I’m going to tell you a secret, most people who write about travel don’t even travel to the places they are writing about! I’ve seen many articles on ‘Best Hikes In The World’ which is just your standard round up of popular hikes that someone researched online. Most of the writers have not actually set foot on all (or any) of those trails. Until now.
I decided to compile a list of the best hikes in the world based only on hikes that I’ve actually completed myself over the last 12 years of traveling around the world. This way you know that you are getting more than just the standard description that you can find all over the web. Instead, I give you a list of hikes (from day hikes to multi day treks, to long distance hiking), in which I’ve walked every mile of. You can get more details on each of these hikes I list by clicking on the link that has my original article I wrote about the experience. In some cases I even have written guide books or FAQ articles about the more involved hikes.
My Love of Hiking
Oh how I love the ‘high’ that hiking gives me. It’s not only a chance to challenge myself and keep me in shape, but it is also meditation. Hiking provides me the chance to get back to the basics of a simple hiking day, and it gives me a chance to listen to my thoughts, focus on the steps ahead and be fully present in the moment. The fresh air clears my mind and the beautiful views stimulate the senses. These best hikes in the world are a perfect time to ponder my current life questions, challenges and both figurative and literal next steps.
Hiking is good for the body, mind and spirit. It provides moments of reflection, dreams of triumph and the ability to work through any struggles. Some of these hikes were long, some were steep, some were short – and some were failed attempts to reach my goals. But they all taught me lessons in ways I never could have expected.
Organized by length, just click on the ‘learn more’ link to get more information on each of them. If you get a chance – check them out when you are visiting that country, or plan a whole vacation around them – they’re worth the effort!
See my Essential Hiking Gear List
Now that you’ve chosen a hike, you need to know what gear to take with you! Don’t leave on your hike without these hiking gear essentials.!
My Best Hikes in the World
1-2 Day Hikes
Atlas Mountain Hike Morocco
Exploring Berbers and mud houses, desert rockscapes, endless colors and contrasts and finding an oasis in desolate landscapes of pure beauty, this hike enthralled, enlightened and was enjoyed by all who traversed its trails. Learn more about Cultural Treking in Morocco here.
Hiking Oahu Hawaii’s Best Day Hikes
The mountains and rolling hills invigorate me far more than oceans and waves. I found myself attracted to more than the waterscapes of this beautiful state. From mountains to lighthouses to trails by the water – there’s more to see and do in Hawaii than the beach alone. Learn more about Hiking Oahu Hawaii here.
Hike the Cliffs of Moher – Ireland
If you want to avoid the crowds at the Visitor’s Center, ditch the traditional tourist path and head over to Ireland’s Burren Way that runs along the Cliffs of Moher right past the visitor center. This hike will yield great shots and easy away access to vibrant greens, livestock and endless views. Learn more about the best way to walk the Cliffs of Moher here.
Hike the Great Wall of China – between Jinshaling and Simatai
Hiking with my Dad on this particular section of the Great Wall of China showcased spectacular scenery, 8 miles of knee smashing trail, and lots of learning along the way. In places the Wall was in rubble, but that’s what made the whole experience so special. Learn more about the Great Wall hike here.
Oman Mountain Hiking
Multiple days of trekking in the agricultural hub for the country, as the weather shifted along the way I found myself along the historically geographic divide that kept the country free from invasion. The Al Hajar range mixes history, geography, persistence and learning of all kinds. Learn more about Oman mountain trekking routes here.
Hiking in Feynan, Jordan
Embracing the environs of the Bedouins, Jordanian bred (shrak), and candle making in an exquisite lodge without electricity was an experience I won’t soon forget. In a cultural world that revolves around tea, schools, kids and working on English classes, on this journey I found cultural experiences and profound travel mates along the way. Learn more about hiking in Feynan Jordan here.
Fitzroy Hike near El Chalten, Argentina
Every journey is it’s own. On this hike, I found myself spending a lot of time learning from others whose adventure stories were greater than mine and surprising myself that at this very moment I learned to love the company of strangers. Learn more about hiking in El Chalten here.
Hiking up Mt. Sinai in Egypt
Reminding me of my favorite movie in which Moses came to life on the big screen, Mt. Sinai filled my day with the Red Sea, Color Canyon, and impeccable views of Saudi Arabia. Learn more about hiking Mt. Sinai here.
Viedma Glacier Trek in Argentina
Alive with crevasses and vistas, Los Glaciares National Park touched all of my senses and reminded me of the power of the glaciers. Complete with boat landings and ice picks, crampons, gloves and geology details, the beauty and strength of a land of ice was every present. Learn more about Viedma Glacier hiking here.
Hike Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo
Taking 2 days to summit this 8.5 km climb, the highest peak in SE Asia managed to awaken the spirit amidst the difficulty of the adventure. Difficult, powerful and worthwhile rolled into one, Borneo and her hikes don’t disappoint. Learn more about hiking Mt. Kinabalu here.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike in China
One of the deepest river canyons in the world is China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge. Set deep into the Yangtze River, with the help of a horse, we met this challenge head on. Learn more about hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge here.
3-7 Day Hikes
Milford Trek in New Zealand
The beauty of New Zealand’s spectacular scenery was evident on the trek through Milford Sound. On this solo hiking journey I found, fjords, kayaks and trails, kiwis, a film crew documentary, oh so many switchbacks, impeccable views and more. A different experience than my usual ‘roughing it’, this trek merged luxury and beauty with a little bit of what I learned in Girl Scouts. Learn more about the Milford Trek here.
Hike the Quarry Trail in Peru as an Alternative to the Inca Trail
Stopping to catch my breath aboard this Peruvian quest made a perfect match for great scenery and even better photos. Although there was suffering with altitude sickness along the way, the spectacle of Machu Picchu at the end of the journey rewarded us tenfold. Learn more about hiking the Inca Quarry Trail here.
Trek the Famous W Circuit in Chile
Torres del Paine park covers 50 miles of trails. As condors in flight cruise overhead we found ourselves intrigued with what the ‘w’ means to each and every one of us. More than the geographic shape of the letter and the route, the circuit in Chile teaches you. Learn more about Patagonia’s W Trek here.
Hike Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
I took a shot, but it was not to be. Jumping from my career break straight into the hiking madness of Kilimanjaro, left me yearning for another shot at the summit. This ‘close but no cigar’ attempt taught me about altitude sickness, the kindness of strangers and renewed my quest to reach the summit. Learn more about my Kilimanjaro failure here.
2 Week+ Hikes
Hike the entire Annapurna Circuit in Nepal (18-23 days)
My hiking trip with Dad took us to Nepal. For him, it was his first time and for me, I was returning to a spot that enriched my life greatly. The adventure found us planning ahead instead of winging it, showed Dad that he could do whatever he put his mind to, shared a respect for life abroad and provided another cultural experience for the both of us. Learn more about hiking the Annapurna Circuit here.
Training Plan for Long Distance Hikes
It’s important to train for a big hike gradually and thoughtfully. So if you want to get ready for a Bucket List hiking trip, here’s how to get started training and gain momentum toward your hiking goal.
Take on the Camino de Santiago in Spain (5 weeks)
There’s nothing to be afraid of here. Even if you show up solo, you’ll go home with life-long friends. On this 450 miles trekking across Northern Spain, there’s time to wander alone, meet people, embrace your pilgrimage, and be rewarded by this life changing experience. Learn more about the Camino de Santiago here.
Camino de Ronda Coastal Hike – 135 miles in Costa Brava, Spain
I completed 100 miles of the 135 mile Camino de Ronda and Coastal Paths of Costa Brava Spain; experiencing that same type of long distance walking satisfaction and excitement that I had in Santiago. So if you are like me and are looking for the next Camino de Santiago or a new long distance village-to-village hike, Costa Brava offers an excellent alternative; less crowded, intense culture, and beautiful coastal views the whole way.
This long distance hike can be split up in many different Camino Ronda shorter hikes or day hikes. It takes you through cliffs and coasts, forests and coves, often rocky terrain and windy footpaths along the Mediterranean coast. Whether you hike alone or with a group, follow the trail or follow your heart, this journey is one for the books. Learn more about hiking Camino de Ronda Coastal Path Hike here.
Lycian Way Hike in Turkey (25 days)
The 25 days spent on these 300 miles of footpath and trails around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey will change you. Filled with camping, planning ahead and a bit of a challenge to light your way the journey that transpires along the way is worth it. Learn more about hiking the Lycian Way here.
I have so many more places that remain on my hiking wish list, so I’ll try to add to this from time to time! I hope this inspired you to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails all around the world!
Essential Hiking Gear: An Easy-To-Use Guide for Any Hike
Training for Hiking Long Distances
7+ Thru Hiking Trails Around the World: Alternatives to the Camino de Santiago
By Nailah November 15, 2013 - 12:03 pm
This post just makes me what to run screaming from my cubicle! I’ve only done one or two longer hikes (Inca Trail and Northern Thailand) but this post is inspiring me to add more as part of my 2014 travels…wherever they may be.
By Ashley Hubbard November 15, 2013 - 2:24 pm
It made me want to run out too! I love hiking and can’t wait to add some more hikes, especially long ones, to my list! Really liked this post 🙂
By Rebecca November 15, 2013 - 6:44 pm
You’ve done so many hikes!! Amazing. I just finished the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea – 8 days through the jungle. It was a key track in World War Two, when Australia defended the country against the Japanese, so it was a very special trip. Add it to your list 🙂
By Tina November 18, 2013 - 8:47 am
Thanks for this great list. I started following you on the Camino de Santiago de Compostale, a trek I’ve always wanted to do. Also I had recently seen the movie The Way. Thanks for sharing all the hikes.
By Angela November 19, 2013 - 1:28 pm
I enjoy hiking when traveling as well. It is great to get away from the crowds and meet with nature. It is also a cheap way of traveling if done unguided, which I normally do.
I was in Chile for Torres del Paine with plans on doing the W. However, a forest fire stopped our plans. We still were able to hike, but were not able to do the full W. I hope to go back someday to conquer the entire trail!
By Christie November 19, 2013 - 6:18 pm
Wow, beautiful pics! I like hiking basically anywhere in Hawaii or in Seattle 🙂 Your places look cool, too… I guess 😉
By Stephanie - The Travel Chica November 22, 2013 - 9:04 am
El Chalten is my favorite place to hike because you do lots of great day hikes without carrying a large pack and sleeping on the ground.
Tarijena, Bolivia is also one of my favorites. I did a two-day hike, and it was wonderful to have such a beautiful area all to ourselves.
By Mary @ Green Global Travel November 22, 2013 - 8:27 pm
Travelling on foot is a rare pleasure and you have covered so very, very much territory! This is such an amazing and truly inspiring list and your images are all gorgeous!
By Roeena Ghosh December 3, 2013 - 6:55 am
Traveling and hiking is the most favorite hobbies of mine. I am all time ready to do this. Turkey is very great place to hiking I wish I will go there in next year for hiking.
By Frank December 11, 2013 - 11:13 am
Wow! Gorgeous. I may have to write you at a later day to find out the details on some of those hikes, I’d like to see some of these for myself.
By Sherry December 13, 2013 - 12:10 am
Frank – happy to answer any questions you have!
By Dan December 12, 2013 - 10:20 am
Wow you’ve done some really amazing hikes and you’ve got some equally amazing photos to go with them
By Sherry December 13, 2013 - 12:09 am
Yes – been very lucky – and have so many more I want to do!
By Zori March 25, 2014 - 1:49 pm
Some great places here and photos are absolutely stunning!
By ... May 25, 2016 - 4:52 pm
Africa (Western, Namiba, South Africa …pls not Drakensberg)
Caucasia / Central Asia …. over 1,500km in one country alone, but it’s getting over-touristed… however, several other treks regionally ….. let me know when you want to go … been in this region every year for 8+ years
By Giovanni Esposito April 25, 2018 - 7:50 am
These are some epic hikes, Sherry! Camino de Ronda is what interests me the most. In addition, hiking the Italian Dolomites is one of the best, too 🙂
By Sherry April 25, 2018 - 1:52 pm
I hope you make it to the Costa Brava this summer for the Camino Ronda!!
By Michael Humble July 31, 2018 - 9:46 pm
When are you coming to Canada?? We have some great hikes through the Rocky Mountains! Especially Jasper and Banff!
By Carl Gutierrez December 13, 2021 - 12:56 am
here in the Philippines we do have great hiking trails~!