To spend time with mother nature, we all have our preferences. Some would find peace in camping, and others feel serene just by being around the beach. But few of us are adrenaline junkies too. And nothing can beat hiking when it comes to feel that little rush while exploring.
This demanding 15-day, 104-mile slog through Corsica is legendary for the diversity of landscapes it traverses. There are forests, granite moonscapes, windswept craters, glacial lakes, torrents, peat bogs, maquis, snow-capped peaks, plains and névés. But it doesn’t come easy: the path is rocky and sometimes steep and includes rickety bridges and slippery rock faces – all part of the fun. Created in 1972, the GR20 links Calenzana, in the Balagne, with Conca, north of Porto Vecchio.
Rather than following a single path, the Camino, also known as the Way of St. James, is actually a series of different pilgrimage routes, all ending at the shrine of the apostle St. James in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. The most popular modern route follows a line across northern Spain from the French Pyrenees. While some choose to stay at monasteries along the way, plenty of operators offer hotel stays and luggage transfers.
The 20-mile ancient trail to the hilltop citadel of Machu Picchu was laid by the Incas and brought to mainstream attention by Hiram Bingham when he ‘discovered’ it in 1911. In the centuries since, millions of hikers have flocked to catch a glimpse of the ‘lost city’, and as a consequence, daily hikers on the trail were restricted to just 200 in 2018. The result is a more tranquil experience for those fortunate enough to get permits, and increased protection for the archaeological site, which was suffering under the strain of its popularity (and hikers should still take extra care to make sustainable choices when visiting).
If you want the best of both the beach and the mountain world, hiking this trail would make your dream come true along with magically unfolding the secrets of ancient ruins and rich Turkish culture. This well-marked trail starts from Fethiye and takes you through Levissi, the ghost town; the beautiful Butterfly Valley, known for being home to the colorful Jersey tiger-moths; Kabak, the resort town; Patara, credited to be the seat of world’s first Parliament; Kalakan, famous for its terrace restaurants overlooking the spectacular views; and finally ends at Sunken City in Antalya, home to spell-binding ancient ruins.
Stretching 111 miles, The Dingle Way is a circular path that offers the best way to get under the skin of wild County Kerry in Ireland’s south west. Starting in the town of Tralee, the clockwise path follows narrow roads, known as boreens, taking in the wide sweep of sand at Inch Strand, passing along the clifftops outside Dingle town and heading around the edge of Mount Brandon, the highest peak on the Dingle Peninsula.
Reaching a height of 18,193ft at Kala Pattar, this 2-3 week trek is extremely popular, thanks to its spectacular scenery but also romanticism; successful trekkers are able to proudly say they’ve stood at the base of the world’s highest mountain. The trail threads between small, characterful mountain villages en-route to the famous campground and is trafficked by Sherpa people of the Solu Khumbu. The heights reached during this trek are literally dizzying until you acclimatize to the altitude, and the continuous cutting across valleys certainly has its ups and downs. Be warned: prime trekking season brings serious crowds.
See the stunning subalpine scenery of New Zealand’s South Island surrounding this medium 3-day 20-mile track. At the base of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the trail passes through two national parks: Fiordland and Mt Aspiring. Highlights include the views from Harris Saddle and atop Conical Hill – from where you can see waves breaking on the distant beach. The main challenge for this popular hike is securing a place among the limited numbers who are allowed at any time.
Leading from Chamonix in France through the southern Valais to Zermatt in Switzerland, the Haute Route traverses some of the highest and most scenic country accessible to walkers anywhere in the Alps. The summer Haute Route walk (which takes a different course than the more famous winter skitouring route) takes around two weeks to complete. It mainly involves ‘pass hopping’ and demands a high level of fitness in every section.
Extending for 2,200 miles, the Appalachian Trail is billed as the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. It runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through some of the most remote country in the United States. That means it’s an undertaking, either for those with endless vacation allowance, or walkers looking to do a small chunk of a classic route. Well-marked paths and campsites mean it can be tackled alone. But those keen on comfort can use a company that offers pre-booked lodge accommodation and packed lunches.
Starting in the Bavarian town of Fussen, this nine-day route follows the Lechweg river to its source in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. Passing the royal castles of a King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Germany as well as crystal clear lakes, the trail heads through the Tiroler Lech National Park, a protected area with lush meadows, turquoise water, and ibex at every turn. Although the trail is self-guided, tour companies can arrange accommodation and meals, meaning visitors only need worry about putting on their boots and backpacks each day.