Polish trekker becomes first woman in the world to walk across Europe’s mountains in a single trip
A Polish adventurer has become the first woman in the world to walk across the mountains of Europe in a single trip.
Anna Liszewska trekked an epic 6,300km across 16 countries in 222 days, taking in ranges including the Massif Central, the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Starting in Bulgaria in the Spring of 2022 with her husband Matúš Lašan, who is now the third man in the world to complete the trip, Liszewska ended the journey on the 6th of December 2022 in Spain.
Posting on Facebook, delighted Anna said: “We did it. We reached Cabo Fisterra, where we end our journey on foot through the mountains of Europe. 6330 km in 222 days – from the Black Sea to the Atlantic.
“We also conquered an amazing amount of approaches, in total 274 thousand metres. That’s more that the famous Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail added together.”
During the monumental journey, the couple got through 1,560 chocolate bars, 49kg of cheese, and used five pairs of boots each.
After trekking across Bulgaria’s Sar Mountains into North Macedonia and Kosovo, the couple, who are experienced trekkers and run a popular personal travel blog on Facebook called ‘Swiat Okiem Piechura’ (The world through the eyes of a walker), then followed the Via Dinarica into Albania.
Keeping a regular diary of their journey on social media, in the Balkans the couple noted the particular hospitality and generosity of local people, who left them with heavy backpacks as they were constantly giving them bread and cheese to take with them on their onward journey.
On their next stop in Slovenia, they followed the Via Alpina (red trail) before connecting to the Central Alpine Trail and the Via Alpina (green trail) which led them into Switzerland where they were surprised to discover that someone had dug out a flat area to set down a tent and also installed a little box with a few alcoholic drinks.
From the storm-ridden Alps, they moved into the Massif Central where, with few expectations of what they would find, they were struck by the stunning scenery and generosity of locals.
On the next leg in the Pyrenees during the autumn, for a while Liszewska and Lasan were caught by a sharp winter, however once it gave way to warmer weather and autumn returned, it allowed the couple to take some of the most stunning photos of their trip.
Liszewska wrote: “It only took a bit of sun and the snow left us with only memories…and fairytale photos. In addition, the autumn stopped playing with us and started to go crazy with colours. Beautifully coloured valleys and red grasses in the upper parts of the mountains, pure magic!”
Embarking on the last leg of their journey in northern Spain across the Cantabrian Mountains, the couple found the mountains to be wilder than they were expecting, with a complete lack of any other adventurers across their route.
In contrast, once they entered onto the Camino Frances route, they were equally struck by the huge number of people.
Describing the experience, Liszewska wrote: “Even though the season had practically finished, we were walking in a large chain of other people. I’m scared to think what it must look like in high season.
“Months spent in almost empty mountains, meant that seeing so many people at once led me into a small panic. Luckily early in the morning we still had the route to ourselves.
“This is how we reached the ‘end of the world’ and thereby the end of our journey – Cabo Fisterra. Someone might say: ‘Who needs that? Why tire yourself so much?. But for me, there is nothing more beautiful. It is in the mountains, on the trails, where I feel at home.”