Hiking the ancient Roman borders
The ancient Roman borders or Limes stretch far and wide. If you are a Roman History lover and Hiker you owe it to yourself to hike one of these trails!
There are a lot of hiking trails with Historical significance, in every country there is a battlefield or historic site that can be explored on foot. For history lovers and long distance hikers this is a perfect match. As a Roman history buff and a hiker these trails have always had my interest and so far I have hiked two of them.
Lets explore the different Roman Limes trails or hikes that you can do throughout Europe!
Hadrian’s wall path hike
By far the most popular hike of all of these is the Roman wall in England. Stretching from coast to coast this wall was meant as a solid border between the Empire and the rest.
The Hadrian’s wall path hike is the most established and busiest of these trails. You walk along the wall the entire way and see the Ruins of it and its forts. There you can see different museums and artifacts and stay at campsites and pubs like I did, or hotels and pubs.
Stretching for 135 kilometers or 83 miles this trail can be done in around a weeks time. I would not hurry and take your time to explore the different sights. Also get a black pudding burger at a pub, those are amazing.
This trail is one of the first longer distance solo hiking that I did and was for me confirmation of the fact that I loved hiking. After a couple of set backs with earlier hikes this trail let me really fell in love with walking everyday, setting up camp and cooking your own food that you pack out.
If you are looking for more information about this trail I have done a separate article about the Hadrian’s wall path.
Antonine wall path hike
The Antonine Wall is the later Roman border wall that was erected, the same purpose as the Wall of Hadrian. This wall is a shorter one than its southern brother and is about 39 miles long or 63 kilometers. I did however find several options to further extend the trail to more kilometers if so desired.
The wall can be walked in about three days and offers the same nice sights as the Wall of Hadrian. Less popular with walkers it is also a great place to start for first time hikers that want to explore history and hiking.
If you want to walk this trail you can download the route and find additional information on the following site.
Dutch Limes trail
The Roman border across the Rhine river is an old one established at the end of the Roman Republic. Across the years of the Roman Empire this border line was well guarded and build out with forts and fortifications. Big towns like Utrecht and Nijmegen had their start as a Roman base that grew into the cities we know today. Stretching the width of the Netherlands it is 275 kilometers long or 170 miles.
This trail is relatively new and could first be walked in June of 2018, thanks to the volunteers the trail is way marked and maintained. The popular red and white blazes of Dutch long distance trails leads the way and takes you across fields, cities and forests. Along the way you encounter a lot of the modern cities that sprung from the Limes and ruins and museums detailing the history.
As it is a trail in the Netherlands the terrain you are walking on is relatively flat. The only elevation you will encounter will be as you get closer to the border and around Arnhem. So a great first trail to walk if you are just starting out hiking or want to walk a trail that does not kill your knees.
Spending the nights can be done in hotels, hostels, Bed and Breakfasts and campsites along the trail. A lot of these long distance trails in the Netherlands do not get Thru hiked in one go, but are split up in section hikes that people walk throughout the year. Also a good option if you happen to live in the Netherlands.
Ending in Germany the Limes continues to the width of Germany following the Rhine river.
German limes hike
The German limes hike is one of the biggest of these ancient Roman Border hikes. As of writing this article and according to my research the entire limes is not a continued walking path but a series of trails linked together. Primarily focused on people who want to do it by bike or by car.
You can hike parts of the German Limes border and be sure to check out the website for the German Limes Strasse for updates. And the parts of the trails that you can walk.
The German Limes hiking path is split up into 3 sections. One of these sections can be found on the following sources:
Nature park Altmuehltal – trail length 115 KM
Hiking around the Roman Empire
Throughout the meditaraian and Europe you can walk and hike along all sorts of Roman ruins or legacies. In Spain there is also a Camino route called the Via de la Plata who gets you to Santiago. But also takes you around the Spanish country side and Roman Roads and marks.
Same can be said for in Italy where you can hike along the very hart of the Empire itself. And many more countries.
Happy hiking and hike for purpose!