7 of Europe's Best Lakeside Hiking Trips for 2023

Summit of Pike of Stickle | John Millen
Summit of Pike of Stickle | John Millen

There’s something very calming about walking beside a lake. The stillness of the water, and the views to the hills or mountains rising up from the far side of the lake can give a wonderful sense of space. And whether in the UK or Europe, lakeside towns and villages are often some of the most picturesque you’ll come across.

Choose from a number of walks that include significant stretches of beautiful lakeside walking – here are a few of our team's favourites.

 

Lake Como Rambling

The Italian lakes are stunning – beautiful blue ribbons of water carving their way through majestic mountains, with classic coastal towns and villas dotted along the shores. Lake Como is one of the most famous, and has been a popular destination since the days of the Romans. As well as ancient Roman villas, the lake boasts grand hotels built for wealthy European and American tourists during the Victorian era.

Start in Como and embark on several walks that take you to some of the most attractive towns and villages on the lake’s shores, offering plenty of opportunities to drink in the magnificent views and sample the delicious food and wine.

Lake Como

Find out more about Lake Como Rambling.

 

The Cumbria Way

Undoubtedly the best way to enjoy Cumbria’s breath-taking natural beauty and refreshingly clear air is at a leisurely pace walking the Cumbria Way.

This tour provides an excellent introduction to the charms of English Lakeland, England’s most mountainous area, and one if its most beautiful regions. Walking is unquestionably the best way to see this celebrated landscape, hailed over the years by the likes of poets, authors and painters. Wordsworth, Tennyson, Arthur Ramson, Beatrix Potter and Wainwright have all left their mark. 

Starting in Ulverston and finishing in Keswick, the walk takes in views of Lakes Coniston and Derwentwater, as well as Langdale and Borrowdale, two of the area’s prettiest valleys.

The Lake District

Find out more about walking along lake shores on the Cumbria Way.

 

Austrian Lake District & Dachstein Alps

Welcome to beautiful Upper Austria in the hinterland of Mozart’s city of Salzburg. The beauty of the area embraced by the Dachstein Mountains and the Hallstatter See is truly inspirational. There are people who claim that once you have walked here you will have experienced the best ‘typical’ alpine hiking in Europe. 

After a few days in the mountains you’ll descend to the waters of Lake Hallstatt, and the ancient, picture-perfect lakeside town of Hallstatt. From here you’ll be able to explore the fascinating local area, and swim in the lake if the weather is warm enough.

Austrian Lake District

Find out more about walking in Austria's Lake District.

 

The Wicklow Way

The Wicklow Way is Ireland's oldest waymarked trail, pioneered by a famous hill walker, J.B Malone over 40 years ago and reveals some of Irelands finest views - Powerscourt Waterfall, Luggala, Loch Dan, Glenmalure and historical Glendalough. 

The Wicklow Way explores unspoilt trails, remote scenery, lakes, glacial valleys, forests and gentle farmland – before finishing in the famous city of Dublin. Along the way, you’ll pass through the spectacular Glendalough valley, with views of the two lakes that sit at the bottom of the valley. 

Wicklow Way

Choose from 7-day and 9-day versions of the Wicklow Way, or the 5-day Wicklow Way taster.

 

The Great Glen Way

Loch Ness hardly needs an introduction – Scotland’s second largest loch stretches for 23 miles along the Great Glen, which links Fort William in the south to Inverness in the north, and contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.

Whilst walking the great Glen Way, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Loch Ness, as well the other lochs, and the majestic surrounding mountains, including, of course, Ben Nevis itself, the UK’s highest peak. Along the way, you’ll be treated by famous Scottish hospitality, and traditional food.

Great Glen Way

Read more about walking the Great Glen Way.

 

The Fjordland

Not technically lakes, the Fjords are great coastal grooves, gouged out by retreating glaciers from the last ice-age. What they definitely are though, is spectacular – providing a breath-taking walking experience that will live with you forever. There are a wide range of walks to take in the highlands, which lead you right up onto the glaciers edge; it is even possible to go out onto the ice to take an excursion. There are also the lusher walks down into the pastoral settings of the Flam and Aurland Valleys. These are furnished with forests, farmsteads, cascades and churches.

You’ll also visit Sognefjord, the longest fjord in the world.

Fjordland

Find out more about walking in the Fjordland.

 

Lochs and Bens

One of our self-guided cycling holidays, this trip takes you through the heart of the Scottish Highlands, which have long been a favoured destination for cyclists and walkers keen to experience the mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and pretty glens. Along the way, you’ll visit beautiful lochs Tay and Earn, as well as the River Tay and the peaceful lochside towns of Kenmore, Lochearnhead and Killin.

En route there are opportunities to take a forest walk or visit one of the many castles and ancient monuments to be found along the way.

Lochs and Bens

Find out more about cycling the Lochs and Bens.

 

If you've been looking for a saunter along some of the UK's and Europe's most stunning lakes yourself, but are unsure where to head next, our team of travel experts can assist you with your travel plans. From choosing the best lakes for your walking holiday to making all your trip arrangements and 24/7 support while you're actually travelling.

 

Lakeside Trips

 

Wicklow Way photo credits: Magdalena Smolnicka

Lakeside Walking, European Lakes, UK Lake District, Walking Holidays in the UK, Walking Holidays in Europe, Best Lakes for Walkers

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