2500m), yet the massif is just 15 miles (25 km) wide and 48 miles (78 km) long, with unblemished snowfields, ultramarine mountain lakes, thundering waterfalls, undulating pine woodlands and sparkling elevated knolls.

The High Tatras are the tallest range in Eastern Europe's Carpathian Mountains.

The High Tatras are the tallest range in Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King’s Trail: 

The Kungsleden in northern Sweden takes you trough lovely mountain scenes in Lapland.

The Kungsleden in northern Sweden takes you trough lovely mountain scenes in Lapland.

King’s Trail — or Kungsleden — is Sweden’s longest (275 miles; 440 km)) and most well-known trail. For the most part it’s frequented in summer, but it’s a similarly energizing experience for skiing in winter.

The northern section of the King’s Trail in Lapland is the most popular piece of this memorable trail.  From its beginning point at the visitor station in Abisko — which, by the way, is the best place to watch for the Northern Lights in Europe —  the trail drives south towards Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain.

King’s Trail takes you through the loveliest parts of Swedish Lapland mountain scenes. Whether you climb or ski, it’s a one of a kind affair.

 

 

Haute Route:

The Haute Route is a breathtaking summer climb; a strenuous hike in the French and Swiss Alps, stretching from Chamonix (France) to Zermatt (Switzerland) in 10 to 12 days.

The course navigates beneath the summits of 10 out of the 12 of the highest Alps and crosses a few high passes. The most noteworthy pass is at 9,700 feet (2964 m). This is a universe of ice sheets and towering, snow-topped pinnacles. The Haute Route additionally winds through green high valleys with bloom secured knolls and picture-book towns.

The Haute route is a breathtaking hike through the French and Swiss Alps.

The Haute route is a breathtaking hike through the French and Swiss Alps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mont-Rebei Gorge:

The Mont-Rebei Gprge cuts through Catalonia.

The Mont-Rebei Gprge cuts through Catalonia.

The Mont-Rebei gorge, in Catalonia, Spain, offers a day hike through dramatic gorge scenery. The gorge has a vertical drop of 1,640 feet (500 m) and is just 82 feet (20 m )wide in some spots. With water below and a wide variety of vegetation, this is one of southern Europe’s most scenic and manageable hikes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernese Oberland:

The Bernese Oberland is an expansive area of broad mountains, fields, timberlands, and ice sheets that offer a portion of the finest promenades, pinnacles, and perspectives in Switzerland. The species and bounty of blooms and hues that you can discover here is lovely.

The Bernese Oberland spans some of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland.

The Bernese Oberland spans some of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland.

For fauna, pay special attention to the mountain choughs, nutcrackers, siskins and Falcons. At times you may even detect a fabulous brilliant hawk riding the thermals up into the sky. Marmots get out from the Alps and there’s the intermittent chamois or ibex.

So, with these seven trails for starters,  get your backpack ready, wear comfortable boots, and embark on an amazing journey to enjoy the adventure of hiking in Europe.

 

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