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Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Easy/Med Europian Thru Hikes on 12/05/2011 12:40:06 MST Print View

Well, coming off the John Muir Trail this year I've got a thru hike craving. My girlfriend and I are going to Europe this year (August/September). We're doing a traveling trip for 3-4 weeks to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. I'm looking to tack on a thru to that itinerary before or after our mutual trip.

If she doesn't want to join me, I'm doing the GR-20.

Is she does want to join me, does anyone have any recommendations on something that websites don't rank as "Europe's toughest trail". She's a little thing (so no 20 mile days up 4k elevation) that hates heights (so the rope bridges and ladders aren't something I want to contend with), but is otherwise happy to be there.

Here's to hoping!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Easy/Med Europian Thru Hikes on 12/05/2011 13:23:26 MST Print View

Hi Michael

Europe - an excess! Some take several months to do.
Pyrenees, GR10
Tour du Mont Blanc
GR5
GR52
Via Alpina, Red, Yellow, Purple, Blue, Green routes
(All of these are featured on the BPL web site too)

For a starter it might be worth while seeing what guide books you can get from Cicerone in the UK - they are in English. The guide books from the FFRP in France are also excellent but in French.

Maps: you can try to download them or order them over the net, but we don't bother these days. We just buy them as we go. The local shops almost always have the local maps. They also usually have the local guide books.

Also look at using the Refuge system. Not carrying tent and mat and quilt makes the load very light, and both of you will love that!

Cheers
PS: addictive indeed.)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Easy/Med Europian Thru Hikes on 12/05/2011 14:12:22 MST Print View

There are a couple of cross-island trails in Corsica, called "Da Mare a Mare," which are shorter and easier than the GR 20 but still go through the mountains and give a good sample of Corsican scenery.

Here's a trip report on Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul trails: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=49615

Some searching on this site will get you lots of other trip reports, both articles and forum posts.

Christine Thuermer
(chgeth) - F

Locale: Germany
European hikes on 12/06/2011 00:31:35 MST Print View

Michael,

I am a German long-distance hiker who has done the Triple Crown in the US - so I know the American and the European side of the hiking world.
Basically you have almost endless hiking opportunities in Europe by piecing together your own route. But keep in mind that there is no "thruhiking community" like in the US. Long-distance pathes are usually restricted to one country only and because European countries are smaller than the US those trails are shorter.

All the suggestions so far are in a more or less alpine area. If this is what you want to do, go for it. But if you decide to go for the Alps or Pyrenees keep in mind that you will not encounter pristine wilderness like in the US but devolopped mountains with ski lifts and cattle with cow bells everywhere.

The trails/hikes suggested so far are the very popular and obvious ones but I want to suggest at least one other that might be interesting for your girl friend:
http://www.salzburger-almenweg.at/en-index.shtml
This really scenic 350 km trail has been created only some years ago and is very easily accessible by public transport. As an added bonus to alpine scenery on this trail you will walk from Alm to Alm. An Alm is a mountain hut for people tending to cattle that is grazing in the mountains in summer. You can usually stay very cheaply overnight in those rustic huts and buy local produce like butter and cheese made directly there. You will have a great cultural experience.

But in regard to your girl friend I would suggest hiking in a non-alpine environment. I have just myself finished a 1,200 km hike through Germany and the British 2,000 km classic hike through the UK from John O'Groats to Land's End. You can find a trip report with photos and details for trip planning on my English blog:

Germany: http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.com/search/label/German%20hikes
UK: http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.com/search/label/JoGLE

If you are interested in either one please let me know and I could send you the relevant gpx track or help you with any other questions.

Also keep in mind that July will be awfully hot in Turkey and Greece and therefore not suitable for hiking the Lycian or St Pauls Way.

Christine

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Turkey on 12/06/2011 03:22:41 MST Print View

The Lycian Way is doable from October or so, if you are not too heat averse. The northern two-thirds of the St Paul's Trail are ok from sometime in September, due to the higher altitude.
However, if you decide to hike in Turkey, I would suggest going to the Kackars in the northeast of the country. There's no set trail, but you can put together your own walk, varying the length and difficulty to suit yourselves. Kate Clow (who devised the Lycian Way and SPT) has published a book of walks, available on Amazon. The route descriptions are about the same quality as the books for the other 2 walks, but the print quality, map quality and GPS waymarks (available from the website) are better.
July, August and September are the best months for the Kackars. They are very beautiful and water is much more available (in fact, rain is guaranteed on the northern side).

Edited by WilliamC3 on 12/06/2011 03:29:09 MST.