Walking with respect: How ERA’s core values shape Europe’s outdoor recreation landscape

Explore the significance of respectful treatment, expertise, and shared values in ERA’s approach to matters related to walking and outdoor recreation

The European Ramblers Association (ERA) stands as a beacon of commitment and dedication to promoting walking and hiking across the continent. Established in Germany in 1969, this influential umbrella organization encompasses around 60 member walking organizations from approximately 30 European countries. At the heart of ERA’s mission is the advocacy for walking as a means to connect with nature and culture, fostering a deep respect for the environment, expertise in navigating the landscapes of outdoor recreation, and a strong foundation of shared values among its members and participants.

Respectful treatment: A cornerstone of outdoor ethos

Respectful treatment of both the natural world and fellow enthusiasts is paramount in ERA’s ethos. The organization emphasizes the importance of interacting with the environment and local communities in ways that are considerate and sustainable. This principle is not just about preserving the beauty and integrity of natural landscapes but also about fostering a culture of respect among walkers, hikers, and the communities they visit. By promoting responsible behavior, ERA contributes to a positive, inclusive atmosphere in outdoor activities, ensuring that these experiences are enjoyable and respectful for everyone involved.

Expertise: Enhancing safety and enjoyment

Expertise in outdoor recreation is another critical component of ERA’s approach. Through its member organizations, ERA offers a wealth of knowledge on safely navigating Europe’s diverse terrains, from serene countryside walks to challenging mountain trails. This expertise includes understanding local conditions, weather patterns, and the necessary skills and equipment for different types of hikes. By disseminating this knowledge, ERA ensures that walkers are well-prepared for their adventures, enhancing both their safety and enjoyment of the outdoors. Moreover, the organization’s role in creating and marking European long-distance paths showcases its commitment to providing expertly curated routes for all levels of experience.

Shared values: Strengthening the community

The foundation of ERA’s success lies in its shared values among member organizations and individual participants. These values include a commitment to environmental stewardship, a passion for exploring and protecting the natural and cultural heritage of Europe, and a belief in the benefits of walking for physical and mental well-being. By uniting a diverse group of walking enthusiasts under these common goals, ERA fosters a sense of community and solidarity that transcends national borders. This collective spirit not only enhances the walking experience but also strengthens advocacy efforts for protecting walking routes and the rights of walkers across Europe.


The European Ramblers Association’s approach to matters related to walking and outdoor recreation is deeply rooted in the principles of respectful treatment, expertise, and shared values. These guiding principles not only ensure the sustainability and enjoyment of outdoor activities but also foster a strong, united community of walking enthusiasts across Europe. As ERA continues to advocate for and promote walking as a recreational activity, its emphasis on these core values will remain vital in connecting people with the natural and cultural treasures of the continent, preserving these experiences for future generations.