10 Top Trekking Holidays
Ok, I love the idea of being fit on holidays..heck I even take my sneakers and gym gear with me when I travel and insist that I always have a gym in the hotel when I travel for work.
I should know by now that gym gear takes up valuable shopping space – needlessly I might add.
But when I tend to go on longer sojourns I tend to get fitter, slim down, and tone up? Why? because generally we are hiking everywhere trying to cram in as much sight seeing as possible.
1 month back packing round New Zealand, walking about 10Km a day and living on fried brown rice and veggies resulted in losing 10KGs (even if I never want to see another grain of rice again!)
So it started me thinking…and of course that almost always leads to a “10 best places to…” list.
We don’t intentionally set out on hiking or trekking holidays but the small amount we do is always worth while – getting back to nature, seeing the environment (man made or natural) at its grass roots so to speak and getting in some good old exercise as an added bonus.
So here, then, are the top 10 places I’d like to take a Trekking holiday.
1. The Camino de Santiago de Compestela (the Way of St James)
There are five main Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Spain: the Camino Frances, the Via de la Plata, the Northern Routes, the English Road, and the Portuguese Road, (starts in Portugal). There are many more than this in Spain, but these are currently the most travelled. The Camino Frances is by far the most popular and well traveled.
2. Everest Base Camp
Once, only the province of legends such as Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the trek to Everest Base Camp has now become an achievable goal for people from all walks of life who want to gaze on the roof of the world.
3. The Inca Trail
If you are an “adventure traveler” of any degree, then this is bound to be on your bucket list! Of course you can get to Machu Picchu without trekking – but really where’s the fun in that! The months of June, July and August are very popular with trekers and with only 200 permits a day it’s best to book well in advance. There is the Classic Inca trail – 4 to 5 days depending on where you start and for those who are time poor or perhaps a little less fit there is the two day Sacred Trail.
4. The Milford Track
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most famous trails and thousands of hikers have “tramped” it -as the Kiwis say – for the last 150 years. The 53 km trail starts at the head of Lake Te Anau, crossings suspension bridges, board walks and a mountain pass. The Milford Track will show you pristine lakes, sky-scraping mountain peaks and enormous valley views; and it will take you to feel the misty breath of Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand.
5. Annapurna Circuit
The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230 km (100-145 mi), depending on where motor transportation is used and where the trek is ended. The trek rises to an altitude of 5,416m on the Thorung La pass, touching the edge of the Tibetan plateau. This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna massif, crossing Thorung La (5416m/17769 ft), the highest pass on this trek. Practically all trekkers hike the route anticlockwise, as this way the daily altitude gain is slower, and crossing the high Thorong La pass is easier and safer. The mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I-IV), Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, and Paungda Danda.
Numerous other peaks of 6000-8000m in elevation rise from the Annapurna range. The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be reached after a seven-hour drive from Kathmandu. The trail passes along paddy fields and into subtropical forests, several waterfalls and gigantic cliffs, and various villages. Annapurna Circuit has often been voted as the best long distance trek in the world, as it combined, in its old full form, a wide variety of climate zones from tropics at 600 m asl to the arctic at 5416 m asl at the Thorong La pass and cultural variety from Hindu villages at the low foothills to the Tibetan culture of Manang Valley and lower Mustang. Continuing construction of a road has shortened the trail and changed the villages. With construction of the road, mountain biking is becoming popular, with Mustang in particular is becoming one of the world’s most popular mountain biking destinations.
Mount Kilimanjaro ( /ˌkɪlɪmənˈdʒɑːroʊ/),with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, and rises approximately 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The first persons proven to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer, and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination.
7. The Great Wall of China
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is a masterpiece of restoration, with 23 original-style watchtowers. Mutianyu is the longest fully-restored Great Wall section open to tourists.
The Mutianyu Great Wall was first built by the Northern Qi Dynasty in (550–577) over 1,400 years ago.
It was rebuilt and strengthened under the supervision of famous General Xu Da during the Ming Dynasty on the foundation of the Northern Qi wall around 700 years ago. Mutianyu Pass was fortified in 1404 (the 2nd year of Emperor Yongle’s reign) with a rare triangular formation of three interlinked watchtowers.
A 2½-kilometer section was fully restored in 1986. Today’s wall is a replica of the fortifications of 1568 in the Ming Dynasty.
There are 3 options for ascending and descending the wall.
- Hike up: Allow around one hour to climb the 4,000+ steps.
- Chairlift / cable car: There are two-rider chairlifts and four-rider cable cars for travelers to choose from to ascend or descend.
- Toboggan: For those who really want to trek miles more for the experience, single-rider toboggans descend (at a safe speed) from the east end of the wall to the valley.
8. The Cinque Terre
The Way of Love or – more accurately in the language of love -Via dell’Amore) is a footpath that overlooks Mediterranen, connecting the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola in the Cinque Terre. It’s a little more than a kilometer, that can be covered by anyone in just over 20 minutes without the need to use special hiking equipment. The Way of Love, famous for its breathtaking views, is one of the most important tourist attractions in Liguria and is part of the National Park of the Cinque Terre area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is part of a much longer walk that connects all five villages. Unfortunately at this point in time the full path is so degraded from lack of maintenace and damaged from landslides it is not possible to safely walk the entire way.
9. The Continental Divide
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail (CDT)) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass (near Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.) The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads. This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail, which is so far described only in a few books and carries no official Canadian status.
The Continental Divide Trail along with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail form what thru-hiker enthusiasts have termed the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States.
10. Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail (commonly abbreviated as the PCT, and officially designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail’s southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,659 mi (4,279 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.Its midpoint is near Chester, California (near Mt. Lassen), where the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges meet.