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Best Places to Hike: The Top 10 Around the World

One of the best ways to see the world is by looking down from above, and these high-altitude destinations give access to some of the most jaw-dropping vantage points on Earth. In addition to breathtaking natural vistas and challenging terrain, all of these routes offer stylish lodges that provide a pampering home base and fascinating cultural excursions that can be combined with outdoor activities to create a robust itinerary. For adventurous and in-the-know travelers looking for walks filled with wonder, these are Indagare’s top recommendations for the best places to hike.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a hiking trip to one of these destinations. Our travel specialists can match you with the right experience, based on your interests and ability.

Italian Dolomites

In the Dolomites, an abundance of hiking, rock climbing and via ferrata routes all reveal sweeping views of the mountains and surrounding valleys. For prime access to the Alta Badia region, which is best during the summer months, Indagare recommends staying at Rosa Alpina, where your days can be spent exploring with the guidance of the property’s local mountaineers and indulging in one of the hotel’s four restaurants, including the two-Michelin starred St. Hubertus.

In Indagare’s Words: “There is a reason that many of the best free climbers in the world are based in Italy’s Dolomites: the rose-colored, jagged mountains are surrounded by crystal lakes and you can hike to log cabins for incredible meals prepared from local ingredients by families who have lived in the region for generations.”
~ Indagare’s Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley

Related: Insider Journey: The Ranch Dolomites

American West

In the warmer months, ski destinations like Aspen and Telluride offer picture-perfect hiking trails through dramatic wilderness. Active travelers can also experience the West to its fullest with a road trip between multiple national parks. Here, Indagare can arrange a variety of special experiences to enhance your hiking excursions, including a two-night stay in a house boat on Lake Powell, hot air ballooning and sunset picnics complete with Champagne at a secret lookout point. 

In Indagare’s Words: “Hiking in the West reminds you how truly beautiful America is. Up in the mountains, everything is so peaceful and quiet. All you can hear is the rush of a nearby creek and the birds moving through the pine trees. The air is crisp and clean, and it really brings you back to your center.”
~
 Indagare’s Elizabeth Harvey 

In Indagare’s Words: The American West is so easy to overlook, since it’s in our own backyard. But the landscapes there are just as challenging and just as beautiful as any other natural destination, and there’s simply no better way to see those alien features than by hiking through them.”
~ Indagare’s Colin Heinrich

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: American West Hotels

Bhutan

Many of Bhutan’s key sites are only accessible after a rewarding hike, including the two-hour trek to the iconic Tiger’s Nest temple built into the edge of a mountain, the hike up to the 16th-century monastery Gangtey Goemba and the trails through beautiful terraced farmland in Punakha Valley. After a morning of exercise, Indagare can arrange special cultural experiences like a guided visit to the workshops of sacred incense makers—or return to one of our favorite lodges for an outdoor hot stone bath and massage. 

In Indagare’s Words: “Bhutan truly feels like a magical kingdom and there is no better way to explore its beauty than on foot, hiking through rice fields to monasteries, by fields of wildflowers or up to Tiger’s Nest, the cliff-clinging temple. The range of landscapes and the deeply spiritual people who inhabit them deserve to be met at a slow and steady pace.”
~ Indagare’s Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley

Related: Finding Serenity in Bhutan

Switzerland

The Engadin Valley offers countless picturesque hikes, including the 8,000-feet-high Muottas Muragl, which has blanket-covered benches and inspirational quotes on plaques along the way. Zermatt and its neighboring villages also feature more than 200 miles of scenic trails. In addition to guided and solo hiking excursions, Indagare can arrange paragliding, biking and summer skiing on the Klein Matterhorn, which is open year-round—then, head to Zurich or Geneva for a few days of cultural touring.  

In Indagare’s Words: “Switzerland’s landscapes often feel otherworldly, given the combination of green grass, alpine lakes and magnificent vistas. I especially loved trekking from Interlaken to Harderkulm and soaking in the views from Two Lakes Bridge. A steep hike, with a well-deserved payoff.”
~ Indagare’s Avery Carmichael

Related: What’s New: Stylish Ski Escapes

Nepal

Summiting the planet’s highest mountain surely sits atop the bucket lists of the world’s most avid climbers, but the six-day trek on the Everest Base Camp Trail offers a more manageable (though still undeniably challenging) climb. Nepal is home to eight of the world’s ten largest peaks, and Indagare can arrange private helicopter transfers throughout the country to make an epic journey feel seamless.

In Indagare’s Words: “The landscape, the people, the culture—not to mention sheer exhaustion from strenuous treks at ungodly altitudes—were enough to knock me breathless several times each hour.”
~ Amelia Osborne Scott

Related: The Route to Everest

Morocco

Considered by many to be the most beautiful part of Morocco, the Atlas Mountains allow adventurers to experience a stunning rural landscape dotted with earthen Berber villages. There are opportunities for great hikes and mountain climbs, including a summit of Mount Toubkal, which can be accomplished in an overnight trip. Based at a fairytale palace retreat like Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot, travelers can truly feel as if they have escaped to another world.

In Indagare’s Words: “Blessed with rugged landscapes, snow-capped peaks and verdant countrysides, the Atlas Mountains provide a wonderful window into rural Moroccan life. Be sure to arrange a hike to take in Morocco’s beautiful scenery from above.”
~ Indagare’s Blair West

Related: Insider Journey: Marrakech Design with Architectural Digest

Peru

Peru’s Sacred Valley offers lush landscapes, cloud forests and hiking trails past Incan ruins and rare flora. The legendary Inca Trail offers numerous routes of varying difficulty that wind up into the Andes and culminate in a sunrise arrival at Machu Picchu. When you want to give your feet a rest, Indagare can also arrange exploration through the stunning Peruvian landscape on horseback or a glamorous 1920’s-style train.

In Indagare’s Words: “My sunrise hike up Apu Machu Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the Machu Picchu ruins, was the perfect way to round out my Machu Picchu experience. After having spent the previous afternoon touring the ruins, I loved hiking up into the clouds to get a different perspective on this magical place.”
~ Indagare’s Rose Allen

In Indagare’s Words: “The rustling quinoa and corn fields served as the perfect soundtrack while trekking through the Andean landscape. Red clay in my shoes, crisp, cool air in my lungs, I hummed the prayer to Patchamama that I had learned from a local Shaman the day before. There is a reason these traditions have lived on: the spiritual significance of this place is undeniable. The valley is truly sacred.”
~
 Indagare’s Elise Bronzo

Related: Dealing with Altitude Sickness 

Mount Kilimanjaro

The tallest peak on the African continent offers an incredible diversity of landscapes—from tropical to alpine to Arctic—in just one week’s trek. Afterwards, return to the ground and head to the Serengeti for an unforgettable safari at one of Indagare’s favorite luxury lodges.

In Indagare’s Words: “From start to finish, the untouched views will take your breath away. As you journey through several climate zones, you will watch the landscape change accordingly.”
~ Indagare’s Jessie Trizano

Related: In Images: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Patagonia

The Base las Torres hike, an 11-mile extravaganza rising more than 2,500 feet to the base of stunning granite towers overlooking a glacial pool, allows climbers to immerse themselves in the energy and power of Patagonia’s surreal landscapes. While based at a dreamy lodge like Awasi Patagonia, travelers can also venture out on horseback or in 4×4 vehicles with a private guide for totally customized adventures.

In Indagare’s Words: “During my trip to Chile, I was blown away by Patagonia’s bright blue lakes, pristine valleys and dramatic craggy mountains… but what stayed with me after the fact was not the picturesque topography but the vast, weird and wonderful emptiness of the landscape.”
~ Indagare’s Marley Lynch

Related: Indagare’s Favorite Chilean Patagonia Excursions

New Zealand

An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, New Zealand has an abundance of treks throughout its unbelievably scenic landscape. Particularly mind-blowing paths include the Queenstown trails surrounded by lakes and framed by the Southern Alps and the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike through volcanic landscapes in North Island, where you can also enjoy scenic helicopter tours, fly-fishing lessons and tastings at local vineyards.

In Indagare’s Words: “Hiking in New Zealand is special because it feels like you’re charting unknown territory. One moment you’re carving your way through lush forests, and the next, you’re standing on top of a jagged mountain, overlooking the unspoiled pastures below.”
~ Indagare’s Caroline Barry 

In Indagare’s Words: “Framed by the famous Southern Alps, facing massive Lake Wakitipu and surrounded by other lakes, stunning rivers, and the saw-toothed Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown occupies what is arguably New Zealand’s most scenic setting.”
~
 Indagare’s Simone Girner

Related: Top 10: Road Trips

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a hiking trip to one of these destinations. Our travel specialists can match you with the right experience, based on your interests and ability.

– Nikki Erlick on August 20, 2018

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