The Top 14 Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe

By: SUZIE DUNDAS | Pulished on 2023-12-04

The Top 14 Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe-Trip Advise

One of the best things about rock climbing is that you can do it almost anywhere that has elevation changes. Almost every country in the world offers some amount of rock climbing or bouldering (climbing much shorter rocks without ropes.) And that means Europe, which has more than 10 "major" mountain ranges and at least 100 smaller ones, is home to some of the best rock-climbing destinations in the world. In the U.S., climbers use the 5.0 to 5.15 rating system, but it's a little different in Europe. The most common is the French scale, in which the easiest route is rated a one. However, the system a destination uses doesn't really matter as long as you understand which routes are more or less challenging.


While rock climbing may look like one of the most extreme (and sometimes dangerous) sports on the planet, proper instruction and education can mitigate most of the risk. Routes to the top are established by professional climbers and rock climbing organizations. Top roping and sport routes have bolts and hardware in place already. While you should always do your own safety checks, most popular rock climbing destinations have organizations that maintain the integrity of the routes.

Dolomites, Italy

The Top 14 Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe-Trip Advise

It's hard to find a list of the best climbing in Europe and not see the Dolomites on it, perhaps because the views from these mountain peaks in Italy are hard to beat. Beginners and occasional climbers can find enough sport and top rope climbing routes to fill anywhere from an afternoon to a month. More advanced climbers will have a variety of trad and bouldering options. Anyone can climb the via ferrata in Lake Garda or Cortina and expert climbers can summit Vajolet Towers.


While there are plenty of places to base yourself for a few days, first-time visitors will want to base themselves in Bolzano for the best mix of affordable lodging and convenient climbing.

More Article