Are you currently battling with a travel itch that is just waiting to be scratched? If so, you’re not alone! Traveling is a universally loved experience that can be challenging and enlightening. It can even improve your overall health by boosting your productivity and creativity levels at work, as well as your life expectancy, cognitive flexibility, and even your immune system.
When it comes to traveling, you can never go wrong with Europe.
Europe’s global tourism has increased exponentially in the past decade, and it is estimated to increase by 1.9 percent until 2030. Europe’s phenomenal culture and beautiful scenery are beloved by international visitors, which makes this a must-see destination. The EU has a lot to offer everyone, especially outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers. You’ll encounter some of the most stunning and challenging hiking trails that will take your breath away.
Here is a list of some of Europe’s most underrated hiking trails that you’re sure to fall in love with.
Austria, Slovenia, and Italy’s Alpe Adria Trail
The Alpe Adria Trail is just what every adventurer needs. The Alpe Adria Trail became accessible to the public in 2012, and it was carefully designed with hikers and sightseeing in mind.
The trail leads from Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, and travels south until reaching Italy, near Trieste on the Adriatic coast. The trail cuts through Carinthia, Slovenia, where hikers get to enjoy Carinthia’s stunning mountains and lakes.
The entire trail is divided into a total of 43 stages; each stage is about 12 miles long and takes about six hours to complete. The route has been acknowledged for being very organized and unique, as every stage includes several different eye-catching landmarks, such as Austria’s Garnet Gate and Italy’s Sanctuary of Mont Lussari. There is never a dull moment during this trail; and you can expect to pass large bodies of water, such as mountain lakes and rivers, while trekking through the region’s summits and valleys.
Spain’s Camino dos Faros Coastal Trail
The Camino dos Faros, also referred to as Lighthouse Way, is a spectacular walking trail located on the coastline of Spain. The trail spans from Malpica to Finistere, in Galicia, a quiet and under the radar province in Northwest Spain. The route has been described as an easy-to-follow trail that stretches nearly 125 miles.
Much of the trail winds through different terrains, giving you a scenic view during the entire experience. You’ll be sure to come across cliff tops, forests, colorful gardens of flowers, beachfronts, the Atlantic Ocean, and plenty of striking lighthouses with a story to tell. The trail easily directs you to neighboring villages and towns, allowing you to experience Spain’s rich history, culture, and way of life.
Greece’s Lousios Gorge Monasteries Hike
Greece is typically associated with its historical cities, such as Athens, Delphi, and Olympia. However, the country is also famous for its beautiful hiking trails situated along its farmed cities and Mediterranean isles. Lousios Gorge is situated in the Arkadia region of Greece, which is part of the mountainous area located in the center of the Peloponnese.
The trail provides beautiful scenery as well as historical landmarks that will leave you in awe. You’ll encounter lush greenery surrounding the trail, as well as Arcadian ruins, and the Lousios River that spans throughout the gorge. It’s a course that’s easy to follow and only takes six hours to accomplish. Hikers can travel at their own speed knowing that this hike does not require a long-term commitment.
The path ultimately takes you to two cliff-top monasteries, the monastery of St. John Prodromos and the “Secret School” in the old monastery of Philosophos, which both play a significant role in Greek history. Both buildings played an important role during the Greek War of Independence in 1821, and served as a hospital and refuge for Greek revolutionaries that were fighting against the Turks.
Traveling promises many different long-term health benefits. Unfortunately, these health benefits don’t protect you against vector borne diseases. According to the World Health Organization, mosquitos and ticks are best known for transmitting vector borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, schistosomiasis, and more. Such diseases account for over 17 percent of all infectious diseases, and cause about 700,000 deaths worldwide.
Lyme Disease is the most common vector-borne disease in Europe, while dengue fever, leishmaniasis and encephalitis outbreaks are also on the rise, due to an increase in mosquito populations. The European Center for Disease Prevent and Control publish tick maps and mosquito maps that report where ticks and mosquitos are most common in Europe.
If your travel plans are keeping you local, take a look at our mosquito and tick density maps of the United States.
Avoiding insects and ticks in Europe is easy, and only requires you to include a few extra items in your list of backpacking essentials, including a long lasting bug spray and long-sleeved clothes to ward off ticks and insects. Bug spray is incredibly effective. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourages everyone, even vaccinated travelers, to use a trusted and safe bug spray. This will help ward off ticks, as vaccines don’t protect against tick borne diseases. Currently, travelers can receive vaccines that protect them from contracting Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. Vaccinated travelers should double their protection by using bug spray.
Picaridin bug spray is the best bug spray for hiking because of its long lasting properties, its ability to absorb into the skin quickly, and because it’s free of neurotoxins and plasticizers. Our travel size bug spray is an ideal backpacking Europe essential, as it is both lightweight and small and offers at least 30 full-body applications. We also recommend packing a permethrin spray for clothing, another must-have travel bug spray that offers long-lasting mosquito and tick protection.
Enjoy your trip and come back home well-rested and in good health. Safe travels!