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10 great hiking destinations

Words: Alex Johnson

It doesn’t matter which country you are in, except possibly Holland, there will always be some sort of mountain or hill to hike up. Here are ten great hiking areas around the world.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Fjords, Norway

The Norwegian Fjords are something of real beauty. The most popular cliff to hike is the 604 m Preikestolen, or Preacher’s Pulpit in English. To reach the summit, one must embark on a 3.8 km hike on some dated paths. Luckily, the Norwegian government is improving them as we speak.

The cliff looks out onto the lush Ryfylke region, which has plains interspersed with gorgeous blue lakes. If you are at the top on a clear day then it's highly likely that you will want to stay there. It really is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Europe.

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

The Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on the planet and its subtropical foliage makes it the largest 'green canyon' in the world. Also known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent, the Blyde River Canyon is located in Mpumalanga; a fantastic base camp due to its size and amenities, ranging from bars, hostels, hospitals and even a casino (the casino itself is pretty highly rated with YeboYesCasino.co.za).

The canyon is 1,383 m in depth and the highest peak is Mariepskop, at 1,944 m high. With 25 km to explore, the canyon is a perfect place to spend a few days trekking.

Fiordland, New Zealand

This mountain area was already regarded as one of the finest walking areas on the planet before the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed there. Now, it is a quintessential destination for any hiker, or fan.

The Fiordland is challenging and rewarding all at the same time. The diverse, rugged terrain is in stark contrast to the clear blue waters at the base, giving the whole region a mystical feel. The Milford Sound, one of the areas of the Fiordland, was called the eighth wonder of the world by acclaimed author Rudyard Kipling. So it is little wonder then that Peter Jackson decided it was the perfect place for these Middle-earth movies.

Hua Shan (Mount Hua), China

You may have seen pictures of people ascending this mountain before. To reach the top you need to perilously attach yourself to the metal chains hammered into the mountain and carefully walk across a plank of wood - and these planks are pretty damn narrow!

There is a certain sense of danger to the mountain but many novices attempt, and succeed, the route every year. And when you are above the clouds at 2,154.9 m, the risks become totally worth it.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Andes, South America

The Andes is the longest mountain range on the planet; stretching through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Boliva, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. It is also the highest mountain range outside of Asia, with an average height of 4,000 m. For experienced climbers, there is the 6,960.8 m high Aconcagua Mountain, but there are plenty of other places to enjoy and explore, such as the home of the Incas, Machu Picchu, in the Peruvian Andes.

What makes the Andes so brilliant is the amount of major cities that have set up base in the region. La Paz, Bolivia’s capital; Quito, Ecuador’s capital and Bogota, the capital of Colombia are all found in the range, so the Andes is pretty much logistically sound.

The Alps, Europe

The Alps, spread through eight European countries, is a favoured skiing area for many in Europe. However, when the snow melts in the summer, it makes for perfect hiking trips.

While Mount Blanc may be the biggest and most iconic mountain in the range, there are over 100 miles to explore, with each part differing drastically from the next. Most of the Alps is perfect for novice walkers and if you like The Sound of Music then you can pretend to be the Von Trapps.

Mount Rainier, USA

Found in the state of Washington, North West America, Mount Rainier is actually a volcano. Luckily, for the time being it is dormant, but it could explode at any given moment.

The 4,392 m volcano requires professional gear to reach the top, but it also has numerous trails for beginners. Looking out at the town of Tacoma beneath is dumb founding, you just have to hope that it doesn’t decide to blow.

Kalalau Trail, America

We all know that Hawaii is beautiful but it will never appear more beautiful than when you embark on the Kalalau Trail. This 22-mile walk takes you around the perimeter of Hawaii's Kauai Island, as you take in the vivacious green of the foliage around you and sparkling blue Pacific Ocean to your right.

The trip requires you to camp at either Hanakoa Valley or Kalalau Beach because for most it is a two-day event. I'm sure you could think of a few places that are a lot worse to sleep on than a sandy Hawaiian beach. Natural beauty doesn’t come much better than the Kalalau Trail.

El Caminito del Rey, Spain

The little pathway, as it translates, was originally built in 1905 as a way to connect the hydroelectric power plants on either side of El Chorro gorge. Nowadays, this little pathway, which is 3.3 feet in width, is a popular destination for hikers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to cross a narrow path, minus handrails, suspended 100 m above the river below? The route is currently in disrepair but the local government have undertaken steps to safely restore it.

Himalayas, Nepal

Everyone knows Mount Everest, but the Himalayas has so much more to it than that behemoth. The Nepalese Mountain range has numerous mountains to climb and it is also the source of three of the world’s largest rivers: the Indus, Ganges and Tsangpo-Brahmaputra.

Despite the rough landscape there are some incredibly picturesque locations found there, no more so than the tranquil Pangong Tso Lake.