There’s a reason why European summers are so widely celebrated. The idyllic landscapes, snow-covered mountains and grassy fields are only so Instagrammable and tolerable for the few months of the year, making the mid-year season one that lures avid hikers from all around the world to gather at the many diverse and still-pristine areas.

But the best hiking trails aren’t just pretty faces; they often wind deep into the essence of the place, going beyond mere footpath and into the rich culture and history that’s been steeped for decades, sometimes centuries. Along the way, you’ll also get to immerse in the charming hospitality of locals, get acquainted with native wildlife, and be inspired by views you’ll otherwise only see on Google. 

But these are not without a price; be prepared to get your abs challenged and your glutes kicked — these are also some of the most demanding hiking trails you might have ever signed yourself up for.