Book Review: Epic Hikes Of Europe By Lonely Planet

Epic Hikes cover

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What type of hiker are you? Do you seek out the most challenging treks, do you walk purposefully in search of nature, art or history, or do you prefer a leisurely stroll with no particular aim in mind? With 200 of Europe’s best walking adventures, Epic Hikes of Europe, a new title from Lonely Planet, has routes for every type of walker.

Epic Hikes Of Europe

Epic Hikes of Europe is a series of narratives by experienced hikers and nature writers. It covers the whole of Europe (and one or two non-European countries, such as Armenia and Greenland). Of the 200 entries, 31 are in Britain.

People walking along a shady mountain path with trees and a fence
Hikers descending a staircase at Samaria Gorge, Crete (photo credit Dziewul/ shutterstock)

Some of the walks are multi-day hikes; others are a day’s ramble. Some take you to barely-habited regions; others are urban. Some involve scrambling over mountain passes; others are gentle tracks. There is something here for everyone.

More Than Just A Hiking Guide

But this is much more than just a conventional hiking guide. The editors invoke the Romantic artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, saying they wanted to “showcase hikes that would inspire Romantic-style exaltations: emotions such as joy, satisfaction, awe, and… fear”.

The contributors have chosen their routes with this in mind, prioritising personal experience over the most famous paths. So, although the Camino de Santiago is here (of course!), the writer has chosen one of the lesser known routes – the Portuguese Coastal Way – and I was pleased to see that her further suggestions include the even less well known Jacobsweg (which I had encountered at Rapperswil in Switzerland).

Hiker crossing a bridge in a remote landscape with rocks and mountains
Long distance hiker on the Kungsleden hiking trail in Lapland, Sweden (photo credit Jens Ottoson/ shutterstock)

Elsewhere you will find coastal paths, wine-tasting routes, city trails and more…

What Does The Book Include?

Epic Hikes of Europe is divided into regions of Europe and the 50 main walks are colour coded into easy, harder and “epic”. The epic hikes deserve their name – walks like the 5-day Kungsleden (King’s Trail) in the remote north of Sweden are not for the faint hearted… Whereas the easy routes could be taken at your own pace: as an example the level path alongside the Canal du Midi in France is 110 km, but it would be easy to pick and choose your sections.

Each entry has the writer’s own experience of the route, with a sketch map and full colour photos. It also includes a list of practical details and some suggestions for further reading. And each has three further suggestions for “more like this” (for instance the Thames Path leads to other “urban history walks” such as the Via Appia Antica in Rome).

Two figures inside a walkway covered with red and purple glass
Panoramic walkway created by Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (photo credit Rudy Mareel/ shutterstock)

As is customary with Lonely Planet publications you will also find small snippets of information about subjects as varied as worm-charming in the Cambrian Mountains or the medieval “Voyage of St Brendan”. The writers are very much in storytelling mode: the stories and the pictures combine to inspire the reader. But there is enough practical information to allow you to follow in their footsteps.

How To Use Epic Hikes Of Europe

This is a book to inspire you: I would recommend that you dip into it at random as well as using the list of contents and the index to find the places that interest you. For myself, I particularly liked the way each hike had a theme, from Danish Design-Spotting in Aarhus, to the pilgrimage route of the St Olav Ways in Norway, to A Wine Wander Along the Moselle, in each case leading to further variations on the theme. Many happy hours of reading here!

Whether your interest is coast or mountains, city or countryside, once you’ve found your inspiration use this book to help you plan your hike…

Epic Hikes of Europe, Lonely Planet, hardback, £24.99, 9781838694289


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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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