The E4 Trail



The E4 is one of a network of 11 long distance paths (soon to be 12) developed by the European Ramblers Association (the ERA), an association made up of walking groups from across the continent.  Like all the routes, the E4 joins up national long distance trails into an international pathway which grew as the membership and ambition of the ERA expanded.  Initially the E4 went from the Pyrenees to the Neisiedler See in Austria, was then extended into Spain and Hungary and now goes all the way down through the Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Crete and Cyprus.

In 2011, starting in March, I walked from Tarifa in Spain to Budapest in Hungary along the E4.  It was an amazing journey and as far as I can tell I was the first person to complete this particular walk.  

So why choose the E4?

Well first, and perhaps foremost, I wanted the special experience of place to place walking across Europe.  Long distance walking in Europe, whether you measure the time taken in weeks or months, is different to anywhere else in the world.

In Europe you benefit from two unique legacies.

Firstly the footpaths themselves are nearly all superimposed on trackways which date back to when travelling by foot was the predominant method of transport.  For most of Europe this wasn’t so long ago.  Today’s dense network of trails is based on routes which a couple of hundred years ago were used to take sheep and cattle into the mountains for summer grazing, to take goods to markets or to just link a village to the next village up the valley.  
Roman Road on the E4 near Ubrique
Secondly you benefit from the rich European history of walking as a leisure activity.  This legacy, which dates back to the late 19th Century, means you can find amazing places to stay in mountain huts in seemingly impossible mountain top locations while walking along pathways developed by local walking associations over a hundred years ago. 

Hotel Chasseron on the Jura Howenweg in Switzerland
Both legacies make long distance walking in Europe special. You can go to wild and wonderful places, not see anyone all day, but spend your evenings indoors with other walkers.  You can go from place to place, experience not just the variety of landscape but also different styles of accommodation and food. 

I love this type of walking and given the enormous choice in Europe choosing a trail for a six month hike wasn’t easy.   I ended up with the E4 because, as well providing the mix of landscapes and cultures common to lots of routes, it made it possible avoid extremes of weather.   It took me through six different countries, a whole series of stunning national parks, and let me stay in isolated refuges, small villages, towns and cities.  Choosing the E4 meant I could start walking early in the year and follow the spring as it moved up through Europe avoiding the heat in Spain and the snow in the Pyrenees and the Alps.  


So what did I get with the E4.


Starting on the Atlantic Coast at the southern tip of Spain I started a journey that took me through some of Europe's most stunning scenery.  


I crossed Andalucia through a series of national parks choosing northern of two options in the middle.  The northern option avoids the higher parts of the Sierra Nevadas which in March were covered in snow.  Lots of highlights but walking through the Cazorla National Park was especially wonderful.  It was full of wild-life and on one unforgettable day I saw a lynx and family of wild boar.  I suspect I could have managed the southern option in March, it's the more popular route and I can't wait to go back and find out how it compares.


The walk through Murcia, was about 300 km long and took me through the spine of the province, from west to east, and includes the landscapes of the Spanish high plateau and the fertile plain of the river Segura.


The transition from Murcia to Valencia was a bit dull but walking the 550 km trail through the province as a whole was a real revelation.  Heading north and on an inland track which parallels the coast I cut across the grain of countryside with huge gorges draining rivers into the Mediterranean to the east.  Accommodation was difficult in the middle section but once into Castellon things improved with route going from one fortified hill top town to another.  Castellon is definitely a must return to place.

So far the E4 had been tracking the route of the GR7, Spain's oldest long distance footpath but in Catalonia it headed down to the coast and along to the ancient city of Tarragona.  I enjoyed Tarragona and the spiritual heart of Catalonia, Montserrat, but carrying on to the Pyrenees along the GR 7 may have been a better option. Can't wait to go back and find out.

Montserrat
After two months in Spain I was crossing the Pyrenees into France.  The weather was terrible in the Pyrenees but perfect in Cathar countryside immediately to the north.  Great walking and the abandoned Cathar castles give the countryside a special spooky feel. 

The walk through France along the southern and then eastern edge of the Massif Central was wonderful.  Particularly enjoyed the hot days through the Cevennes and even the wet days through the Ardeche.   At times the scrub oak and long stretches of coniferous woodland became a bit tedious, particularly the bits either side of the Rhone Valley,  but once into the Vercors the scenery and views improved.  More huge limestone countryside with its characteristic cliffs and gorges interspersed with beautiful little towns and wonderful food.
Pont-en-Royans in the Vercors

Took a few days rest and recuperation at Grenoble before the last French stretch through the Charteuse  and the French Jura. Some long but memorable days. 

The Swiss part of the walk was really easy.  The first part was along 180km ridge walk known as the the Chemin des Crêtes du Jura, or, once into German speaking Switzerland the Jura Howenweg.  The route connects Geneva with Zurich, tracks along the ridge to the north of the wide east west valley running through Switzerland and, when the weather is good, provides absolutely unbelievable views of the Alps to the south.  It takes a day to cross from the Jura Howenweg to the south bank of the Rhine and then three days to walk along the sourthern shore of Lake Constance to Bregenz.  Love walking in Switzerland, everything really is well organised, just a shame it's so expensive.

After Bregenz it's Alpine walking proper and there are two options; the first takes you along the "nordalpenweg 01" and the second along the "nordaplenweg 04".  I sliced and diced, choosing the 04 through Baveria along the "Maximilianweg" to Strasburg and then heading south and joining the 01 at Spital a Pryn.  This was a more direct route to Budapest and the 04 involves slightly less climb than the 01.  Must say I'm a big fan of Austrian Alpine walking, the Austrians love their walking and it's well organised.  Staying in the mountain huts is a really special experience and I can't wait to do it again.

Once out of the mountains and into the relatively flat eastern part of Austria things started to fall apart in terms waymarks.  I guess for the Austrians, with so much choice, they just don't bother with the less interesting bits (unlike the Swiss who sign-posted everything). It wasn't until I got into Hungary and onto the "Blue Way" that things started to get organised again.  After bad weather through Austria the sun came out and I hit Hungary in a heat wave but as most of the walk was through a canopy of oak, ash and beech trees I escaped the worst of the heat.  Had been a bit nervous about accommodation in Hungary, not least because of warnings from Hungarians, but it turned out to be very good and great value.  After six months walking I perhaps rushed Hungary a bit although enjoyed the last three weeks of the walk, particularly the last day into Budapest a great deal.

As well as stunning scenery you get the chance to stay in Austrian Hutte, a fairly unique experience. The Austrian part of the walk is 1100 km.

Following the tradition of walks that represent the best of what each country has to offer the E4 follows the route of the "Blue Way", Hungary's No 1 walking experience.

Below are links to posts I did before the walk started.  Over the next few months will take these down and produce an updated commentary on what each stage was actually like.
Stage 14 - The E4 from Koszeg to Budapest

If you want see the route on maps then have a look at The E4 revisited - my journey in GPX, this provides links to my Viewranger page where details of the route can be displayed and downloaded

60 comments:

  1. Dear John,
    I want to congratulate you for your amazing website that provides wonderful insights in the beauty of walking along the E4.
    Having walked some parts of the E4 myself (an still continuing to do so) I know what I am talking about and can share your fascination. Having no time to do it all in one peace, I take three or four weeks off every two years and continue my path. I started in Bregenz in 2006, arrived in Villefort in 2010, and next summer I intend to carry on until Carcassonne. Check out my blog for details: http://klausreitberger.wordpress.com/meine-reisen/

    Greetings from Austria,
    Klaus

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  2. As soon as I have the money together to live for 6-8 months walking, I'm going off on my own travels across Europe. If I start in Spain I will most likely be tempted to walk the Camino de Santiago, so it will be from the South up to the North-West, then back East to France (possibly going backwards along the Northern coast - also a Camino route).

    However, I'm in 2 minds, I originally planned to start from Budapest, walking to Spain, back through France and up North to England (where I live) to complete my journey. I may decide to walk a little farther out, Istanbul maybe.

    Would love to hear any advice you can give

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joe

      Nice to hear from you.

      The big consideration for me was seasons and where you can walk when. It's too hot to walk in Spain in the summer and you have to be seriously hard core to cross the Alps in the winter. The Alpine walking season is from June until the end of September.

      I chose the the E4 because I could start early and reach the Alps in good time to get across them before there was any risk of snow.

      Sounds like you have a mega adventure in mind - best of luck

      John

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  3. Hi John

    Just found your blog and am looking forward to reading all your E4 entries. I'm a keen walker with plans to attempt the GR10 one day in the future.

    Cheers

    Martin

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    1. Hi Martin

      Nice to hear from you Martin. Did a bit of the GR10 when I was on the E4, it's a great walk, tough one though, best of luck!

      John

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  4. Dear John,
    I'm a PE teacher from Spain ans I'm thinking the possibility to prepare a Comenius project with students from different countries about the E-4 and GR-7 in Spain. Do you think that students 15-18 years old could walk any stages? Thanks in advance

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  5. Hi Gilberto

    What a brilliant idea!

    There is nothing on the E4/GR7 in Spain which is difficult in terms of walking and if your 15-18 year olds are at all interested in the outdoors they would easily cope with it. Nearly all the Spanish section is easy walking although some bits are more interesting than others. The big variant really is not the difficulty of the walking but the availability of accommodation - there is more accommodation on some parts of the trail than others.

    If I can help in any way than please don't hesitate to contact me. I also have a Spanish friend, Juan Halgado, who is an expert everything to do with walking in Spain, and I'm sure he would be happy to advise you as well.

    Best of luck

    John

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  6. Hello,
    I'm searching for a good hike, for already a couple of months. The problem is, I want to do this together with my dog. So, I can't do a lot of parts of the world. Asia, Africa, South America, every island, ...
    For a long time I considered the Appalachian Trail in the USA. But when something happens to me or my dog, I would be in a lot of trouble. It's not easy at all to take your dog to the USA for such a long time.
    So, now, I'm thinking about a backpacking trail in Europe. Eastern Europe is also not possible, because of the streetdogs over there. So my question is, if it would be possible to do this part of the E4 together with my dog? Forbidden national parks, footpaths to small in the mountains, etc, ...

    Thanks,

    Sam

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sam

      Good question Sam.

      Because I don't have a dog I'm afraid I can only have a stab a the likely issues but I guess there are two - accommodation and how welcoming your hosts might be to dogs and secondly the countryside itself and what the dog challenges might be.

      You could check with Austrian Alpine club but my guess is that dogs in mountain huts might not work so that might rule out the stretches of the E4 running through the Alps.

      Both Spain and France seem to me be dog friendly countries and accommodation shouldn't be a problem there.

      In terms of the countryside than an issue I found in Spain is that dogs are everywhere used to guard property. 99 per cent of the time they are locked away behind fences but they make a lot of noise and I guess if you have a dog with you this could make things worse. Occasionally the dogs are on the loose but with a pair of walking poles I was never threatened - again this might be different if you have a dog with you.

      If you're looking for two months than the GR7 through Spain, the E4 in Spain (although don't follow it down to the coast), would be a good option.

      Please come back to me if you have any further questions.

      Best of luck

      John

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  7. Hello John, my name is Rudi Holans, 47, and planning to hike part of the E4 trail in Central Greece or Penopolesus in May next year. You didn't pass their yet, but perhaps you have a lot of relevant information on the trail available and wanting to share it. Regards from a wet Belgium.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rudi

      Nice to hear from you. If it's any consolation it's wet here in England as well.

      Sorry but I'm afraid I don't have anything on the E4 in Central Greece. My next E4 project is Bulgaria and I should be able to publish something on that later this year but as yet I haven't looked at all at the E4 in Greece.

      I assume that you have looked on the E4 link on the ERA website - http://www.era-ewv-ferp.com/index.php?topmenu_id=29&id=29&page_id=108&module=text - which at least tells you where to get the maps from.

      Best of luck and keep in touch

      John

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  8. Hi John -

    This is an amazing website- thanks for sharing so much of your journey. My husband and I are about to start a trek from Austria to Budapest and had a few questions for you. Is there somewhere we can send you a private message to ask you about your travels? We'd really appreciate your help!

    Thanks,
    Rebecca

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca

      Thanks for your comment about the website, very kind. Please send any specific questions to amithefirst@gmail.com - dodgy email address but seemed like a good idea at the time!

      John

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  9. You're an inspiration John. My husband (65) and I (a very recent 60) will travel to Spain from Australia in April to walk the Camino de Santiago. It will be our first long distance walk and we're not sure how we'll go. The responses we get from friends are of pure admiration - they think we're "gutsy" and it's interesting to think of yourself in that light. Personally I think this will be a life's highlight and who knows one day we will be inspired to take a leaf from your book ... and keep walking.
    Thanks for sharing your story and advice.
    Diana

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    1. Hi Diana

      Thank you very much for comment, very kind. I'm sure you'll have a great time, there will be lots of other hikers for you share your adventure with.

      I'm travelling slightly further south along the GR1, going from west to east but parallel with the Camino starting in March, so be warned walking in Spain is addictive.

      Best wishes
      John

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  10. Here is some information on the E4 in Greece for the Peleponesus and Crete:

    http://frankrevelo.com/hiking/dest_eu_greece_peleponesus.htm
    http://frankrevelo.com/hiking/dest_eu_greece_crete.htm

    This is an overview of hiking in Greece, which will be useful for the E4 in mainland Greece. Because that involves high mountains (Pindos), you will probably have to wait until summer:

    http://frankrevelo.com/hiking/dest_eu_greece.htm

    The Mountains of Greece: A Walker's Guide by Tim Salmon (2006) also discusses the E4 in mainland Greece.

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    Replies
    1. Thank very much for the links. The Crete section looks particularly tempting. Something to think about for my schedule in 2014.

      Best wishes John Hayes

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  11. I want to hike the E4 in Spain in WINTER. The E4 will be part of a much longer hike through Europe and I will probably get to Spain in November/December. I have checked your website and it seems that you did not encounter any snow even in the Sierra Nevada in March on the Northern variant and none on the Southern variant in late October. Do you think the GR 7 is doable in December in the Sierras? Which variant would you suggest for winter hiking? Unfortunately the Cicerone guidebook is currently not available, but the good news is that the updated 2nd edition will come out in August.
    Your website is a great source of information - thank you so much for all the work you have put into.
    Christine

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christine

      Thanks for your comment on the blog

      There will be snow in the Sierra's in December. It started to snow on my last day in late October on the southern variant and there was a bit of snow left in March in Cazorla when I did the northern variant. What I don't know is how bad it will be in December particularly as neither of the two variants go right over the top.

      I'm not sure what you do for accommodation - I always look for a bed and I suspect they will be harder to find in the winter as much of the accommodation is seasonal.

      It will also be cold - nearly all of the GR7 is around 1,000 metres - and it gets cold at night.

      On the variants the northern one is a lot wetter, some great bits on it but surprisingly you go through the wettest part of Spain.

      If you want to talk to some real experts than contact one or both of the guys below. The first one - Juan Holgado - helped with the first Cicerone Guide and has become a great friend of mine. I'm walking with him along the GR1 through March.

      http://juanholgado.com/

      http://gr7deandorraatarifa.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Hi, I ran across your blog and found it extremely interesting as I am leaving California for the UK and Europe on April 18th. My trip is completely open ended (as short as 6 months, as long as 5 years) and I want to do a combination of hiking/walking and WWOOFing my way across Europe several times.

    I would like to plan my WWOOFing breaks around a long distance hike across Europe and choose farms located near or around the trails. Here is where I run into difficulty. I can't find any detailed topo or trail (walking) maps that cover any of Europe's long distance trails (i.e. "E-Trails").

    If you have any advice or suggestions as to where I can locate these maps, books… I would be eternally grateful!

    Thank you,

    Sparkos

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sparkos will come back to you when I get back from my current trip in a weeks time.

      Thanks for the comment

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  13. I am very interested in doing the E4 trail my self but am have extreme difficulty locating and detailed maps that cover the E4 or any of the other long distance European trails. Can you advise me in this matter?

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    1. Hi Sparkos

      Back home now from a trip to Spain can reply to your comment.

      The "E" routes - the cross European trails - are all based on national trails and the quality of information available is dependent on the quality of information available at a national level. This varies a lot. So for example in Spain the E4 follows, for most of the time, the GR7 but in Spain the national trails are not marked on the maps. In France, Switzerland they are.

      You can find out which national trails they follow by going to the European Ramblers Association web site at http://www.era-ewv-ferp.com/ - (although they use http://www.traildino.com/ as their information supplier.

      On the blog I tried to describe where I got my information from for each country and have lots of detailed information. Once you have decided which route you want to do I might be able to advise you further so feel free to come back to me with additional questions.

      Best of luck

      John

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  14. Hi John. Just stumbled upon you website, and now I'm diving in to all the different entries you've made.. Can't wait to read more! Dreaming my day away here!
    Love from Malene, DK

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  15. Hi John!

    Congrats like a 100000000 times!! Wow.... I began to walk through the "Blue Way" in Hungary (Im a Hungarian).
    I often saw the sign E4 and now I finally found out what it is about...

    My dream is talk through the E1... but tell me, how much money did you collect to start your trip? Im afraid i can't calculate how much money should I save for begin this trip. Each country is different, staying somewhere safe, eating, money for emergency cases, etc.
    Thanks,
    Réka

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    Replies
    1. Hi Réka

      Thanks for the comment.

      I stayed in small hotels so I didn't do it in a particularly cheap way and your're right different countries cost different amounts. Hungary was the best value, then Spain. Germany, France and Austria about the same and Switzerland the worst. On average it was about 50 euroes a day. Christine aka German Tourist has commented on this blog, (see above) wild camps and does it on a budget of 12 euros a day. Hope that helps.

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  16. Hi John,

    I'm at the beginning of planning to walk the GR7, E4, Starting from Tarifa in March 2015. Which GPX track to download ? I haven't found anthing near complete so far !
    I'm hoping yo walk through to Autumn when the weather gets too cool

    Regards, Terry Griffiths

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    Replies
    1. Hi Terry - nice to hear from you. At the time my route was cobbled together from various sources, but better ones have emerged since. Manual, who I have never met but have been in touch with many times has a lot of information at - http://gr7deandorraatarifa.blogspot.co.uk/ - including GPX tracks. Juan, referred to in the comments above also has the whole trail - http://juanholgado.com. Finally you might also want to contact John at http://bowlandclimber.wordpress.com/ who has just walked the GR7 through Catalonia.

      Good Luck!

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    2. Hi John, I fly to Malaga 15th March, on to Tarifa 17th, and start walking. I've friends at various points on the trail. 1st visit Castell de Castellar ! I'm making my 1st attempt at blogging - http://gr7-2015.blogspot.co.uk/
      where are you off to this year ?

      Delete
    3. Great to here that you are about to set off - good luck.

      I'm on my first walk of the year at the moment, in the Fisherman's Trail heading south along the Portuguese coast, nice walk and great weather. Lots more trips planned including 2 more to Spain.

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    4. Great to here that you are about to set off - good luck.

      I'm on my first walk of the year at the moment, in the Fisherman's Trail heading south along the Portuguese coast, nice walk and great weather. Lots more trips planned including 2 more to Spain.

      Delete
  17. Hey John.

    My partner and I are currently living in Bulgaria, but we are planning to walk from here back to the UK (exploring the countries we go to and detouring to Croatia, Italy and Spain) Do you have any advice, suggestions or online resources you could offer? Any help would be hugely appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Schuyler

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    Replies
    1. Hi Schuyler

      Lots of information out there. A good starting point is the European Ramblers Association website http://www.era-ewv-ferp.com/ - and from there is a link to the Traildino website http://www.traildino.com/.

      By the way there are some fabulous long distance cycle routes if you want to get here a bit quicker.

      Best of luck

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  18. Hi John,
    i'm thinking about do this trail Budapest to Spain, but with bike
    do you think the track is ok for cycling?
    Thank you

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    1. To be honest I don't think it is, there is however a European cycling network, the Eurovelo network. Best of luck

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    2. To be honest I don't think it is, there is however a European cycling network, the Eurovelo network. Best of luck

      Delete
    3. To be honest I don't think it is, there is however a European cycling network, the Eurovelo network. Best of luck

      Delete
  19. Hi John,
    Just found your great blog, as I'm interested in doing the E4 from Tarifa to Bregenz (starting in April next year).
    How long do you think does it take, at least? And do you think it might be possible/make sense to "skip" parts of the E4 and take faster paths (roads), to do it faster? (Because I won't have too much time).

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  20. It took me about me about 4 and half months. The part I would skip is the detour down to the coast in Northern Spain, stay on the GR8 and head straight to the border.

    Also I stayed in hotels etc, if you're wild camping you might, despite the extra weight walk slightly further.

    Hope that helps

    John

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for that quick answer, it helped me ;)
      I might ask one or two more things before I'll finally start.
      Thank you
      Paul

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  21. Dear John,

    My name is Tatsuya, working as a translator in Tokyo.
    I love hiking myself, especially, long distance hikes.

    I read your journals of E4 and they were very exciting. Currently I am making a website to introduce all sorts of hikers' experience to Japanese folks. And I wondered if it is OK to translate your articles into Japanese and introduce them on my website. I'm seriously working to make it a kind of portal site where people can find useful and exciting information about hiking and backpacking.

    With every page, I will put your name and link to your website. This is my website: http://www.worldhikerslog.com

    Please let me know what you think.

    Tatsuya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tatsuya

      Sorry for the slow reply but I have been away. Your website looks great and yes you can use my content providing you make the link back to my blog. Good Luck!

      Delete
    2. Hi Tatsuya

      Sorry for the slow reply but I have been away. Your website looks great and yes you can use my content providing you make the link back to my blog. Good Luck!

      Delete
  22. Hi John,

    I'm considering walking the E4 trail from Portugal to Budapest next year. The idea of taking on such a challenge is very exciting to me...the thing is, while I am reasonably fit and enjoy hiking/walking, I have never done anything even remotely similar to this before. So, I guess I am wondering if you think it would be achievable/safe for a 22 year old female to take on this challenge (solo). Also, how long did it take you to prepare/save for the trip?

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  23. Hi Hayley,

    I think the route is safe but I'm a 60 year old man and I may not be the best qualified to comment. A couple of people of women who have walked chunks of it are Charmine at http://outofthewindowandintotheworld.blogspot.co.uk/ and Christine at http://www.christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.co.uk/. Christine is a veteran of some huge epic trips and I think is in her forties wheras Charmine is more your age. Both of them have been in touch with me and Charmine was on the trail a few weeks agao.

    If you reasonably fit you should be fine. The key thing is to work into it slowly and try not to do too much at the beginning until you legs and feet have toughened. I'm sure if your camping and how much stuff you need to carry but it's really important to keep everything as light as possible.

    Best of luck and keep in touch

    John

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hayley

      A German gentleman has been in touch and is planning to walk the E4. He is interested in getting in touch with you. If you would like his contact details please get in touch. I'm on amithefirst@gmail.com. Best wishes John

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  24. Hi John, we're looking to spend two to three weeks in October on a trail, walking from hut to hut (without a tent). We usually walk in the alps, but this year October is the only time off we can get, so we need to find an alternative location. Perhaps you can recommend anything, based on the vast experience you have walking in Europe? Ideally we'd love to walk among big mountains and impressive vistas... cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chen

      I think Spain is a good destination in October. The heat will have gone and it doesn't generally become unsettled there until November. You wouldn't be staying in mountain huts but the small hotels are great value. Think about the GR7 in either the Sierra Nevadas or Valencia or the GR1. You can find information on both of these walks if you look in the walking diaries section of my blog. There are different navigation problems in Spain to those in the Alps but I can explain how to resolve them if your interested.

      Best wishes

      John

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  25. Hi! This was a great read and sounds like a wonderful journey! I myself am planning a hike through part of the E1 or E5. My fiance and I want to hike from Germany to Switzerland. I know its a different part, but since you have some experience, I was wondering if you could answer some questions:

    Is there any cost to use the trails? I've seen some places offer guided tours costing upwards of 800 pounds... I'm assuming we can just do it on our own, correct?

    Also, my fiance has a peanut allergy. How is the food along the journey? Do you think it would be difficult to stay safe with a food allergy during the trek?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. Trekking on the routes themselves is free, there are no park fees or anything like that. There is an enormous choice of accommodation and I don't think you'll have a problem with allergies

      Have a great walk

      John

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    2. Trekking on the routes themselves is free, there are no park fees or anything like that. There is an enormous choice of accommodation and I don't think you'll have a problem with allergies

      Have a great walk

      John

      Delete
  26. Hi John,
    How was the water situation for you on the E4? Did you carry water filtration and get water where you could, or did you just carry enough to go from village to village? Where there any places that you struggled to find water?

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    Replies
    1. There were enough villages to get water so it was never really a problem. I was walking quite early in the year because of the need to cross the Alps in the summer. Hope that helps.

      John

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  27. Hi John
    Do you think it is possible to run the whole trail all the way down to Cyprus in one year?? is trail well marked or you need maps with you??

    lukasz

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  28. Hi Lukasz

    Generally speaking it's not marked as the E4, rather the E4 follows a series of national trails, for instance the GR7 in Spain. You can follow these linked national trails for as far as the border between Hungary and Romania. The last time I looked the route through Romania hadn't been worked out. You can then follow it through Bulgaria but it fizzles out a bit in Greece, although its good in Crete as well as Cyprus.

    I didn't take maps but I plotted the route on a GPS, if you look at the blog above you can find the linked to the GPX files which you could then use to follow my route.

    I reckon you could do it in a year, you would just need to be a little careful about when you set off.

    Have a good trip

    John

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    1. Hi John and Lukasz
      We walked the length of Greece from the northern border down to the Peloponnese port of Githion (jumping off point for Crete and the section of E4 there) in 2014. We followed the E4 some of the time, and also the E6 and local footpaths. Have a look at our website greekhiking.com for details and let me know if you'd like any more info. Greece is great hiking country, and maps are mostly good too.

      All the best

      Jane

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  29. dear john ,
    huge thanks to you for a fantastic blog and website, i have found it invaluable help for planning my own trip from the alpujarras to sussex .. with my fiance and three horses ..we are getting married on the 2nd sept in Hurstpierpoint and have approx 3 and a half months to complete the 2000 mile aisle ..we plan to leave tomorrow ..u can find our blog at 2000mileaisle@blogspot.com ...keep doing what your doing mr Hayes your a good man ..thanks and best of luck for the future ..cheers mark

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    1. Nice to hear from you Mark. What a cool idea, best of luck with your trip. The Spanish will think you're a mad Englishman but they're used to them and appreciate them as well

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  30. John,

    I found your blog so useful in walking from Tarifa to Budapest, that I have continued it in a more modest way at www.johnpone4hungary.blogspot.co.uk should any of your readers be interested. I am currently planning to join up with the E4 route through Serbia planned by the Mountaineering Association of Serbia, given no Romanian route has materialised.

    Thank you for all the assistance your blog has given me.

    John P

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    1. Thanks John, reading your blog really brought back memories of my time in Hungary, if felt like a big country! Would be interested to hear about how you get on in Serbia, sounds like you've made a good connection. John

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