In our opinion, going on walks and hiking up mountains is among one of the best ways to get out into the world and see nature first hand. A walking and hiking holiday can give you lessons that you will keep for life as well as giving you the chance to get away from ordinary life and be out with your thoughts, fresh air and beautiful landscapes. Living on a planet as beautiful as ours, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to a hiking holiday which is why we have compiled this article for you. This article features some of the best hiking destinations in the world – We have split it into three categories: Europe, The United States and The World.
Walking and Hiking Holidays in Europe
Walks in Valposchiavo, Swiss Valley
Valposchiavo is a narrow Swiss valley that borders Italy’s Valtelina winegrowing region. Hikers can explore miles of alpine trails, enjoy breathtaking views of glaciers and pocket lakes at every turn, and hop a ride on the Bernina Express if they find themselves fatigued. The food is off the charts, with a focus on locally-grown ingredients and a 95% organic growing status within the valley.
Contributor: Elizabeth Beekley
Walks in Soprabolzano, The Dolomites
Soprabolzano is a community nestled in the Dolomites, just a tram ride away from the picturesque city of Bolzano. It’s the best of both worlds – Alpine hiking from a base of ultra-comfortable, family-run inns and spas. You’re bound to cross a vineyard or two, discover ancient pyramidi, and come face-to-face with an alpaca. When you need a big city fix after a day on the trails, the 10-minute aerial tram ride to Bolzano brings beer, sausage, and canederli to the table.
Contributor: Elizabeth Beekley
Walks in The Lake District, England
The best places to walk in England for most people, would be The Lake District, specifically around the Ambleside area. There are dozens of well-kept footpaths through the fells for all manner of walking skill levels. From an hour’s walk around the lake to an 8 hour horseshoe of the peaks. Regardless of where you choose to walk in the UK, you’ll never be far from accommodation – Inns, hostels & campsites surround almost every major walking area.
Contributor: Adam McIntyre
Walks in Lithuania
While some countries attract hikers and walkers with their hills, Lithuania – a country flat as a pancake – takes an educational spin on this hobby. With various hiking trails some of them surrounding bogs and marshes, some passing through remnants of ancient settlements, it really is a great destination to add to your hiking bucket list.
Contributor: Oleg Volkov
Walking and Hiking Holidays in the US
The Presidio, San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is one of only a few destinations in the US that offers the best of both worlds with miles of trails for the nature hiker, alongside the stimulation of walks through a world-class city or over the Golden Gate Bridge. A stay in one of two historic boutique hotels in San Francisco’s urban national park provides year-round access to fresh air and greenery. With more than 24 miles of hiking trails and biking trails through forests with incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay, all within the city limits.
Contributor: Emily Chacon
Oregon, Northwest US
Oregon in the Pacific Northwest of the United States is an outdoor wonderland. This region has trails suitable for all levels of hiking experience and across various climate zones. Want the temperate rain forest with lush flora and cascading waterfalls? Oregon has that. Want rocky towering mountains with views for days? Oregon has you covered. Want coastal views with the smell of the ocean breeze? Check. Want the desert with fragrant sage brush? Oregon even has that too.
To make it even better, all of this can be reached by driving just a few hours (or less!) from a major city with an international airport, PDX. An easy way to plan an Oregon trip is through the tour company, Cascadian Journeys. Guests get a full authentic Oregon experience on multi-day trips without the stress, confusion, and work of planning it. It caters to guests with no hiking experience to those who are regular hikers. All it takes is a desire to see the Northwest the way it should be seen – from the outdoors.
Contributor: Nicole Rappaport
Land of the Waterfalls, North Carolina
The Smoky Mountains, the Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, Linville Gorge Wilderness, the Nantahala National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Land of the Waterfalls are just a few of the attractions in North Carolina. The hiking trails and USFS service roads allow for casual and challenging exploration of scenery and unique towns like Asheville, Black Mountain, Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Highlands and Brevard (entrance to the Land of the Waterfalls) to name a few. More than 250 waterfalls are located near Brevard and some have been featured in blockbuster movies like The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans. For those who enjoy camping, fishing and rafting along their walks, there is no shortage of opportunities in North Carolina. For those looking to experience a natural theme park ride, make sure to visit the 60-foot natural water slide called Sliding Rock! Pack your bag, your hiking shoes, your waterproof camera, and experience North Carolina first-hand. You will not be disappointed!
Contributor: Ron Humes
Walking and Hiking Holidays around the World
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is one of the beautiful cities in North America, thanks to its remarkable natural landscapes, historic citadel ramparts, and quaint cobblestone streets. Between taking a stroll along the St. Lawrence River and soaking in the delicious French-Canadian cuisine, Quebec City has so much to offer. For nature lovers, be sure to check out the Montmorency Falls and have a picnic at La Promenade Samuel-De Champlain. Additionally, don’t miss the Bras-du-Nord Trail which takes you along a scenic route towards the massive Delaney Falls. You’ll also want to see the Les Loups Trail which promises majestic views of the Jacques-Cartier valley.
Contributor: Sam Maizlech
Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand
A challenging but beautiful hike is the Tongariro crossing, it’s a 19.4 km hike in New Zealand between two summits and is a world heritage site. Some parts are difficult because of scree, and it is a mountain hike. Average hike time is between 6-8 hours. That being said, the views are stunning, and there is a real sense of accomplishment when one finishes. Another perk to this location is it was used to film Lord of the Rings as Mt. Doom.
Contributor: Stephanie Chaloux
A beautiful location for hiking is Jiuzhaigou located in the Tibetan part of Sichuan province in China. The advantage to this hike is that there are several short hikes one can make as well as longer ones. Inside the park, they have buses that run between many of the locations so you can either make the 2 or 3 km hike between them or take a bus. Or a combination of the two. Many choose to ride the bus. If you decide to walk the trails, you will not see many other people. These walking paths are well maintained and in most places are a clear well-marked path. Some of them are on pavement, and others are not.
Contributor: Stephanie Chaloux