Leading Quality Trails

The 7 ERA-Certified Trails in Europe
A brief presentation of the six certified european trails, Menalon Trail being the seventh to join the club on the 31st of May 2015.

Leading Quality Trail Certification procedure
An interested region (tourism body, National Park, walking group, etc.) contacts the ERA to start the quality process. The ERA offers a 2-day European-wide uniform course for assessors in the region. The trained persons gather the data necessary for the quality assessment on the trails and assess them initially (analysis of strength and weakness). Thus shortcomings in the quality of the route can be identified quickly and possibilities for upgrades can be found. When the route fulfills the ‘Quality route’ criteria, an application for certification can be applied for with the ERA. The data gathered on the route are independently assessed and analysed by the ERA. Qualified ERA personnel carry out spot checks on the route locally. When the results of the checks are positive, the route gets the certification ‘Leading Quality Trails’ for the period of 3 years. After this time, the quality of the route has to be tested again. The quality mark can be used in printed matter and on the internet to market the walking route. The ERA appointed the Deutscher Wanderverband Service Ltd. with the implementation of the ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe’.

Some of the most important points of the project sustainability are:

Nature Conservation
The proposer confirms that the route of the walking trail complies with all environmental protection regulations (particularly in sensitive areas like natural reserves, biotopes, etc.).

Maintenance
The proposer guarantees for the complete period of use of the certification that maintenance of the trail - surface and furniture - is ensured. The ongoing regular inspections and care has to be documented and sent to the ERA. The fundamental principles of ERA way marking apply (Bechyné/ Czech Republic, 2004).

Validity period
The certification period starts with the handing over of the certificate and runs for 3 years.

Co-operation
All affected interest groups that are part of the quality process in the trail region have to be involved by the proposers from the very start. Interested parties can include forest services, NPWS, tourism groups, mountaineering organisations, walking clubs, land owners, local authorities and communities.

A brief presentation of the 7 already certified european trails follows.

Lechweg
Easy long-distance hiking through an alpine region which is also one of the last wild river landscapes in Europe: The "Lechweg - from the Spring to the Falls". Just in time for the 2012 hiking season an alpine region offers easy long-distance hiking for the very first time. It is also the first cross-border long distance path certified according to the quality criteria of the European Ramblers Association (ERA). On approximately 125 kilometers of trail, the Lechweg leads from the lake Formarinsee near the community of Lech am Arlberg, over Warth, into the Nature Park Region of the Lech Valley-Reutte and to the Lech Falls in Fuessen in the Allgaeu, thereby joining three regions and two countries with their traditions and stories.
For further information and news visit www.lechweg.com.

Escapardenne/Eisleck Trail
On both sides of the Belgo-Luxembourg border, in the midst of the central Ardennes, of the Oesling, you will discover 104 km of trails leading you from small discrete discoveries – an ancient cross, dry stone walls, streams… – to vast views!
Gossamer mists, peaceful dairy pastures, the fleeting appearance of a deer, a freshly mown meadow filling the air with a pleasant fragrance – a wealth of impressions and images so that the memory of your "escapade in the Ardennes" will stay with you!
The Trail can be discovered in 5 or 6 stages. For further information and news visit www.escapardenne.eu.

 

Kullaleden
Kullaleden is a trail around the Kullahalvön peninsula from Helsingborg to Utvälinge via Kullaberg in Southern Sweden.
Kullaleden is 70 km long, and offers a great variety of experiences along the way. Here you find everything including the medieval city centre of Helsingborg, beautiful views over the straits from the plateau heights, the well-known Sofiero Palace, Kulla-Gunnarstorp and Krapperup Estates, beaches and picturesque seaside villages, and Kullaberg’s dramatic cliff formations. Kullaleden is certified according to the European Ramblers’ Association’s (ERA) criteria for being a Leading Quality Trail.
Nature reserves exist along large portions of the trail. Within these reserves, specific codes of conduct exist in order to protect their natural and recreational values – camping is for example prohibited. For more information, read the signs for each individual reserve or on www.lansstyrelsen.se.

Mullerthal Trail
Hiking through rock crevices of the Luxembourg sandstone, through forests, light-filled valleys and along small streams - all these options are offered by the fantastic world along the Mullerthal Trail. Extraordinary natural phenomena such as the luminous moss reflect the power of nature. Faces and figures emerge from the rocks. Those who know the legends and myths of the region are sure to see fairies flit through the forest here and there.
On its 112 km, the Mullerthal Trail leads through the varied landscapes of the Mullerthal Region - Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland. On the three main trail routes, hikers can enjoy regional peculiarities as bizarre rocks, mossy forests and quaint stream valleys but also open pastures. Again and again the Mullerthal Trail leads to beautiful viewpoints and cultural sites.
The three routes of the Mullerthal Trail each have their own character. Route 1 provides the change of landscapes typical for the region: rocks, woods and meadows. Route 2 leads through the heart of Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland and brings hikers to spectacular rock formations. Route 3 is characterized not only by the rocks but above all by enchanting stream valleys and romantic castles.
According to time and condition, the hiker may undertake unidirectional or circular tours, from the many different starting points of the Mullerthal Trail. Four ExtraTours complete the offer.
For more information and updates visit www.mullerthal-trail.lu.

Veldenz Wanderweg
The Lichtenberg Castle, ancestral seat of the counts of Veldenz high above the village Thallichtenberg marks the beginning of the hiking trail through the heights of the Palatinate hill-country to the little city of Lauterecken. The certified trail displays long periods of hiking in a natural silence that is hard to find nowadays.
It’s almost 60km to hike between the Lichtenberg Castle and the Veldenz-residence Lauterecken, hikers should take their time to enjoy the trail.
Recommended are five day-trips for almost a week hiking-adventure – the Veldenz trail leads through many different types of landscape. It’s sometimes like stepping back in time: narrow paths especially in the nature reserve “Mittagsfels” climb up in an almost alpine scenery with rare flowers and an incredible sight – and you’ll hear nothing but your foot steps and the birds singing. History and culture of the Palatinate hill country arise from the past in the sights of the Lichtenberg Castle, the water-castle of Reipoltskirchen with the path of sculptures and the Veldenz castle in Lauterecken.
More information on www.vg-altenglan.de.

Moselsteig
The Moselle flows through one of the most beautiful culture landscapes in Europe. Countless time wittnesses of more than 2000 year-old history, forests, vineyards, wonderful villages and, of course, the wine characterize the landscape and the people. And it is the Moselsteig that creates a unique connection of all that and that accompanies the entire flow of the Moselle, starting in German-French-Luxebourg border town Perl up to the Mouth of the Moselle in Koblenz.
Who is going to walk this quality trail can look forward to unusually diverse experience. Already its complete length of 365 kilometers impresses. With its 365 kilometers, the Moselsteig is one of the longest long-distance trails in Germany.
Its 24 stages are quite different: it is sometimes easy, sometimes hard to walk them. They lead through forests, vineyards, along the banks of the Moselle just as along slope edges with viewpoints – so that any walking preferences and requirements can be met. They impress both with nature closeness and with rich history.
Countless spectacular viewpoints provide with unforgettable views. And the attached circular paths invite to additional excursions. But one thing is omnipresent: the famous Moselle wine and countless possibilities where you can taste it during a stopover or during a night-stay.
On the homepage you will find detailed information for all the stages – inclusive tour planner and the possibility to download GPS-tracks or to print the complete tour including the map, the height profile and description for the preparation of your walk.
More information on www.moselsteig.de.

Menalon Trail
The Menalon Trail is a long mountain trail of 75 Km in Arcadia. The trail crosses 9 villages and uses parts of an infinite trail network, which were then rearranged in a serial structure and sign posted systematically by a large group of volunteers from Eastern Gortynia and the participation of Club of Mountaineers and Ecologists of Arcadia (SAOO) under the coordination of the 10 volunteers trained by the ERA team (the funding of the signage and expenses were covered by local businesses and associations). The design and creation of the information and orientation signs was made by Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage with the funding of the Leventis Foundation. The mapping of the area, the construction of the web and mobile applications as well as the software application to plan the signposting was undertaken by the AnaDigit cartographic company. The certification control costs were covered by the Municipality of Gortynia.
The design and organization of the Menalon Trail, as well as the overall infrastructure that surrounds it, conforms to the standards set by the European Ramblers Association for the certification of walking networks complying to a criteria system of 41 quantative, technical and qualitative parameters, in order to be certified and proposed to walkers from all over Europe as a reliable, attractive and safe mountain adventure.
More information at www.menalontrail.eu.