Last Updated on December 13, 2022

If you’re looking to go off the beaten track for your next adventure, then finding the right hiking trail is essential with winter in full swing.  With this in mind, the experts at examined the best winter hiking trails in Europe. The factors considered were the number of trails, trails per 10,000km2 for snowshoeing, skiing and hot springs. Data for land mass, climate, and trails counts for further winter activities were also collected.

This allowed for the calculation of an overall Winter Adventure Score and, as a result, to find out which countries have the best winter hiking trails in Europe for adventure seekers.

CountrySnowshoeingSkiingHot-SpringsWinter Adventure Score (/100)
  Trails per 10,000 KM2Trails per 10,000 KM2Trails per 100,000 KM2 

Switzerland is the top country for winter hikers!

If you’re an adrenaline junkie then you already know that Switzerland is the place to be this winter, as it’s the country with the highest Winter Adventure Score at 90.8/ 100 and the best winter hiking trails in Europe. Home to the Swiss Alps, there are over 10,000 trails across the country, of which approximately 414 are accessible in the winter for thrill seekers. Including over 200 trails for snowshoeing which equates to 57 trails per 10,000 km2. 

One of the most popular trails in Switzerland is Zermatt, Valais as it is known to be quite a challenging route through the Fluhalp mountain area.

Austria – 79.9/100

Austria is a close second with a Winter Adventure Score of 79.9 out of 100. It has 292 hiking trails suitable for extreme winter sports, Skiing trails amounting to at least 160 of those, at 19 trails per 10,000 kilometres squared. However, if a day of brave adventuring takes it out of you then there are a total of 7 trails that lead you to relaxing hot springs.

Among the hot spring trails is the ‘Falkensteig’ route which although a great winter trail is also frequented by explorers all year round for extreme sports such as via ferrata, which is best done in dry weather.

Italy – 67.9/100

In third place is Italy (67.9/100). Although sharing the mountainous alps bordering Switzerland, Italy has approximately 95 more thrill seeking trails to discover this winter, at 509 in total. And with 1198 sunshine hours yearly, there’ll be plenty of time in the day to explore them.

Italy is among just five countries that have a thrill seeking trail that accommodates ice-climbing for those daring enough to ascend the ice formations. 

Sweden – 57.9/100

Sweden lands in fourth with a Winter Adventure Score of 24.1 out of 100. There are 3,947 hiking trails across Sweden in total, of those trails over 500 are thrill seeking trails apt for outdoor winter activity. Over half of the thrill seeking trails accommodate snowshoeing (333), equivalent to 8.12 trails per 10,000 KM2.

Wrap up warm when venturing to Sweden as the temperature has been known to dip as low as -30°C, however, the average temperature is just shy of 13°C, a whole 8° lower than the average temperature in Italy.

Norway – 53.3/100

In fifth place is Norway with a Winter Adventure Score of 53.3/100. There are 672 yearly hours of sunshine, 230 less hours than our top country, Switzerland, to the south. With so much sunshine there’ll be plenty of time to wander through the 500+ hiking trails this winter. Skiing accounts for 395 of those trails so ‘Rødtinden’ and similar routes in Finnmark are great for those looking to backpack, hike or, of course, ski for their next adventure.


1. The experts at sought to find out which European countries have the most hiking trails available for winter thrill seekers.

2. gathered data from Alltrails, a reputable hiking trail aggregator, on the number of winter hiking trails and winter hiking trail density based on the number of trails per 1,000 km² per European country.

3. Furthermore, collected the count of each country’s winter hiking trails suitable for Snowshoeing, Skiing and Hot-Springs.

4. These factors were weighted to create a Winter Adventure Score out of 100.

5. Land mass, climate data and trail counts for further winter outdoor activities were collected but not included in the index.

6. Countries were subsequently ranked in descending order according to the overall index score.

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