Wayfinding in Europe
FINDING YOUR WAY ABROAD
Waymarking, information boards etc..
Each European country has their own style of promoting and waymarking their country trails. We have noticed that the Spanish for instance, are not great walkers themselves, but certainly in the Alpujarras they respect hikers from other countries and there is a really good set of routes to be had. Having said that, their waymarking leaves a lot to be desired and decent maps are not easily found before you go. The Swiss on the other hand have uniform metal marker posts regularly placed on their walks with not only the grade of difficulty colour coded on the sign but how long it is likely to take you ...down to the last five minutes. Boring perhaps, but their wild flowers and spectacular scenery more than make up for it.
Red and White striped symbols on lamposts, buildings and trees mark a major European trail. A number of country trails we have filmed, and recommend, include one of these classic trails which often pass through several countries. The short list below gives an idea of some country's signage on their footpaths, with marks out of ten. It is not complete by any means because we haven't been to every country in Europe:
SWITZERLAND - 11/10 precision engineered ~ too good, too plentiful.
GERMANY - 8/10 Seems to be a sign whenever you need one telling you all you need.
AUSTRIA - 7/10 More rustic than Switzerland: sometimes bits of wood instead of shiny metal
FRANCE - 7/10 Colour coded and numbered but not too much information.
ITALY - 6/10 Like France really, just nice.. feels as though you have found your way instead of being instructed.
SPAIN - 3/10 A bit random, sometimes a splash of paint on a rock... get a good map if you can find one, and probably a compass
IRELAND - 2/10 Often just a little walking man and an arrow. Hide & seek but entertaining ~ take a good map, and if that fails, drop into a pub and wait for a bus or taxi!
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