Best treks worldwide: 6 most popular trekking holidays

Jul 21, 2022 BY Luke Rees

What are the best treks worldwide? If you ask 10 different hikers you’ll get 10 different answers as we all have our favourites. So we have gone for the 6 most popular trekking holidays, choosing those that have the biggest draw in each continent.

Everest Base Camp Trek image by Himalayan exploration Treks

While the treks below may not be the best for solitude and escaping the crowds they are all very popular with good reason. And even though thousands may complete the trek – or parts of it for longer ones – every year you’ll not be toe to heel with other walkers the entire route.

Best treks worldwide

These treks are all popular with both keen hikers and those wishing to do a one off trek. This is reflected by tour operators, such as KE Adventure, who offer five of the six treks. As they are the most most popular trekking holidays you’ll often have to book in advance to secure a spot as they allow limited numbers.

Mont Blanc Circular Trek one of the best treks worldwide Wikimedia CC image by Mtpaley

There are many options for all of the below. Choose from guided to self guided or going with a local guide or an international tour operator. Both have their benefits and drawbacks and it is worth noting that you are not allowed on some of these treks without a guide or permit.

6 most popular trekking holidays

In no particular order, the best treks worldwide are:

Inca Trail 40 km, 4-5 days (Peru)

Machu Picchu has been the cover shot of so many travel magazines and books that is has probably inspired more people to travel than any other destination. The Inca trail consists of three different routes that all take you to the infamous lost city of the Incas. The view as you pass through the Sun Gate is as breathtaking as the steep path.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu one of the best treks worldwide Pexels royalty free image

The trail begins in Cusco at 2,800 metres and climbs to 4,200m at ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’. There are Incan ruins at Intipata, , Wiñaywayna and Phuyupatamarca with Incan tunnels and terraces, some of which are covered in vegetation and others exposed. Trekking a hand carved pass through the jungle is an amazing experience.

Mount Kilimanjaro 62 km, 5-8 days (Tanzania)

Reaching 5,895 m Mount Kilimanjaro is the top of Africa. It is one of the highest summits to reach without climbing gear making it one of the most popular trekking holidays. In particular many charities run trips, but it can also be tackled with local Kilimanjaro trekking guides.

most popular trekking holidays worldwide kilimanjaro summit sunrise needpix royalty free image

The season for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is between January to March and June to October. While not technically difficult, due to the steep incline and short acclimatisation periods a high proportion of trekkers turn back before reaching the summit.

Mont Blanc Circuit 160 km, 10-12 days (France, Italy and Switzerland)

The Mont Blanc Massif is the largest mountain range Western Europe and draws hikers from all over the world. Most people begin and end in Chamonix, France and complete the trek in an anti-clockwise direction through the French, Italian and Swiss Alps.

Best beginner treks Mont Blanc Circular Trek in the Alps Flickr image by Heather Cowper

The route passes through verdant green valleys, picturesque remote villages and lays beneath soaring white peaks. For most of the route Mont Blanc is in view and without doubt the 10-12 day Mont Blanc Circuit is one of the most popular trekking holidays worldwide.

Appalachian Trail 3,500 km, 5-7 months (USA)

Following the Appalachian mountains the Appalachian Trail is one of the longest marked hikers only trails in the world. From Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine it crosses Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Best treks worldwide trekking the Appalachian Trail United States Flickr CC image by stannate

Expect steep and rocky terrain which is manageable for experienced hikers. Most people begin in the south and hike north. While thru hiking is popular many people cannot take a six month long holiday so they split it up into sections. One of the best treks worldwide for those looking for a huge challenge.

Everest Base Camp Trek 62 km, 12-14 days (Nepal)

The Everest basecamp trek in Nepal is one of the most iconic treks on the planet. It usually begins in Lukla at 2,845 metres and the altitude steadily increases through remote villages to 5,364 metres at the base camp. Along the way trekkers stay in teahouses (guesthouses) and often hire Sherpa guides and/or porters to make the trek easier.

everest base camp one of the most popular trekking holidays Flickr image by Christopher Michel

The path is dwarfed by stunning views of Himalayan peaks such as Everest, K2 and Lobuche. You’ll also visit Namche Bazzar which is the largest market in the Himalaya and Tengboche the highest temple in the region. Taken slowly with suitable acclimatisation, anyone of moderate fitness can reach the basecamp. If you’re lucky you’ll experience an expedition to the summit.

Abel Tasman Coast Trek 51km, 3-5 days (New Zealand)

This is the only coastal trek on this list of the most popular trekking holidays abound the world. The stunning Abel Tasman National Park is in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. It is considered to be a relatively easy trek and can be completed year round.

NZ trekking holidays: 11 best treks in New Zealand Abel Tasman Trail. flickr CC image by Andrea Schaffer

The landscape is beautiful and the hike takes in rivers, forests, cliffs and beaches as the trail runs along the coast with many dramatic views. You can even kayak some of the route or trying mountain biking along the way. It is considered to be one of the most walked multi-day trails in New Zealand and is popular with both Kiwis and tourists.

Other popular treks worldwide

Of course the above list are not the only popular treks! It was incredibly difficult to narrow this article down to one per continent, however the above stood out in terms of both popularity and notoriety. A few others to consider:

  • South America: Patagonia Circuit in Chile and Argentina, Cidad Perdida in Colombia
  • Africa: Mount Kenya in Kenya, Mount Toubkal in Morocco
  • Europe: Way of St James in France and Spain, South West Coast Path, UK
  • North America: Chilkoot Trail in USA and Canada, Yosemite Half Dome in USA
  • Asia: Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, Great Wall of China in China
  • Oceania: Milford Track in New Zealand, Cradle Mountain in Australia

trekking Cradle mountain in Tasmania, Australia Flickr image by Scott Cresswell

I hope you found this guide to the 6 most popular trekking holidays interesting and inspirational. Do you agree these are the best treks worldwide? Let us know your opinion in the comments below. Check out trekking holidays worldwide for more ideas.

 
 

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