Who doesn’t like early summer hikes? Europe’s various landscapes are arguably at their finest under clear blue skies, but temperatures haven’t yet reached their summer crescendo: making it far easier to enjoy any number of walks and trails without breaking (too much of) a sweat. If you’re ready for your next active adventure, grab your hiking boots and your passport. You’re going to love these suggestions.
1. Whitesands Bay: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Whitesands Bay is one of the best surfing beaches in the country, but includes plenty of things to do for travellers outside of its wondrous waters. Routes around the beach include panoramic views of Ramsey Island and a glorious trail along St David’s Head - where you’re likely to stumble across the historic Neolithic tomb, Coetan Arthur Dolmen, dating from around 3,000 BCE. These are just a few of the amazing options in this pocket of the world, too. North Pembrokeshire is home to 186 miles of coastal trail, making it a hotbed of exemplary early summer hikes.
Where to stay: Conveniently close to Whitesands Bay is Twr y Felin Hotel. Built in 1806, this four-star hotel combines contemporary and classic styles with well-practiced flair. It’s also a top pick for art lovers everywhere. Twr y Felin features the works of 20 Welsh, British and international artists, and contains over 100 pieces of specially-commissioned art, largely inspired by the unforgettable Pembrokeshire countryside at its doorstep.
2. Dingle Peninsula: County Kerry, Ireland
Early summer hikes are a must for those staying in and around the Dingle Peninsula. Don’t miss the Mount Brandon Walking Route, where you can marvel at stunning views from one of the highest peaks in Ireland. Another winning option is the Dingle Way, which traverses some of the best archaeological spots in the country, including historic beehive huts. Make sure you pause to refill at Dingle Town, too, for a taste of traditional and Irish life. The pastel-coloured streets here are home to a ton of cosy pubs, music venues and boutiques, sitting snugly against the backdrop of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Where to stay: Ard Na Sidhe Country House will take your breath away, particularly with its array of outdoorsy activities. Enjoy languid afternoons on the shores of Caragh Lake - just a stone’s throw away - sample afternoon tea on the hotel’s leafy terrace or take advantage of discounted green fees at the two Killarney golf courses nearby.
3. Mount Subasio: Assisi, Italy
You don’t have to hike far to take joy from Mount Subasio. The mountain offers fascinating insights into Italian country life wherever you turn: from visiting the historic town of Assisi to exploring the olive groves that decorate its slopes, and, of course, trekking to the spectacular summit, which sits roughly 1290m above sea level.
Where to stay: Follow active days with reflective evenings at Relais San Biagio. This ancient monastery adopts a peaceful philosophy, and from the food it offers to its spa and wellness facilities, you’ll have every opportunity to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Make sure to try the hotel’s own-brand beer, too. Created with Nocera Umbra’s world-famous waters and barley produced onsite, it has a flavour you’ll only get to savour once in a lifetime.
4. Gora Swietej Anny: Lesnicka, Poland
Gora Swietej Anny, also known as St. Anne’s Mountain, is an unmissable locale for history-loving hikers. Sedimentary rocks dating back to the age of the dinosaurs pepper various areas of the mountain, while elsewhere, you’ll find a pagan shrine from pre-Christian times. Its most famous feature is a Franciscan monastery: a popular pilgrimage destination which sees almost 400,000 visitors each year. Along with Poland’s mild and pleasant climate, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place more suited for your early summer hikes.
Where to stay: Palac Lucja sits just a few minutes away from the mountain, looking like a drop of honey against Poland’s verdant green hills. Complete with luxuriously decked-out rooms, a traditional restaurant and rural views, this hotel captures the best the country has to offer. Put it on your radar.
5. Flower Trail: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Whether you’re new to hiking or are something of an expert, Lauterbrunnen’s Flower Trail is one you’re sure to prize. Discover over 150 mountain flower species on this flora-focused route, including alpine roses and edelweiss. There’s also a flower-themed park on the way - ideal for kids, if you’re walking with the family - and a funicular that can take you up to Allmendhubel: a gorgeous green hill surrounded by sublime peaks and clear cobalt skies. An unmissable slice of Swiss bliss.
Where to stay: The ambience of the Belle Époque is built into the walls at Hotel Falken. Built in 1894, this historic hotel emanates class, colour and charm, including intricate floral motifs, Art Nouveau lighting and rooms decorated in a traditional alpine style.
6. Gleinkersee: Roßleithen, Austria
Many of Austria’s best early summer hikes revolve around Gleinkersee: a small alpine lake surrounded by hills, trees, mountains and playgrounds. Test yourself with a hike up to the Dümlerhütte Alpine Hut, starting at the lake’s crystal waters, or embark on a less intense trip round the nearby Wurzeralm pastures or the lake itself. Following your walk, there are plenty of ways you can take to the water, too, including sailing on a wooden jetty or taking a trip on the “legend boat”, which you can ride while listening to local legends from an experienced storyteller. There are options for everyone.
Where to stay: It’s hard to imagine a person who wouldn’t immediately fall under the spell of Villa Bergzauber. This fairytale property can’t fail to lift your spirits, whether you’re taking a dip in its outdoor heated pool or sinking into a perfect sleep on your ultra-soft pillow in a Superior room.
Are early summer hikes on your agenda this year? Let us know where you plan to go over on Twitter.