Milford Track, New Zealand Hiking the Milford Track, New Zealand – Image courtesy of James Frankham/New York Times

Five Great Walking & Hiking Trails

Discover five of the world’s best walking trails – perfect for couples who have a passion for walking the great outdoors.

Many places can only be truly appreciated by walking – for many, discovery through walking rewards the walker not only with breathtaking scenery but also a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Follow the path below to some of the world’s best walking trails…

Walking the Yorkshire Dales, England

The Dales Way, Yorkshire, England

Explore the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in north-west England, a timeless land of rolling hills, waterfalls and quaint villages.

The Dales Way is an easy and great walk – peaking at 519m – where you’re likely to see more sheep than people.

The path follows the River Wharfe for much of the way, starting from Ilkley in west Yorkshire (near the haunting moors made famous by Emily Brontë) and weaves through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, over moors, across limestone pavements, through valleys and alongside rivers to the shores of Lake Windermere in the Lake District National Park, home of the poet Wordsworth.

The walk is best done in easy stages, from 17km to 27km per day, and is the perfect introduction for first-time long distance walkers.

Read more about walking the Dales Way, Yorkshire

Walking the Milford Track, New Zealand

The Milford Track, New Zealand

Little has changed since New Zealand’s Milford Track was described as “the finest walk in the world” by the London Spectator in 1908.

The track winds up steep mountains, along narrow valleys, across suspension bridges, beside torrential waterfalls and through the lush vegetation of Fiordlands National Park, a World Heritage area.

From Lake Te Anau, a river walk through beech forests and open meadows leads to a series of challenging switchback ascents to 1073m at McKinnon Pass, the hike’s highest point, providing spectacular sunset views. The path descends to Roaring Burn and the three-leap, 579m Sutherland Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in the world.

The last leg of the hike descends alongside the Arthur River to finish at Milford Sound, where a ferry ride takes you to buses that will shuttle you back to Te Anau or Queenstown.

Read more about walking the Milford Track

Walking the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

The Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Located in the centre of Switzerland, the Bernese Oberland is one of the most spectacular hiking areas in the Alps.

Walk along ancient footpaths beneath snowy peaks and across green meadows, enjoy spectacular views of ancient blue lakes and then, in the evening, savour traditional Swiss alpine fare, such as rosti and gesnetzeltes, in quaint alpine villages.

Hiking is a national pastime in Switzerland and every village is posted with yellow signs indicating wanderwegs (hiking paths) in every direction.

Some of the best hiking in the Bernese Oberland is found in the Jungfrau region. Here, the infamous trio of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau loom over pastoral meadows, quaint chalets and a number of well-known resort villages, including Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren. Nearby cities such as Bern, Luzern and Zürich can be easily reached.

Read more about walking the Bernese Oberland

Walking the Cinque Terre, Italy

The Cinque Terre, Italy

Walk the Cinque Terre and discover the legendary Sentiero Azzuro, one of Italy’s most beautiful walking trails, linking the five villages of the Cinque Terre since the 15th century.

Once known as Via Dell'Amore (lover’s way), the centuries-old stone path twists and winds along the rugged coastline, through picturesque olive groves, terraced vineyards and pine forests, with breathtaking views out over the Mediterranean.

The villages, a few hours walk from one another, are suspended high on steep mountain slopes above tiny harbours packed with colourful fishing boats. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Read more about walking the Cinque Terre

Walking the Peloponnese, Greece

The Peloponnese, Greece

Walk the scenic southern Peloponnese of Greece. If you choose to walk in spring, the southern Peloponnese turns into a carpet of flowers, with wild iris, orchids and anemone as well as daisies, spurge and valarium.

In autumn, graceful cyclamen, snowdrops and several species of crocuses abound throughout the year, and wild herbs such as oregano, basil and thyme scent the hillsides.

Stroll along tracks through olive and citrus groves, and at higher altitudes (above Anavriti), through stands of black pine. Spot various birds including buzzards and goshawks, bee-eaters and kingfishers, as well as butterflies including the two-tailed pasha. Various lizards, tortoises and the occasional badger may also cross your path.

Read more about walking the Peloponnese, Greece

Latest update: Top Five Walking Trails: 4 April, 2019

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