Best Historic Trails

BEST HISTORIC TRAILS AROUND EUROPE

There are so many reasons for loving trail running. Feeling connected with nature, unleashing your inner child and getting goosebumps when you finally reach that peak. That’s what keeps us trail lovers coming back for more.

So what better way to convey our passion than sharing our favourite paths out there? Let’s deep dive into our selection of the best historic trails in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.


Germany

Hartfüssler Trail

In the Saarland region, mining was a particularly important activity in the past. Most miners could only reach their workplaces on foot on so-called miners' trails, which were popularly called "Hartfüssler". From this history the Hartfüssler e.V. was founded - it organizes different trail runs throughout the year. The main event is the annual Hartfüssler Trail which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

The Hartfüssler Trail offers different distances (7,5km, 14km, 30km and 58km) with different levels of difficulty, meaning that every runner can have fun on this path. All routes follow the former miners’ paths and then, starting with the 14km route, lead over one or more mountain slagheaps with between 410 and 1780 meters of elevation to overcome.

In light of this year's anniversary, Altra Red Team member Torsten Appel is taking on the 30km challenge!

Wasserkuppenrundweg

The Wasserkuppe is with 950 m the highest mountain of Hesse and the Rhön. The circular trail around the Wasserkuppe offers many scenic highlights such as the Fuldaquelle, the Rote Moor, the Wachtküppel, the Guckaisee, the Pferdskopf (875m) and, of course, the Wasserkuppe (950m).

The Wasserkuppenrundweg is 39km-long and has a total elevation gain of 1200 meters and is actually intended as a two-day tour. Rooted in history, this path takes you along many picturesque cities and summits, challenging runners with its steep climbs.

Altra Red Team member Marcel Neumann ran the Wasserkuppenrundweg in 03:49 hours...setting the fastest known time in the route so far.

Pfalztrail

The Pfalztrail is an absolute trailer experience in the heart of the Palatinate region which allows both trail newbies and veterans to enjoy a challenging trail running session. While this 34-kilometer run may not seem particularly impressive in our world of ultras, those who are willing to run through the Palatinate Forest rustic trails will simply have a great day on an exciting and challenging path.

The route encourages you to step on the gas right from the start. However, if you do not manage your energy effectively, you will have a hard time overcoming the sharp climbs characterizing this path.

Motivated by the familiar environment, Altra Red Team member Daniel Arnold rides this trail every year to let off some steam, but despite knowing the challenges of this route... he stated he still needs to refine his energy management skills!

France

GR20

With its 180 kilometers, and an elevation gain of around 14,000 meters, the GR20 crosses Corsica from Calenzana to reach Conca. It follows the granite backbone of mountains which divides the island into two parts.

It is a very technical path, especially in the northern part, which is why it’s recommended for experienced adventurers. A mix of rocky terrains, paths in the woods and exposed ridges is what makes this trail challenging yet fun.

Stunningly diverse and beautiful, it attracts enthusiasts from all over Europe. To venture onto this magnificent trail, the most suitable Altra shoe is undoubtedly our Olympus, which with its extreme grip will enable you to overcome any obstacles.

Here is why our ambassador Yoann Jamoneau like this trail “The GR20 is undoubtedly challenging in some stages, but the diversity and the beauty of the landscapes always fuel my desire to come back.”

GR34

The GR34 is a coastal path that starts from the famous Mont Saint-Michel and ends in Saint-Nazaire. It snakes along the cost of Brittany for over 2,000 kilometers, offering breathtaking views of the sea.

Also known as the Customs Officers’ path, this trail includes several stops in famous towns and villages such as Saint-Malo, Perros-Guirec, Brest, Lorient or Vannes.

Flatter compared to other trails, GR34 is still technical and sometimes challenging due to its rocky points.

This route is also ideal for training thanks to the variety of routes it offers. No matter if you want to dive into threshold training, intervals or beautiful long outings, GR34 will always win your heart.

To navigate the beds the GR34 Lone Peak 5 will be a real ally thanks to its versatility and the comfort it provides.

See you there for some invigorating ocean breeze!” - Kenavo, 2021 Altra Red Team member

Tour du Mont Blanc

As the name suggests, the Tour du Mont Blanc circles the Massif du Mont Blanc, covering a distance of around 170 km.

Wild, beautiful, challenging, the TMB is one of the most popular long-distance trails in Europe, and passes three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.

Described as one of the toughest routes in Europe, the TMB is a unique technical trail attracting runners from all over the world and challenging them to push their physical and mental limits along a breathtaking alpine environment.

The most scenic part of the TMB is towards the end, on the way back from Switzerland, where you can admire the beauty of the Mont Blanc with all its incredible glaciers, just before dropping down back to Chamonix center.

The ideal Altra shoes for this trail? According to Altra 2021 Red Team member Douglas, who had the chance to run this path already, it’s Lone Peak as it has enough cushion and provides the ground feel needed for the technical terrain.

Chrono Pouncho

This climb of 2.6km and 476 d+ brings you directly to one of the most beautiful panoramas in the area: the city of Millau seen from above, its viaduct in the background and the paragliders twirling around there. And when the city lights up on summer evenings...it's pure magic.

The Pouncho is well-known for being the last difficulty on the Templar races, and the return is made by crossing the owl cave. Anyone who has run the Templars remembers this magical place...so if you go to Millau, this is a must-go!

Italy

Tuscany Crossing

If you are dreaming about running an ultra-trail in the sweet hills of Tuscany, then the Tuscany Crossing is a race you can’t miss.

Situated in a UNESCO site in Val d’Orcia, this extraordinary path of different lengths (160km, 103km, 50km) takes you through woods, vineyards, fords and white roads – it's intense yet exciting, just like the unbelievable landscapes that made the entire world fall in love with the Tuscan countryside.

The interesting thing about this trail is that it takes you along the route pilgrims used to walk in the past to arrive in Rome.

Le Porte di Pietra

The “Porte di Pietra” is one of the most established races within the Italian trail running landscape and has been taking place since 2006.

Consisting of different routes, this trail is situated in Val Borbera - an isolated geographical area far from urban areas where runners can have a deep and full immersion into nature.

Runners wanting to take this trail will find themselves running in woods and ridges, from which they can admire the Alps and the Ligurian sea.

Many Elite runners measured themselves on the “Porte di Pietra” circular trail around Val Borbera...will you be the next?

Lavaredo Ultra Trail

The Italian Ultra trail by definition, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail is an adventure through the most beautiful mountains in the world: the Dolomites.

With departure and arrival in Cortina d’Ampezzo, this technical and intense path of 120km has been attracting thousands of runners from more than 80 countries in the past 10 years. Energy management, great endurance and mental strength are key elements to arrive among the finishers in this challenging race. And a strong ally such as our Olympus 5 would also be essential to help you overcome any obstacles.

Elba Trail

This circular path in the Island of Elba stretches from the sea of Marciana Marina to the highest peak of the Tuscan Archipelago: Monte Capanne.

Characterized by 70% single trek, 25% trails and 5% asphalt, The Elba trail is a technical yet exciting path which enables you to take in the breathtaking scenery of the island of Elba...worth going for passionate trail runners who love challenges!

Spain

Selva Maritima Trail

If you ever visit Costa Brava, in Spain, the Selva Maritima trail is a must-run!

Bordering the sea, the Selva Marítima Trail is a route that starts in Tossa, passes through Lloret and ends in Blanes after about 23km of beaches, cliffs and pine forests.

This mountain route bordering the sea is characterized by incredible panoramic views, as well as enchanting coves which can only be accessed on foot, such as the Morisca.

The Costa Brava Trail also crosses three Botanical Gardens that are an icon of the Costa Brava: Santa Clotilde, Pinya de Rosa and Mar i Murtra...just another reason for running this trail!

Gorbeia Suzien

Gorbeia Suzien represents the symbiosis between nature and a mountain race. It begins in the town of Zeanuri and consists of a circular trail that will take you through muddy paths, rocky tracks and flourishing meadows in the Gorbea natural park.

With its 31km and 2400D+, it is a demanding route that alternates steep uphill climbs and downhill runs to ridges of karstic rock.

Ruta de la Carretera de les Aigües

Situated in the Collserola National Park, also known as the green lung of Barcelona, this trail used to be the service road for a water pipeline, now removed.

This path is ideal for workouts, strides or a nice, easy run in nature, with a magnificent view of Barcelona.

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