Top 15 Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe

I have previously covered an article about the best climbing destinations in Asia, so now its time to head on over to Europe! An incredible continent away from the humidity weather of Asia, here are 15 can’t-miss rock climbing areas in Europe this summer for sport climbers.

Grab a buddy, pack your bags, and head to Europe! | Rock Climbing Areas in Europe
Grab a buddy, pack your bags, and head to Europe! | Rock Climbing Areas in Europe

Top 15 Summer Sport Climbing Areas in Europe


Rock Climbing Spain

1. Rodellar

A tufa wonderland located in the northern province of Aragón, Rodellar is your dream destination for summer sport climbing in Europe. Though known for its long, overhung resistance routes, the area offers a wide variety of climbing styles-technical vertical face climbing, short explosive routes, and everything in between.

2. El Chorro

Considered by many to be southern Spain’s premier rock climbing destination, you will find the limestone paradise of El Chorro about an hour outside of the city of Málaga, just a short trip away from the beach. Due to the region’s hot climate, the best time to go is in the winter months, as climbing in El Chorro in the summer is a definite no-go. On a rest day, check out the Caminito del Rey, one of the world’s most terrifying hikes. It might even be more of an adventure than the climbing!

Are you brave enough to hike the Caminito del Rey? | Summer Sport Climbing in Europe
Are you brave enough to hike the Caminito del Rey? | Summer Sport Climbing in Europe

3. Margalef

Located in the northeastern region of Catalunya, Margalef is a sprawling canyon located aside a quaint spanish pueblo. The style is typically slightly overhanging face climbing with pockets galore. Be sure to train those tendons before heading to Margalef!

4. Siurana

Also located in Catalunya, Siurana is another breathtaking Spanish crag with seemingly endless routes to choose from. Though most famous for its crazy hard ascents like La Rambla (9a+/5.15a), Siurana offers extremely high quality climbing at all grades, most of it being technical, crimpy vertical or slightly overhung face climbing.

Cez doing a few routes in siurana Spain |  | Rock Climbing Areas in Europe
Cez doing a few routes in Siurana Spain | | Rock Climbing Areas in Europe

5. Mallorca

Though most famous for its deep water soloing, Mallorca is also rife with sport climbing crags. The island is cluttered with crags, giving you the sensation that you’re never more than a 10 minute drive from a climbing area. Tufas and seaside crags abound, making this destination a climber’s island paradise.

After climbing, take a dip in the Mediterranean  | Summer Sport Climbing in Europe
After climbing, take a dip in the Mediterranean | Summer Sport Climbing in Europe

Rock Climbing France

6. Corsica

Though perhaps not internationally known for its rock climbing, the French island of Corsica has an impressive amount of quality granite and limestone climbing. The island is claimed to have more unclimbed rock than anywhere else in Europe, so there is plenty of potential for more discovery and development in the future. Get ahead of the trend and visit Corsica before the climbing becomes mainstream!

Corsica is a dream!
Corsica is a dream!

7. Verdon

The Verdon Gorge, located between Nice and Marseilles in dreamy southern France, offers over 1,000 limestone routes, many of which are bolted. Aside from single-pitch sport climbing, you can find both bolted and unprotected multi-pitch routes. It is recommended to go in Autumn, as the temperature is still idea and the climate is dry.

8. Céüse

Perhaps the most famous climbing area in France, and one of the most well-known crags in Europe, Céüse has certainly earned its reputation. Though the approach hike is pretty brutal, it will all be worth it once you reach the base of the crag and see the perfect pocked limestone walls. Though the area offers some of the hardest ascents in the world, such as Biographie (9a+), there are over 300 routes between F5+/5.9 and F6c/5.11a, so beginners and intermediates alike will have plenty of quality options.

France has got an impressive amount of world-class climbing.
France has got an impressive amount of world-class climbing.

Interested in rock climbing in the Balkans? Explore Montenegro or Bosnia or Macedonia?

Rock Climbing Germany

9. Frankenjura

Frankenjura is the most popular sport climbing area in Germany, and for good reason. It refers to a large area with about 1,000 crags spread out in a beautiful forest terrain. Spring and autumn are ideal times to head to the area, but its also possible to climb in summer, as many of the climbing areas are in the forest. Due to its large size, it is extremely helpful to have a car if you plan on going to Frankenjura.


Rock Climbing Switzerland

10. Gimmelwald

Located in the picturesque Swiss alps, this sport climbing location give’s Switzerland most well-known climbing area, Magic Wood (bouldering), a run for its money. The crag has two main sectors: Sector A offering harder grades and Sector B with a larger variety of climbing grades and styles. Though the area is somewhat isolated (it can only be accessed by cable car or about an hour walk), it is well worth the trek. Plus, the area offers endless rest-day activities, including bungee jumping, sky-diving, and paragliding.

The Swiss Alps are a must-see on any adventure traveler's list.
The Swiss Alps are a must-see on any adventure traveler’s list.

Rock Climbing Greece

11. Kalymnos

Possibly the best sport climbing destination in the world, Kalymnos is a small Greek island with an unbelievable concentration of perfect limestone. The island can be reached from Athens by a 1-hour flight or via ferry, which takes a little over 8 hours. With routes of all grades available, many crags are a short walk away from the small village of Masouri, where most climbers choose to stay. Just be warned that if you go, you may never want to leave!

12. Leonidio

Another world-class climbing destination in Greece, Leonidio is much easier to access than Kalymnos, as it is located about a 3-hour drive from Athens. The area has seen a lot of new development in recent years, and it is an ideal winter climbing crag. However, due to the fact that many routes are relatively new, it’s important to wear a helmet and check for loose rock.

Imagine climbing next to the sea!
Imagine climbing next to the sea!

Rock Climbing Italy

13. Arco

One of the most popular climbing destinations in Europe, Arco (or more generally the Sarca Valley area) seems too good to be true. You will find quality limestone routes on vertical or slightly overhanging walls, along with routes suitable for every grade. From beginners to experts, Arco is sure to please climbers of all levels!

Italian crags will not disappoint.
Italian crags will not disappoint.

Rock Climbing Dublin

14. Ballykeefe Quarry

Located only about a 2-hour drive from Dublin you will find Ballykeefe Quarry, one of Ireland’s only semi-sport climbing crags, as many of the climbing areas are traditional climbing. A south facing crag, Ballykeefe is usually warmer and dryer than its surrounding environment, so it can be enjoyed in autumn and spring. Practically of its almost 100 routes are beginner grades, but it is recommended to also place your own protection/not to fall on the bolts that are on the routes, as they have been placed as emergency protection only.


Rock Climbing London

15. Wye Valley

Located about 200 kilometers outside of London you will find a great sport climbing area in England that has been seeing a lot of recent developments. One area of the crag in particular, Ban-y-Gor, boasts the highest concentration of limestone sport routes, but it is also worth checking out the Wyndcliffe Quarry, the Woodcraft Quarry, and Wintour’s Leap.

Top 15 Summer Sport Climbing Areas in Europe | Rock Climbing Greece
Who knew the United Kingdom could be so breathtaking?

Are you ready to plan your European climbing trip? Where do you want to go?

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Margarita
    June 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    This is such an interesting post! I just recently got into rock climbing. And while for now, I climb in the indoor gyms in Sydney, I’d love to attempt some ‘real’ walls once my skills are up to the challenge. Thank you for the inspiration with these amazing destinations. Something to work towards.

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 24, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      That’s awesome Margarita. Yes, real walls are a whole different experience. You should definitely check out some of these spots!

  • Reply
    Esther at Local Advennturer
    June 28, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Love the article, Lydia. Dying to go to all these spots.. especially Kalymnos.. it’s been on my list for so long. We haven’t done any climbing outside of North America yet, so will have to keep all these in mind. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 28, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      Thank you Esther! Yes you should definitely check out some of these incredible climbing places. And Kalymnos will not disappoint!

  • Reply
    Cordelia
    June 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Lydia ! Great post for all hike lovers ! The pictures are really breathtakingly beautiful particularly Mallorca. Kalymnos and Leonidio in Greece is definitely something every hiking lover should try out !

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 29, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you Cordelia! Yes..Greece is such a picturesque destination. Hard to not fall in love with rock climbing with the ocean view!

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