Hiking is the best way to really explore the nature and scenery of a country, and there’s nothing better than strapping on your boots and jumping on one of the best hikes in the world.
There are some great hiking trails to be found across the world, and they give you the chance to reach destinations that you would otherwise never find or places that are difficult to get to.
In Spain, you can follow in the footsteps of pilgrims as you take on the long-distance Camino De Santiago, or in Nepal, you can make the mighty trek to Everest Base Camp.
In the USA you have the Appalachian Trail in the east and the Pacific Crest Trail in the west, while in Greenland you can explore the Arctic Circle Trail or in Peru, you can hike to Machu Picchu.
There are so many beautiful and challenging trails, and to inspire your next adventure here are the best hikes in the world!
20 of the Best Hikes in the World
1. Camino De Santiago
The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St James, is one of the most legendary long-distance hiking routes in Europe.
This is a historic walking trail, that was originally – and still is, even today – used by Pilgrims looking to worship in the shrine of St James in the city of Santiago de Compostela.
It’s a tough, challenging, but spectacular hike, and it’s often seen as the sort of spiritual trail that will help you to learn more about yourself.
You will struggle through mountains and cope with difficulties over the course of hundreds of kilometers.
The actual length of the route can vary because historically, pilgrims would start at their home and make the trek from there.
Today the starting point is seen as the French and Spanish border.
That puts you high up in the Pyrenees and so the best time to tackle the Camino de Santiago will be the summer months.
In winter, the weather will be too dangerous, at least in the mountains.
Along the way, you can camp out or stay in hostels, as pilgrims have for hundreds of years.
The beauty of this hike is that you can start wherever you want, it’s only the endpoint and the journey along the way that’s important.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Walk the Camino de Santiago with G Adventures – 8 days
- Camino de Santiago Encompassed with G Adventures – 10 days
2. Everest Base Camp
One of the ultimate trekking routes, and one of the best hikes in the world, is the challenging trail that leads to Everest Base Camp.
Everest is, of course, the highest mountain peak in the world, and you’ll need special training and equipment to actually summit.
Most people will find that the multi-day trek to the Base Camp is tough enough on its own accord.
This is the south side of the mountain and the Base Camp is found at a lofty 5,300 meters altitude.
Purely because of the altitude, it’s a challenging route to tackle and you’ll need to take things slow to acclimatize.
The trek to Everest Base Camp takes at least 12 days to complete, and that’s with the help of the hardy local sharpers, who at this altitude are a necessity.
You’ll cover 80 miles, as you trek from one village to the next before reaching the Camp.
The start and the endpoint of the trek are Lukla, which you’ll need to fly into – a hair raising experience in itself – from Kathmandu.
You can only hike the trail during the trekking season, usually from March to May and then again from September to November.
Outside of this, it’s the monsoon season and the trails can be dangerous.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Everest Base Camp Trek with G Adventures – 15 days
- Everest Base Camp Trek from Kathmandu – 15 days
- EPIC Everest Base Camp Trek – 15 days
3. Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is one of the most iconic long-distance trails in the USA, and one of the best hikes in the world.
This is really long distance, multi-day hiking because the total route is 2200 miles in length.
If you are going to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, not only do you need to be in good shape, but you also need time.
The AT is a thru-hike and it would take you the entire hiking season to walk the whole route.
You don’t have to complete the entire trail though, and only one hundred or so people do this each year.
Instead, you can walk different sections of the Appalachian Trail, which extends from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way north to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
You can camp out along the way, as the waymarked trail has plenty of designated camping grounds and shelters.
4. Pacific Crest Trail
On the other side of the USA, the west coast has its own long-distance hiking trail that’s often seen as one of the best hikes in the world.
The PCT was made famous in recent years by the book and the movie, Wild, which depicted one hiker’s epic struggle along the trail.
It really is a struggle too, because the entire trail is 2653 miles in length, and it takes you on a cross country journey from the Canadian border, all the way south to the Mexican border.
You’ll be roughly following the mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and it’s a tough but spectacular hiking trail.
Of course, if you don’t have a few months to spare then you can always hike smaller sections of the trail too.
There are camping grounds along the way, and supply stops in towns on the route, but you will need to be prepared well in advance if you want to hike the entire route in one season.
5. Lycian Way
The Lycian Way is a multi-day hiking trail that takes you along some of the most spectacular coastlines in Turkey.
Starting in Fethiye and ending in Antalya, the Lycian Way is a 30 day, 300 miles long waymarked trail that roughly follows the ancient trails and roads used by the Ancient Lycian Kingdom.
This is a historic hike, and this is why it’s one of the best hikes in the world.
As well as being treated to beautiful views of the mountains and the Mediterranean, you’ll pass by crumbling Lycian and Roman ruins and you’ll explore a part of Turkey that few ever get to see.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Lycian Way Coastal Walk – 8 days
- Turkey: Hike, Bike & Kayak – 12 days
- Hiking Turkey’s Lycian Way – 8 days
6. Inca Trail
The Inca Trail needs little introduction because this is one of the best hikes in the world.
Starting outside Cusco, the trail takes anywhere between two to five days to complete.
Given the popularity, you’ll need to book your permits in advance, as visitor numbers are always limited.
You’ll start outside of Cusco and make the spectacular hike up to Machu Picchu.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Trekking the Inca Trail with G Adventures – 5 days
- The Inca Trail with G Adventures – 7 days
- Trekking the Inca Trail with G Adventures – 4 days
7. Arctic Circle Trail
The Arctic Circle Trail is one of the best hikes in the world, but it’s also one of the most daunting because this multi-day trail takes you across Greenland’s wilderness.
You’ll be cold and isolated for 100 miles as you take the circular route through the Arctic.
There are a few shelters on the way, but you’ll need to be entirely self-sufficient, as there are no supply stops out here.
The isolation and the beauty, and the chance to see the wildlife of Greenland, make this a stunning adventure.
8. Overland Track
The Overland Track is one of the best hikes not just in Australia, but in the world.
The track takes you through the wild and rugged outdoor scenery of Tasmania, but it’s a relatively short walking trail.
The walk is 40 miles long, stretching from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.
Given the surging popularity of this beautiful part of Tasmania, the Overland Track has a limited number of permits in the peak summer months.
To avoid this, it is best to try to walk in spring or autumn to avoid the crowds.
9. Milford Track
Head across the ocean and New Zealand has some of the best hikes in the world.
Top of the list though is the multi-day Milford Track. At just 30 miles in length, some hikers will complete this in one day, but you’re better off turning this into a leisurely stroll.
There are several huts and lodges along the way where you can rest and spend the night, to really make the most of the Milford Track.
The hike takes you through the South Island’s Fiordland National Park, where you’ll see glaciers, tall waterfalls and epic scenery at every turn in the trail.
10. Sea to Sky Trail
The Sea to Sky Trail is found in British Columbia, in Canada, and it’s easily one of the best hikes in the world.
You will be walking for around 130 miles over several days, as you hike from the Pacific Ocean and up into the Canadian mountains.
You’ll start in Squamish, and you’ll finish in D’Arcy. Along the way, you’ll pass by beautiful waterfalls walk in the shadow of tall mountains as you leave the coast and head inland.
The trail makes use of historic paths that were traditionally taken by the Canadian First Nations people who called British Columbia home.
Along the way, you’ll be able to learn more about not just the natural history and beauty of the region, but human history too.
It’s quite simply a spectacular walking trail and one of Canada’s most beautiful hikes.
11. Dolomites Alta Via 1
One of the most famous routes in the Alps is the Alta Via 1 trek across the Italian Dolomites.
Using Cortina de Ampezzo as your jumping-off point, the Alta Via 1 trails take you 150km through stunning mountain scenery.
What makes this hike unique is that nature is paired with history and you can uncover some interesting WWII stories and sites along the way.
Along the route, you can find multiple refugios (mountain huts or cabins), set up as dormitory-style accommodation for hikers.
They offer a communal setting with dining halls, meal programs, a bar and a warm place to rest your head.
Because of this, you don’t have to carry camping gear along the route. Trust me, you’ll want to reduce your pack weight as much as possible.
The route is notorious for being difficult with long ascents and brutal descents through the mountains.
12. Patagonia Basecamps Trek
Starting from the well-used base of El Chalten, this trek takes you around, to and through the very best of Argentinian Patagonia.
You’ll head towards Fitz Roy for the first night where you can explore the stunning glacial lakes of Laguna de Los Tres at the base of the mountain.
Then continuing on you’ll head towards the glacial lake of Laguna Torre, you’ll have inspiring views of Cerro Torre and Glacier Grande.
The next day will take you far off the beaten path, starting with a zip line across a river and off to conquer the Paso de Las Agachonas.
The trek then requires the navigation of the Paso del Viento for a view of the Viedma Glacier and Southern Patagonia Ice Field.
Standing at the tip of the Troll’s tongue, looking out over a vast fjord below is a moment you will remember forever.
This is why the Trolltunga hike is one of the most famous hikes in Europe and is the most famous hike in Norway.
Hikers use the town of Odda as a base before taking a bus to the trailhead for the Trolltunga hike.
The trail is a 27km out and back that traverses beautiful yet challenging alpine terrain.
While it is typically done by most hikers as a very aggressive day hike, it is best enjoyed over two to three days.
14. Tongariro Crossing
This is one of the most spectacular and diverse day hikes in New Zealand. The Tongariro Crossing traverses the volcanic landscapes of the North Island, just outside of Taupo.
Classified as an Alpine Crossing, the hike has some higher elevation and is prone to extreme weather, i.e alpine conditions.
The hike is 19.4 kilometers thru-hike, meaning you’ll end up a long way from where you started.
The hike starts at the Mangatepopo Car Park, which is at the southern end of the trail – it is possible to hike in either direction – at an elevation of 1,120 meters.
The highest point is 1,886 meters, at the summit of the Red Crater. From there you descend again to 760 meters where you reach the endpoint at the Ketetahi Carpark.
15. Jeti Oguz
One of the most spectacular hikes you can take on in Kyrgyzstan is from Chon’ Kyzyl Suu to Jeti Oguz through the Tian Shan Mountains.
This route will take you at least 3 days if you clip along each day and cover some ground. If you walk slower or want to take your time, you can spread it out over 5 or more days.
This hike starts in a valley but still at around 2,000m above sea level. It traverses the Chon’ Kyzyl Suu valley before you have to climb up and out into the mountains.
The maximum elevation of this trek is just short of 4500m, meaning it’s high altitude and will require some knowledge to complete.
After navigating a high alpine environment, you start a descent into the Jeti Oguz Valley.
At this stage, it is possible to add several more days to your hike on popular trails throughout the valley. Otherwise, you can make your way back to the comforts of Karakol.
16. Simien Mountains
The Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed chain of mountains that stretches across northern Ethiopia.
As such, the Simien Mountains offer multiple trails and spectacular hiking opportunities paired with dramatic landscapes.
This region is also home to the endemic Gelada Baboon, a species of primate that can only be found in these mountains.
Up-close encounters are not unheard of and one of the primary reasons to make the long journey to Ethiopia for hiking in these mountains.
The hiking opportunities can be from day hikes to two weeks, following a variety of routes that are supported by very basic huts.
It is also possible to tent camp, but you are required to have 2 guides with you throughout your trip. This is for both safety and navigation.
17. Great Wall of China
Yes, you can do a multi-day hike on the Great Wall of China. Heck, you can even walk the whole thing if you’re up to the challenge.
The best option, though, is to opt for a 3-5 day hike that explores some wildly different sections that are accessible from Beijing.
The best routing explores the sections of Jiankou to Mutianyu, Gubeikou to Jinshanling and Jinshanling to Simatai, sleeping in local villages along the way. It is illegal to camp on the Great Wall of China.
This three-day routing will take you through original, unrestored sections of the wall that have been left to nature, all the way to fully restored sections.
If you have a good guide, you’ll also be taken on a storied journey of the past while you hike.
You’ll learn the history and hear the stories that surround the various parts of the wall you’re traversing.
Climbing the tallest mountain on the continent of Africa is on many hikers bucket list and for good reason.
Mount Kilimanjaro has some of the most diverse and well-supported routes of the seven summit peaks.
Depending on your skills and ability to acclimatize, you can choose between different routes that vary in length and skill difficulty.
For beginner climbers, yet experienced hikers, it is recommended that you consider a route such as the Lemosho. This is the longest route and the one with the highest summit success rate.
While it can be exciting to consider climbing Kilimanjaro, you should also know that it is possible that you plan your trip and not make the summit.
The hike is strenuous, with carrying weather and terrain. Pair this with high altitude and the chances of having side effects from this, and it is not a challenge for the faint of heart.
19. Laugavegur Trail
If you’re into gnarly, otherworldly landscapes, then the Laugavegur Trail that cuts through the interior of Iceland needs to be on your list.
The trail is a 34 mile (55 km) one-way trail between Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork. It takes, on average, 3-4 days to complete, but could be done in 2 days if you’re a strong hiker.
It is possible to do this hike as a hut to hut walk, although reservations are required in advance for the huts.
Alternatively, you are able to carry camping gear and wild camp anywhere along the route. There is no permit required to walk the trail.
There are also multiple tour companies that offer guided options along the trail if you like comradery when you hike.
20. Kokoda Track
If you’re into off the beaten path places and WWII history, this hike is begging to be added to your bucket list.
The lesser-known Kokoda Track traverses the jungles of Papua New Guinea, following an old WWII supply route.
You’ll camp out in tents and also on the floors of palapa huts as you pass through villages and interact with local tribes.
It’s not a trek for the weary, as the conditions are full-on tropical with intense heat and humidity to deal with.
It also traverses some intense terrain. Needless to say, it won’t be a walk in the park but you’ll find yourself greatly rewarded once you complete it.
|Epic Hiking Trips|
|Trekking the Inca Trail|
Cusco to Cusco
Trip Type: Small Group
10 - 12 People
Award Winning Inca Trail Program
|Hike Patagonia in Depth|
Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires
Trip Type: Small Group
10 - 12 People
100% Local Ripple Score
|Everest Base Camp Trek
Kathmandu to Kathmandu
Trip Type: Small Group
10 - 12 People
100% Local Ripple Score
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
More on Hiking:
- Best Backpacking Stoves for Hiking & Travel
- How to Choose the Best GPS for Hiking
- Best Hiking Backpack for your Next Adventure
- Hiking in Norway: 7 Incredible Hikes to Try
- 5 Days of Hiking in Patagonia: The Basecamps Trek
- Hiking in Cuba: Top 5 Places to Hike
- Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia
- Hiking in Luxembourg from Kautenbach to Wiltz
- Hiking Camino de Ronda From Lloret to Tossa
- Hiking the Great Wall of China from Jinshanling to Simatai
- Mount Bromo Sunrise Hiking Adventure