Three Hikes Around Europe
Are you a fan of outdoor activities? Do you enjoy walking in nature and reaching heights to enjoy the view from the top? If so, keep reading, and I will guide you through my top three hikes around Europe.
Monte Bolettone, Italy
Located in the northern Italian region called Lombardy, the Monte Bolettone (also called Bollettone) is a mountain in the Como Prealps. 1,317 meters above the sea level, this mountain is easily visible from the city of Milan due to a row of fir trees that start from the top down to the valley. To get to the hiking route, you need to rent a car. You can organize a day trip there easily from Milan, Como, Turin, Genova, Novara, Parma, or Aosta, which are all one to two hours away by car. Travel to Albavilla, and from there, head to Alpe dei Viceré. Here, you can park your car (for free on weekdays only) and start your trekking route.
You can reach the mountaintop in two different ways. For the first, hike for about an hour to the first shelter, Capanna Mara (m 1,150); from here, you will have to walk for another 40 minutes until approaching the peak. The alternative option is a more direct way that reaches the Bolettone shelter (m 1,320), quicker, but it’s a bit more difficult (you can walk either in the woods or on the road). However, this hike is not necessarily hard itself.
After you clear the woods, the landscape displays a vast quantity of mountains and little villages. Once at the top, admire Lake Como that sinuously shapes the view. Enjoy the silence for a while, and reward yourself by grabbing something at one of the two shelters mentioned on your way back down.
Nuuksio National Park, Finland
If you are spending some time in Helsinki, Turku, Espoo, or Tampere, you cannot miss this hike. Nuuksio is one of Finland’s 40 national parks; established in 1994, it is easily accessible from the Finnish capital by public transportation.
Once you are there, you have many different routes, fitting for a variety of hikers. The trails go from 1.5km to 110km for those who also want to camp there. My first stop was the NaturaViva shelter. Try their Cinnamon Rolls; they have the best ones I have ever tried! Once your stomach is ready, explore the different activities they offer from canoe tours and stand-up paddling to biking excursions.
I recommend a canoe tour around the Nuuksio Hawk Lake. Paddle to the other side of the lake, tie your canoe and get off. Once there, take a short hike to reach the top of some rocks and enjoy the beauty of the park. If you do not know already, Finland does not have any mountains, only hills. However, the views from its highest peaks are breathtaking. After returning the canoe to the shelter, you will find yourself in a large area where different routes start; pick the one that best suits you (and your time at disposal) and start your journey.
You will find many places where you can barbecue or picnic; I recommend bringing some food and stop for a break, as these areas are relaxing and beautiful. You can also pick berries and mushrooms in Nuuksio, as well go bird watching; there are so many activities that you could spend more than a day exploring here!
Parque Regional Cuenca Alta Manzanares, Spain
Usually, Spain brings to mind the sea, local fiestas, and flamenco, but this country has amazing trekking routes for the avid hikers as well. Situated exactly in the middle of the country, the Parque Regional Cuenca Alta Manzanares is an ecologically preserved area in the northern area of Madrid; the easiest way to reach it would be by car or by bus from the station in Plaza de Castilla (Madrid) to the closest town, Manzanares el Real.
Many hiking routes start from the town; take a look at this website to pick the one you prefer. From Manzanares el Real in the winter, you can cross the snow-covered Cuerda Larga, from the Mirador de la Buitrera and the Hueco de San Blas.
On our route, we walked past small waterfalls and through a tranquil oak forest until we arrived at a herd of bulls; be sure not to get too close, even if they are in quiet groups. Once at the top, we started our descent to Miraflores de la Sierra, where we ended up with an amazing caña (a small beer) at the Taberna La Insula.
These are only three of the many hiking routes you will find around Europe. Many of them are not too far away from main cities/capitals, so make sure to mix nature into your next European escape!