Tuscany region, Italy
Italy was one of the hot spots this past summer where it seemed everyone around the world descended on the boot shaped country to enjoy all of its many attractions. If you want to hike in Italy and avoid the heat and crowds, the autumn months are perfect. Some of the highlights include the delights of southern Italy, such as the trails of the Amalfi Coast, Calabria’s national parks, the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains of Sicily and the Gennargentu and Supramonte mountains of Sardinia. As well, central Italy is lovely at this time of year, where you can explore the trails in the Appenines in Tuscany, and the national parks of Abruzzo region.
Spain is another southern European country that can be baking in the summer months. There’s a lot of stunning mountain scenery here and the fall months are perfect for hiking in the mountains in Spain. Some of the areas include the mountain ranges near Madrid such as Sierra de Guadarrama, Sierra de Gredos and Monfrague National Park; the Andalucía region in the south includes Sierra de Grazalema, Sierra de las Nieves, and the Las Alpujarras region (and the terrifying El Caminto del Rey hike); the Serra d’Aitana on the Costa Blanca; and around Barcelona.
The Iberian peninsula boasts another country which has beautiful mountain landscapes to explore in the fall, in Portugal. The Algarve is known for its lovely beaches and striking rock formations but one can hike in the Serra de Monchique, low mountains in the area or embark on the Via Algarviana, a 300 km route through the area.
Fagaras Mountains, Romania
Swinging east, the Carpathian Mountains and its subranges of Romania are spectacular for hiking in the fall. The Fagaras, Piatra Craiulu, Bucegi, Apuseni and Retezat Mountains offer up hundreds of trails to explore including the Via Transilvanica, a 1400 km trail spanning the country. The fall colours are a big draw for hiking in Romania in the autumn months.
Another eastern European country that is great for fall hiking is Bulgaria, where its three large national parks feature fantastic hiking trails. Explore the Rila, Pirin and Central Balkan national parks, as well as the mountains near the capital of Sofia. Don’t forget to head out on Bulgaria’s most popular hike, the stunning Seven Rila Lakes trail.
Belonging to Portugal, but far from the mainland, the island of Madeira offers stunning mountains to hike in, perfect for the fall months. The whole island is mountainous so base yourself in the capital, Funchal, or smaller towns such as Ponta do Sol or Sao Vincente and hike up one of the many peaks or levada walks. Popular hikes include Pico Ruivo, Pico Arieiro and one linking the two peaks.
The Spanish islands close to the coast of Morocco are a popular beach destination but have beautiful mountain landscapes on all seven islands that comprise the Canary Islands. The best to hike on are Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria, and La Gomera, and fall can be one of the best times to visit.
The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has a mountainous interior that lends itself to some pretty great hiking. The Troodos Mountains, the Avakas Gorge, and the Kyrenia Mountain Trail along the northern coast are some of the main areas for hiking and are perfect in the fall, when temperatures are pleasant.
Greece has many great opportunities for hiking, on the mainland and on the many islands in the seas surrounding the country. Fall is the perfect time to embark on a hiking adventure on any of the numerous mountainous islands – a handful highlighted here include: Kalymnos (with the 100 km Kalymnos Trail), Andros (considered a hiker’s paradise), Corfu (with the 200 km Corfu Trail), Samos (with over 40 well-marked routes), and Crete (the largest of the Greek Islands and contains the famous Samaria Gorge).
Europe has many fantastic mountain landscapes to hike this fall. Find out more at Where to Hike When.