Hiking for beginners: a 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 will keep you active and gives you peace of mind from your busy everyday life. In the following article you can read why hiking is a great way to keep fit and what advantages the sport offers you. You will also find an overview of our articles that can help you plan and prepare a hiking trip for beginners.

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The positive health benefits of hiking

You can start hiking at almost any age and level of fitness. The important thing is to be realistic about your fitness level and not to push yourself too hard too quickly. Hiking is a great way to train your endurance, as it is easy on your joints, and it is particularly suitable for people who are looking to get (back) into playing sports on a regular basis. Regular hiking will help you stay fit and healthy and has the following positive health benefits such as:

  • Walking longer distances at higher altitudes is 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 impact from walking.

  • Walking can lower blood pressure and help control blood sugar levels. This kind of endurance training improves blood circulation and oxygen supply. Long-term, this can prevent cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

  • Exercising on uneven terrain promotes good balance, which can prevent injuries from stumbling or even reduce the risk of falls, especially for older people.

  • Being active outdoors lowers your stress levels and makes it easier to relax, which will help you fall asleep more easily at night. Long-term, you will have more energy and will be able to perform better.

  • Exercising outdoors strengthens your immune system

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.

A hiking group walking along a rocky path.

Enjoy hiking as a time-out: reasons for taking a hiking holiday

If you enjoy going on regular walks, then you might like the idea of a hiking holiday. It gives you the opportunity to do more than just short routes and to get to know new facets of hiking. It is up to you whether you choose to go on a multi-day trip in a particular region or set out on a long-distance hike. Below, we have listed some of the benefits of going on a hiking holiday:

  • 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 type of landscape appeals to you? Planning a hike gives you certain amount of freedom and you can choose a route that is most suited to your needs.

  • Hiking is a great way to keep active: going on a hiking holiday is an ideal way of balancing out your everyday life if you spend a lot of time sitting or standing. Hiking allows you to switch off and enjoy being outside in the fresh air.

  • Especially on long-distance hikes, you can test your limits and challenge yourself. After the hike, you will be able to look back at the distance and altitude you have covered and be proud of what you have achieved.

  • 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 could be just the thing for you.

  • Hiking gives you the opportunity to spend more time than usual with your friends or family and overcome different challenges together. Setting out on a hike with a group, your partner, or your children, is a bonding experience and will bring you closer together.

  • You can find peace and quiet on a long hike, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. If you want to spend your free time without the stress of constant activities and endless sightseeing, a hiking holiday could be ideal for you.


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. If this is the case, it's worth planning your arrival and departure with public transport instead of taking your own car. This will make your hiking holiday more environmentally friendly!

A hiking group walking on a path in a valley.

Hiking with family, friends or on your own

As a hiking enthusiast, you will know that there are different types of hiking. To help you prepare, we give you an overview of the most popular types of hikes - from themed hikes to mountain hikes - and explain which hikes are best suited to beginners, experienced outdoor sports enthusiasts, and families. You will also find tips on what you should bear in mind when planning family, solo or group hikes.

Hiking for beginners: which type of hiking suits you?
A hiker planning his hiking route with a map.

Planning a hike: tips for beginners

Once you've caught the walking bug, you’ll hardly be able to wait for your next trek. However, especially if you are planning a multi-day hike or a hike on challenging terrains, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing. For example, the safety of all participants is the most important thing on any hike. In this article you will find tips on planning your hike and how you can train for a (long) distance hike.

Tips for planning a hike

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

Two hikers with full hiking gear approaching the coast.

Hiking gear: everything you will need for going on a hike

To enjoy your hike and reach your destination safely, reliable and practical hiking gear is essential. If you are going on a long hike which will cover challenging terrains, then you will need to make sure you have the right hiking gear. 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 you will find helpful tips and information on everything you will need for going on a hike.

Hiking gear for beginners: tips & hiking kit list
Long-distance hiking in Europe: a hiker enjoying a mountain view.

The best hikes in Europe: popular hiking trails in Europe

The diversity of the European landscapes invites 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 long-distance hiking trail in Europe, we will show you three popular hiking routes.

3 of the best hikes in Europe


References and further information

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

(Last accessed on 13.05.2024)

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Cover photo: iStock.com/Oleh_Slobodeniuk
1. Image in text: iStock.com/filadendron
2. Image in text: iStock.com/molchanovdmitry
3. Image in text: iStock.com/Julian Dewert
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5. Image in text: iStock.com/AscentXmedia