Hiking across a country may seem like a lofty goal, but there’s no better way to truly experience everything it has to offer than exploring it by foot. Fortunately, there are a number of countries across the world with the landscape and mileage that make it possible for hikers of all abilities to achieve this goal.
From the miniature but mountainous Andorra to the fire and ice of Iceland, our planet has no shortage of amazing destinations to explore by foot. Whether you’re a novice or experienced hiker, there is a country out there for you to cross.
Situated in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, the independent principality of Andorra is a small but mountainous country. The GRP of Andorra is a 120 km circular hiking route that crosses the entirety of the country in seven stages. Andorra may be geographically small but its landscape is surprisingly diverse. Hikers can expect to encounter panoramic peaks as well as swampy bogs as they trek the route.
From medieval castles to WWII battle sights and monuments, there is no shortage of things to see while hiking across Luxembourg. As part of the cross-continental GR-5 hiking trail, Luxembourg offers well-defined paths for hikers of all levels. The entire route is 210 km in length and takes approximately nine days to complete. This is a great trail for beginners as no camping is necessary – towns along the route are of walkable distance from each other with different types of accommodation.
If you’re interested in hiking across a country, but don’t want to commit weeks, or even days, to completing it, head on over to Liechtenstein. The entirety of Liechtenstein spans only 25 km north to south and 4 km east to west, so regardless of the direction you hike in, you can cross the country in a matter of hours. The distance may be short but be prepared for steep inclines as it is located in the heart of the Alps.
Does your idea of the perfect hike include mountains, cliffs, medieval castles, and monasteries, broken up by cold beers in local pubs? Then hiking across Ireland is a must. Following a network of trails, you can hike the 595 km from Dublin to Bray Head on Valentia Island while seeing the best of the different regions of Ireland. This distance is quite long, but many of the trails are on even terrain making it doable for hikers of all abilities.
If you’re interested in walking across a country famous for its unspoiled nature, look no further than Iceland. It takes approximately a month to hike the 450 km trail that leads from Ásbyrgi to Vík, and during that time you will see the best of the island’s volcanic and glacial landscapes. This isn’t a hike for the faint of heart, though; in a single month, you will experience every type of weather possible and maybe even a few seasonal shifts. The journey may be difficult but Iceland’s raw beauty will make it worth your while.