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 tiny 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.
Fog tumbles over the mountains on the GRP trail
Nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, the tiny 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 7 stages. Andorra may be geographically small, but their geographic landscape is certainly not lacking. Hikers can expect to encounter everything from panoramic peaks to swampy bogs over the course of the route.
After all that trekking, you’ll need a relaxing place to rest up. The plush suites of the Andorra Park Hotel should do the trick.
Rolling farmland along the GR-5 hike
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.
Once you reach the capital, it’s a good idea to treat yourself to something a bit special – La Pipistrelle combines historic architecture and stylish fittings right in the city centre.
The tiny country of Liechtenstein has over 400km of hiking trails
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 this little country is located in the heart of the Alps, so the hiking will be hilly.
As far as where to sleep it off, there are few properties as magical as the Park-Hotel Sonnenhof. This stunning alpine hotel even has its own Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Irish coast is bathed in golden light at sunset
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.
Near the end of your journey is the top-rated Europe Hotel & Resort, a luxurious spot to rest up before the last push to Valentia Island.
Nothing but you and the land on the trail from Ásbyrgi to Vík
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.
After a long trek in the elements, the stylish Alda Hotel Reykjavík has every comfort you could need.