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Five hikes close to the city in southern Europe

July 2, 2024

Many popular tourist destinations in Europe are also hidden gems for hikers. We've curated a selection of hikes you can enjoy solo, with friends, family, or even colleagues. All these trails are close to the city centre, accessible by public transport or on foot, depending on where in the city you start from.

Barcelona - tapas and views!

Barcelona stretches from the foot of the Sierra de Collserola Mountain range down to the Mediterranean. It's home to the Parc Natural de Collserola nature reserve and offers many different experiences, including an amusement park and, of course, many great trails and dirt roads.

When you say Barcelona, most people immediately think of tapas and the Sagrada Familia, and of course, they're right. But we'd like to introduce you to a slightly different Barcelona, the slightly more adventurous and nature-focused Barcelona.

Hiking in the Sierra de Collserola

We visited Barcelona at the end of August to hike in the Sierra de Collserola, the mountain range located just west of Barcelona. The Sierra de Collserola is an impressive mountain range. The highest peak is Tibidabo, 512 meters above sea level, and this is where we hiked. Up here on the top is also the very impressive church Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, a "sister church" to Sacre Coeur in Paris.

We started our hike at the valley station of the Funicular del Tibidabo, the funicular railway that goes up to the top of Tibidabo. This makes this hike suitable for everyone. If you have a disabled or elderly person with you, they can ride the funicular up and see you at the top! And if you have tired legs after the hike up, you can ride the mountain railway back down. The hike is very suitable for beginners, but it is steep in places, so you still need to be in pretty good shape to enjoy it.

During the walk, there are several spectacular views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean. You can tell that this is a popular area with the locals because we are overtaken by runners and cyclists who have left the city's pulse behind them. The combination of being in nature, having a view of Barcelona, and being able to point out famous landmarks is powerful and impressive.

And best of all, you can combine a hike in the morning with a swim in the sea afterwards and still have time to eat your fill of tapas and watch FC Barcelona live in the evening! That's what we call a full day!

Split - more than sailing and historic alleys

The popular port city of Split in southern Croatia is often seen as the gateway to the Adriatic archipelago. Most people travelling to Split come here either to get further out to sea or to experience the city's history. But what many visitors miss out on is the Marjan peninsula and its nature park.

Say Split, and many people probably think charter and all-inclusive, and that side is definitely there, but we want to share a completely different side of Split, one that most people who go here miss. As you know, we like adventure, and this is just the right kind of adventure. The walk we did in Split takes about 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace and is suitable for anyone aged 8 and over.

Hiking on the Marjan Peninsula

The hike begins almost directly from the old town and is easy to locate. The first half steadily climbs uphill, while the second half descends just as consistently. The slope is gentle throughout, and for much of the route, you can take advantage of stairs.

Approximately in the middle, you reach Telegrin Peak. From here, the view is miles wide. On one side, it consists of the sea and on the other side, there are mountains that stretch almost 800 metres above sea level. Telegrin is 178 metres above sea level and is the highest point of this hike.

The rock walls in this part of Marjan are ideal for climbing, stretching vertically up towards the sky. In the sunlight, the bolts shimmer, ready for climbers to attach their quickdraws. According to the guide online, there are numerous routes available, offering both single and multipitch options. In Split, several companies offer guided and trial climbing experiences here on Marjan. If you plan to climb, it's best to start in the morning before it gets too hot, as the wall faces south.

At the end of the hike, the beach beckons, offering a refreshing swim in the sea before we catch the bus back to Split. The only thing missing is a delicious ice cream, but fortunately, finding fantastic gelato in Split is easy.

Sintra - Portugal's magical mountain

Sintra, a vibrant Portuguese town, is located less than an hour from Lisbon. This name also refers to the nearby mountain and a sprawling national park dotted with castles and palaces in every size and hue.

There are as many reasons to visit Sintra as there are seagulls at Praca do Comercio in central Lisbon. It's akin to Ubud in Bali—a cultural and spiritual hub nestled in breathtaking natural scenery.

Hiking in Sintra

The hike we selected for the day is on the opposite side of the mountain from Sintra. We chose this side for its striking views of the Atlantic. While we rented a car, it's possible to reach this hike by local bus from either Sintra or Cascais. The bus route also passes by Cabo da Roca, which is an essential stop if you're in Sintra. Perched atop a cliff, the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca marks the westernmost point of mainland Europe. The sunsets from here are truly breathtaking.


Sintra is a mecca for anyone who loves adventure, nature and history. The many trails on the mountain are often visited by both hikers and cyclists, something we clearly noticed on our hike. We have also been here before and cycled MTB, and the trails are really world class. For anyone who likes cycling, we recommend, the best guide agency in the neighbourhood. For history buffs, Sintra has castles and fortresses dating back over a thousand years and Sintra is home to both the Royal Castle and the Palacio de Penina.

Marseille - caught in a storm!

Marseille is the city that thunders into our hearts faster than a French TGV and lingers as long as the aftertaste of the pastis drunk at sunset. The pine trees sway precariously under the Mistral's fierce gusts of wind, and it almost seems as if the trees will lift off the ground. We are in the Calanques National Park, located just east of France's second largest city, Marseille. The national park covers an area equivalent to Manhattan and Long Island combined and consists of 55,000 hectares and several municipalities. In other words, there's a lot to discover, and that's exactly what Sebastian did during his visit there.

Hiking in the Calanques

The Calanques are a place that inspires both wonder and respect at the same time. Wonder at how amazing and beautiful nature can be, and how quickly it can change depending on which direction you look. The respect comes from the high, imposing mountains that, in some places, are completely vertical. It's easy to feel small here, but at the same time, there's something very welcoming about the park.


Getting here is easy. There is public transport from the centre of Marseille, so in two days, you can do some hiking, sunbathing, shopping, or why not watch the local team, OM Marseille, play at the Stade Vèlodrome! If there's one thing that unites this city, it's L'OM! There really is something for everyone in Marseille!

When in Marseille, don't miss La Boutchica, self-proclaimed France's smallest coffee shop! It is owned and run by local coffee professionals who roast all their beans themselves just outside Marseille. The atmosphere is cosy, and the coffee is incomparable. For those who like a sweet treat with their coffee, Sylvain Depuichaffray is next door, Marseille's best patisserie.

The best seasons to visit Marseille are April-July and September-October. The weather is more unstable during the winter months, and in August, almost all French people are on holiday, so it can get very crowded.

Paris - an adventurous perspective

Paris, the capital of love, is undeniably the world's most visited destination. La ville de l'amour! Countless love stories have been penned about this city, featuring both famous and anonymous lovers who have wandered its avenues and boulevards. This story, crafted with love, unfolds a quaint adventure just beyond the city's borders.

Countless travel reports have been penned about Paris—more than one can easily count. Here's yet another, but with a twist. At Adventus, we thrive on adventure and a bit of mischief, so this report will take you on a delightful hike on the outskirts of Paris. It's the perfect escape when you need a break from the city hustle, offering a dose of fresh air, tranquillity, and a chance to reconnect with nature.

Hiking in the Forêt domaniale de Meudon

The hike is set in the serene Forêt domaniale de Meudon forest, conveniently accessible from the heart of Paris. A train from Paris—Montparnasse stops just outside the forest, allowing you to swap the bustling city for the peaceful woods in less than 30 minutes.

This hike starts in Chaville, by disembarking at the Chaville - Rive Gauche station. The goal was not just the hike itself, but also a thrilling visit to the Accrobranche Meudon high ropes course.

Finding the course is a breeze, located just a ten-minute walk from the station. This is a perfect tip for families with children visiting Paris: experiencing high ropes adventures within a half-day trip is unbeatable! And the surrounding impressive forest adds to the allure.


The hike itself offers a mix of narrow paths and wider trails, highlighting the near-endless variation available. For those exploring the Forêt domaniale de Meudon after reading this, it's important to remember that the chosen route is just one option among many. However, it does take visitors past some interesting sights. Another key takeaway: hiking here is suitable for children of all ages. The relatively flat terrain makes for an easy and enjoyable hike.

And when it feels like your lungs have been filled with fresh air, you're back in Paris!