Walking and trekking travel guide

Walking and trekking


Overview

Walking and trekking holiday travel guide, including walking, hiking and trekking travel advice, where to walk, trek, hike and walk in the world

If God wanted us to walk, He would’ve given us… oh, hang on – He did. Those lumpy things on the end of your legs are good for more than just climbing the stairs onto planes.

And walking (hiking, trekking, call it what you will) is invariably more than just a way of getting exercise. It’s how you admire the best scenery, get close to wildlife, meet the locals on even terms, and – most important of all – justify that extra-huge portion of cake/paella/curry/tagine at the end of the day.

Well, first up, decide what you’re looking for in a hiking trip. If wildlife’s the thing, you don’t need to scale lofty peaks – an African walking safari, in Zambia or Tanzania, perhaps – is the (big) cat’s whiskers.

Want ancient history? Try Peru’s Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or a trek through Jordan to the rose-red city of Petra.

Meeting the locals? Try gentle hiking through India’s Himalayan foothills, or among the hilltribes of northern Vietnam. And don’t dismiss hut-to-hut hiking in Europe’s Alps (Austria, Switzerland, France) for fresh cheese platters and mountain bonhomie.

And for peak-baggers... Well, Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Toubkal (Morocco) and Aconcagua (Argentina) are all accessible without technical climbing skills. You just need a sound pair of boots and a bit of training, plus some sound planning – pick the right season, suitable gear and heed health advice to ensure a spectacular and safe hike.

Whether you’re looking for a life-changing challenge or just a day’s stroll, heading out on the trail provides a new perspective on any destination. So go on – stick the boot in.

Further Reading

Top 10 walks and treks

There are millions of trails spidering the globe, but these are some of the best

  1. Milford Track, New Zealand (four days) – comfy huts line this iconic route through Fiordland National Park, with Milford Sound beckoning at the end – just book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited.
  2. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal (three weeks) – breathtaking views of the Himalaya combine with fascinating culture and cosy teahouses; novel variants steer clear of the recently built road along the valley.
  3. Inca Trail, Peru (four days) – stiff climbs and heady altitudes make this a stern challenge, but the view from the Sun Gate onto the Incan ruins on the final morning are worth the slog. The locals reckon coca tea will help ward off altitude sickness.
  4. Jhomolhari trek, Bhutan (nine days) – walk through the pristine Himalayan kingdom, keeping a look out for snow leopards and archery festivals. Pricey but worth it.
  5. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (five days) – Africa’s highest peak is also one of its sternest challenges, but the achievement of summitting the Roof of Africa at dawn is unforgettable. There are several different route options (one has huts, one has better chances of wildlife sightings, some are longer) – pick the one that's right for you.
  6. Camino de Santiago, Spain (six weeks) – join pilgrims on the Way of St James to beautiful, medieval Santiago de Compostela and on to the Atlantic coast at Fisterra – the end of the world.
  7. Toubkal & M’goun, Morocco (two weeks) – Toubkal is North Africa’s highest point, and a worthy climb, but consider also the M’goun Massif – a touch lower, but a varied trek through terraced valleys and windswept plateaus.
  8. Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile (eight days) – those jagged spires are just the headline act – spot guanaco, rhea and condor among this otherworldly wonderland. The weather is extremely changeable – come prepared!
  9. GR20, Corsica (ten to 16 days) – Europe’s finest trek? This long-distance path is a tough rollercoaster of a hike, with spectacular pinnacles and glacial lakes as well as ample wildlife. To lessen the strain, book with a tour operator that will transport your luggage for you.
  10. Mt Roraima, Venezuela (six days) – climb this cloud-clad tepui (table mountain) to discover a dreamlike landscape of misshapen rocks and bizarre frogs, inspiration for Conan Doyle’s Lost World.