You love the outdoors, getting lost in nature, hiking through cool mountain mists and stopping at verdant pools. Good news: many of the world’s most popular vacation destinations are also perfect places to stop and take a hike.
Even luckier? Some of the top hikes around the world are also some of the best places to which to plan a vacation. With go-today at your side, you can experience some of the most beautiful terrains on Planet Earth. Whether your goal is to bask in the tropic sun or experience cool northern climes, you can find the perfect adventure-friendly vacation destinations here.
Read on for the top five hiking experiences you need to put on your bucket list now, along with information about duration of the hike, total distance, the best time to go and any other details you need to get the most out of these splendid natural areas.
1. The High Fens Natural Reserve
Best time to go: Summer
Belgium is beautiful, cultured, foodie-tastic and rich with history. One of our favorite outdoor destinations is the High Fens Natural Reserve, the largest natural reserve in the country. It is located in the hills, nested between the Ardennes and Eifel highlands. The terrain varies from paved areas to wooden bridges to rugged wild trails. Elevation changes transport you through forests and to the top of vistas, where you can view the sweeping hills as they roll into the distance. You can choose to do an out and back for a few hours or can take one of the loops that wind through the area and constitute entire day hikes (with castle viewing and places to stop for lunch along the way).
NOTE: The highlands tend to be cold and misty. Pack your rain gear and warm jackets.
2. The Otter Trail
Location: Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Distance: 45 kilometers (~28 miles)
Time: 5 days total
Best time to Go: Between April and October
South Africa is a cultural haven. While influenced by the Dutch, who left a mixed mark on the country, it is a wonderful country to visit in order to take in some of the most beautiful outdoor areas characteristic of this continent, which is mysterious to many. The Otter Trail is one of the best ways for nature lovers to experience this beauty up close, a 5-day trail that includes overnight stays with delicious meals along the way.
Because it is a difficult hike, age restrictions dictate that you must be between 12 and 65 years. Be sure to bring lots of food, water and layers to account for cool mornings and hot days. Coming in spring or summer will ensure you can enjoy the beautiful wildflowers that bloom along the way and it will be hot enough to enjoy the many river dips you will encounter on the trail.
3. The Inter Village Trek
Location: Munduk, Bali
Distance: 15 kilometers (~9.3 miles)
Time: 5-7 hours
Best time to go: Between April and October
A land of mysterious culture, age-old myth, beautiful ruins and the terraced rice paddies: Bali. If you enjoy hiking in tropical climes, this is the perfect destination for you. Munduk is not a single trail, but an area that contains about a dozen trails, all of which are perfect for a day hike. One of the most beautiful and culturally rich, however, is the Inter Village Trek. It takes you past multiple Balinese villages, viewing the biggest Banyan tree in Bali and gorgeous spreading rice terraces along the way.
When you come, bring shorts and tees to hike in as well as sunblock and bug spray. While you may not always need the latter, some parts of the jungle do get quite thick with bugs. While Bali is gorgeous all year, the best times to visit are between April and October, which is less likely to be rainy.
4. Xemxija Heritage Trail
Location: Xemxija, Malta
Distance: 10 kilometers (~6.2 miles)
Time: 3-4 hours
Best time to go: Spring and fall
The Romans are practically synonymous with building roads. Their empire-united skills didn’t stop at the mainland, either. Malta, one of the Mediterranean’s jewel-like islands, is no exception. The Roman Road, also known as the Xemxija Heritage Trail, stretches from Xemxija to Qawra/Bugibba and displays a still-functional road scattered with ruins, small homes built into hillsides and tombs. Throughout you’ll view glimpses of the sea and bay, scrubby hillsides lush with sweet-smelling herbs and burbling brooks.
The Mediterranean Sea is beautiful at almost any time of year. However, winter isn’t the ideal time for this hike. Visit during the spring or fall when the weather will be warm and inviting. Always bring layers in preparation for cool mornings and evenings, but plan for hot weather even as the seasons turn.
5. Pigeon & Love Trails
Location: Cappadocia, Turkey
Distance: 17 kilometers (~10.5 miles)
Time: 3.5 – 5 hours
Best time to go: Spring and fall
Another of the world’s natural wonders, Cappadocia is notable for its strange and towering mushroom formations. Soft volcanic rocks that eroded away formed and left stems that now support point caps. Trails wind throughout the area, giving you spectacular views of both the odd formations as well as entire cities built into rocks … now ruins. Be sure to learn about the cultural history of the area; as one of the earliest sites where Christianity took root, it has a storied past. The Pigeon & Love trails are two spectacular options, winding through some of the most impressive formations.
Turkey is another beautiful Mediterranean destination, but that means its climate does vary quite a bit. The best time to visit is in spring and fall, when skies are clear and the weather isn’t too hot or too snowy. Assuming you visit during warmer times of year, bring hot-weather clothes and be sure to take lots of water with you when you hit the trail.
No matter where you are going in the world, you can always find a good place to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail with water, map and camera in hand. However, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get there affordably. That’s why traveling with go-today is such a smart move. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your hike, your trip and your horizon-broadening experience.