John Millen's Top 5 Walks in Europe

Under Lagazuoi and Senes Fanes group
Under Lagazuoi and Senes Fanes group

John Millen's Top 5 Trails in Europe

To many, Jon Millen (pictured below) has one of the best jobs in the world. For over 20 years he has walked Europe’s most spectacular, popular, and off-the-beaten track trails while researching new walking trips, leading tour groups (you might've been on one!), and updating route notes.

Beautiful mountainous landscapes of Gosausee, Austria

So, what are his five favourite walks in Europe? We asked him. 
Over to you, John...

1. The Alpine Pass Route - Switzerland

Walkers below Monch and Jungfrau on the Alpine Pass Route

This sensational walk cuts right through the highland heart of Switzerland. There is some tough walking but you are compensated by incredible views and comfortable accommodations at the end of the day.

The flowers in July especially are amazing and it is always novel watching local farmers often using hand tools: rakes and scythes, to cut the hay in the smaller fields. There are aspects of the trip which are more like a mountain journey rather than a walk, so only the fit need apply! The Alpine Pass Route is available in three forms:

2. Exploring the Haute Provence - France

Anticline on the Verdon River, Haute Provence

This walk has been a staple trip for me since 1997 when I first escorted a group of Australians there!

The weather has generally been beaut providing luminous skies, clear long views and it has been interesting to see how the villages have changed over time. This is a trip of scenic contrasts, cultural and historic interests and impressive natural features. It is also highly photogenic!

The self guided Walking in Haute Provence departs between 1 May and October. 

> View Provence walking trips
> View Provence cycling trips
> View all Provence trips


3 - The Way of St. James - France

Walkers resting in Conques on the Way of St James, France

Part of the longer Camino de Santiago, this beautiful walk in France is an entity unto itself.

Le Puy and Conques were points of pilgrimage in themselves and are simply beautiful places that everyone must experience once. Again it’s the journey feel to the trip I love. I was surprised how the landscape unfolded like a map each day: rolling hills, sweeping valleys, forests and high moor. The walk ‘joins the dots’ alighting at points which were there for pilgrims 500-1000 years ago.

Join a self guided trip along The Way of St James, with trips departing between May and October.

> View all French Way of St James trips
> Cycle the French Way of St James


4 - Coast to Coast - England

Walkers on the Coast to Coast, England

Being English, how could I leave this off the list? The Coast to Coast is another mountain journey par excellence.

Wainwright’s classic is in my mind a masterpiece which keeps a lot of the smaller villages that you’ll visit alive. In reasonable weather there is a huge variety of scenery and although we do not have time zones in the U.K you cross through about seven beer zones as the different breweries become more prominent in the different locations!

There is a camaraderie and sense of achievement on this tour which few walks will have. You might not have the three National Parks to yourself, but you can go for long periods without seeing a soul.

Walk it all, cycle it or try a smaller section, there are many ways to experience the Coat to Coast.

> View the classic self-guided Coast to Coast walk.
> View the classic guided Coast to Coast walk.
> Cycle the Coast to Coast
View the complete range of trips along the Coast to Coast Walk.


5. Any trail in Tuscany

Walking south of Siena

What I love most about our Tuscan walks is that you can feel how merchants and soldiers would have walked between the mediaeval hill towns, many remarkably well preserved.

There is normally a lot of exposure to the sun on these trips as you are walking on the high ‘cretes’ or chalky ridges, but once you have sorted that with the right hat and clothing, things are fine.

The hill towns are of course fascinating, but equally as interesting are coming across tiny chapels and vineyards. The views are sweeping, and if you can afford the Brunello wines, get one, they are to die for.

Discover our entire range of walks in Tuscany and our cycling trips in Tuscany.

Have you walked any of these trails? Did you agree with John? Or have you had him as a tour guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

England, France, Italy, Switzerland, French Way of St James, Via Alpina, Alpine Pass Route, Coast to Coast, Haute, Haute Provence, Tuscany

Comments (3)

Kenneth Wright

I did the Coast to Coast with John. He was a great guide. These walks all sound great. I am looking at the Camino de Santiago in Spain as my next.

2 years ago
William from UTracks

Great to hear, Kenneth - John knows the Coast to Coast like the back of his hand!

I'm sure you'll enjoy the Camino too. Buen Camino!


2 years ago

You can't leave out the Tour de Mont Blanc - absolutely sensational scenery, 3 countries, glaciers, cows, cheese, beautiful villages fantastic food and some tough walking - hard to beat

9 years ago
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