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The 20 Very Best Hikes in the World for Your Bucket List

Lace up your boots and hit the trails on these spectacular hikes

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A hiker standing on a tall rock over Half Dome at sunset, Yosemite National Park, USA

In a post-pandemic world, it’s safe to say we all value the great outdoors that little bit more. There’s nothing quite like getting out into nature to clear your mind, breathing in the fresh air and experiencing true freedom. And what better way to get your fix than by hiking across some of the world's most memorable trails? Find yourself visiting ancient villages, admiring picturesque views, climbing to dizzying heights, strolling along coastal paths, and much more - you may even find a trail that does it all. The question is, where to go for the best hikes? Well, that's where we come in. Here at Plum Guide, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our guests in every way, so our expert heads have been knocked together to curate this unmissable guide. Whether it’s a strenuous uphill trek or a more relaxed ramble, these walks are sure to satisfy. So, without further ado, here is our take on the world's greatest hikes.

1. Samaria Gorge, Crete

A view of a small wooden fence running along the hiking trail at Samaria Gorge, Crete, Greece

A view of a small wooden fence running along the hiking trail at Samaria Gorge, Crete, Greece

The Samaria Gorge hike is a must-do when visiting the island of Crete. This 10-mile one-way trail takes you through Samaria National Park in the White Mountains. Starting at the top of the gorge, you’ll work your way down through towering cliffs and unique flora and fauna, ending at the seaside town of Agia Roumeli - the sea is perfect for cooling down. At its narrowest point, the gorge is only 13 feet wide but 984 feet high, making for a dramatic backdrop.

Koroneiki Grove, Plum Guide home in Crete, Greece

Koroneiki Grove, Plum Guide home in Crete, Greece

2. Inca Trail, Peru

An aerial view of the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu, Peru

An aerial view of the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu, Peru

For those who love ancient history, the Inca Trail is one of the best hikes in the world. Stretching 26 miles, the route follows the path that the Incas took over 650 years ago. You’ll see an array of original stonework, including two original tunnels, the ruins of Winay Wayna, and several beautiful waterfalls. We’ll warn you now that this hike isn’t for the faint-hearted - the route takes you over two 13,000 foot passes over four days.

3. Cinque Terre Hike, Italy

A small wooden fence along the Cinque Terre Hike by the blue sea on a sunny day, Italy

A small wooden fence along the Cinque Terre Hike by the blue sea on a sunny day, Italy

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just north of Pisa, in Liguria. This group of five towns is easily recognisable, with colourful cliff-top houses overlooking the harbours below. The Cinque Terre Hike connects these villages, with the best route being the seven mile trail between the villages of Monterosso and Riomaggiore. Strolling along this path will spoil you with views of the azure waters and rugged mountains. And the best par? You'll be stopping at cafes along the way for a cappuccino and biscotti.

Green Pesto, Plum Guide home in Italy

Green Pesto, Plum Guide home in Italy

4. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

A hiker walking along the Annapurna Circuit in front of large mountains, Nepal

A hiker walking along the Annapurna Circuit in front of large mountains, Nepal

The Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world. This hike runs for 108 miles over some of the tallest mountains on earth. You’ll start in a humid jungle before ascending above the trees into the mountains, topping out at a breathless 17,770 feet on the Thorong La Pass. Along the trail you’re rewarded with unforgettable views, surrounded by picturesque peaks. It doesn’t get any better than this.

5. South West Coast Path, UK

A wooden signpost by the sea along the South West Coast Path, Devon, England, UK

A wooden signpost by the sea along the South West Coast Path, Devon, England, UK

The South West Coast Path is England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath, stretching an impressive 630 miles through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset. Although it’s an easy hike in terms of steepness and elevation, but does require endurance - it takes between seven and eight weeks to complete. If you can take that much time off work, you’ll be rewarded with some of the country’s most spectacular coastal, countryside, and moorland views.

Wooden Ships, Plum Guide home in Cornwall, England, UK

Wooden Ships, Plum Guide home in Cornwall, England, UK

6. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

A narrow path leading to Mount Kilimanjaro through green shrubbery, Tanzania

A narrow path leading to Mount Kilimanjaro through green shrubbery, Tanzania

There are countless challenging hikes out there, but if you’re looking for the hardest hike in the world, look no further than the trek up Mt Kilimanjaro - this is mostly due to the altitude, rather than extreme steepness. With a height of 19,340 feet, there’s a lot of elevation gained over the five to nine days you’re climbing, so you’ll have to manage the potential of altitude sickness. But the views from the top are completely worth it - especially at sunrise.

7. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, USA

A dirt path near Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, USA

A dirt path near Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, USA

Yosemite National Park is a fantastic place for hiking, and Half Dome is one of its best spots. To get to the top of the granite outcrop, you’ll take the 17-mile Mist Trail and ascend nearly 4,800 feet. It’s tough (and will take the entire day), but the peak is incredible, offering 360 degree views over the entire national park below. Passing by Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls on the way is a lovely bonus.

Zero to a Hundred, Plum Guide home in California, USA

Zero to a Hundred, Plum Guide home in California, USA

8. Milford Track, New Zealand

A dirt path and a signpost in front of a tall mountain along the Milford Track, New Zealand

A dirt path and a signpost in front of a tall mountain along the Milford Track, New Zealand

Situated on New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Track is often referred to as ‘the finest walk in the world’. This epic 33-mile hike takes in the best of the country’s natural scenery, including lush alpine meadows, sparkling glaciers, clear blue lakes, majestic mountains, and crashing waterfalls - including the misty Sutherland Falls, New Zealand's tallest waterfall. You’ll be pleased to hear that it’s a moderate hike, so you’ll get to enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace.

9. Fisherfields Round, Scotland, UK

A close up of two hikers walking along a dirt path, Scotland, UK

A close up of two hikers walking along a dirt path, Scotland, UK

With such otherworldly landscapes, it’s unsurprising that Scotland is home to some of the best hikes in the world. One of the finest ways to explore the Scottish Highlands is by trekking the Fisherfields Round hike. This is a 19.4 mile loop which takes on the country’s five most remote Munros (mountains that are at least 3,000 feet high). It’s a quintessential Highlands hike, taking you past grassy slopes, bogs, and steep ridges - including the summit of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair at 3,343 feet. We won’t ask you to pronounce that one.

Fallow Deer, Plum Guide home in Scotland, UK

Fallow Deer, Plum Guide home in Scotland, UK

10. The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

Unique rock formations along the The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

Unique rock formations along the The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

This area is renowned for its iconic road trip, but did you know there’s also the option of hiking? The 68 mile-walk showcases the best of Australia’s east coast, at a slower pace. Shadowing the famous Great Ocean Road, the track offers panoramic views from headlands, deserted beaches, and forests home to koalas and wallabies. The trail runs through Great Otway and Port Campbell national parks, before ending at the famous Twelve Apostles limestone stacks. If you visit between June and September, you may even catch migrating humpback whales offshore.

11. Lycian Way, Turkey

A backpacker hiking along mountains on the Lycian Way trail, Turkey

A backpacker hiking along mountains on the Lycian Way trail, Turkey

The Lycian Way is undoubtedly one of the most incredible hikes in the world, especially if you’re interested in Greek, Roman, and Christian history. This trail runs for 365-miles along Turkey’s southern Tekke Peninsula from Fethiye to Antalya. Trek along footpaths, stone roads, and mule paths, meandering along the coastline as you take in views of luscious beaches - fancy a pit stop? You’ll also walk through ancient villages and towns, and past historic sites such as the rock tombs of Myra and the seaside amphitheatre of Antiphellos. It’s a history nerd’s dream.

White Mirage, Plum Guide home in Turkey

White Mirage, Plum Guide home in Turkey

12. W Circuit, Chile

People hiking at the base of a mountain at the W Circuit in the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

People hiking at the base of a mountain at the W Circuit in the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Wondering what the most beautiful hike in the world is? Well, Patagonia’s W Circuit is a very strong contender. Located in the Torres del Paine National Park, this Circuit attracts hikers from all around the world for its magnificent views. The trek takes between four and six days to complete, and is much easier than the full Torres del Paine ‘O Circuit’ - and the views aren’t any less incredible. The track takes you through three iconic landmarks of the national park: Valle Frances, Base of the Towers, and Glacier Grey - don't forget the camera.

13. Halltal Salt Mining Trail, Austria

People hiking through mountains in the Alps along the Halltal Salt Mining Trail, Tyrol, Austria

People hiking through mountains in the Alps along the Halltal Salt Mining Trail, Tyrol, Austria

If you make your way to Austria, you'll find yourself in one of the very best countries for hiking. The Tyrol region in the Alps is particularly attractive for hikers, with an astonishing 14,900 miles of marked trails. The Halltal Salt Mining Trail is one of the more unique trails, beginning at the Halltal valleys - famous for their salt mines which have existed since the 13th century. The hike weaves through the Alpine landscape, past attractions including the Bergkapelle chapel and the Ladhütten huts.

High Life, Plum Guide home in Austria

High Life, Plum Guide home in Austria

14. Kungsleden, Sweden

A person hiking through snowy mountains along the Kungsleden trail, Sweden

A person hiking through snowy mountains along the Kungsleden trail, Sweden

Covering 270 miles of Sweden’s Lapland region, Kungsleden (or the King’s Trail) is an epic hike taking you through a vast Arctic landscape. You'll find yourself in an environment filled with breathtaking mountain passes, flower-filled forests, green meadows, and glacial valleys. The whole trek usually takes a month, but as it’s broken into sections, you can tailor the length of your hike to your liking. We recommend hiking in August and September, for the best chance of seeing the dramatic aurora borealis.

15. Tour du Mont Blanc (Stage 7), Switzerland

A hiker standing by a lagoon in front of snow-capped mountains along the Tour du Mont Blanc, Switzerland

A hiker standing by a lagoon in front of snow-capped mountains along the Tour du Mont Blanc, Switzerland

The Tour du Mont Blanc is an ambitious, 106-mile hike passing through Switzerland, France, and Italy. It can take 11 or 12 days to complete, so if you’re looking for a shorter trip, Stage 7 of the hike is the one for you - complete it in a day, and be on your way. This stage runs between La Fouly and Champex Lac in the Valais area of Switzerland, with views to be captured around every corner. La Fouly is a breathtaking valley, with views of the surrounding Alps. Hike through wildflower-filled meadows, and finish in the picturesque lakeside village of Champex Lac.

Surprise Me, Plum Guide home in Switzerland

Surprise Me, Plum Guide home in Switzerland

16. Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand

A view of green mountains and a blue lagoon from the Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand

A view of green mountains and a blue lagoon from the Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand

New Zealand has so many out-of-this-world hikes that it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one - which is why this is the second on this prestigious list. The Queen Charlotte Track is particularly spectacular, stretching 45 miles through the native bush, forests, and coastal scenery. This leisurely trek starts at Ship Cove, a significant place in the country’s history (this is where the first interactions between local Māori and the European crew of Captain James Cook’s ships took place).

17. Rio Grande Trail, USA

A close up of moss-covered rocks with a stream from the Roaring Fork River along the Rio Grande Trail, USA

A close up of moss-covered rocks with a stream from the Roaring Fork River along the Rio Grande Trail, USA

Starting from the ski resort town of Aspen, the Rio Grande Trail is a popular hike following the Roaring Fork River. Covering 42 miles, it’s an easy hike which traverses a rich mix of terrains. Walk through spruce forests and ranchlands backed by jagged red mountains, keeping your eyes open for bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons. Don’t forget to pack some lunch, as there are numerous scenic picnic spots along the way.

Woodsage, Plum Guide home in Aspen, USA

Woodsage, Plum Guide home in Aspen, USA

18. The Jordan Trail, Jordan

A close up of hiker's footprints in the desert along The Jordan Trail, Jordan

A close up of hiker's footprints in the desert along The Jordan Trail, Jordan

This ambitious, 420-mile trail covers the length of Jordan, from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. While you do pass through dramatic deserts, the landscape is much more diverse than you'd expect - make your way through forested hills, villages, and towns, including the Lost City of Petra, the towering mountains of Wadi Rum, and the turquoise waters of the Red Sea.

19. Caminito del Rey, Spain

A small bridge between two large cliffs along the Caminito del Rey, Spain

A small bridge between two large cliffs along the Caminito del Rey, Spain

One of the best hikes in the world for thrill-seekers is the Caminito del Rey, just an hour’s drive from Malaga. Although the trail is only five miles long, it takes roughly three to four hours to complete - it’s full of hanging footbridges and wooden walkways sticking out of sheer rock faces. If that doesn’t sound hair-raising enough, there’s even a glass balcony so you can see just how far you might fall if you slipped. Not for the faint-hearted, this one.

A Swirl Of Vermillion, Plum Guide home in Malaga, Spain

A Swirl Of Vermillion, Plum Guide home in Malaga, Spain

20. Whale Trail, South Africa

A wooden boardwalk by the beach at the De Hoop Reserve along the Whale Trail, South Africa

A wooden boardwalk by the beach at the De Hoop Reserve along the Whale Trail, South Africa

June through to November is the best time to head out onto the Whale Trail. Hundreds of endangered southern right whales gather to breed and calf off the shore of De Hoop Reserve, making it one of the best whale-watching experiences in the world. The 33-mile trail takes you through native shrubland, past dramatic golden cliffs, and over white sandy beaches. You can even swap your boots for fins and go snorkelling at Stilgat Bay.

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