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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The World’s Best Hiking Vacations

There are countless reasons why you might wish to enjoy a hiking vacation. Boasting fresh air, wide, open spaces, and the promise of adventure, these kinds of getaways are popular with anyone who’s ever wanted to experience the elements and view the world as it was always supposed to be explored. Indeed, a hiking vacation is your opportunity to travel to places you might never have considered before; to not only leave the beaten track, but to carve your own pathway across the globe, and greet a myriad of species that are otherwise hidden to the urban world.

On a hiking vacation, you won’t just see the world, but breathe its trails, peaks, and valleys. Choosing destinations from around the globe, you’ll have your pick of new landscapes and terrains, and have the chance to bear witness to different cultures, and extreme beauty you’d otherwise miss.

On a hiking vacation, the only way is forward.

Packing for your dream hiking vacation
Of course, prior to embarking upon your next great exploit, you’re going to need to ensure you’re properly prepared. Researching your route, organizing your travel documents, and alerting friends and family to your travel plans will become integral to such preparations; mapping out the trails and paths you’re going to be taking is all part of the adventure, after all.

You’ll also need to pack provisions and equipment for the duration of your hike, taking the terrain, weather conditions, and your personal preferences into consideration. Where are you going? What will you be seeing and doing? What is the climate like? Understanding the ins and outs of your journey is essential for packing sufficiently.

Comfortable footwear is, of course, a must, and you’ll want to include light layers, waterproof clothing, and emergency provisions in your sturdy backpack. Compression wear is particularly important, as it’s designed to complement the body as it undertakes, and engages with a series of physical challenges. Compression socks for women and men, which cover from ankle height to knee, will ensure feet, ankle, and knee joints are correctly supported as you navigate steep inclines and undulating terrain. The rest of your body could do with a similar level of care and attention, with a vest, leggings, and t-shirts in a similar material and design.

So, where are we going next?
The world is blessed with countless locations you’ll long to hike, explore, and fall deeply in love with. From deep, dark forests and rugged mountains, to rolling meadows and countryside, we’ve compiled a list of just five destinations that every walker and hiker should experience at least once; the rest of the adventure is up to you.

The Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of Switzerland’s largest nature conservation areas. Its name, which translates as ‘many waterfalls,' should give you some idea of the terrain you can expect to see during your hiking vacation. A deep, winding valley, Lauterbrunnen boasts 72 magnificent waterfalls, dazzling lakes, stunning glaciers and beautiful alpine meadows, seemingly endless rugged peaks, and impressive rock faces. Those hiking its length will experience true, natural beauty, while breathing the invigorating fresh mountain air.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
With gorgeous peaks, thick green forests, and gushing streams, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is yours to explore. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the park is the largest wilderness area in the Eastern United States. As you’d expect, this landscape teems with wildlife, as countless species of trees, flowering plants, and birds call it home. The area’s history is rich and interesting too; considered the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indians, there are remnants of times gone by peppered along the park’s trails.

Te Araroa, New Zealand
Te Araroa is known as New Zealand’s Trail, cutting as it does through the country’s heart. Those setting off on this particular adventure will experience the wonders of New Zealand’s magnificent landscape, including gorgeous beaches, alpine peaks and ridges, ancient volcanoes, rolling farmland, thick forests, and bustling cities. If you’re only able to experience the country once, it must be from the vantage point of Te Araroa, which is Māori for ‘the long pathway.' Clocking up almost 2,000 miles Te Araroa is an impressive hike – to say the least. Many hikers have taken five months, or more, to complete the trek and experience its true beauty.

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail, Japan
Crisscrossing Japan’s largest peninsular, the Kii Hanto, the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail is an increasingly popular way for adventurous travelers to experience this achingly gorgeous country. Once trodden by noblemen and emperors, these ancient, sacred trails became designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004; their historical importance rivaled only by the trails’ breathtaking beauty. Those embarking upon their own pilgrimage will pass through deep forests, where shrines, ancient temples, and traditional villages mark the way. There really is no better way to experience Japanese culture.

The Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa
Africa is a continent renowned for its wildlife. The Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa is a veritable paradise for those keen to spot a variety of mammals, birds, and plant species. Hiking its trails is perhaps the best way to experience this wild, rugged landscape. Stretching over 600 miles from the Eastern Cape Province, this mountainous trail boasts reserves, flat pastures, historic Zulu battlegrounds, rushing rivers and streams, and luscious wetlands, which are best viewed as part of an organized bush trail. Trips can be as strenuous, or leisurely as hikers intend, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities to drink in this spectacular landscape.

Hiking is one of life’s great pleasures, and a fantastic way to experience the world and all it has to offer. Where will you wander off to and explore next?

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  1. Switzerland or New Zealand sound equally good!

  2. This really appeals to me. I'd love to hike The Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland and ejoy the waterfalls. I would never want to have to suffer a cruise - I want to be outside doing things!