Hiking is one of the easiest ways to practise sports in the open air. You don't need much equipment to discover rivers and lakes, coasts and beaches, hills and mountains, forests and marshes. There is no question why hiking is so popular – when do you start?
- Albania 24 hiking trails
- Andorra 18 hiking trails
- Argentina 38 hiking trails
- Armenia 10 hiking trails
- Australia 115 hiking trails
- Austria 24,006 hiking trails
- Belgium 1,100 hiking trails
- Bolivia 18 hiking trails
- Bosnia and Herzegovina 128 hiking trails
- Brazil 40 hiking trails
- Bulgaria 57 hiking trails
- Canada 147 hiking trails
- Cape Verde 9 hiking trails
- Chile 166 hiking trails
- China 118 hiking trails
- Colombia 10 hiking trails
- Costa Rica 10 hiking trails
- Croatia 321 hiking trails
- Cuba 5 hiking trails
- Cyprus 67 hiking trails
- Czech Republic 1,325 hiking trails
- Denmark 101 hiking trails
- Ecuador 24 hiking trails
- Estonia 9 hiking trails
- Finland 153 hiking trails
- France 2,503 hiking trails
- French Polynesia 5 hiking trails
- Georgia 31 hiking trails
- Germany 65,951 hiking trails
- Greece 408 hiking trails
- Guernsey 4 hiking trails
- Hungary 409 hiking trails
- Iceland 76 hiking trails
- India 23 hiking trails
- Indonesia 13 hiking trails
- Ireland 249 hiking trails
- Israel 87 hiking trails
- Italy 10,192 hiking trails
- Japan 36 hiking trails
- Jersey 5 hiking trails
- Lao People's Democratic Republic 6 hiking trails
- Latvia 11 hiking trails
- Lesotho 4 hiking trails
- Liechtenstein 98 hiking trails
- Lithuania 4 hiking trails
- Luxembourg 332 hiking trails
- Madagascar 7 hiking trails
- Malaysia 4 hiking trails
- Malta 65 hiking trails
- Mauritius 9 hiking trails
- Monaco 5 hiking trails
- Montenegro 54 hiking trails
- Nepal 69 hiking trails
- Netherlands 566 hiking trails
- New Zealand 160 hiking trails
- Norway 346 hiking trails
- Oman 4 hiking trails
- Paraguay 5 hiking trails
- Peru 37 hiking trails
- Poland 347 hiking trails
- Portugal 523 hiking trails
- Reunion Island 25 hiking trails
- Romania 258 hiking trails
- San Marino 4 hiking trails
- Seychelles 8 hiking trails
- Slovakia 328 hiking trails
- Slovenia 443 hiking trails
- South Africa 27 hiking trails
- Spain 3,302 hiking trails
- Sri Lanka 25 hiking trails
- Sweden 366 hiking trails
- Switzerland 10,735 hiking trails
- Tanzania 23 hiking trails
- Thailand 6 hiking trails
- Tunisia 16 hiking trails
- Turkey 72 hiking trails
- Ukraine 48 hiking trails
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1,089 hiking trails
- United States of America 467 hiking trails
- Vietnam 4 hiking trails
Who can go for a hike?
The answer to this question is quite simple: everyone. Hardly any other sport is as diverse as hiking. While beginners can stroll comfortably along coastal paths or through shady forests, more experienced hikers enjoy the ups and downs of low mountain ranges. Professionals climb alpine trails and reach summits on their tours.
Hiking trails on Outdooractive
On this page you will find information on classic hiking trails – a sporting activity with unbroken popularity. With little previous knowledge and equipment, almost anyone can set off for a hike.
The following overview offers assistance for the complex distinction between mountain hikes and classic hikes:
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Hikes take place mainly on forest roads and wide footpaths. Common places to go are huts, guesthouses or destinations. Tours in alpine terrain and above the tree line only occur in the form of well-paved panoramic trails.
On hikes there are no passages with an increased risk of falling. Serious character due to alpine dangers is not given due to its short length and/or proximity to accommodation and settlement areas. A certain basic condition is advisable for hiking. Sure-footedness and a head for heights, however, are not required.
Mountain hikes mainly run on alpine paths above the tree line. They can include short climbing sections or lead through trackless terrain. The aim of a mountain hike is usually to reach a summit.
Some, even longer passages with an increased risk of falling require sure-footedness and a head for heights. The tours have a serious character due to their length, difference in altitude, exposure and alpine dangers (e.g. sudden changes in the weather).
Physical requirements for hiking
It is important not to overestimate oneself at the beginning. If you are hiking for the first time, you should not start with a day trip, but give your body enough time to get used to exercise. Anything that is fun is allowed when hiking – and of course you can also be challenged after the acclimatisation phase.
For moderate hiking in the plain, a healthy person only needs a certain basic condition. However, if the tours become longer, shift into alpine terrain or go through extreme weather conditions, the body is more strained. The most important requirements are sure-footedness, a head for heights and a good stamina.
Especially in alpine terrain, it is essential to inform yourself in advance about the weather conditions on the course. Thunderstorms can quickly become a disaster for hikers if they misjudge the situation.
Hikes with a guide are not only more fun, it is also much safer not to be alone. For your own safety, anyone who walks alone should at least let someone know where they are heading and how long they are likely to be away.
Photo: Outdooractive Editors
Equipment for hiking
Once you have chosen your route, you need to think about the equipment. Otherwise the fun will be clouded all too quickly due to wrong clothing, unsuitable shoes or missing provisions.
The following equipment is recommended for hiking:
Photo: Outdooractive Editors
- well-fitting, comfortable and sturdy shoes (the more difficult the terrain, the more stable the footwear)
- outerwear made of sweat-transporting and fast-drying material
- trousers made of hard-wearing and elastic synthetic fiber material
- weatherproof, hooded jacket made of wind- and water-repellent material
- light spare clothes for changing
- socks with reinforced footbed of mixed fabric or terry cloth
- for colder temperatures: functional underwear, fleece jacket or sweater, hat and gloves
- hiking backpack with padded carrying system, about 20 to 30 liters for a normal tour
- topographic maps and guides
- protection against UV radiation (headgear, sunglasses and sun screen)
- first aid kit, blanket and mobile phone (for possible emergency call)
- drinking bottle, provisions
- walking sticks (increase the surefootedness when walking uphill on slippery ground; the joints are spared when walking downhill.)
Provisions when hiking
Depending on the route length and character, hiking consumes a great deal of energy. For this reason, the physical reserves must always be full.
An extensive breakfast is essential. The first meal of the day should be plentiful, but not too heavy. It is difficult to move with a full stomach.
Photo: CC0, pixabay.com
During the hike itself it is advisable to have small and regular snacks. Carbohydrate-rich foods are best for this because it makes the energy quickly available. Take for example sandwiches made of wholemeal bread, cereal bars, energy gels, dried or fresh fruit – especially bananas – as well as sports drinks and enough water.