Walking is a great way to explore a place. By slowing the pace while we travel, we have more time to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the destinations we visit. Unhurried, we notice the little details and find it easier to scratch beneath the surface. If you’re looking to walk more during your next tip, try these ideas for size. Here are Mundana’s picks for the world’s best walks.
Iceland: hike to Svartifoss waterfall
While you need only to summon up the energy to walk across a car park to visit some of Iceland’s waterfalls, others are off the beaten track. Svartifoss is one of those that takes a little more effort. Basalt columns flank this 20 metre high single drop waterfall. It is one of the most scenic in the country. The hike to reach it follows a well established trail. Along the 1.5km trail, you’ll pass Þjófafoss (Thieves’ Falls), Hundafoss (Dogs’ Falls) and Magnúsarfoss (the Falls of Magnus). Though a little steep in places, it’s not too challenging. The reward is a breathtaking view and a greater sense of accomplishment.
Peru: the Inca trail
Peru features on many a bucket list, and rightly so. While high altitude trekking isn’t for everyone, if you have the stamina and the level of fitness required to hike the Inca Trail, then you should do so. This is one of the world’s best walks and it’s not hard to figure out why this qualifies as an epic adventure. A steep path follows the route the Incas would once have followed. You’ll feel impact of the thin air at Dead Woman’s Pass, which at 4215 metres above sea level is its highest point. But when you reach Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, and take in the view of enigmatic Machu Picchu, it will definitely be worth it.
Spain: the Camino de Santiago
Though many who choose to walk the Camino de Santiago are pilgrims, you don’t have to be religious to do so. For some it’s a cultural journey, while for others the experience is a spiritual one. First, you need to choose your route. Seven routes converge on Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral, which houses the tomb of St James, one of Jesus’ apostles. The shortest is the Camino de Finisterre, at 71 miles, while the longest is Via de la Plata, a 621 mile trek that begins in Sevilla. You can attempt the Camino at any time of year, though snow can impact the highest sections during the winter months.
Japan: the Nakasendo
The Nakasendo is a 534 km long hiking route that will enable you to see a different side to Japan. It begins at the Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto and ends at the Nihonbashi Bridge in Tokyo. Some stretches are cobbled, while others are dirt paths. They lead past rice paddies, along mountain ridges and through cedar woodland. Among the many highlights are Matsumoto Castle and the Torii-touge Pass, which boasts a Shinto shrine at its summit and dreamy views of Mount Ontake. Overnight along the way in quaint villages such as Tsumago and Narai.
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The USA: Antelope Canyon
This jaw-dropping sandstone slot canyon is one of the most photogenic locations in the United States and one of the world’s best walks. Measuring about 30 miles long, whether you intend to hike all or some of it you’ll need a guide. The number of permits issued each day is strictly limited so reserve as far in advance as possible to ensure you aren’t disappointed. Upper Antelope Canyon is nicknamed “The Crack” and tends to be the most popular. Its wide, flat opening creates easy access. Meanwhile in summer, a shaft of light illuminates the floor during the middle of the day, which will appeal to photographers.
Australia: Maria Island
Often, visitors to Australia overlook Tasmania, but that’s a pity as it offers some of the finest scenery in the country. Take a road trip along the east coast and hop on a ferry to Maria Island. The Darlington Probation Station once housed convicts, but today you’re more likely to see wombats or kangaroos nibbling on the grass. Stroll over to the Painted Cliffs, a dramatic coastal overhang that has been sculpted by the waves. Time your visit for low tide, if you can, so that you can fully access the rock platform. Bishop and Clerk is a more challenging 11km hike to dolerite columns involving steep stretches and rocky terrain.
No matter which way you look at it, summiting Kilimanjaro involves an arduous multi-day trek. Though there are multiple routes, some harder than others, the increase in altitude to reach the top of Africa’s highest mountain is no walk in the park. Even elite athletes are sometimes beaten by the thin air. Choose from Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit and Umbwe. Lemosho is one of the most beautiful, Marangu is less tough. Umbwe is the shortest at only 23 miles, but steep, while follow the Northern Circuit and you’ll rack up 56 miles.
Italy: the Cinque Terre
Visitors to northern Italy should plan to spend at least a day exploring the Cinque Terre, one of the most breathtaking stretches of coastline in the country. Trains and boats shuttle back and forth between the five fishing villages. However, walking either the high or low trail that also connects them is recommended if you really want to do the area justice. You’ll need a Cinque Terre card to access two segments in peak season, though they’re free during the winter months. Allow five to six hours to walk the entire 11km route and check before you set out as sections of the trail are sometimes closed for maintenance.
Want to take one of the world’s best walks with Mundana? Give us a call or send us a message and let us help you plan your next hiking or walking holiday.
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