I love hikes. Having spent the last 2 months in lockdown in Spain (with only 1 hour of exercise allowed per day) hiking has been on my mind.
I reached out to some of our travel blogger friends about sharing their favorite hikes from around the world. The most important criteria was that these hikes should be hikes that most normal people can do, ie. nothing extreme.
Below you’ll find 22 hikes, including some of my own personal favorites.
1. Laguna 69. Huaraz, Peru
Length: 12 Km return.
Difficulty: Moderate (the hike itself is not too hard, main issue here is the altitude)
Best Time to Go: June to September
Situated inside the UNESCO protected Huascarán National Park this is one of the most popular day hikes in Peru. The route starts at a lofty 3,900 metres above sea level, with a further altitude gain of around 800 metres as you ascend a series of demanding switchbacks and steep inclines. This impressive hike will take your breath away both figuratively, and literally. Nearby, the massive Huascaran Peak dominates the skyline at 6,768 metres, the highest Mountain in Peru. Throughout the hike you are surrounded by snowy mountain peaks, dark jagged rocks, gushing waterfalls and interesting Andean fauna and flora. The hike’s climax will be arriving at the stunning turquoise- blue lake, which is fed by a towering glacier directly above it. We spent few days in this region acclimatizing, before attempting this hike, something that we would strongly recommend.
Laguna 69, Peru by Traveller Interrupted
2. Cares Gorge. Picos de Europa, Spain
Length: 12 Km one way or 24 Km return
Difficulty: Easy (steep hill climb from the Poncebos end).
Best time to go: All year round (best in dry weather, avoid busy summer weekends)
Also called the “Divine Gorge”, this deep gorge is one of the most striking one day hikes in Europe. Carved by the River Cares, this incredible gorge has been cut through the heart of the Picos de Europa mountain range. The hike is along a well maintained walkway that was originally built for the nearby hydro-electric dam workers. It is an impressive feat of engineering, since the much of the path was carved at the side of a cliff face with some tunnelling going through the limestone mountain. There are vast rock walls on both sides of the river and a gorge depth of 1,000 metres in places. Expect magnificent views throughout, with caves, bridges, ruined huts, a water canal, a river dam and plenty of wild fauna and flora. We started this linear hike at the Poncebos end and we stayed overnight at a pretty hostel at the Cain end, retracing our steps the following day. Most people do the altogether 24 Km return hike on the same day.
Picos de Europa, Spain by Traveller Interrupted
3. Pulpit Rock. Norway
Length: 7.6 Km return
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Best Time to Go: It is possible all year round (take special care in wet, icy or snowing conditions, follow local guidelines).
Preikestolen, translating to Pulpit Rock in English, is one of the most popular hikes in Norway bringing more than 300, 000 visitors per year. This almost vertical rock face towers at a height of 604 metres above the beautiful Lysefjord in South-Western Norway. This impressive place was carved during the last Ice Age, more than 10,000 years ago. The main attraction here is the iconic rock formation, which will not reveal itself until you get fairly close to it. Once at the top, walking out onto Pulpit Rock itself for the first time will leave you speechless and exhilarated. The height and sheer drop is dizzying and dazzling all at the same time. The edge seems to draw people close, but as enticing as being near the edge can be, we kept our distance and just watched people doing all sorts of unwise dangling and teetering. The views over the landscape are incredible and worth every minute of the more challenging parts of this otherwise quite easy hike. It took us about 4 hours to do the return trip, with some time to have a snack and enjoy the stunning views at the top.
Pulpit Rock, Norway by Traveller Interrupted
Related: Croatia’s 10 Best Hikes
4. The Camino Francis. France & Spain
5. The Camino Portuguese. Portugal & Spain
The Portuguese Camino is Calling by One Road at a Time
6. Everest Base Camp trek. Nepal
The Everest Base Camp trek is high on the list of our favorite hikes. It’s the only multi-day trek that we’ve done more than once. We walked it in 2016 and in 2020. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a lifetime experience for many hikers. The trek is challenging due to many steep ascents and descents and high altitude, but you do not have to be a professional mountaineer, anybody in a relatively good shape should be able to complete the route. The trek takes between 12 and 18 days to complete, depending on the chosen route. The highest point of the trek is the peak of Kala Pattar at an elevation of 5643m, a perfect spot for watching the sunrise over Everest.
The scenery on EBC trek is breathtaking; snowy peaks, rocky passes, mountain rivers, waterfalls, pine forest and picturesque villages. The closer to the Base Camp the more impressive the scenery.
The scenery is not the only highlight of Everest Base Camp trek. Meeting local people, staying in their houses, observing their daily life is an enriching experience. Many local people belong to the Sherpa ethnicity.
Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal by Stingy Nomads
7. The O-Circuit. Torres del Paine, Chile
The Patagonia region divided between Chile and Argentina is an incredible place for nature and adventure lovers. The region has several National Parks and Conservation areas with well-marked hiking trails and designated campsites. Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is renowned for some of the best hiking trails in the world. The park is located in the south of Chile close to Puerto Natales, a small town in Patagonia. Hiking in Torres del Paine is suitable for anybody from a seasoned adventurer hiker to travelers with children. There are many easy day hikes and two more challenging multi-day treks; the W-trek and the O-circuit. Torres del Paine is a real hiking paradise. The park is a great combination of untouched nature and good infrastructure; fantastic scenery, diverse wildlife, well-marked trails, several designated campsites and refugios.
The best way to see the main highlights and some hidden gems of Torres del Paine is to walk the O-circuit. It takes 7-8 days to complete it. The total distance of the trek is 120km. November to March is the best time for trekking. Walking the Circuit trekkers get to see some of the most spectacular parts of the park; turquoise lakes, waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, indigenous forest, bizarre-shaped mountains, and wild animals. The highlights of the trek; Lago Paine & Dickson, John Gardner Pass, Grey Glacier & Lake, Pehoe Lake, Nordenskjold Lake, and Mirador Las Torres.
Hiking in Torres del Paine, Chile by Stingy Nomads
Related: The 5 Best Hikes in South Africa
8. The West Coast Trail. British Colombia, Canada
The West Coast Trail is a tough 75 km multi-day beach and forest hiking trail on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The trail is especially challenging when there is a lot of rain with slow progress over difficult terrain including pools of mud, ladders, bridges and cable cars. You have to carry a tent, stove, all gear and food needed with you for a week on this hike. A highlight of this trail is that large parts of the route is spent hiking on miles of white sandy beaches. When not hiking on the beach, you walk through beautiful indigenous forests and plenty of wild animals can be seen on the trail, orcas, whales, dolphins, bears and deer are common. Hiking the West Coast Trail is usually completed in 6 or 7 days. It is a wild hike with facilities limited to toilets and bear safe containers at campsites. It is possible to camp on the beach every night on this beautiful trail. Book early since the West Coast trail is open from May 1st to September 30th with limited spaces available.
Hiking the West Coast Trail, Canada by Stingy Nomads
9. Bottle Beach. Koh Phangan, Thailand
One of the most fascinating hikes I’ve ever done is a tropical one on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. You can choose from 2 different routes – shorter through a jungle, or a longer one along the coast, eventually ending up on a beautiful secluded beach – the Bottle Beach. Those who get tired don’t need to hike back but can make use of a boat taxi.
Hiking Koh Phangan: Bottle Beach Hike by Travel Geekery
10. Bobotov Kuk. Durmitor NP, Montenegro
A full-day hike in Montenegro’s Durmitor National Park to its highest peak is indeed strenuous, especially towards the top, but that’s the price to pay for feeling like you’re on top of the world. A well-marked trail and only very few people in the mountains make for a wonderful hiking experience.
Hiking in Montenegro: Mountain Adventures by Travel Geekery
11. Pravčická Gate. Bohemian Switzerland NP, Czech Republic
Pravčická Gate is one of Czech Republic’s most significant natural wonders. The sandstone arch is located in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, in the north of the country. A pleasant 2-hour hike through the forest will lead you to the Gate, with several viewpoints in its vicinity.
Hiking in Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Czech Republic by Travel Geekery
12. Samariá Gorge. Crete
The Samariá Gorge on the Greek island of Crete is full of natural beauty. As you walk, you can enjoy the clear water of the stream running through the gorge, the light and shadow playing on the walls above you, and the endangered kri kri mountain goat jumping nimbly from rock to rock.
It’s often visited as a day trip from Chania, but I recommend staying overnight at the village of Omalos so that you can get an early start the next day and beat the crowds. From Omalos, you can catch a shuttle bus to the entrance of the gorge. The hike through Samariá Gorge starts with a pretty steep descent for the first couple of kilometers but then flattens out for the rest of the way. There’s a handrail on the steepest part of the trail, so it shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle. Overall this is a fairly easy hike appropriate for most fitness levels.
In total the walk is about 16 kilometers, and the scenery just keeps getting better the farther in you go. The walls of the gorge will start to squeeze in on you as it becomes extremely narrow. Eventually, you’ll be spit out into the coastal village of Agia Roumeli, and from there you can take a boat to Loutro, a beautiful fishing village further along the coast. Or, if you want to extend your hike, you could even walk all the way to Loutro.
Hiking through the Samariá Gorge by The Nomadic Vegan
13. Vikos Gorge. Greece
The Vikos Gorge hike starts in the small village of Monodendri. There are a few guesthouses with attached restaurants where you can rest up the night before your hike, but be sure to buy supplies in a larger town before you arrive. You’ll need to be self-sufficient with food and drink during your hike, as there are no facilities inside the gorge. The length of the hike from Monodendri to Mikro Papigko is about 20 kilometers through a gorge that, in some places, is no more than a few meters wide. Don’t forget to look up and marvel at the cliffs towering high above you. The hike ends at Mikro Papigko, a picturesque village of stone houses with slate roofs.
While this hike is a bit more strenuous than Samariá Gorge, it’s still achievable. If you want an easier option that will still allow you to enjoy views of the gorge from above, consider walking in the opposite direction, from Monodendri to Kipi.
14. Hadrian’s Wall. England
In this case, you might want to go for the middle section of the wall, as there are a number of forts, milecastles and other monuments to visit along this stretch. Hexham is a good place to base yourself, and from here you can also make use of the AD 122 hop-on-hop-off bus service, which will take you directly to some of the most important monuments. That way, you could book yourself into a hotel in Hexham for two or three nights and use the bus to resume the hike where you left off the day before. A few sites worth seeking out are Chester’s Fort, Housesteads Fort and Milecastle 42.
15. Fern Canyon. California, USA
There are so many beautiful parks and hikes to explore in the United States, but for some reason, I became deeply enchanted with Fern Canyon in Northern California. Located within the Redwoods National and State Parks, the fern-dripped canyon was once a filming location for a scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and is now a popular hike for fans of the outdoors and movies alike.
The mile-long trail within the canyon isn’t too challenging of a hike; the biggest hurdles being the need to wade through the streaming water of Home Creek, and maneuver around or over fallen logs. It could be a quick hike, in theory, but the sights will keep you exploring for longer. You can opt to hike in and out of the canyon, or take on the upper trail along the canyon rim for more of a challenge. Be sure to check the weather when planning your hike, as rains may result in closures.
Hiking the Fern Canyon Trail, by O. Christine
16. Laguna de Quilotoa. Ecuador
The Quilotoa Lagoon is one of my greatest memories of outdoor adventure in Ecuador. It was one of the first times I’d challenged myself with a high-altitude hike, and one of the first times I’d been in a volcano!
At nearly 13,000 feet in the Andes Mountains, Quilotoa’s high-altitude hike is met with the stunning view of a glowing, teal lagoon. There are horseback rides that can take you into the crater (or out) if you need it, and you’ll find alpacas roaming at their leisure. If you prefer to hike the crater, you can expect a half day’s trek round-trip.
More avid hikers may be interested in trekking the entire Quilotoa loop, which requires a multi-day trek through the Andes (and can be self-guided). I chose to do the one-day hike in and out of Quilotoa’s crater with a tour from Quito, and it remains one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life!
Amazing Things to Do in Ecuador, by O. Christine
17. The Hebridean Way. Scotland
It took more than 30 hours from Berlin by plane, bus and ferry to reach the tiny village of Castlebay on the Outer Hebrides. Another hour of walking at nightfall brought us to the start of the Hebridean Way on Vatersay Island. The Outer Hebrides are 10 lonesome islands in the far northwest of Scotland, some of them connected via causeways, others only by ferry. They are home to moors and mountains, a few farmers and a lot of sheep. The northern islands of Lewis and Harris are mostly known for Harris Tweed, exclusively woven in the islanders’ homes on hand looms. The Hebridean Way connects all ten islands on a multi-day hike of about 250 km.
We had decided to walk in early May – before the nasty midges start biting – and from south (Vatersay Island) to north (Lewis) because supposedly that would improve our chances to walk in the direction of the wind. Bad luck: We spent the first days leaning against the wind and didn’t bother taking off the raingear even when it wasn’t raining (but it rained a lot anyway). At night, thin sheets of ice covered the tent. But as wild camping is legal in Scotland, we slept in the dunes or on beaches, overlooking the rough Northern Atlantic. Since the Outer Hebrides are in the far north, the light is amazing; and hiking all alone over raised bogs and along the cliffs felt immensely free and fantastic. We even for a while toyed with the idea of moving to the Outer Hebrides …
The Hebridean Way by Westwards
18. The King Ludwig Path. Germany
Considering that we like remote and demanding hikes, the King Ludwig long-distance path in Bavaria doesn’t seem to fit the bill: The hiking is mellow, the area quite populated, and the most sensible option is staying overnight in small B&Bs dotted along the way. And yet the King-Ludwig Path is one of our all-time favourites. We have both walked part or all of the 5-day-hike in our childhood, and again later as young adults. The trail links several sites and buildings associated with the intriguing King Ludwig II of Bavaria – and apart from the beautiful landscape among Alpine foothills, it is a feast of baroque and romantic architecture.
In 2017 we revisited the trail together, starting from Starnberg near Munich. Lake Starnberg is the place where King Ludwig drowned mysteriously in 1886, and the memorial cross in the knee-deep water of the lake has become a pilgrimage site for Ludwig fans. The Andechs Monastery, reached near the end of the first hiking day, attracts pilgrims, too – for its famous Bavarian beer brewed on site. During the next three days, we hike between lakes and meadows, through forests and the Ammer Gorge, also called the “Bavarian Grand Canyon” (well …). The next village is never far, almost each of them boasting an immense baroque church such as the UNESCO-listed Wies Church and yummy Bavarian food and beer in the taverns. But the undisputable highlight of the trail is Neuschwanstein Castle which we pass on the on the last day of hiking: King Ludwig’s most famous building and the model for Disney Cinderella castles around the world.
The King Ludwig Path by Westwards
19. Mt Dandenong Trail. Australia
Length: 20 Km one-way
20. Erg Chebbi, Merzouga. Morocco
In Eastern Morocco, on the border with Algeria, is the small town of Merzouga. It is home to Erg Chebbi, a desert with the highest sand dunes in Morocco (some of the dunes are over 150 m high)
People come here to take a “camel” (they’re not actually camels, they’re dromedaries) into the desert. I did that. I also drove an ATV into the desert. But my highlight was actually hiking Erg Chebbi – on my first day I walked out of my hotel and into the dunes, picking out a high dune far in the distance as my destination.
I walked 2 hours to get there. Distances are deceiving in the desert. I had never hiked in the desert and it was an experience like no other. It was beautiful and solitary. The sand was golden. I climbed dunes, my feet digging into the sand. The hike alternated between walking on the crest of dunes, coming down into dune valleys (where you’ll often find yourself foot deep in sand), and climbing up more dunes.
Finally reaching it, it took 20 minutes to climb the high dune that I had seen from camp. I was in for a surprise. On the other side the dunes ended, the terrain rocky. I had crossed the entirety of Erg Chebbi (which runs 5-7 km wide and 28 km north-south). A few kilometers away lay the Algerian border. I sat at the top of that dune overlooking the sea of smaller dunes that I had hiked, Merzouga in the distance, and thought it was one of the most incredible sights I had ever seen.
Visiting Merzouga by the Travels of Bbqboy and Spanky
21. India Venster, Cape Town. South Africa
The India Venster hike up Table mountain is both one of the scariest and the most scenic hikes I’ve done.
The hike brings you from Table Mountain’s lower cable car station to the very top of the mountain. It’s a 4 hour, one-way hike. And while there are many strenuous parts, most of it is technically very easy. The only exception is a sheer cliff wall that you reach about halfway through the hike. This part requires the use of rungs and strategically placed hands and feet. The first sheer climb takes you up about 10 feet to a ledge that’s about 3 feet wide. I was hiking with a group, people taking turns going up. It was while waiting on that ledge that I suddenly had a bit of a panic attack. One slip from that ledge and you’re dead. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long. We continued up another set of rungs, this one about 15 feet going up another vertical wall.
Once you’ve climbed that section the rest is easy and you follow a ridge around the side of Table Mountain. Through it all, you get incredible views of Cape Town’s city bowl as well as views looking across the 12 Apostles.
One of the most scenic hikes anywhere in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Hiking the India Venster Route up Table Mountain by the Travels of Bbqboy and Spanky
22. Mount Pinacle, Quebec. Canada
When Lissette and I lived in Montreal we would often drive to Mont Pinacle, situated in southeast Quebec about 2 kilometers from the US border. It is, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful regions of Quebec.
It is an easy 45-minute hike that almost anyone can do (I’ve taken my mother here as well as my son when he was young). Although only 665 m high, Mont Pinacle has incredible views – you feel much higher than 665 m. Along the top you can walk at the top of a sheer cliff, enjoying views in all directions. Below the Mont Pinacle is Lake Lyster – you can go there for a dip or a picnic when you’ve done your hike.
There are many great hikes in the province of Quebec. But Mont Pinacle has always been our favorite, a place we always come back to.
Mt. Pinacle. Our favorite Eastern Townships hike by the Travels of Bbqboy and Spanky
Many thanks to the travel bloggers who contributed to this post!
PS. Looking to book flights, hotels, tours, or rent a car? Have a look at our Travel Resources page.