About HIKE


The HIKE project, funded by the EU under the Erasmus+ program, is designed to encourage healthier lifestyles through hiking along European cultural and historical trails. Launching on April 1st, 2024, and spanning 18 months, this initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Culture Routes Society in Türkiye (project leader), the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways, and the Social Co-operative Entreprise Paths of Greece.

HIKE, an acronym for “HIKing for a healthier lifestylE”, merges physical activity with cultural discovery. This initiative transcends traditional walking events, aiming to foster a healthier lifestyle, enrich understanding of shared heritage, and cultivate a community of hiking enthusiasts. Participants will have the opportunity to traverse the olive groves of Puglia, the ancient paths of Greek Edessa, and the historical routes of Izmit, Türkiye, connecting with both the natural world and historical narratives.

A series of 3-days long distance hikes are scheduled from September to November 2024, following selected stretches of the Via Francigena in Italy, Via Egnatia in Greece and the Tolerance way in Türkiye. The project will raise awareness of common European heritage, identity and values as walkers will follow the footsteps of Romans, Byzantines and mediaeval pilgrims through Southern Italy, Balkans and Asia Minor. The hikes will include animation and side events designed to celebrate walking as a universally accessible, all-year-round activity for participants of all backgrounds and abilities.

Apart from fostering access to walking infrastructure for both locals and visitors, the initiative will empower local municipalities and associations with a methodology for organizing hiking events.


The project aims to encourage a healthy physical activity regime and healthy lifestyle for all citizens via walking and hiking along the existing infrastructure – historic cultural routes in the proximity.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To conduct a series of hiking events in Italy, Greece and Turkey – 6 days walks (divided into 2 long weekends) in each country along the selected stretches of the Via Francigena in Italian Apulia, Via Egnatia in Central and East Macedonia provinces of Greece and the Tolerance way in Kocaeli province of Türkiye.
  • To provide access to sports and HEPA (Health-Enhancing Physical Activity) through the well-marked and maintained cultural routes which give the ability to enjoy the countryside in a sustainable way.
  • To equip communities and individuals with the knowledge and tools needed for successful organisation of and participation in hiking events.
  • To monitor health and well-being data of participants before and after walking events with an ambition to demonstrate the physical and psychological benefits observed across different target groups.
  • To increase awareness of HEPA across different age groups
  • To create a digital platform which will unite the project achievements, calendar of the events and training materials in an open access.

Over the medium term, the project’s ambition is to expand its reach by applying its successful strategies to other cultural routes across Europe, sharing its methodologies and tools with a broader network of municipalities and local associations. This phase focuses on using cultural routes for enhancing public health, economic benefits through tourism, and fostering a sense of community among participants.

In the long run, HIKE aims to boost non-competitive sports like walking and hiking, spreading its impact across other Cultural Routes and encouraging more frequent use of these paths for HEPA. The project seeks to promote cultural tourism and provide new opportunities for isolated areas, ultimately increasing public interest in outdoor activities and cultural exploration.