Me and two other girls will be backpacking through Europe this summer. We'd like to spend exploring in Ireland, Greece, France, Austria and more. We really have no idea where to begin. We are all climbers and hikers from Alaska and want a challenge..... any suggestions?
They all seem like good places to hike. I'm guessing you're into the mountains, but the Millau area in France is also a beautiful landscape. Didn't go to heaps of places in Greece, but Santorini is very beautiful and there was a hike there up to an ancient ruined city which was cool.
I'd also seriously consider Scotland and Switzerland (especially the Jungfrau region). Yes in Switzerland they have trains/lifts everywhere but so many hiking trails in the beautiful landscape which is still very quiet, serene, and easy to organise in little time. In Scotland I haven't gone more north of Stirling, but many people have told me the highlands further north are amazing.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 24, 2008, at 8:46 PM by Erik85 ]
as if you haven't got enough choices have you thought of Los Picos de Europa in Northern Spain. I'm just back from there and if I was younger and fitter I know that's where I'd be going. Cheap, stunningly beautiful, wonderful people, walking and hiking routes that will take you high into the mountains where eagles, buzzards and vulture fly at eye level. Wolves howl at the moon at night and the food.... the food is to die for.
Of course as an Irishman I've got to say Ireland also. Donegal, Mayo, anywhere on the west coast in fact, Wicklow, walking routes like the Barrow Way, the Wicklow Way, the South Leinster Way. (I don't know much about Northern Ireland, shame on me). There really is a lot to do for a hiker in Ireland.
I've put together a few of the better websites for you to take a look at for Ireland.
Hiking in N. Ireland (part of the UK)
Mourne mountains, about an hour from Belfast. Giants Causeway, another must.
In Greece: Mt Olympus is a must really, in the middle of Greece, the place ancient Greek Gods supposed to have lived. In the middle of Greece too: meteora, rocks with monasteries on top of them. Both places highly recommended.
Also, Acrocorinthos in Corinth, if you care for ancient monuments.
(a greek that lived in N.Ireland)