7 Reasons for a Hiking Date + Bucketlist European Romantic Hikes

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Tap into Nature and get the endorphins going to have a great time on your next date, whether it’s the first one or an enduring relationship.

What’s the Best Part of a Hiking Date?

It’s FREE-99!  

Just kidding, you should definitely not show up to a hiking date or romantic walk empty handed.  

You probably won’t get a second date with that attitude. 

Let’s be real. Food is the way to anyone’s heart. But then how to stand out??

ENTER: Hiking a date. Not exactly a super adventure, but something nice, based in Nature and with a hint of adventure to spark passion.

I’m writing this in year 19 of our marriage that all began on a hiking date in the Appalachian mountains in VA.  Obvi i’m pretty passionate about it.

Why go hiking on a date?

  • Endorphins  
  • Connection
  • Nature
  • Wildlife – Could be a pitfall too
  • Openness to Experience
  • Test of Courage

You might have some questions about endorphins, more on that later.

Read until the end where I’ll show you the ultimate super baller Italian hiking date in the stunning Dolomites.  For a romantic trip that is truly off the beaten path, the Dolomites will not disappoint.

Hint:  This hike includes stays that are literally on the top of a 9,000 foot cliff with a sauna on the deck with 3 course dinners and local wines. 

Quick Links – Dating Hiking Like a Boss

Why are Endorphins so important?


Opiates are synthetic endorphins.

They make people feel really good.

Not as good as the real thing though.

Endorphins are made in your brain and body in response to stress and pain.

Hiking is stress that makes endorphins.

A sitting date is stress, but not the kind that makes endorphins.

Make your date better with endorphins.

Say yes to a hiking date.


***Connect to What Really Counts

 

7 Reasons to Go on a Hiking Date + Tips

1. ⬆️ Energy

Have you ever been on a date that was going really well and dinner was so delicious that you couldn’t stop eating and opted for dessert?  Then the crash.  The inevitable fullness and sinking energy levels from sitting too long and eating too much. For a lot of people fat and happy is great, but feeling bloated equals no desire for hanky panky.

With a hiking date you can get the best of both worlds.  

You two lovebirds can enjoy some delicious food on a romantic outdoor picnic or a stop at a cool restaurant that’s half way along the trail and then keep moving.

It helps keep the energy levels high and the bloated feelings at bay.  There’s nothing like light exercise to keep the GI system happy.

2. ⬆️ Endorphins – Our Happy Hormones

Most importantly though, a hiking date is fantastic for supercharging our happy hormones called endorphins.  You know those chemical messengers in our brain and body that signal to our deepest self that all is good with this world. 

Runners’ high applies to hiking also and is very good for helping with feelings of lightness and good mood, especially on high stress events like a date.

3. 📲 Ditch the Stress – Feel Connected

What’s more romantic than Mother Nature?  According to Yale, Immersion in Nature has many benefits including a deeper sense of connection to what’s around us.  And it’s the perfect excuse to get off our devices and be with the person in front of us. This may be one of the most important things for the human race to continue.

4. 🦜Excuse Not to Have Talk So Much 

It’s so much easier to have breaks in the conversation if you’re moving through the Outdoors on a hiking date. When stuck at a table it can get really awkward and difficult and strain the possibility of true connection.  

Maybe you’re a little bit introverted (like pretty much everyone) and need some spaces to recharge during the date. 

Some quiet can actually forge a stronger connection, but that’s really hard to do sitting at a restaurant table.

Isn’t this why you see so many couples on their phones at a romantic restaurant and the general feeling is “oh, poor thing, date’s not going well??”.

5. ☮️ Easy Out 

Are they a creep?  Are they a debbie downer?  Do they act like energy vampires and suck the life out of the universe?  Are they Q-Anon or really and truly believe in ghosts? Even on a hiking date that is total trash.

Simply walk away.  This is a no-brainer as to why hiking is such a great first date. It’s super easy to make up an excuse like….

  • My foot hurts
  • I’m scared of bats
  • Headache
  • Fear of heights
  • Afraid of dark
  • My toenail is too long for my shoe

You get the idea. 

6. 🧑‍🔬Figure out the Pheromones 

hiking date

It’s not really ridiculous because humans are animals, but people are attracted to smells in their partner.  If you go on 10 dates doing sitting things and never really get to smell them in action it could be a huge waste of time.  A hiking date will give you the opportunity to actually smell the other human and you’ll know immediately if there’s no animal attraction. 

7. 🔽 Cost + Maximize Experience

There’s no shame in reducing the cost of experiences in order to enjoy them more. The quality of the experience means more than the cost.  I say this from firsthand experience when eating at a London Michelin star restaurant.  It was very cool and tasty.  But the 1000 pound bill for one dinner?  Yeah, it gave me gas. 

A hiking date night can be pretty cheap.  It’s not free however.  You’ll still need to ensure that food and drinks are covered and that you’ve got the right equipment.  

You can go for a hike around the block.  Or you can go for a hike over the Alps.  This will definitely depend on your style.

this homegirl likes to hike 2,000 ft with a red dress. She’s a sucker for romance.

Potential Problems with a Hiking Date

It’s not all roses and hikes though.  You’ve got to consider some things that may go wrong and plan ahead with the right gear, food, water and plan of where to go.  

  • Ticks
  • Snakes
  • Cougars
  • Coyotes
  • Assuming the date’s tolerance to activity
  • Dehydration
  • Safety
  • Serial Killer
  • First dates

Don’t assume your date is a fast or slow hiker.  Be upfront and beforehand ask how far they would like to go.  It’s too easy to make assumptions and that is a huge turnoff at the beginning of any relationship.  

If your date is intimidated by you and you plan a 20 mile trek, it’s likely not going to work.  

Conversely, if you assume your date can’t go far or over difficult terrain, but they really are a badass it may be condescending.  

See!  You’re already working on the most important part of a relationship, communication. 

If you’re lucky, you may have just found someone you can enjoy nature and hiking with for the rest of your life. 

The family that hikes together, stays together. 

hiking date with family
on their way across the Dolomites on a date from heaven (or hell)

If you’re worried about serial killers then I am sorry but you’re gonna have to try another blog.  I’ve got nothing for you.  

What to Bring on a Hiking Date

1st:  Do you want to get lost?

This really could go either way.  It can be very romantic to find your way out of the forest together.  This could be some kind of litmus test for your future relationship.  Will your date fold under pressure or take things easy and go with the flow?  

Sometimes you hike to a castle in a very long red dress for romance.

Do you prefer a rigid, preplanned way of life?  Well, then you’d better have some GPS tracks uploaded to your phone navigation app (I love Komoot for hiking)  and show your partner that you’ve got your sh&t together and everything is precise.

Either way, make sure nobody gets truly hurt and there is always an off-ramp to the hike if needed.  Make sure at least one person knows where you two are going in case of emergency.

Hiking Gear for Romantic Walks

If there is dangerous wildlife, be prepared with some bear spray and tick tweezers. If you’re going to do some steep terrain, bring along trekking poles to make it easier. As always, wear good shoes.  Sometimes crocs will work but other times you’ll really want some traction, like microspikes for your shoes.

2nd: Consider your hiking area

Do you have a lot of ticks in your region?

Bring deet spray.


Will you have water sources?  

If not, bring twice as much as you think you should.

Will you be stopping at a restaurant along the hike?

Always feed your hiking date.  That’s literally the best part of a hiking date. You get to earn your delicious food with a walk.  It just always tastes better when you’re moving for food. 

Bring Some Gear to Get Comfortable on Romantic Walks.

Bring a phone for safety, but really try to keep it out of your face.  Just saying. 

It wouldn’t hurt to bring along a waterproof blanket to sit down on and maybe observe the beautiful place you’ll be hiking through.

Other great ideas include a journal, sketchpad, picnic basket and biodegradable wipes for when nature calls. 

Does your date like booze or wine?

You’ve gotta be a superhero and carry that extra weight.  Do not, I repeat, do not serve them some delicious wine in a metal cup.  You’re gonna have to go the extra mile and bring some camp gear with a proper glass to drink out of for both of you.  You are allowed to transfer wine out of glass bottles and into a plastic one, but the drinking vessel should be legit. 

Does your date like gifts?

If so, get her something from this hiker gift guide and really surprise her. 

Some people really don’t care about gifts and only the experience.  But those people may be uber impressed if the gift is something functional that supports the experience.  Or not.  Hard to tell. 

And this goes without saying. Don’t leave your trash. Always bring out everything you take in.

What to Wear on a Hiking Date

This really is a place for your personality to shine through on a hiking first date beyond your hiking boots.  

What’s your vibe for the perfect hiking date outfit? 

Gnarly environmentalist?   Deck yourself out in Patagonia.

High class bitch? Bring your LV purse inside your pack.

Indigo girls grunge?  Hike in your Tevas.

Stealth Wealth? $200 t-shirt with holes in it

Crossfit f-ever? Wear your 70 strap strappy sports bra

New England Preppy? Definitely L. LL. Bean baselayer

European Flavor? Wir muss haben Jack Wolfskin

Seriously, wear whatever the heck you want. It’s a day hike and you don’t need moisture wicking fabrics and merino wool.  Hiking shoes are just fine, even tennis shoes usually.  For us ladies, however, make sure you wear something that won’t chafe.  Sometimes shorts aren’t the answer, but there are really cool hiking skirts now that have built in shorts that are long enough to cover your thighs and avoid the chafe. 

If you’re on a hike date and have really good natural heat regulation (aka you sweat a lot) bring some wipes to clean out the cracks and a ziplock baggie to take out your trash.


Ultimate Romantic Italian Hike : Alta Via 1 in Dolomites

TL;DR: The Dolomites are an unreal group of 19 spires and pinnacles of peaks that are so beautiful they are a UNESCO world heritage site.

It’s located about 2 hours from Venice and the hike itself can be 8-10 days hiking hut to hut.  It’s easy enough to do a 5 day section if you’ve only got a week of vacation to do a hiking date vacation.

You can make it really hard and do via ferrata (awesome rock climbing with helmets) or you can go a gentle meandering way. You’ll be rewarded with dramatic and varied landscapes, delicious food and comfortable mountain huts to sleep in each night.

The Alta Via 1 is  not about difficult and taxing effort only. History, culture, food and Nature merge here and with the mountain hut system it can be a very romantic experience..

Watch my webstories here to get a video taste to hike Alta Via 1 and see the turquoise lakes and rocky pinnacles that are the Dolomites.

The talented Shan Subedi created this idyllic video of the entire Alta Via 1 that will make you salivate. This video will give you a glimpse into what the trail is like, but believe me, it’s much better in person and one of the better date ideas on the planet for Nature lovers.

Hiking Date Ideas & Destinations in Europe that will Impress

Romantic Hikes in Germany

Calmont Klettersteig – Bremmer Calmont

the only place my doodle made me scared. she wasn’t.

Hike literally through and around the steepest vineyard in the world on the Calmont Klettersteig hike in Germany’s Mosel River Valley.  It’s a hike that includes some metal ladders and rungs to assist over rocky parts.  It’s even got a wine vending machine halfway through in case you get thirsty.

Rüdesheim Germany on the Rheinsteig

Since we’re on the vineyard theme here for hiking dates I’d be remiss to forget to mention the stunning Romantic Rhine River hikes around Rüdesheim Germany.  Sitting at the opening of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO site, it’s got everything for a romantic hike.  Half timbered wine village with restaurants, museums and fairly easy hikes that are even serviced by gondola, river cruise and train.  This one is great if you get a bit tipsy and want a ride back.  Also, wine is available on the trail at little huts where you swipe your credit card and the fridge of cold Rieslings open. 

romantic hikes
gondolas take you up and over – or you can hike

Geierlay Bridge Adventure in Germany

hiking date geierlay bridge germany
what a perfect place for a proposal

The 1200 ft long Geierlay bridge offers a unique experience.

The Geierlay bridge might just make the most impressive off-the-beaten path hiking date idea and proposal location for Nature lovers.  It’s not so insta- famous yet and is 300 ft off the ground.  It’s drama all around.

Romantic Walks in Portugal

Fisherman’s Trail on Wild Atlantic in Portugal

Just a couple hours from Lisbon is the Fisherman’s trail

It’s a fairly easy, but sandy trail that traverses cliffs on the Atlantic ocean on Portugals Alentejo coast.  It’s wild, it’s authentic and totally awesome for a romantic hike.  You can walk 1 day and take the bus back to the start or continue for 4 days of amazing ocean based hiking with crazy wildlife, food and scenery. 

Romantic Walks in Italy 

The city of Trieste sits at the border of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia and walks and hikes here make it possible to hit up three countries in a short span of time. So if you want to impress a hiker that has a bucketlist ot hit up as many countries as possible, Trieste is a perfect homebase.  They also are the ancient home of coffee and totally unfound by the North American tourist crowd.


With 💞, Crave the Planet

Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning.