Thanks to the initiative and efforts of the European Ramblers Association (ERA), a network of long distance hiking trails traversing Europe came into being. The ERA was founded in Germany in 1969, and today has over 50 member-organisations devoted to long distance walking, but also to sustainable development of the countryside and, among other things, to the protection of something called European heritage, whatever that may be.
At this moment there are 11 European Long Distance Paths which as a rule lead through several countries (see map). Wherever possible these paths make use of, and coincide with, existing national or regional trails. They number from E1 to E11 (a new one is envisaged for the future: E12). But not all paths are complete. Apart from having to take the occasional ferry, there are some gaps, for instance on the E8 between Poland and the last stretch in Bulgaria.
In addition to the E-paths, there are other cross-boundary trails. Most famous is the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Way(s), which is not one single route but a whole network of main and by-routes from different corners of northern and eastern Europe, all ultimately leading pilgrims across the Pyrenees to the city of Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain. It is known by translation in different countries, such as St.James Way or St.Jacobsroute. In reality all pilgrims, medieval or modern, have always made use of existing walking trails and roads alike.
A more interesting collection of European trans-national trails is the Via Alpina, consisting of five trails (red, purple, yellow, green and blue) across the entire Alps and through eight different countries, and excellently documented.
- John P September 2014
- Rate 7
- Positive A great attempt to create ultralong distance walks on the scale of the Appalachian trail or the Pacific crest trail, but with much more varied scenery and a chance to experience different cultures, cuisine, history, religions and languages.
- Negative The development of the trails are very patchy between countries, in some places they existed only in the imagination of someone, some years ago, in others they are clearly waymarked, are marked on maps, have gpx files you can download and even guidebooks.
- Rate 8
- theravens July 2011
- Rate 8
- Positive Peaceful, somehere that allows you to feel at ease when walking. Id advise people to try the small walk from Detmold to Arminius monument in the Tuetonborg Forest
- Daniel Brighouse 2018-08-25 09:39:09
- Does anbody know if anyone has completed the full E4 path in one attempt?
- John P 2018-09-30 14:10:09
- I have not been able to find anyone. John Hayes did the Tarifa to Budapest section in one go (http://www.johnhayeswalks.com/p/e4.html). There has been a gap in the E4 in Romania so I went via a loosely defined alternative in Serbia, people on that route said they had only seen a Belgium person going through and he went to the Turkish border rather than continuing to Greece. One problem in doing it in one attempt is that there will be some mountains that you will need to cross in deep snow.
- Filip 2017-11-11 11:34:31
Long distance trail February to August
- Hi, I'm totally new on the page and thought I'd start of to try out the forum and see what help I can get.
I am planing to do a long distance hike from around mid February to mid August.
At first I looked something like Tarifa to lower Sweden since that is where I come from. I looked at going south to north due to weather and warmth. That one is way to long for my time span though. I then looked a bit at the GR5 which seems really nice but then it would be totally wrong season...
What I am looking for is a trail that would take me around six months, be able to walk February to August, goes at least partially through France, and then some more countries. It would be nice to start in the south with milder climate and head north with spring.
- email@example.com 2017-04-11 15:07:05
Hike part of the E1
- Hello Dear, I'm going to Europe at the end of may and I'm thinking to do part of the route E1, i would like to start in south of Germany untill north of Italy, going through Switzerland. I have few questions about the route.
Do I need to have any permission to hike the trail?
Can I camp during the route?,
Are there campsites on the route?
What is the main thing i need to know about this route?
If someone can help me with this questions, i will be really grateful.
- Rosie 2016-12-19 00:00:27
Celebratory 3 week European hike in May-June 2017
- Hi - I'm finally getting my first holiday in 8 years from 20 May 2017 and I'm going to go hiking, which I've desperately missed. I really wanted to do some Alpine hiking - perhaps the Traumpfad, but it's going to be too early in the season. Do you have a favourite section of any of these that will be lovely at that time and will feel properly special to mark the occasion? Thank you!
- Sal Eden 2016-05-07 11:41:56
Long-Distance Trails - Safety in the current social climate?
- Hi there, I'm new to this forum and have had a longing for a while for some long distance trails, escapism partly, a challenge to my endurance too.
Physically and mentally I am good for this challenge.
My question is, if anyone can answer, is how safe is it at the moment to go on these trails given the whole social fears etc around the the immigration crises etc. Safety from both immigrants and from right-wing socialists who may take my 'hobo'like appearance as to think I am an immigrant. I hold no prejudices myself and do not wish this to turn into any debate.
Just really looking for anyone who is now or has recently been on a long distance trail who can tame my safety fears. I will be wandering alone, 30 year old British male.
- jack 2016-10-23 15:42:28
- Relax. The people you are worried about don't hike. You are absolutely safe on the trails. Possible to have some trouble in cities.
- John P 2016-11-19 12:13:11
- Never had any problems of this type. Main safety risk is probably traffic on roads or braking a leg in a remote place.