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12 hiking excursions with great scenery for the intrepid hiker

Between the most beautiful scenery in a country or the most stunning viewing spots to post on Instagram, you only need good walking shoes and the desire to explore those wonderful places. From crossing the eerie narrow cliffs of the Hawaiian coast to exploring remote Andean villages in Ecuador, each hike is an extraordinary experience in itself.

The best hiking trips for beginners;

Grindelwald – Switzerland

You can start your exploration of Switzerland after a train journey through a pleasant mountain landscape. After a good night’s sleep in a traditional chalet, take a day hike from Grindelwald and enjoy the stunning Alpine scenery. Although there are many trails and climbing routes starting from the popular village camp, the First-Faulhorn trail is the best choice for those who want to witness unforgettable views of fairy-tale towns and magnificent mountain ranges. By taking the First cable car from Grindelwald, you can spare time and energy for the 12-kilometer hike in front of you. The summit of Mount Faulhorn is 2,681 meters high so you have to be wary of altitude sickness, but the vast view above the clouds in all directions is well worth it. While climbing or descending the mountain, be sure to take a break at the beautiful Lake Bachalpsee, set in a lively and lush valley backed by the snow-capped mountains of Schreckhorn. Because it feels like being inside a Swiss postcard!

Lizard beach walk – Cornwall, England

Starting from Kynance Bay, this easy enough 11km circular route will take you through Cornwall’s stunning coastline to Lizard Point, the southernmost part of the UK mainland. On the way, you can expect to encounter caves, cliffs, coves and hidden beaches with surprisingly white sand and turquoise waters. Besides the magnificent scenery, you may encounter seals and large sharks during the summer months. Tourism is pretty low here, so prepare to encounter extraordinary and overwhelming isolation away from the crowds. Don’t forget to stop by a local pub on your way back and experience true English style with traditional Cornish pastries and a well-deserved glass of beer!

Sentiero Azzuro (Blue Mile) – Cinque Terre, Italy

The clustered colorful houses of Cinque Terre’s beautiful seaside towns form a staple on travel-lovers’ must-see lists. Stretching for 12 kilometers of the sunny coastline of the Italian Riviera, the centuries-old Blue Road (sometimes called road #2) connects all five towns. Besides offering the opportunity to explore the region’s picturesque coastline, this easy and road sign-rich route will allow you to witness the essence of Italy on your journey from vineyards to olive groves, ice cream parlors, cozy cafes and pleasant squares. You shouldbe willing to spend at least 5 hours on the road and if you plan to complete your walk with the pleasure of the beach, you should start your walk from Riomaggiore and finish it in Monterosso.

Quilotoa Loop – Ecuador

Quilotoa Loop, which offers a great adventure for those who love places where tourists do not pay much attention, is one of the places that are usually given up for the sake of the Amazon or the Galapagos. However, this is a place where everyone visiting Ecuador should form an important part of their travel plans. Ideally completed in three nights/four days, the Loop takes hikers through its unmarked trails to small Andean towns and vast countryside amidst rushing rivers and lush valleys. The grand finale of the walk is a large crater lake. It is recommended to prepare before the walk, as it requires adaptation to the altitude and it can be very cold at night. If you love hiking but hate camping, it may be a relief to know that there are cheap hostels on the route.

Half Dome – Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Half Dome is a hugely popular hiking route within the United States, and for good reason: this now iconic granite slab just begs to be explored! Depending on the route you choose, the popularity of this route, which takes 10-14 hours to walk, overshadows the fact that it is actually not easy and requires courage. You can only access the mountain and valley view awaiting you on Half Dome by climbing 120 meters via steel cables fixed to the rock; so if heights and mountain ridges are not among your favorite things, it is better not to look down! You can consider Half Dome as part of a two- or three-day camping trek to see the waterfalls on the Mist Trail and better enjoy the beauty of Yosemite National Park. All you have to do is get Wilderness Permits in advance.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – North Island, New Zealand

Ask any hiking or outdoor sports enthusiast about their dream travel destination and you’ll often get the same answer: New Zealand, the country that really has it all. Located in Tongariro National Park, the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing offers steep climbs and unpredictable weather, but the challenge is well worth it, often named New Zealand’s best one-day hike. The awe-inspiring natural landscape stretches across the desolate and magnificent volcanic terrain that seems to belong to another world, with spectacular views of hot springs, vibrantly colored crater lakes and mountain ranges. If you have the energy left, you can also climb Mount Ngauruhoe on a three-hour return trip alongside the main route, or save that part for the challenging three-day Tongariro north tour.

Monte Fitz Roy road – Patagonia, Argentina

Argentine mountain Fitz Roy is a place for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. Located within Argentine Patagonia, this exhilarating route offers some of South America’s most impressive mountain and glacier views, and the route’s highlight is the breathtaking Laguna de los Tres point. You can be sure that you will make the people at home very, very jealous! Hikers can explore the park on a variety of day hikes or opt for day trips lasting 2 to 5 days.

El Camino de Santiago – Spain

This legendary 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route through northern Spain is a convenient and sophisticated option for multi-day hikes. While there is a wide variety of trails and starting points (some reach a total of 800 kilometers!), they all lead to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. For hikers with a 5-7 day duration, rather than a month required to complete the entire hike, the final section of the popular Camino Francés route for a total of 110 kilometers from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela is recommended. On the open road ahead, you can expect to see mountain ranges, flamboyant countryside, many holy sites and historic towns.

Leaping Tiger Valley – China

Stretching high above the turquoise Jinsha river, stretching through one of the deepest canyons in the world, the Leaping Tiger Valley and the stunning and dazzling views it offers is considered one of the best hiking opportunities in China. The name of the place is based on the legend of a tiger who once jumped over the narrowest part of the valley (a distance of 25 meters) to escape a predator, and the hike is a favorite with the intrepid and adventurous traveller. Thanks to hostels along the 22-kilometer route, hikers have the chance to spend a night or two here and have a good time in this remote corner of southwestern China.

Kokoda Trail – Papua New Guinea

Offering the opportunity to hike for a week or more on very hot and humid days and very cold nights on the desolate roads connecting the wonderful southern and northern coasts of Papua New Guinea, the Kokoda Trail will push the limits both physically and spiritually. Many people interpret it as a life-changing experience. This densely forested and bush-covered trail runs through 96 kilometers of wilderness and welcomes hikers to a place steeped inhistory, with the hospitality of remote but indigenous towns, as the Allied and Japanese forces clashed in the bloody World War II.

Kalalau Trail – Kauai, Hawaii Archipelago

A pristine paradise… that is exactly what this remote Kalalau route, a strenuous 35km round trip along the Nā Pali Coast of the island of Kauai, has to offer to the brave and strong hiker. Its outstanding backdrop is pristine beaches, a stunning blue ocean and lush green tropical vegetation, but this place is not a piece of cake for trekkers. With several dangerous river crossings and the famous ‘Crawler’s Ledge’ (a narrow stone path 91 meters below where the unforgiving sea awaits), this is considered one of the most dangerous hiking routes in the USA. Although it is possible to complete the road in one day, we recommend that you do not rush and spread it out over several nights. You should also remember that you need to get permission in advance.

Drakensberg Grand Traverse – South Africa

This walk, which will make all your friends fill with embarrassment while comparing your travel stories, is a complete self-sufficiency test with its 220 kilometers distance and 8-12 days to complete. The Drakensberg Grand Traverse is one of South Africa’s most demanding and physically demanding hikes, where hikers carry the equipment and food they will need for the entire trek in their backpacks and climb the region’s highest point (over 3,000 meters in all directions). Fortunately, the lush hills, valleys and plains of KwaZulu-Natal are reward enough for this mountain adventure. It’s definitely worth getting your feet blistered!


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