A collection of great bloggers have helped us to create a list of some of the best hikes from around the world. They’ve grabbed their trekking gear, hiked where many of us have only dreamed, and reported back on the experience. From Iceland to Bhutan, and from easy to difficult, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Giselle from Mindful Wanderlust
Cody and I were extremely fortunate to visit Bhutan for a month last December, and while our time was mostly occupied with volunteer work for Humane Society Asia, we had some time to ourselves so we absolutely had to climb up to Taktsang Monastery AKA Tiger’s Nest.
Perched on the edge of a rock face, Tiger’s Nest is about 900m above the Paro Valley in Bhutan. There is access from many directions, and although the climb is not very treacherous, the air does get thinner as you get higher, making the climb more difficult (at least for me), although there was an elderly Bhutanese man kicking my butt the whole way up!
The hike up took us about two hours to complete and the views were breathtaking. No matter where you turn, you will find green valleys, and mountains, smiling faces, and fresh air. Every few miles we passed Buddhist monks and hikers who had completed their trek wishing us luck on our way up.
The highlight for us was arriving at the bridge with hundreds of colourful Buddhist prayer flags flapping in the wind that led us to our final few steps up to Tiger’s Nest. This is a must do if you ever make it to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
John from Roaming Around the World
The payoff of the hike is the archaeological site of the ancient Tayrona civilization thought to be founded around 800 AD. It is purely magical to experience this place with its terraces carved right into the mountainside.
Yet it’s also one of those places in which the journey to get there is half the fun. You hike up steep mountains with beautiful lookouts. You also can get an opportunity to connect with the indigenous Wiwa people (descendants of the Tayrona) who live in remote villages along the way.
And after working up an immense sweat from powering up peak after peak, there are some fantastic swimming holes to cool off in along the way, waterfalls included.
The round trip hike can be completed in as little as four days, although many opt to go at a slower pace for a five or six day journey to make the hike more manageable. The entire route is about 47km, which may not seem much to cover in four days but you must account for the continuous steep inclines and the often-sweltering heat. It can be a tough hike and in a few parts gets a bit technical.
There are a few spots in which the trail takes you on the side of a cliff. You should also be prepared for several river crossings. Yet if you’re in relatively decent shape, you’ll be able to tackle this fun challenge.
You are required to go with a guide. There are four companies that run this tour and their prices are all the same, US$310, which includes transportation from Taganga or Santa Marta to the trailhead, your guide, basic sleeping accommodations, and all meals snacks. This was one of the most remarkable hikes we’ve ever been on and highly recommend to any adventure seeker.
Toccara & Sam from My Travel Days
The entire 18km (one-way) hike takes adventurists from the trailhead at Ke’e Beach to the secluded Kalalau Beach and/or Kalalau Valley.
Obviously this (35.5km roundtrip) hike is only recommended for those in top shape and who have planned ahead with camping gear, supplies, and necessary permits, if applicable.
Due to time constraints, we only planned to do the first 3.2km of the hike, a very popular portion of the trail, as you can imagine.
At the trailhead, the hike starts with a pretty steep incline that gets your heart racing! After a short while you’re looking over beautiful Ke’e beach.
The trail has its fair share of steep inclines and even terrain. We do not recommend this hike for families with young children, as there are cliffside drop-offs. Sadly, a few people have lost their footing and fallen to their death along this trail, so be safe and don’t walk too close to the edge.
If you’re athletic and brave enough to do the entire 35.5km hike, it will take at least two days (minimum one day there and one day back) and camping permits are required for those who venture past the 9.65km mark (Hanakoa Valley).
This ridgeline trail is deemed moderate to difficult and has an elevation gain of 300m. Hikers can expect to see lush and tropical foliage, stunning valleys, rugged coastline, and water below so blue and clear you can see reefs and sea turtles swimming.
Our hike took us just a few hours, with frequent photography stops.
Laura and Lance of Travel Addicts
One of Ireland’s most notable hikes is the beautiful Cliffs of Moher; sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They run for about 14 kilometres.
Compared to other cliffs in Ireland, Moher are the most impressive cliffs. What makes Moher unique is how water falls off cliffs composed of black, basalt columns. This type of hexagonal column rock formation also typifies the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
The hike starts at the Vatnajökull National Park Visitors Centre, where you can learn about the 1996 volcanic eruption that essentially obliterated this entire section of Iceland and created the world’s largest sandur (an outwash plain formed by meltwater from glaciers).
The Svartifoss hike is just under 2km (a 4km round trip) and takes approximately two hours. We would rate the hike as easy, but it is not accessible for disabled travellers and children should be observed closely due to the sharp rocks near the waterfall.
Much of the hike traces the edge of the ridge above the river. Depending on the time of year, wildflowers can be found in abundance along the ridgeline – adding small pops of colour in the green grass.
On route to Svartifoss, hikers will encounter three other waterfalls: Þjófafoss, Hundafoss and Magnúsarfoss. We found Svartifoss to be the perfect place for a picnic!
In a country filled with stunning geological formations, Svartifoss may well be one of Iceland’s more important natural sites – the hexagonal columns of the black falls provided the architectural inspiration for the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik.
Margherita from The Crowded Planet
Madagascar may not come to people’s minds as a hiking destination, but it has miles and miles of beautiful trails. Some of the best are in Andringitra National Park, in the central highlands, and the Imarivolanitra Trail is perhaps the best of them all.
The scenery is reminiscent of Yosemite, except that you’re likely to have the place to yourself. Think sheer granite cliffs, streams and waterfalls, wonderfully quirky plants such as Madagascar’s very own Pachypodium (elephant’s foot) with its bright yellow flowers, and if you’re lucky even a lemur or two.
The highlight of the trek is undoubtedly the trail to the 2658m summit of Imarivolanitra, or Pic Boby as it is most commonly known, Madagascar’s highest climbable mountain. Most operators will arrange for you to summit in time for sunrise. This means a two to three hour walk in darkness, but you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable view, stretching all the way to the Indian Ocean.
This trail can be classified as moderately difficult. With the trail’s highest point under 3,000m, altitude is not an issue. However, the steep climb up to Pic Boby in darkness is not for the faint hearted, especially if it rains and visibility is limited.
The most common access point of the Imarivolanitra Trail is through the Namoly Valley, a two hour 4WD from the village of Ambalavao. Day one is an easy affair, with a three hour hike to base camp at 2,000m.
Day two is summit day with two to three hours going up and about the same again down, then another four hours to the second camp, if you’ve chosen to leave the park through the beautiful Tsaranoro Valley. Day three is easy, but long, with a seven hour hike out of the park. However, the amazing views on the way out more than make up for the long walk under the sun.
Amy from Throwing the Bowlines
Trekking in a country that has yet to see the influx of tourism that its neighbouring countries have embraced, is truly unique. Myanmar is a beautiful country and the land between Kalaw and Inle Lake offers incredible scenery and breathtaking views.
As we walked over three days, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had gone back in time. Oxen pulling huge carts filled with the harvest, massive fields being prepped for new planting with nothing but a hoe and strong arms, and herds of buffalo lounging lazily in the heat of the day. Massive mountains encompassed us and expansive landscapes were speckled with beautiful temples. As we passed through villages along the way, some more developed than others, the attitudes of the people were all similar – huge smiles and waving hands to greet us.
Every person we met along the trail were such great ambassadors for the country – friendly, welcoming, and always willing to share whatever they might have.
We were fortunate to come across a wedding ceremony in a local village and were invited in to share in the feast. We indulged in deliciously prepared food and drink with villagers that had walked many miles to celebrate the new couple.
That evening, we experienced the true heart of the Burmese people. We were invited to stay in a small village by a beautiful couple that opened their home to us. We communicated through our guide and they were able to tell us about life in their country many years ago, when the Japanese occupied Burma. Sharing a traditional Burmese meal in the home and sleeping with their family was truly incredible!
The trek is overall not very difficult as the terrain is relatively flat, through the middle of the mountains. Local guides are key to having an amazing adventure and to find one that takes you off the beaten path, which makes it even more special.
You will decrease in elevation over the three days on your way from Kalaw to Inle Lake. There is an option for a two day trek if you do not have the time for the three day. You will hike anywhere from five to seven hours per day to include plenty of breaks for photos, mango snacks, and wedding celebrating!
James from Escaping Abroad
Although Maderas is the smaller of the two volcanoes it stands at an impressive 1,394m tall and is covered by a vast humid cloud forest.
The hike starts at ground level through coffee plantations and on sturdy volcanic rocks. As the hike progresses upwards and into the forest, the terrain quickly transforms into a steep, muddy and slippery mess.
You will be fighting your way up the sludge and trying not to slip and slide for the entire trek up – your reward for fighting the hellacious conditions are rare but spectacular views of Lake Nicaragua’s vast waters and its larger counterpart – Volcano Concepción.
Along with the views are wildlife including monkeys and birds. At the summit, Maderas’ crater holds a small green lake to swim and cool off in before making your return trek down.
This is a strenuous and a difficult seven to eight hours that will be as painful as it is rewarding. To consider undertaking this hike you should be in good physical condition – half of our 10 person group didn’t make it.
Jemma from Jemma Eat World
The way meanders along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, clambering over the rocks under Rob Roy’s Cave, before making its way across the bleak and barren Rannoch Moor to the reputedly haunted Glen Coe.
Each day of the hike brings different challenges, so there’s a bit of everything: from scrambling and hill walking to gently strolling through woods and marching along old drover’s roads and rail paths.
There’s plenty of animal life going on with wild goats grazing happily on the banks of Loch Lomond, highland cattle peeking at you from behind fences, and friendly deer that are happy to pose for photographs outside the King’s House Hotel.
Word of warning: if you see a cow blocking the path ahead, be prepared to move fast!
The hike is medium difficulty, but I can imagine it being really hard if you’re faced with bad weather. We were lucky to get blazing sunshine all week – a rare thing in Scotland.
You have to be fairly fit to tackle the steep Devil’s Staircase, and the 16km walk across Rannoch Moor is sure to test even the hardiest of soles.
James and I took our time and did the Way over the course of seven days, although a lot of people choose to do it in five. You can camp along the route, but if you’re like me and enjoy home comforts there’s plenty of very reasonably priced accommodation. There are also baggage companies that carry your rucksack between hotels for you, making life a lot easier!
Anna from Hitch-Hikers Handbook
Everyone who travels to Slovenia undoubtedly visits the picturesque Lake Bled surrounded by the jaw-dropping peaks of the nearby Julian Alps.
Bled is unquestionably one of Slovenia’s top destinations but in terms of hiking it is rather disappointing. If you like to challenge your calves, you should certainly visit the nearby Lake Bohinj, where you can try some more difficult treks.
Mt. Pršivec (1,761m), located near Lake Bohinj, offers dramatic views of the highest peaks of this spectacular mountain range (including the tallest summit – Triglav), as well as a marvellous prospect over the crystal blue waters of the lake below.
The hike starts in Stara Fužina village and takes you through thick Alpine forests and lush rolling meadows, rewarding you with remarkable vistas on your way up. Walking up the mountain you will pass two shelters (where food and drinks can be bought) and a small Alpine lake, tucked between the trees.
The hike takes six to seven hours (it’s 15km in length) and is moderately difficult, especially near the crown where you will have to climb a steep mountainside. So make sure you have proper footwear and are relatively fit, although we saw a few kids on the hike so there is no age limitation.
Lake Bohinj can be easily accessed from Bled by a bus which goes every one to two hours, and is a 40 minute journey. There is a tourist information point near Lake Bohinj itself, but we recommend using the very helpful (and multilingual) tourist information centre in Bled for any questions you may have.
Alex from Finding the Freedom
It provides cheap tree house accommodation and ample trekking opportunities. Olympos is right on the Lycian Way and you can trek for miles in either an east or west direction.
I chose to follow a small portion of this well trotted trail and trekked about 5km to the closest black sand beach.
The trail takes you up and over a relatively small hill were you will ascend no more than 300m of vertical height. You are basically going from sea level, up 300 meters, then back to sea level. The trail is well packed of dry dirt and rock, and although it is a fairly easy hike, this isn’t something you would want to do in flip flops as it is quite steep in places and very rocky.
The higher up you get, the greater the breath taking views become. You can at various times see fantastic panoramic views of the bays to either side and out to sea.
This particular portion of the Lycian Way will take about two hours. You could continue on to other beaches and ancient ruins but I chose to stop and just kick it at the black sand beach for a while before heading back to my tree house.
Greg from Wanders and Wonders
The trail through The Enchantments in Washington state’s Alpine Lakes is one of the premier backpacking hikes in North America.
The route, high in the central Cascade Mountains, travels through a wonderland of granite formations and jagged peaks, passing half a dozen or so pristine alpine lakes and numerous tarns. In early autumn, the needles of the Alpine Larch trees – deciduous conifers – turn shades of brilliant yellow and orange, making the already spectacular landscape even more striking.
Backpackers can pitch their tents in lakefront campsites, which are frequently visited by the many resident mountain goats. The entire setting is magical, and early hikers dubbed the lakes and prominent peaks with names from ancient myths: Rune, Sprite, Leprechaun, Valkyrie, Gnome and Valhalla.
Hiking The Enchantments is not without its challenges, however. The most scenic route involves a rugged trail with 670m of elevation gain in less than a mile. Hikers have the option of a 42km through-hike if they arrange a car shuttle between two trailheads, or an out-an-back of about the same distance.
Although it’s not unusual to see ultra-athletes run the entire trail in one day, it is possible to do just a portion of the trail as a day hike, although most backpackers spend four to five days exploring and enjoying the area.