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Top 10 European Rock Climbing Destinations

Rock Climbing

While traveling the world in search of the next rock climbing experience is something most climbers dream about, not everyone has the luxury of being able to hop on a plane for their rocking climbing adventures.

Asia and America have some great rock 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. In addition, Europe is home to some of the best rock climbing destinations in the world.

Here are 10 of the best climbing destinations in Europe, so take your pick.

1. Mallorca - Spain

Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain. Its diversity and landscape make it one of Europe’s premier climbing destinations. Options include excellent mid-grade climbing, top deepwater soloing, and unexplored regions.

All around the island, you’ll find exciting crags, but the highlight has to be the Sa Gubia rock bowl, where you’ll find more than 100 mid-grade routes. Also of interest are the Formentor peninsula’s breathtaking sea cliffs and the cracks, overhangs, and walls of La Creveta and Es Fumat.

2. Sicily - Italy

This second European island in the list has more than 1,000 single and multi-pitch routes for all levels, with roofs, cracks, slabs, and chimneys. There are four primary rock climbing regions:

  • San Vito lo Capo is a bustling beach town with a 4km coastal cliff. It is the most popular, but restrictions are in place for some areas.
  • Monte Pellegrino in Palermo has the most routes.
  • Siracusa and Messina both have good sea cliffs. However, Siracusa is renowned for great deepwater soloing.

3. Kyparissi - Greece

Kyparissi is a tiny town just five hours from Athens and offers great remote climbing. The region has only recently been opened up, but there are now more than 200 different routes crossing the craggy slopes around Mount Parnin. Some of the more popular routes include:

  • Babala, which has some especially tough climbs
  • Watermill has some more accessible routes
  • Vlychada is an idyllic bay with a variety of grades

Another popular climbing destination is just an hour away. Leonidio has more than 1,400 routes and is a good spring option. 

4. Sella - Spain

Sella is in one of Spain’s most famous regions, the Costa Blanca. It offers steep limestone walls that contain more than 300 routes. There is a full range of routes from short and easy to challenging multi-route 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 climbing for all levels, whereas Divino and Hidden Valley are more suitable for those who prefer a challenge. If you choose to climb out of the summer months, be prepared for it to be a bit chilly because the tall walls cast many shadows.  

5. Finale Ligure - Italy

This pretty Italian town offers adventurous climbing with lush, wild green valleys and hills as a backdrop. There are 10 square kilometers of white limestone slabs, overhangs, walls, and more than 3,000 routes across all grades. The most popular area is Monte Cucco. It first became famous in the 1980s 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, it’s not all super tough, and there are 1,750 routes across all grades.

Siurana is a pretty hilltop village, and the area is very sectored, which means you won’t feel overcrowded. Its reputation is for technical climbing with lots of small and sharp crimps on gently overhanging or vertical walls.

7. Kalymnos - Greece

Kalymnos only really became a climbing destination at the beginning of 2000. 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 more than 80 crags.

The yellow and orange limestone is all climber-friendly. The main locations are just 15 minutes from Masouri. A great time to go is in the spring when the landscape blooms with wild flowers.

8. Frankenjura - Germany

Frankenjura is Germany’s best, largest, most beautiful, and famous climbing region. You’ll find more than 1,000 crags of overhanging or vertical white and grey limestone nestling among wild forests.

There are more than 10,000 different options, covering all grading levels, but most are short and single-pitch. Late spring is the best time to visit because of the weather and north-facing direction.

9. El Chorro - Spain

El Chorro is a famous limestone gorge that you access via the Camino del Rey cliff-edge walkway. It is one of Europe’s most southerly climbing destinations, and its steep walls provide unique experiences for climbers of all grades.

The most prized routers are Africa and Zeppelin, beginning in the lower gorge. The section opens out into single pitch-filled crags 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 location is close to other climbing regions in Italy and Croatia, but it’s got a charm all of its own. The area is popular and easy to access and offers more than 600 routes over three main limestone crags within four kilometers of each other.

At Oso, the massive u-shaped wall has grades of all levels, which are well bolted and a good mix of multi-pitches and long single pitch routes.

If you thought you’d need to travel further afield to find some of the best climbing experiences, you’ll be pleased to learn there are lots close to home.

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