Ireland named best hiking destination in Europe

With its majestic mountains, dramatic coastlines, and rolling hills, Ireland is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts.

We all know Ireland is renowned for its incredible landscape ranging from dramatic cliff faces to majestic mountain ranges to rolling countryside. However, the Emerald Isle has now been named the very best hiking destination in Europe.

During lockdown, many people across Ireland took to the mountains and hills to enjoy some time in nature – and get in that well needed daily walk.

And now, Ireland’s incredible hiking spots are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Best spot for hiking in Europe – yet another reason to visit

Croaghaun Cliffs on Achill Island, County Mayo.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

According to research conducted by U.K.-based energy comparison company Save On Energy, Ireland has come out on top as the best hiking destination in Europe.

The energy comparison company compiled data and reviews of hikes and scenic walks from across the continent. They used this data to determine where the best trails could be found.

Reviews website features over 200,000 hikes from all across Europe. It then asks users to score the route out of 100.

Save On Energy considered several factors, including average walk length, average elevation gain, and average rating, when determining which country has the best hikes in Europe.

Take a walk through Ireland – immerse yourself in nature

Ireland was named the best hiking destination in Europe.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Coming out on top as the best hiking destination in Europe, Ireland received an average score of 87.3. This meant the Emerald Isle came out above countries like Italy, France, and Switzerland, all renowned for their Alpine beauty.

The average walk length of Ireland’s hikes comes in at just over 11,400 m (37401.6 ft). This is roughly equivalent to seven miles (11.3 km). With an average incline of 427 m (1401 ft), Ireland offers various hiking trails to suit all abilities and ages.

Enjoy Ireland’s beauty on foot – the best way to explore

Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal are a must-visit.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

However, we think it is down to the island’s sheer beauty that makes Ireland the best hiking destination in Europe.

You can enjoy the rugged beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way on hikes such as Croagh Patrick in County Mayo or the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

If you want to take in the magic of the northwest, Donegal is home to some breathtaking trails. Walkers rave about the incredible Mount Errigal and the picturesque Slieve League Cliffs.

The country’s east coast is not to be sniffed at either. If you want to immerse yourself in the Garden of Ireland, Wicklow Mountains National Park offers some of the best views and hiking trails.

However, when it comes to hiking in Ireland, one county immediately comes to mind. Home to Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, County Kerry is a walker’s paradise.

Other great hiking spots in Europe – once you’ve completed all of Ireland’s trails

Iceland was the second best hiking destination in Europe.

Other countries that made it onto the list of best hiking destinations in Europe include Iceland, the U.K., Italy, and Spain. Switzerland, Germany and Norway, France and Portugal, Belgium and Denmark, and Luxembourg came in sixth to tenth.

Coming in second position, Iceland’s trails received an average rating of 86.6, closely followed by the U.K., with an average score of 86.5.

The Alps made their first appearance with Italy coming in fourth place with an average rating of 86.1.

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