Traveling around the world is the dream of many people who crave adventure and are attracted to the cultures of far off places. Every person has their own unique bucket list and specific ideas of what a good vacation entails, but if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, what better way to see different countries around the globe than by walking through them? Hiking trails are abundant throughout the seven continents, and from Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain to the West Coast Trail in Canada, you’re sure to find one or two that will motivate you to lace up your hiking boots and set out on the journey of a lifetime. Here are a few top choices to get you started on your search for your next big adventure.
Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain isn’t one of the most difficult hikes you’ll come across when compared to many others around the world, but it’s always a popular suggestion when it comes to treks because of its history and symbolism. Thousands of pilgrims make the 500-mile journey a year and have been doing so for centuries as a means of spiritual cleansing, personal reflection or whatever each individual’s reason is for doing so. Its variety of starting points and accommodations along the way make this a family friendly trail.
The Narrows, United States
Situated in Zion National Park in the state of Utah is The Narrows, a 16-mile hike with red canyon walls soaring high into the sky that is sure to wow anyone who ventures down its path. Hikers will need to take a different approach to this expedition as a good portion of their walk will actually be in the Virgin River with waist-high waters in some places.
Sentiero Azzurro, Italy
The Sentiero Azzurro 7-mile footpath is the most favored in Cinque Terre, Italy. Also known as the Blue Trail, walking along this route will allow you to visit all five charming villages of the region. While most won’t find it particularly challenging, the sweeping views of the Ligurian coastline, towns and vineyards on the path are plenty reason to draw in numerous visitors a year.
Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand
Hiking the full 30 miles around New Zealand’s Tongariro Northern Circuit will give you a lifelong memory of trekking around an active volcano. The varying terrain you’ll come across will include craters, explosion pits, lava flows and steaming vents. Make sure to have your camera ready for an up close and personal shot of the beautiful Emerald Lakes, Blue Lake and mountaintop views.
The Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Covering the highly secluded route in the regulated region of Bhutan will make you one of the most accomplished hikers in the world. The strict policies and difficult terrain ensure that not just anyone can take on the 200-mile Snowman Trek. If you are one of the lucky few, you will encounter a world virtually untouched by technology with its isolated villages and Buddhist monasteries all set against a constant mountain peak backdrop.
West Coast Trail, Canada
One of the world’s most challenging hiking trails was once used as a means of rescuing shipwrecked survivors on the coastline of Vancouver Island. The West Coast Trail in Canada is frequently named one of the best trails on the planet despite being known for its rough landscape and abundant wildlife that inhabit the nearby woods (including bears, wolves and cougars). During the approximate 50-mile hike, you will navigate wooden ladders, bridges, steep slopes and waterways to get to your final destination.
Whether its the religious history of Camino de Santiago de Compostela that intrigues you or the thrill of escaping the snares of ferocious creatures on the West Coast Trail, hiking your way around the world will not disappoint.
Tiffany Olson lives in California and loves all things travel and adventure related. Her love of travel was ignited and inspired after 7 1/2 years of working at an international hostel in San Diego. She has been to Mexico and South America and has Europe on the top of her list for her next travel adventure.