Five of the most scenic treks in the World – Trekking is one of travel’s great experiences, an opportunity to explore beautiful landscapes at their unfettered best. Glacial landscapes, rewarding peaks and remote communities are the rewards for those willing to put up with the worst nature and their walking boots can throw at them. So for those of us itching to explore, here is my choice of the best treks in the world…
1. Inca Trail, Peru
The four day Inca Trail trek is the most popular trek in the world by a fair distance. If the stunning Andes Mountain scenery alone weren’t enough, the Inca Trail takes you on a route that culminates in the majestic Aztec ruins of Machu Picchu. On the Machu Picchu trek, the first view of the iconic attraction through the famed Sun Gate is an image that will stay with you for a long time to come. Due to its popularity, the Inca Trail now operates a permit system, so it is always worth considering the alternative Lares Valley and Salkantay routes.
2. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Kili is Africa’s highest peak and is a serious week-long undertaking. At 19,336ft it is pretty much the tallest accessible peak in the world. The trek up and down takes you through 5 climate zones rising from cultivated agricultural lands at the base, through rainforest, alpine meadows, desert and finally snow fields. In addition to the challenge of this great peak, there is the allure of wildlife with monkeys, buffalo and leopards occasionally spotted in the lower rainforest zone.
3. Toubkal, Morocco
For Europeans, Toubkal in the High of Morocco is an exotic trek easily within reach by budget airlines. Toubkal itself is Northern Africa’s highest peak and can be reached on a two day return trek from nearby Imlil. The view from the summit of the Atlas Mountains reaching towards the Sahara is majestic but the real highlight are the surrounding valleys dotted with Kasbahs and traditional Berber settlements.
4. Torres Del Paine ‘The W Trek’, Chile
Chances are, those stunning blue ice photos of Patagonia you’ve seen in the travel pages have been taken in the Torres Del Paine National Park. The 4-6 day ‘W trek’ takes in incredible views of glacial landscapes, powder blue lakes rich with glacial deposits and the three dramatic granite towers that give the park its name.
5. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Visitors to Nepal face a difficult choice when it comes to trekking, Annapurna or Everest Base Camp. I recommend Annapurna, as although it doesn’t have the big draw of Everest, it does offer greater diversity of scenery and culture and is cheaper. The 17 to 21 day Annapurna Circuit weaves through the High Himalaya, with overnight stays at charming tea houses and a beguiling array of scenery on offer, from sub-tropical to arid desert.