Trekking the Mountains of Mainland Europe

There is nothing quite like climbing to the top of the Alps and looking down upon the earth. Everything in the world suddenly makes sense.


There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it.

Mark Twain

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, stretching approximately 750 miles across eight Alpine countries, from west to east: France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The European ranges are well served by an excellent network of mountain huts, providing basic accommodation and food to walkers. It's possible to stay in the mountains for days, walking from hut to hut.

My first trek in the Alps was the Tour du Mont Blanc, a two-week circuit around the highest mountain in western Europe, passing through France, Italy and Switzerland. My next trek in Europe was on Corsica, the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean, where I followed the challenging GR20 route along the island's spine for two weeks. My most recent trip was to the Italian Dolomites, an extraordinary landscape of soaring limestone peaks, where walkers can venture using equipped climbing routes known as via ferrata. Mountain ranges to explore on future trips include the Pyrenees, Apennines, Dinaric Alps, Carpathian Mountains, Balkans and Caucasus.