If you’re the type of traveler who craves an adventure, hiking is for you. There’s an abundance of beautiful trails across the world that offer challenge as much as they do beauty, and here are just six of them where you’ll be spoiled with their appeal. Read on for 6 of the best hiking holiday ideas that you can use this summer…
Hiking holiday ideas: The Himalayas
It’s hard to narrow down the Himalayas to a certain region just because of how sprawling and massive they truly are. Audley recommends walking them in India, more specifically in the northeast foothills of Almora. It’s a quiet village that isn’t particularly catered to tourists, but a lack of hotels means that you’re able to stay in the homes of locals, who willingly open their doors to travellers.
Hiking in this region will allow you to visit multiple villages on the way, with the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas providing scenic beauty wherever you go.
But perhaps the most famed section of the Himalayas rests in Nepal, where you’ll find the highest point on Earth. Mount Everest stands just short of 30,000 feet tall here in the Mahalangur range, and hiking either up to its peak or around the base is becoming increasingly popular. Sure, it’s more of a challenge than your average hike, but it’s definitely a bucket list goal that you should not miss out on if you get the chance.
The French Alps
You may have heard of the Tour de Mont Blanc, the popular trail that weaves through the French Alps and enters three different countries on its 105-mile duration. Chamonix is perhaps the most popular section of this walk, the French resort that sits at the base of Mont Blanc itself and acts as a hotspot for skiers looking for thrills as well as scenic wonder
The Guardian recommends starting your tour from Les Houches, just south of Chamonix and boasting majestic glaciers, a raging river and pine-scented woodland, all of these extremes giving way to a lavish, colourful meadow.
It’s a fitting beginning to a walk that offers so much in the way of natural beauty. Travelling into Italy, you’ll come across jaw-dropping valleys and swooping hills that seemingly stretch for miles, and retreats that offer very personal and close-quarters accommodation you won’t find anywhere else – complete with some of the finest food you’ll sample on your travels. Truly one of the best allround hiking holiday ideas.
And Switzerland offers more of the same, with tranquil rivers and luscious fields at several spots on your journey. But the highlight is Mont Blanc itself, providing a constantly beautiful backdrop as it towers over its surroundings with a genuine majesty.
You’re truly spoilt for choice when exploring the Andes – it is, after all, the biggest mountain range in the world. Many decide to traverse the Andes in Peru on the Inca trail, which actually consists of three different routes. They all offer an abundance of beautiful sights – naturally occurring peculiarities such as cloud forest and alpine tundra can be found during the hike, as you ascend to heights of over 10,000 feet above sea level.
The trail leads to one of the most popular sights in the world, that being Machu Picchu, Peru’s lost city that intrigues as much as it astounds.
However, not every part of the Andes is such a natural extremity. Hike in Colombia, for example, and you’ll find that Bogota – the country’s capital – rests on a plateau in the mountain range at around 9,000 feet high. But there’s a wealth of astonishing features in the Andes that you won’t find anywhere else.
Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park is one such example, a UNESCO World Heritage site where you’ll see mammoth glaciers standing tall. Or consider hiking through the peaks of Torres del Paine in Chile – wherever you explore, you’re bound to see beauty everywhere in the Andes.
Africa’s Eastern Rift
If you’re travelling in Africa, this is your perfect destination. The Eastern Rift mountains are where you’ll find Mount Kilimanjaro, the snow-capped, 20,000 feet tall dormant volcano in Tanzania. But the main appeal of the mountain range lies in the fact it’s the result of a fault line, and it runs through six countries.
Kenya’s Mount Kenya is another towering mountain in the range, being only 2,000 feet shorter than the aforementioned Kilimanjaro. Ascending these peaks is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s no wonder – their majesty in the surrounding landscape is undeniable.
You’ll find the wildlife native to the Eastern Rift range is appealing to hikers, especially the endemic species that still reside here – including Kenya’s Hinde’s babbler bird. But the main appeal of the mountains is their size, and you’ll be hard done by finding a peak that isn’t impressively large. It’s a challenging trek but it’s one that is rarely done by travellers, so be sure to be the first of your friends to discover this magnificent part of the world.
The Californian Sierra Nevada
When you hear Sierra Nevada, your mind likely defaults to the Spanish region. Consider the American alternative. California’s mountain range boasts one of the most famed and most magnificent sites to hike, in the form of Yosemite. It’s a national park with a plethora of incredible mountains to traverse – 1,189 square miles of them, in fact. During your journey through the sprawling park you’re likely to come across Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the whole of the United States.
There’s an abundance of frequented trails here in the Yosemite National Park you’ll want to try – ascending the Half Dome, one of the most iconic sights in California, according to California Through My Lens, is a definite must. If you’re wanting to get the best views of the aforementioned waterfall, try the Four Mile trail where you’ll be able to buy ice cream on the way. And the Cathedral Lakes trail is one of pure beauty, as you discover the serenity of the still waters illuminated by the sunset that hides behind Cathedral Peak.
The Spanish Sierra Nevada
That’s not to rule out the European alternative as one of the great hiking holiday ideas. Sharing the same name as the aforementioned American range, Sierra Nevada in Spain offers equally stunning trails that should be on any hiker’s bucket list. It’s here you’ll be able to see a beautiful national park that gives way to majestic peaks and a landscape coloured green and stone. Granada is visible in the haze of the horizon, but you’ll be too occupied being dazed by the view of your immediate surroundings as you ascend to the highest points of the range.
The heat in this region means that the trek is challenging, but the weather is consistently beautiful. Stumbling across sights such as the valley of La Rambla, dusty and dried up, and the playground of Los Cahorros where Spain for Pleasure notes an abundance of waterfalls, protruding rocks and wobbly rope bridges, you’ll be surprised by just how fun and adventurous this range truly is. If you feel prepared for the heat and the challenge of some of its trails, Sierra Nevada is the place for you.