For the more active traveller, Europe provides excellent opportunities for long distance walking, where you can follow long-distance walking trails and take in some of Europe's finest scenery, while getting fit at the same time. Whether going on a trans-continental odyssey or a leisurely weekend stroll, you will find a trail to suit you.
There are eleven continental trails in Europe, which are in varying stages of completion. These paths are comprised of smaller national paths, which may be enjoyable travel experiences of themselves. It's recommended that you read up on help and advice before setting off on a long distance walking holiday. You will have a fantastic time, but always be prepared for the worst, and take the best kit with you that you can find. The markings are not uniform, and some parts may be missing.
The paths are coordinated by the European Ramblers Association (ERA), also known as Europäische Wandervereinigung (EWV) and Féderation Européenne de la Randonnée Pédestre (FERP), but the responsibility for the individual sections is by national organisations in the countries the path leads through.
In addition to these routes, there are regional and national path networks (see e.g. Walking in the United Kingdom), the Grande Randonnée paths, and pilgrim paths such as the Way of Saint James or the St. Olav's Way. These may be partly integrated in the E-paths. For individual paths see also Rheinsteig, Rheinburgenweg, Pieterpad and Nordkalottleden.
The long-distance routes are as follows:
- E1 North-South. This path is planned to connect Nordkapp, Norway to Sicily, in Italy.
- Completed sections: Nordkapp to central Sweden, partly by Nordkalottleden and Grænsesømmen, and on to Scapoli, Italy, via Gothenburg, Aarhus, Hamburg, Frankfurt, the Black Forest and the Apennines. Some distance through Norwegian national parks are left unmarked.
- Current length: 4900 km.
- E2 Atlantic - Mediterranean. This path is planned to connect Galway, Ireland to Nice, France.
- Completed sections: Stranraer, Scotland to Nice, via England, Luxembourg and the Alps.
- Current length: 4850 km.
- E3 Black Sea - Iberia. This path is planned to connect Istanbul, Turkey to Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.
- Completed sections: Cape Emine, Bulgaria to Kom, Bulgaria (near Serbian border); Ártánd, on Hungarian border to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, via western Carpathians, Rheingau, Ardennes, Paris and the Pyrennees.
- Current length: 6950 km.
- E4 Mediterranean Arc. This path is planned to connect Cape St. Vincent to Cyprus.
- Completed sections: Tarifa, Spain to Kato Zakros, Greece via Carcassonne, Grenoble, Bavaria, Vienna, Budapest and Bulgaria.
- Current length: 10450 km.
- E5 Atlantic-Adriatic. This path connects Pointe du Raz, Brittany, France to Venice via Brest, Mont St Michel, Fontainebleau, Ballon d'Alsace and Lake Constance.
- Complete sections: Complete.
- Completed length: 3050 km.
- E6 Scandinavia-Dardanelles. This path is planned to connect Kilpisjärvi, Finland to Dardanelles, Turkey.
- Completed sections: Stockholm to Malmo; Korsor, Denmark to Koper, Slovenia; Igoumenitsa, Greece to Alexandropouli.
- Current length: 5200 km.
- E7 Atlantic-Black Sea. This path is planned to connect Lisbon to Ukraine.
- E8 Atlantic to Istanbul. This path is planned to connect Dursey Head in West Cork, Ireland to Istanbul.
- Completed sections: Dursey Head - Beskid Pass on the Poland/Ukraine border via Dublin, England, Aachen, Bonn, Rhine Valley,Vienna and Bratislava. Mezek, Bulgaria to Svilengrad on the Bulgaria/Turkey border.
- Current length: 4390 km.
- E9 European Coast Path. This path is planned to connect Cape St Vincent to Russia.
- E10 NE-SW. This path is planned to connect Nuorgam, Finland to Tarifa.
- E11 hiking trail. This path connects Scheveningen (The Hague), in the Netherlands through Germany and Poland to Lithuania.
There is a trail network in Europe, particularly in the west, called Grande Randonnée.