Walking and Climbing in Central Europe
“The Blue Route” , or European Long Distance Route 4, is the trail to follow on your hiking exploration of Central Europe. From Germany and Austria it goes all the way across the Hungarian countryside from the Austrian to the Slovakian border, passing by Budapest and Lake Balaton. Mountains, lakes, plains, forests; beautiful scenery and fascinating history abound in this region of Europe.
Walking and hiking in Germany are some of the best ways to reach the most breathtaking views and quietest corners of this history and scenery-rich country. The German hiking paradise caters to all levels, from alpinists seeking thin air and thick adventure on the Alpine heights to the multi-generational family group with youngest and oldest preferring easier paths, always in stunning natural settings. You have nearly 200,000 km of hiking trail network to choose from. Roam through the forests of Northern Hesse, find rare flowers or search out military history on the Moselle - stopping for some of the local wines, of course – but no matter where you wander, you’ll embrace with delight the perfect mix if nature, exercise, and sightseeing that happen when you walk and climb in Germany.
No manner of exploring and experiencing a destination that is as intimate and personal as enjoying it on foot; walking and hiking in Austria will get you close to nature, its people and wonderful traditions. If you’re looking for picture perfect scenery, fresh mountain air and crystal clear lakes, Austria offers an abundance of choices from remote alpine ascents to fascinating rambles through Austrian mountain life. The Cheese Route through the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg is the ideal way to explore the region and its close ties with cheese making, from dairy farms and inns specializing in cheese to alpine pastures where you can personally thank one of the gifted Austrian dairy cows.
Hike the Salzkammergut region, recognized for 4500 years of history by UNESCO, and explore ice caves and ancient salt mines!
Hikers will happily find a network of some 24,000 kilometers of marked trails in Poland, including the Polish sections of the trans-European routes. Favorite hiking trails include dunes, lakes and forests at the seaside in Slowinski National Park. Well above sea level, the high peaks of the Tatras Mountains frame the horizon of the visitor base at Zakopane in southern Poland. The Sudeten Mountains, where the Polish, German and Czech borders meet, are studded with castles and caves and rich in wildlife. Hiking trails in and around the Zakopane range from winding paths suitable for leisure walks to rocky ridges and high mountain treks for the more adventurous. Small new inns capture the Polish way of life along trails in the Carpathian highlands near the near Slovakian/Ukraine border, giving you an unparalleled insight into the culture of the Carpathians and Central Europe.
Allow yourself to be captivated by the rugged, untouched scenery of Šumava National Park in the Czech Republic. Stretching along the border with Germany, Sumava features glacial lakes, remains of ancient virgin forests and extensive marshland to explore. This is a superb location for summer hiking. The elaborate network of well-marked tourist trails will lead you to the most untouched of scenery and views of the majestic mountain ridges. If you fall in love with Sumava, return in the winter and just put skis on in place of hiking boots!
Lake Balaton, its stunning scenery and fresh air, are a must for outdoor tourists visiting Hungary. Countless marked trails circumnavigate the lake and lead hikers, cyclists and horse-riders to some of the region’s natural treasures. The northern shore is ringed by volcanic hills with spectacular rock formations. 400m-high Badacsony Hill is a particular favourite, its slopes littered with cellars promising tasty refreshment and its flat-topped summit offering views to die for. Hmm, is it the climb that makes I it a favorite, or the “watering holes”? The peninsula of Tihany is also volcanic in origin, and its geyser cones and crater lakes provide wonderful terrain for walkers and anglers alike.
The Tatras Mountains, the highest range in the Carpathians, lie on the border of Slovakia and Poland and offer the avid alpine hiker a memorable trek in largely untrammeled territory. Trails are marked for their level of difficulty so walkers aspiring to more relaxing jaunts can amble through gentler terrain. As beautiful as the scenery is on these walks, the set of instructive paths offered are possibly the most fascinating, as these trails take you on themes adventures to learn about local topography, geology, history and customs, or for general sightseeing so you don’t miss any of the high points. Fill your lungs, stretch your legs, widen your mind, and max out your camera all on a wonderful walk in Slovakia!