Sure-footed on your hiking holiday

Practical tips for combatting a fear of heights

That deep satisfaction that you feel when you look at the wonderful mountain and natural landscapes, the feeling of freedom that accompanies you as you hike and the arrival on a mountain summit is really something special. For many people, discovering the beautiful natural landscape in Europe on foot is the perfect opportunity to really switch off, recharge your batteries and get on the trail with only your thoughts. This would be if it weren’t for a frightening fear of heights and dizziness as soon as some people head onto higher altitudes. This fear is not only an undesirable companion, but it can also be dangerous. But this phenomenon can be treated so your individual hiking experience becomes an unforgettable, enjoyable adventure!

 

In line with the motto of enjoying hiking instead of fearing heights, we will tell you today on the Eurohike HikingBlog a few helpful tips, methods and tricks on how you can enjoy an individual hiking holiday guaranteed to be free from vertigo and a fear of heights.

Verena Feldbacher
Verena Feldbacher
+43 6219 60877 Contact

Fear of heights vs vertigo: what is it?

It is the fulfilling moments in nature or when you arrive at that mountain summit that give you so much back with every step – no matter how demanding – it was worth it. But for many people, the ascent up the mountain or a hike on a steep path is something unimaginable and the fear of heights scares them away. We would first like to define what distinguishes a fear of heights from the feeling of vertigo. In the case of vertigo, the external balance becomes unbalanced and is caused by a specific situation, such as exposed alpine terrain, a balcony without a railing or an open vantage point. Reactions such as dizziness, nausea, racing heart or sweats are the result.

Fear of heights, on the other hand, is the fear of heights on a balcony, gondola, on a summit or high-rise building. The thought of the situation is enough to provoke a feeling of fear. In general, a respect for heights is considered natural, but if it becomes unnatural it should be treated to stop it becoming a big problem. In more than two thirds of cases, fear of heights is caused by tiredness and poor fitness. It is therefore all the more important to choose hikes that are guaranteed to be manageable.

What can be done against a fear of heights?

In order to declare war on both a fear of heights and vertigo, we have summarised a few methods and tips for you:

Tips and methods for a fear of heights:

  • Support your body: Even before you feel a fear of heights, it is recommended you ensure your hands and feet are supported and to sit down in case you fall. It is not recommended to take medication or sedatives as they can affect physical and mental awareness.
  • Open conversation: Talking about one’s fears or specific fearful situations is essential for long-term fear management. It is also important to express your fear of heights when you actually experience it – that can help immediately.
  • Relaxation techniques & mental preparation: Special breathing techniques and concentration exercises can provide the necessary relaxation even before the feeling of a fear of heights occurs. Furthermore, it is important to deal with the upcoming tour before starting the hike and to prepare yourself mentally for the planned route.
  • Sustainable training: Fear of heights cannot be overcome overnight. Gradual and sustainable training is the basis for long-term improvement. Affected people should regularly be confronted with situations that trigger a fear of heights. As soon as the feeling occurs, it should definitely be endured until it subsides and a feeling of security returns. A safety rope can also make you feel secure in such situations.

What can be done against vertigo?

Empfehlungen und Tricks bei Höhenschwindel:

  • Ensure a firm grip: If you feel dizzy, it is important to give your hands and feet support and, ideally, to sit down. Balance exercises are particularly recommended if you suffer from vertigo.
  • The correct viewing angle: People suffering from vertigo should avoid extreme viewing angles or unnatural head positions and, for example, not look up or down a steep slope, twisted.
  • Safety with a rope: Another way to ensure a good feeling is to use a rope as a safety device.
  • Fixed points: When looking down, it is important to focus on clear objects and at the same time fix points in the lateral field of vision. Furthermore, one should not focus on passing clouds, these can lead to an increased feeling of dizziness.
  • Fitness level: Exhaustion and tiredness contribute to the feeling of vertigo. It is therefore particularly important to ensure the necessary basic fitness. Look for hikes that are guaranteed to be enjoyable.

Please note that these tips and methods are recommendations and cannot replace medical advice. In any case, please seek medical or psychological advice.

Hiker along the mountain trail at Lech-Path

Hiking holidays and mountain fun for all levels

For us at Eurohike, it is essential to create hiking holidays for all target groups and energy levels. After all, the components of individual energy, endurance and route guidance play a fundamental role in a successful hike. We offer both wonderful and relaxed leisure hikes on easy hiking trails, mountain hikes for active holidaymakers who are hungry for exercise and demanding trekking tours for experienced mountain lovers. This selection ensures that the perfect active holiday experience is guaranteed for every energy level. If you are unsure when choosing your holiday whether a route can be managed, please don’t hesitate to contact our travel specialists – with a lot of experience, we can advise you on this important point and organise your perfect hiking holiday. Now we are going to introduce you to a few of our selected hiking holidays – from enjoyable hiking holidays to trekking adventures.

From leisure hikes to a trekking experience

Stony hiking path with view to Mont Blanc

Hiking holidays with Eurohike can be so diverse. Immerse yourself in a particularly enjoyable active experience on our walking holiday Lake Walking in Austria’s Salzkammergut, 8 days. It goes without saying that the focus here is on moments of pleasure in the beautiful regions of the Salzkammergut. Due to the particularly good route, we can also recommend this holiday for families or as a hiking holiday with a dog. Our Mediterranean hiking holiday from Meran to Lake Garda, 8 days, which is assigned to the mountain hiking category, promises a somewhat more demanding but guaranteed unforgettable experience. You walk on good hiking trails. A good basic level of fitness is recommended for the longer climbs. For all mountain lovers, our trekking tours are definitely the ideal form of time out. On our unforgettable trekking tour Tour du Mont Blanc, 12 days on the famous ‘White Mountain’ in Switzerland the feeling of endless freedom and movement is guaranteed.

  • You can find all of these hiking holidays using our travel search.