You will need information about suitable walking areas, which guidebooks and maps to use, and where they can be bought. The purpose of this information is to help you.
It is not always easy to find the information. As in so many other walks of life asking persons you know have some experience is a good way to start. Contacting your own walking organisation is a second possibility. Going into a larger bookstore in your home country and looking for guidebooks for walking is a third way. And, contacting addresses given below under each country is a fourth way. We have included addresses of member organisations of the European Ramblers´ Association (ERA) even if we cannot guarantee that they will always reply or be able to give you the desired information.
More and more walkers´ organisations, tourist authorities etc. have web sites on the internet and can be contacted by e-mail. There are also an increasing number of web sites set up by interested individuals. In the country presentations in this web site we include existing e-mail and web site addresses. The development is very fast and new relevant web sites are introduced all the time.
Guidebooks and maps
The availability of good guidebooks and maps for walking varies substantially between countries. Some countries are very well developed with a long tradition of walking as a major outdoor activity.
Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland is outstanding in this respect. In the country descriptions below it is impossible to cover all areas of walking, all guidebooks and maps that exist. This also helps in the sense that you almost stumble on guidebooks etc. You might even be somewhat confused when confronted with so many guidebooks. For these countries guidebooks also exist in other than the home languages. For example for Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland guidebooks thus exist also in English. and for France and Great Britain in German.
The Alps have for long been an attractive area for walking. In addition to the countries mentioned above, northern Italy (the Dolomites) is also well equipped with guidebooks and maps. The same applies to Slovenia.
Another group of countries with a well developed network of trails are the Benelux countries, with guides in Flemish and French.
In Central and Eastern Europe - the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania - do have trails but getting access to maps can be a problem. Guidebooks in foreign languages are scarce, most of them in German. Mountainous areas like the Tatras, the Carpathians are best covered with maps and guidebooks. But in all these countries guidebooks and better maps are becoming more and more frequent, often with the help of foreign authors.
In southern Europe the most rapid development of trails is in Spain. Information is mostly in Spanish. There is also an encouraging development in non-alpine parts of Italy, and in Greece.
In the Nordic countries there is a long tradition of walking in mountainous and forest covered areas and trails exist. There are a few but an increasing number of guidebooks in foreign languages. Some of them have foreign authors, often German. Maps, however, often have information in foreign languages.
On this web site we give information about walking in most European countries. The descriptions are very different in length which, however, does not reflect the extent or attractiveness of walking possibilities. For some countries just the name of the national member organisation of the ERA in the country is given. You also find pages with information about the European long distance footpaths and the European cultural routes.
In many countries outdoor life magazines and walking magazines are published. Several member organisations of the ERA have their own magazines. In such publications you can often find useful information and stimulating ideas about walking in different countries.