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Travel advice - extended hiking in Europe

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by nickthetasmaniac, May 17, 2012.

  1. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Hi everyone, this is a bit last minute but I thought I'd ask anyway...

    In about a week I'm flying to Helsinki, Finland for the start of a four month European trip. A fairly major component of the trip will be hiking and I will be taking a full kit (pack, bag, mat, stove, tent etc...).

    The basic itinerary (I'm terrible at being organised) is as follows:

    - Finland (with possible trips to Norway and Sweden) - May 25 - end of June. I have family in Helsinki so I'll be hanging around for a while.
    - Make my way to the Netherlands where I'm meeting with a friend on the 5th of July
    - Couple of weeks in the Netherlands with trips to Belgium, Germany, Denmark and so on...
    - My Dutch friend and I are then making our way to Astorga to complete the last section of the Camino de Santiago with another friend (who is actually from Santiago) - probably over the last 12 days of July.
    - Make my way to France and complete two of the central sections of the Hautes Pyrenees - probably from Borce to Barèges (172km).
    - Make my way to Milan to meet another friend, and hopefully do a walk in the Dolomites.
    - Back to France (Brittany) to meet another friend on the 3rd of September. Stay up this way for a few weeks and then fly home to employment :) 

    So, my main query is - does anyone have any suggestions for extended hikes in Finland, Spain (particularly the north), France (particularly the Pyrenees and Brittany) and Italy (particularly the Milan region and the Dolomites)? I'm fit, experienced, self-sufficient and I love wild, remote landscapes, so anything goes within reason :)  As I said, my itinery is very loose at the moment and can be adjusted to fit with any cool suggestions...

    Also, does anyone who's done extended backpacking (to hike) have any suggestions on specific gear/issues?

    Cheers, Nick
  2. Gwendal

    Gwendal Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 6, 2010
    Nick, you're about to do a wonderful trip - as far as Brittany is concerned, I guess you'll be packing all sorts of protection against rain - and regarding Milano, you should avoid the city itself (it is going to very hot and stifling that time of the year) and go instead just north, in the region of the lakes - plenty of climbing to do, lakes, forest (where the air is fresher), you can even combine the hiking itself with visits to the Sacri Monti where there will be less tourists than around the lakes themselves. I remember the one in Oropa is the subject of pilgrimages, where inhabitants of the region get there by night across the mountains, you might be there at exactly the right time.
    Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
  3. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Nick, in NL, BE and DE: it's flat and fairly uninteresting to hike. Hire a bike (cheap), and explore small canal paths and old town centres. There are separate bike paths everywhere.
  4. As a Dutchman and experienced hiker in NL, BE, DE and Austria I do not agree.
    There are very nice long distance footpaths in all European countries where you walk through very interesting landscapes.
  5. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Sorry, Hank, I didn't mean to offend. But NL is THE country for riding a bike, and the OP mentioned he liked mountain hiking. Of all the areas he mentioned, the Netherlands and Belgium are my personal favourites. Uitstekend!
  6. retnull

    retnull Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    If you happen to make it to Bergen, Norway, the hike from Ulriken to Floyen is amazing. Cable car up, long day of high-altitude hiking across stunning and varied landscapes, then a funicular down to the center of town. Best day's hiking I've ever had.
  7. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Yeah I haven't heard great things about Milan city itself... Thanks for your suggestion about the lakes and the pilgrims route - I'll keep an eye out for it if I end up being there at the right time :smile:

    Yeah I figured that would be the case (I was really looking at doing the long hikes in Finland, Spain, France and possibly Italy). Thanks for the bike suggestion - my Dutch friend is a bike fanatic and has a couple I can borrow so I don't think that'll be a problem!

    On the subject of bikes, can anyone suggest some good places to check out Le Tour while in France? I'm a pretty big Cadel Evans fan (back-to-back wins ftw) and I grew up with Matt Goss (Green Jersey?) and Richie Porte (Individual TT possibility?), so I'd love to check it out if I'm in the region :biggrin: If this were to happen it would most likely be during the last week of the race.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Norway has me absolutely fascinated... If I can find a way to get there I might cut the Finland section short and spend a couple of weeks in Norway instead...
  8. Whatever route you take Nick have a great time and take care.:smile:
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