Hiking without crowds in Europe - five fantastic tours


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Traveling on lonely paths in the high season is really not easy and not everyone has the luxury of only being able to vacation in the off-season. But it works. That's why today I'm presenting you with my best alternative routes in the most beautiful places in Europe. Fantastic landscapes included.


  • France: Gorges du Quinson instead of Gorges du Verdon
  • Italy: The 507 hiking trail instead of Sentiero Azzurro (Cinque Terre hiking trail)
  • Germany: AhrSteig instead of the red wine trail
  • Wales: Ogwen Valley instead of Snowdon
  • Switzerland: Mountain hiking trail instead of the Verzasca hiking trail

France: Hike in the Gorges du Quinson instead of the Verdon Gorge

You've probably heard of the Verdon Gorge, the Gorges du Verdon, but do you also know the Gorges du Quinson? Strictly speaking, if the two belong together, the impressive gorges are only separated by a lake. And that's why they have a lot in common: clear, bright turquoise water and white rock walls that tower above you. But not only is the gorge just as impressive, it can also be explored particularly well on a hike.

The hike through the Gorges du Quinson starts in the village of the same name, Quinson. We parked in a small trail parking lot at the entrance to the gorge. There are also other large parking lots around. There is a steep climb up a few stairs at first, until you quickly have a spectacular view of the gorge. Now you walk along a narrow paved path always to the left of the gorge. It's just beautiful to cry. The path runs partly directly on the water.

By the way, you have two options to adjust the route to your liking. There is a long and a short version. We opted for the short variant because the longer one leads through a small tunnel that was still slightly flooded that day. This seems to be a common occurrence here. Incidentally, a few meters of altitude must be overcome for the way back. So it goes up the slope like stairs, but well secured, until you are finally high up on the mountain. Here you walk through fragrant, Mediterranean landscapes, but unfortunately you can no longer see the gorge. But the way is really relaxed. Shortly before the end it goes down a serpentine until you get back to the starting point of the hike. It is therefore hardly possible to get lost here. By the way, our route variant was about 8 kilometers long. Be sure to check out the pretty village of Quinson right after the hike. worthwhile.

At a glance:

  • Length: 7.2 kilometers
  • Elevation meters: 210
  • Walking time: 2 hours
  • Directions: Quinson
  • Trail Type: Circular Trail

Italy: Cinque Terre hike on the 507 hiking trail instead of Sentiero Azzurro (Cinque Terre hiking trail)

In the article with a dog in the Cinque Terre I already raved about how beautiful the region is. Therefore, it must not be missing here either. And of course, when it comes to hiking in the Cinque Terre, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous Sentiero Azzurro. The many mountain hiking trails in the region have great advantages: They are free, there is not a soul far and wide, but plenty of shade and incredibly beautiful and varied landscapes - including the sea view, of course. But I should also confess that the hikes on these mountain trails are much more strenuous than those on the comparatively flat Sentiero Azzurro. Incidentally, the section between San Bernadino and Manarola, which is well marked with the number 507, is considered to be particularly beautiful.

By the way: If you want to go even further into the hinterland of the Cinque Terre, then I can recommend the region around Pignone. This pretty village is in the middle of a jungle-like forest, from here numerous hiking trails lead up to the mountains that tower over the Cinque Terre. We also found the best and by far the cheapest breakfast here.

Circular hike from Corniglia on the 507 at a glance:

  • Length: 8.6 kilometers
  • Elevation meters: 560
  • Walking time: 3:30 hours
  • Starting point: Corniglia or San Bernadino
  • Trail Type: Circular Trail

Germany: Hike on the AhrSteig instead of the red wine trail

Breathtaking hiking trails can also be found in Germany. One of them is the red wine trail. A complete overview of the red wine hike can be found in the blog post. But did you know that there is a no less beautiful path on the other side of the valley? The AhrSteig runs in seven stages from Blankenheim to Sinzig and has a total length of 107 kilometers. It leads through meadows and forests, past castle ruins and along the vineyard terraces of the Ahr Valley. Even if the flood destroyed the sections along the Ahufer in particular, the path has already been restored, partly through alternative routes.

Incidentally, the Ahr Valley stage is considered the queen stage of the AhrSteig. Adventurous and almost alpine, you run 14.5 kilometers from Kreuzberg to Walporzheim, always along rocky mountain slopes and always have views of castles, the Ahr and the vineyards. The view from Teufelsloch and Teufelsley is particularly spectacular. I particularly liked the section that leads directly past the Saffenburg.

By the way: We have combined the AhrSteig with the red wine hiking trail. From Rech we hiked over the Ahr and up the mountain slopes, then always following the AhrSteig to Altenahr. There we climbed to Are Castle and followed the classic red wine hiking trail to Rech. The AhrSteig has a completely different character. First of all, you are almost alone here. In addition, the path here is heavily forested. We particularly liked the 15-kilometer combination of both paths.

Ahrsteig Red Wine Hiking Trail (combination) at a glance:

  • Length: 14 kilometers
  • Elevation meters: 360
  • Walking time: 3:50
  • Trail Type: Circular Trail
  • Starting point: Rech or Altenahr

Wales: Hiking the Ogwen Valley instead of Mount Snowdon

Snowdon is one of the most climbed mountains in the world. And we couldn't help it either and had to hike up Wales' highest mountain. And it was great! That's why I've created a complete Snowdon Guide for you here. And yet there was this one hike that I just can't get out of my head. And which, above all, is much less well-known. The hike through the Ogwen Valley. Here you hike along lakes, waterfalls and steep mountains. The views across the valley are always spectacular. Seen from the front, Llyn Idwal even looks like a fjord. And that in the middle of Wales. Of course, it can get a little crowded in the Ogwen Valley too, and the small circular hike is particularly popular with families. That's why I recommend you to do the somewhat adventurous hike along the Tryfan summit.

From the hiking car park you climb straight up a steep slope that runs right next to a waterfall until you arrive at a small mountain lake. Then the path goes to the right (be sure to turn around, the Tryfan peak looks like a dragon's back from this perspective). At some point you are literally faced with a cliff with incredible views of Llyn Idwal. You have to go down the slope now! When the weather is bad, be careful because you walk a lot on grass and rock and not on a paved path. Now you are on the lake shore and walk clockwise around the lake. On the head side it goes up again steeply, which ensures an incredible view. You could even make a detour to the summit. Once you have circled the lake, you always walk along the pass road back to the hiking car park. The hike is almost seven kilometers long and easy to manage with an altitude difference of 400 meters.

At a glance:

  • Length: 7 kilometers
  • Elevation meters: 380
  • Walking time: 2:15 hours
  • Trail Type: Circular Trail

Switzerland (Valle Verzasca in Ticino): hike on the mountain trail instead of the Verzasca trail

The Verzasca Valley is also affectionately called the Meledives of Switzerland. Because the Verzasca, which cuts through the valley into a deep gorge, has not just green water - but emerald green. And swimming spots are waiting for you everywhere. So going hiking in Valle Verzasca is not the worst idea. But many other people have these too. And so the valley is really jam-packed in summer. The most popular is the Verzasca hiking trail, on which you can walk through the entire valley. Always along the Verzasca, the path leads from village to village. If you want a little peace and don't mind a full-blown mountain hike, then I can recommend the "overlooked" mountain trails. They have a surprise or two in store.

We started in Brione and quickly left the main hiking trail. A small path leads steeply up until you reach the highest point after about 300 meters in altitude. So you don't have to go all the way to the summit. Now the path leads through a cool forest that opens up again and again. Here you have a fantastic view of the valley and the opposite peaks. But our highlight was an imposing waterfall. If only we had known that beforehand and packed our bathing suits (by the way, that's generally not the worst idea in the Verzasca Valley). Finally, the path meanders downhill, you pass a beautiful stone village, until you finally meet the main hiking trail again in Motta. You could now go back up the mountain path and continue hiking to Lavertezzo, but from here we are directly along the Verzasca back to Brione. And as beautiful as the riverside trail is, it was just too busy to enjoy this stretch of the trail. It can therefore make sense to do the hike the other way around, i.e. early in the morning along the river and then up the mountain. Only once on the mountain trail did a small family come towards us. This circular hike is 7 kilometers long in total.

At a glance:

  • Length: 7 kilometers
  • Elevation meters: 300
  • Walking time: 2:55 hours
  • Trail Type: Circular Trail
  • Starting point: Brione