Hiker taking a break in front of a mountain landscape.

Hiking for beginners: Tips on preparation, gear, and route planning

Enjoying unique landscapes, exercising, and leaving everyday stress behind – there are many reasons to go hiking. It is a particularly gentle endurance sport that promotes physical health and gives your mind important moments of peace during stressful times. In the following article you can read why hiking is healthy and what advantages the sport offers you. You will also find an overview of our articles that can help you get started with hiking.

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Stay­ing healthy by hik­ing: The pos­i­tive ef­fects at a glance

You can start hiking at almost any age and level of fitness. The important thing is to assess your fitness level realistically and to not push yourself too hard too quickly. Hiking is a great way to train your endurance, as it is easy on the joints, and it is particularly suitable for people who are looking to (re)start regular sporting activity.

  • By overcoming a decent amount of distance and altitude metres, you complete an effective full-body workout that works various muscle groups, from the legs to the back and torso. Joints, ligaments, and tendons are strengthened and even bone density can be improved by the gentle but continuous pressure from walking.

  • Walking can lower blood pressure and help control blood sugar levels. The endurance training improves blood circulation and oxygen supply. In the long run, this can prevent cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.

  • Exercising on uneven terrain promotes a sense of balance. Good balance can prevent injuries from stumbling or even reduce the risk of falls, especially at an advanced age.

  • Being active in the fresh air lowers your stress level and makes it easier to find peace if you have trouble falling asleep due to stress. This will give you new energy and increase your performance in the long run.

  • Exercising in the fresh air strengthens your immune system and improves your resistance to infectious diseases.

To enjoy the health benefits of hiking, you don’t have to set out on a long-distance hike right away. Even short hikes of 30 to 90 minutes can improve your well-being and relieve stress.

Hiking group walks along a rocky path.

Reasons for a hiking holiday

If you can imagine incorporating regular walks into your daily routine, the idea of a walking holiday is often an obvious choice. It gives you the opportunity to do more than just short routes and to get to know new facets of hiking. Whether you take several day trips in a particular region or set out on a long-distance hike is not the deciding factor. If you are planning a hiking holiday, you can benefit from the following advantages:

  • There is a suitable hike for every type of hiker. Ask yourself these questions: How much time do you have to cover a certain distance? Do you want to go on a hike lasting several days? Which landscape appeals to you? Then, you can enjoy a certain amount of freedom in planning your hike and choose a route entirely according to your ideas.

  • A hiking holiday is an ideal balance if you spend a lot of time sitting or standing in your everyday life. You are active, but at the same time you can relax in nature and recharge your batteries.

  • Especially on long-distance hikes, you can test your limits and surpass yourself. At the end, when you look back at the distance covered or the metres in altitude, you will be happy with your progress.

  • Hiking holidays allow you to discover and explore unknown countries and impressive landscapes. If you are looking for a little adventure, a long-distance hike can be just the thing.

  • Hiking gives you the opportunity to spend more time than usual with your friends or family and overcome different challenges together. When you set out on a hike with a hiking group, with your partner or with your children, you will notice how the shared experience brings you closer together.

  • Far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, you can find peace and quiet on a long hike. If you want to spend your free time without the pressure of adventure or endless sightseeing, a hiking holiday is ideal for you.


Bear in mind that...

Although there are long-distance hiking trails that are designed as a circular route, the starting and finishing points of many hikes are far apart. In this case, it’s worth planning your arrival and departure with public transport instead of your own car. This makes your hiking holiday more environmentally friendly!


Hiking group walking on a path in the valley.

Hiking types at a glance

If you are enthusiastic about hiking, you will quickly realise during your research and planning how many different types of hiking there are. From circular hikes that you can complete in just a few hours to long-distance cross-country hikes, there is a suitable hiking route for every type of hiker. It doesn’t matter whether you are travelling in group with like-minded people, planning a family hike or want to go hiking alone. To make it easier for you to find the right type of hiking, in the following article we define terms such as long-distance hiking, trekking and mountain hiking and give tips on what you should bear in mind when planning hikes alone, in a group or with children.

Which type of hiking suits you?
Hiker plans his hiking route with a map.

Tips on preparing for a hike

Once you have caught the hiking bug, you can hardly wait for your next hiking trip. But especially if you are slowly getting used to hikes lasting several days or hikes in challenging terrain, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing. The safety of all participants on a hike is the be-all and end-all of any tour. When choosing a hiking route and planning the time, you should therefore consider the physical condition of all hikers and only approach new challenges slowly yourself. In this article you will find tips on planning your hike and how you can train for a (long) distance hike.

Planning hikes


Bear in mind that...

Hiking is a gentle form of exercise that is easy on the joints and is also suitable for people who have not done any sport for a long time. However, you should be realistic about your fitness level. If you are planning regular or longer hiking tours, it is better to have your state of health assessed by a doctor beforehand – especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.


Two hikers with full hiking gear approach the coast.

The right gear for a (long-distance) hike

To enjoy your hike and reach your destination safely, reliable and practical hiking gear is essential. The longer you are on the trail and the more challenging the terrain in which you are moving, the more hiking gear you will usually need. However, the total weight of your hiking equipment should be kept as low as possible to save your strength and, above all, your back. In this article, we will show you what you should pay attention to when packing your equipment. To make packing easier for you, we have summarised the necessary utensils in a clearly laid out hiking packing list.

Overview of hiking equipment
Long-distance hiking - hikers enjoy the mountain view.

Popular long-distance hiking trails in Europe

The diverse landscapes of the European continent invite you to explore it extensively. If you are looking for a physical challenge and want to escape your everyday life for a while, a long-distance hike is the perfect option for hiking enthusiasts. If you would like to set out on a hike on a European long-distance hiking trail, we present three popular routes in detail here. We also provide information on the levels of difficulty and requirements that you should keep in mind when planning your long-distance hike.

Long-distance hiking in Europe




(Accessed on 12.10.2021)


(Accessed on 12.10.2021)


(Accessed on 12.10.2021)


(Accessed on 12.10.2021)

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iStock.com/Julian Dewert