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Europe is home to an abundance of mountain ranges, making it one of the most popular places in the world to hike. The mountains across the continent range in difficulty, meaning there are trails for beginners and serious climbers alike. Keen hiker Bernard McGowan believes that nestled in the forests and amongst the mountains of Europe, there are some of the best hiking trails in the world.

Mount Elbrus, Russia

Standing 18,510 feet high, Russia’s Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in Europe. The mountain is an extinct volcano close to Russia’s border with Georgia and attracts hundreds of climbers each year who are looking for a challenge. The two main routes up the mountain are difficult; this climb should only be attempted by hikers with considerable experience under their belts.

Dolomites, Italy

Just south of Italy’s border with Austria lies the Dolomites. These limestone mountains reach up to 3,000 metres high and offer a variety of climbing routes. The trails around the Dolomites include scrambling, single pitch and extensive trad routes, paired with Italy’s stunning scenery.

Vignemale, French Pyrenees

Nestled in the French Pyrenees is Vignemale; a mountain that stands at just under 10,826 feet tall and offers a relatively easy climb. A choice of trails run up the mountain and it sits off the beaten track, giving hikers the benefit of peace and quiet.

Monte Perdido, Spain

Trails up Spain’s Monte Perdido might have their fair share of challenging parts, but it is certainly suitable for less-experienced climbers. The highest point is 11,007 feet, giving spectacular views across the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The location itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mont Blanc, Alps

Mont Blanc is one of the hardest climbs in Europe and should therefore only be tackled by experienced climbers. For those who do tackle the climb, the view from the summit is unforgettable. Mont Blanc stands at 15,777 feet and is the highest peak in the Alps. Whilst the mountain does offer hikes for a range of difficulty levels, even those considered easy can be tricky. Climbers who want to summit the mountain will need ice picks and crampons to safely complete the climb.