While traveling the world in search of the next climbing experience is something most climbers dream of, not everyone has the luxury of being able to hop on a plane for their climbing adventures.
Asia and America have great climbing options, but don’t feel left out if you live in Europe. It has more than ten major mountain ranges and at least 100 smaller ones. Additionally, Europe is home to some of the best rock climbing destinations in the world.
Here are 10 of the best rock climbing destinations in Europe, so take your pick.
1. Mallorca – Spain
Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain. Its diversity and landscapes make it one of the top climbing destinations in Europe. Options include excellent mid-level climbing, high-level deep-water soloing, and uncharted regions.
All around the island you will find exciting rocks, but the highlight has to be the rocky bowl of Sa Gubia, where you will find over 100 intermediate level routes. The breathtaking cliffs of the Formentor peninsula and the fissures, overhangs and walls of La Creveta and Es Fumat are also of interest.
2. Sicily – Italy
This second European island on the list has over 1,000 single and multi-pitch routes for all levels, with roofs, cracks, slabs and chimneys. There are four main climbing regions:
- San Vito lo Capo is a bustling seaside town with a 4 km coastal cliff. This is the most popular, but restrictions are in place for some regions.
- Monte Pellegrino in Palermo has the most routes.
- Syracuse and Messina both have good cliffs. However, Syracuse is renowned for its excellent deep water solos.
3. Kyparissi – Greece
Kyparissi is a small town just five hours from Athens and offers excellent remote rock climbing. The area was only recently opened up, but there are now over 200 different routes traversing the steep slopes around Mount Parnin. Some of the most popular routes include:
- Babala, which has particularly difficult climbs
- The Watermill has more accessible routes
- Vlychada is an idyllic bay with a variety of grades
Another popular rock climbing destination is just an hour’s drive away. Leonidio has over 1,400 routes and is a good spring option.
4. Sella – Spain
Sella is in one of the most famous regions of Spain, the Costa Blanca. It offers steep limestone walls that contain more than 300 routes. There is a full range of routes from short easy climbing to challenging multi-pitch climbing. If you include the wider Benidorm area, there are eight crags and 750 routes.
Sella is in the center of a valley and offers rock climbing for all abilities, while Divino and Hidden Valley are more suitable for those who prefer a challenge. If you choose to go out in the summer months, be prepared for it to be a bit chilly as the high walls cast many shadows.
5. Ligurian Final – Italy
This pretty Italian town offers adventurous climbing with wild green valleys and hills as a backdrop. There are 10 square kilometers of white limestone slabs, overhangs, walls and over 3,000 routes across all grades. The most popular neighborhood is Monte Cucco. He rose to fame in the 80s and 90s.
6. Siurana – Spain
Located in the Sierra de Prades mountains, this world-class climbing area is where Margo Hayes sent La Rambla. However, not everything is very difficult and there are 1,750 routes in all categories.
Siurana is a pretty hilltop village and the area is very sectorized which means you won’t feel overcrowded. Its reputation is for technical climbing with lots of small sharp crimps on slightly sloping or vertical walls.
7. Kalymnos – Greece
Kalymnos only really became a rock climbing destination in the early 2000s. However, it claims to have one of the best concentrations of high quality sport climbing in the world. There are over 3,400 routes and over 80 crags.
The yellow and orange limestone is quite suitable for climbers. The main locations are just 15 minutes from Masouri. A good time to go is in the spring when the landscape blooms with wildflowers.
8. Franc Jura – Germany
Frankenjura is the best, biggest, most beautiful and most famous climbing region in Germany. Here you will find more than 1,000 overhanging or vertical white and gray limestone boulders nestled in wild forests.
There are over 10,000 different options, covering all rating levels, but most are short and single-pitch. Late spring is the best time to visit due to the weather and the northerly direction.
9. El Chorro – Spain
El Chorro is a famous limestone gorge that you access via the Camino del Rey cliffside walkway. It’s one of Europe’s southernmost climbing destinations, and its sheer walls offer unique experiences for climbers of all levels.
The most popular routers are Africa and Zeppelin, starting with the lower gorge. The section opens on single slope rocks that include El Polvorin and Los Cotos. In total, there are more than 800 single and multi-pitch routes.
10. Osp, Misja Pec and Crni Kal – Slovenia
This place is close to other climbing areas in Italy and Croatia, but it has a charm of its own. The area is popular and easily accessible and offers over 600 routes on three main limestone crags within four kilometers of each other.
In Oso, the massive U-shaped wall has slopes of all levels, which are well bolted and a good mix of multi-lane and long single-pitch lanes.
If you thought you needed to travel further afield to find some of the best rock climbing experiences, you’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty near you.