One of the best ways to explore a destination is to take a hike. Not only is it great exercise, its always a wonderful opportunity to discover natural wonders and get a whole new perspective about the life and culture of some of the world’s most fascinating places. Here are six of the best hikes across the globe. Travel with us from Australia to Patagonia and experience these exciting adventures!
Camino de Santiago, France & Spain
The Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James, in English, is one of the most famous pilgrimages on the planet. It begins in the tiny village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in Southwest France and goes all the way to the Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The Santiago de Compostela is a massive cathedral built in the year 1211 and houses the bones of St. James.
For hundreds of years, Christians have made the pilgrimage, and in recent times, it’s become a rite of passage for hiking enthusiasts and backpackers. The trail goes up mountains, through grassy fields, and into small villages filled with inns and hostels. It’s easy to hop on and off the trail at any point, making it great for those who want to choose their own length.
Length: 500 miles, but can easily be broken up into smaller hikes
MacLehose Trail, Hong Kong
While Hong Kong is known as the world’s most vertical city, many people don’t realize that it’s also filled with heaps of natural beauty. One of the most populat hikes is Hong Kong’s MacLehose Trail, which is 62 miles long (but is broken up into numerous “stages”). The trail weaves from cityside mountains to hidden beaches and everything in between. Highlights of the trail include Long Ke beach; Castle Peak, which overlooks towering skyscrapers; and the sea cave near the East Dam. Sadly, with China working hard to control Hong Kong, its unclear how much longer the pristine and untouched wonders of the islands will be around before being developed or mined for profit.
Length: 62 miles total / Broken into 10 different stages
Great Ocean Walk, Australia
Everyone knows the famous Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, but did you know there are also paths throughout the region as well? The Great Ocean Walk is over 60 miles long and takes you through eucalyptus forests, beaches, and of course, right next to the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations.
Even better, there are many stop-off points and tons of lodging along the route, from hostels to luxury resorts. It’s perfect for first-time long-distance hikers. 60 miles isn’t too long, and if you average 10 miles a day (which isn’t difficult) and spend your nights rejuvenating in hotels with hot breakfasts and warm showers, it makes for a fun and relaxing hiking experience. If you don’t want to go the whole way, you can easily hop on and off the trail at any point.
Length: 65 miles
Grey Glacier, Chile
Glaciers have literally formed the world we know. Their slow-moving, corrosive powers alter landscapes. For example, without glaciers, the Great Lakes wouldn’t exist, nor would the famous Garden Wall in Glacier National Park, or the Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite.
Seeing one in person is life-changing, but to hike on top of one is even better! In the Patagonia region of Chile, in the Torres del Paine National Park, visitors can take day hikes and multi-day hikes throughout the park. They can even rent ice gear and hike on top of the glacier itself. Sadly, with global warming, glaciers (including Grey) recede more and more every year. it’s our duty as travelers to live sustainable lives in order to keep these natural wonders around for generations to come.
Length: Varies upon interest
Parc de la Gorge, Canada
In the province of Quebec, The Parc de la Gorge offers a total of 11 miles of trails, ranging from paths that are just a mile, to longer ones hitting 4 miles. Or, spend a day at the park and make the entire 11-mile journey.
Most spectacular in the park is the hanging skybridge, which connects the two sides of the gorge. Conclude your hike by walking 164 feet over the river below. It’s an exciting way to truly get in touch with nature.
Better yet, if you visit the park during the evenings of warmer months, you can experience Foresta Lumina, an immersive spectacle where parts of the trail are lit up in different themes. If you’ve ever wanted to walk through an enchanted forest, this is your chance.
Length: 11 miles total / shorter trails range from 1 – 4 miles each
Lion’s Head, South Africa
Towering above the coastal metropolis of Cape Town, South Africa, is Lion’s Head Mountain. The formation got its name from looking like a giant lion that watches over the city.
The Lion’s Head Path takes you up and around the mountain, giving you panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope, and the glittering, bustling city below. A local favorite is to hike up the mountain on the night of a full moon. Many residents will hike up in late afternoon, bringing a picnic dinner, ensuring a prime viewing spot. Then, as the sun sets and the moon rises, get ready for one of nature’s greatest shows.
Length: 2.6 miles one way / 5.2 miles roundtrip
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