The 16 Top climbing destinations in Europe
- Sardinia – Italy
- Arco – Italy
- Finale Ligure – Italy
- Kalymnos – Greece
- Paklenica – Croatia
- Rovinj – Croatia
- Geyikbayiri – Turkey
- El Chorro – Spain
- Tenerife – Spain
- Siurana – Spain
- Beuda – Spain
- Frankenjura – Germany
- Ponte Brolla – Switzerland
- Bled – Slovenia
- Osp – Slovenia
- Kanzianiberg – Austria
Climbing in Italy
Sardinia is a whole climbing continent with around 4000 sport climbing routes and 1000 multi-pitch routes. Climbing is done on the mainland as well as directly on the beach and over the sea (Deep Water Soloing), mostly on solid limestone and sometimes granite.
On the island, there are many beginner and intermediate areas with well-protected routes. One of the most famous areas for beginners is “Cala Gonone” in eastern Sardinia. It is the perfect playground for an extended climbing vacation, offering beautiful landscapes surrounded by crystal clear water.
With more routes and climbing areas than you could ever climb, Sardinia is an ingenious climbing spot for beginners and advanced climbers (WARNING: you might become addicted!).
Arco is located directly on Lake Garda and is immensely popular with climbers, mountain bikers and water sports enthusiasts. Those who enjoy a bike ride or going surfing on their rest days will definitely get their money’s worth.
There are endless routes and sectors with varying levels of difficulty. Sport climbers, as well as alpine climbers, will find an abundance of different routes with easy ascents, great views as well as brilliant climbing infrastructure.
Climbing is done on limestone rock, which is occasionally a little worn at the most popular places, but this does not harm the mood and atmosphere. Arco is almost always sunny, easy to get to, and therefore ideal for climbing holidays.
There are not only really difficult routes but also a lot of easy and well-protected routes, hence why Arco is and will remain a highly recommended climbing spot for beginners and climbers of all levels.
Finale Ligure offers more than 3000 routes on the finest limestone rock. These all vary in their respective level of difficulty but most of them are between 5c and 7a.
You will definitely find something to climb in this area – no matter your personal climbing- level. There is plenty of often cheap and cheerful accommodations all around Finale and Finalborgo.
The weather is mild and a quick jump into the sea is something many visitors cannot resist doing, especially after a long day of climbing.
Visitors to this area can climb all year round on the finest limestone crags in Europe. If you like mountain biking, you will also find countless trails and paths that wind through this beautiful landscape. The sunrise in Finale is breathtaking.
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Climbing in Greece
Kalymnos is a climbing paradise. Those traveling here will not only do so once. The typical Kalymnos climbing images may seem a bit intimidating to the less experienced climber – but with almost 3000 routes in varying levels of difficulty, there is more than enough to do also for beginners.
Kalymnos offers a lot of cheap accommodation which you can easily find on www.booking.com. The food (especially the fish) is great and the prices are reasonable. The main means of transport are scooters and motorbikes.
Renting scooter or a motorbike is a must.
These are great for getting around the island, particularly given its small size. I would recommend hiring one as soon as you reach Kalymnos so you can make the most of your journey.
Climbing in Croatia
The Velebit mountain range offers all kinds of different climbing routes. In Paklenica, there are around 400 of these, a lot of which are in fact much easier to tackle (50 routes vary at a difficulty level of around 5c and 200 up to 6c+).
The best climbing months are spring and autumn, where temperatures are not as high, and climbers are not constantly exposed to the blazing heat. Accommodation varies and is entirely down to the individual, with a selection of different campsites and holiday homes for rent in the area.
The sea is known to be beautiful in Croatia. The fact that it is only a stone’s throw away means it can be easily factored into your daily plan.
In Croatia, there is of course much more to discover, with Rovinj being a place I would highly recommend to beginners looking to kickstart their climbing journey.
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Due to many easier routes, Rovinj is ideal for beginners and absolutely worth the visit. Rovinj is situated directly on the stunning emerald green sea and is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful towns on the Adriatic coast.
Its beauty is not the only thing making Rovinj worth the visit. It also boasts a magnificent 140 climbing routes, of which 100 are best suited for those just starting out. The difficulty level here ranges between 5a-6b.
All routes are well protected and wonderfully situated (you can climb directly on the beach with a few of the old town and the local port).
Climbing in Turkey
Geyikbayiri is located about 30 kilometers west of Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea. From the airport, you can either rent a car or you can be picked up by a reliable shuttle service offered by one of the many campsites directly from the airport in Antalya or Istanbul (this costs between 10-30 EUR).
There are numerous climbing camps situated around Geyikbayiri, all of which offer overnight stay facilities. The climbing infrastructure here is more suited for those with slightly more experience, where you will be climbing on partially sintered and porous limestone rock with a grey-reddish tinge as well as steep rock faces and overhangs.
With more than 700 routes and varying levels of difficulty throughout, both beginners and advanced climbers will be happy.
Many routes are over 30m long, which is why I would recommend taking either a 70m or 80m rope with you. The sea is around 25 minutes away if you are traveling by car.
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Climbing in Spain
El Chorro is located in the south of Spain and one of the country’s largest climbing areas, boasting over 2000 routes. With 300 sunny days a year, El Chorro is an ideal winter climbing area and is perfect for both beginners and advanced climbers.
There are some good climbing schools that offer climbing courses (helping to improve climbing technique, rope technique, belay technique, fall training). The best thing to do would be to buy a cheap flight to Malaga, rent a car (8€ per day) and drive to El Chorro (1 hour).
The climbing opportunities offered range from easy beginner routes to vertical routes and all the way to endurance climbing on overhangs. There are also well-protected multi-pitch routes all across the 300m high limestone rock faces.
It is the perfect climbing area for beginners to escape the cold winter months. The best climbing time is October to March as the summer months are often too hot.
Pico del Teide in Tenerife is the highest point registered on Spanish soil at a huge 3718 meters. There are over 15 areas with 1000 different climbing routes, most of which are also best suited for those just starting out.
- 100 routes between 5a and 5c.
- 550 routes between 6a and 6c.
- Rock type: Volcanic rock
The ascent usually takes only a few minutes and is ideal for lazy climbers. The wall height is 15-30 metres and the routes are well to very well secured.
Climbing can take place at any time of the year, although the summer months can prove to be slightly too hot. Climbing schools offering various courses and accommodation a little further afield can also be found here.
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Climbing around Barcelona
Siurana is known all over the world by climbers for the following reasons:
- Fantastic landscape
- Easy-to-reach starting points
- Great selection of routes
- Beautiful limestone rock in all shapes and sizes
- Good transport connections
- Many other climbing areas in the near vicinity
Siurana is not necessarily that well suited for beginners however, the area is huge and spans over 1700 different routes, many of which can be utilized by less confident climbers. Places like “Grau dels Masters Equerra” or “Can Marges de Baix” are worth visiting if you are a beginner climber.
A secret tip for climbing beginners. Beuda is not as well known as other climbing areas around Barcelona and is, therefore, a little quieter. The routes you will be able to use when ascending are also better suited for beginners.
The majority of the 80 routes have a difficulty level of around 5 and 6. (Very few of the more difficult routes at around 7a). They are very well secured and around 10-30 meters long. The limestone rock on which you will begin your climb is also more than fit for purpose.
I would recommend that you hire a car or drive here on your own. There are so many more amazing places to climb around Barcelona. The majority of them are not necessarily best suited for beginners, however, you will find some easy routes everywhere.
Other climbing areas around Barcelona:
- Tres ponts
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Climbing in Germany
With well over 700 rocks, around 12,000 routes, and a beautiful green hilly landscape, Frankenjura boasts great infrastructure, short ascents, delicious beer, and a special type of rock.
The rock you will climb is mainly sedimented and partially dolomitic limestone, providing climbers with a variety of different rock formations such as indentations, ledges as well as cracks and edges upon which to hone their skills.
The legendary Wolfgang Güllich made history here, shaping the way we climb today.
There is more than enough to do as a beginner and the conditions under which you will climb are equally adequate. You even have the opportunity to climb indoors when the weather is bad, given the nearest climbing center is not too far away.
There are also regional climbing schools within which you will have the opportunity to learn new skills and practice your current ones.
Climbing in Switzerland
Ponte Brolla (Ticino)
In the southernmost canton of Switzerland, the sun is always shining despite the floods of rain in the north towards the Alps. The Ponte Brolla is a great area to start out your climbing career.
Locarno as well as the wonderful Lago Maggiore are not too far away, with several other climbing areas ideal for beginners also located in the near vicinity. You will be climbing on gneiss on over 130 routes, all of which are within the 4 – 6a difficulty bracket and around 200 meters long. Ponte Prolla has many slanted rock faces which are ideal for beginners.
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Climbing in Slovenia
Bled and Lake Bohinj
“Mount Triglav” is the highest mountain in Slovenia at around 2,864 meters in height. It is around this mountain that some are the most beautiful landscapes are located, all of which are best suited for beginners.
- Over 350 routes all on the finest limestone
- Forest, rocks, lake, trees, and nature as far as the eye can see
- Short ascents
- Many different areas
- Climbing opportunities irrespective of conditions
- Many routes for beginners
- Multi-pitch routes up to 850 meters
This area is only around 30 minutes away from Austria and Slovenia is incredibly cheap. The only thing you need is time, and if you are traveling by car you should definitely factor Bled into your road trip. Our next stop is Osp in the south of Slovenia.
Climbing in Osp (Črni Cal)
Osp is considered the climbing epicenter of Slovenia. The close proximity to Italy and Croatia makes it not only culturally interesting but, together with the surrounding areas, Osp has about 2000 routes with varying levels of difficulty. From easy and slanted terrain to steep walls and overhangs, everything is offered.
Climbing in the area around Črni Cal is particularly suited to beginners, as things are a little more easygoing here. Short ascents, as well as cheap overnight stays in one of the local rental apartments, are what makes Osp and the surrounding areas an amazing place to venture to as a beginner.
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Climbing in Austria
Kanzianiberg is one of the largest climbing regions in Austria. With over 300 routes and versatile wall formations, “Kanzi” is ideal for beginners.
Climbing is done on solid limestone, which offers everything from technical flat climbing to athletic endurance climbing and small-grip wall climbing. Since some routes are over 30 m long, I recommend a 70 m rope and 10-15 express slings. Why not refresh yourself after a long day climbing? There are many lakes in the surrounding area where you can make this a reality (Faakersee, Ossiachersee, Wörthersee).