Choosing among the best treks in the world wasn’t easy. There are many factors such as the difficulty of the trek, the length of the trek, the cost of the trip, the safety factor, the popularity of the trek among tourists, and the beauty of the destination.
Trekking makes you unwind from the hustle and bustle of the modernized world. A good trek is a refreshment to some, while others find an escape to discover the deeper meaning of their lives.
Trekking is good for a person’s mental and physical health.
Here are the top 20 best treks in the world based on popularity, difficulty, and scenic experience.
1.Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal
Annapurna Base Camp is one of Nepal’s oldest trekking routes. It is also considered one of the world’s best scenic treks. Annapurna Base Camp trek is graded ‘moderate’ as there is little to no altitude sickness risk. It is suitable for beginners and experienced trekkers.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek leaves every trekker in awe with the majestic mountains surrounding you throughout the trails.
The trek will take you to the Annapurna Sanctuary, where you will witness the region’s diverse flora and fauna.
The trek’s highlight is reaching the base camp, where you will get a chance to stay the night. Waking up to the magnificent sunrise as it dazzles the Annapurna ranges is a sight you will cherish in your memories forever.
Distance: 110 km
Duration: 11-14 days
Best time: February-April, late-September – December
2.Routeburn Track, New Zealand
Known as “The Great Walk’, the Routeburn Track is the best trek in New Zealand. Located in New Zealand’s South Island, the trail passes through two national parks: Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park.
In this trek, you will traverse through pristine lakes, glimmering waterfalls, and mountainous peaks. It is the best way to experience New Zealand’s backcountry as the trail runs between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys of the Southern Alps. You will be walking through a variety of landscapes throughout the trek.
The trek’s main highlight is reaching the Harris Saddle- the highest point of the walk, which has the best nature views. The Conical Hill view is also splendid as you can see the beautiful sea waves on the distant beach.
The best thing about trekking in the Routeburn Track is it’s suitable for traveling all-year-round. The only challenge is to secure a place among the limited numbers who are allowed at a time.
Distance: 32 km
Duration: 3-5 days
Best time: October – April
3.Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Trekking to the world’s highest base camp is on the bucket list of trekkers and many people around the world.
Everest Base Camp trek is graded as ‘moderate to strenuous.’ It is indeed a real challenge to reach the highest mountain base, located at such a high altitude (5,500 meters and more). You will be acclimatizing in between treks to get used to the high altitude.
It gives a trekker a sense of achievement. Trekking to the Everest Base Camp is not just about the heights and the thrill; it is prevalent for its scenic beauty, the lifestyle, and culture you experience along the way.
You will traverse rivers and multiple suspension bridges with the background of the Himalayas. You will visit the Sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries and learn about the region’s lifestyle, culture, and traditions that are unique in the world.
The 2-3 week trek’s major highlight is reaching the highest point at Kala Patthar (5,545 m). Kala Patthar is a big black rocky hill that rewards you with the best sunrise view showing the panoramic views of Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and many other peaks.
Everest Base Camp will surely make you fall in love with the Himalayas each time you pause to regain your breath.
Distance: 130 km
Duration: 12- 18 days
Best time: Late September – November
4.Inca Trail, Peru
The Inca Trail is a world-famous trekking spot that leads to the UNESCO World Heritage and the world-famous archaeological site, Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail is famous for its original Inca constructions, high mountain passing, and ancient sacred sites. Besides the Machu Picchu, trekking through the rocky paths will show you a fantastic view of the Andes mountains as well. It is said that the royal Incas used the same route of Inca Trails to weave through the Andes Mountains.
The 3-4 days trek is best done from April to October.
However, there is a high chance of getting altitude sickness as you will be trekking above 3,000 meters.
Distance: 43 km
Duration: 3-4 days
Best time: April – October
5.Kailash Circuit, Tibet
Kailash Circuit Trek is one of the most beautiful sacred treks in the Himalayan region and the most challenging treks in the world.
Kailash Trek is highly popular among the pilgrims as there is a belief that it will free them from endless cycles of birth and death. Pilgrims have been trekking to this site for thousands of years. Its importance is added more as the mountain is the source of India’s great rivers Brahmaputra and Indus.
You will meet many pilgrims, be it Buddhists, Hindus, or Jains, who will be chanting prayers and staying firm on their beliefs. It is said that the top of the Kailash mountain is where Lord Shiva meditates. However, climbing the mountain is forbidden.
Walking the trail that encircles the mountain is regarded holy.
Trekking the Kailash Circuit is not as easy as you think. You will be walking on steep paths and difficult passes at high altitudes. You may even be a victim of altitude sickness as you will be ascending to 5,600 meters.
Distance: 52 km
Duration: 1-2 days
Difficulty: Medium – Difficult
Best time: May- October
6. Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Bhutan takes pride in housing one of the most challenging trails in the world- the Snowman Trek. The Snowman Trek is one of the top treks in the world that traverses through the Himalayas between Bhutan and Tibet.
The Snowman trek takes around a month to complete and passes through the peaks and valleys of 11 mountain passes over the Tibet-Bhutan border. You will get to visit Buddhist monasteries and pass through secluded villages.
What makes the trek more challenging is the heavy snow and rain on the trail, so it should be attempted by experienced and physically fit trekkers only.
Completing this trek makes every trekker feel like a champion. Bhutan itself is a beautiful country with outstanding landscapes and rich heritage. However, it is quite expensive to visit as the government has stipulated a compulsory minimum tourist tariff of $200/day.
Distance: 328 km
Duration: 24 days
Best time: October
7. Mount Fuji Japan
Mount Fuji (12,389 ft), Japan’s highest mountain is a splendid place to go for trekking in Japan.
The picturesque Mount Fuji is snow-capped for five months of the year. It is better to trek during the summer as the crater’s hike as there is no snow. The best part of Mount Fuji Trek is the beautiful sunrise views you can witness while standing at a height that makes you feel above the clouds.
The trek is relatively challenging due to its steep ascent, but fear not; beginners can also do it.
Distance: 18.6 km
Duration: 12 hours
Best time: June – September
8. El Camino De Santiago, Spain
El Camino de Santiago has been a pilgrimage site since the 9th century.
The El Camino de Santiago, also known as the ‘Way of St. James’ in English, is a challenging trek for serious trekkers. The trek route leads you to where the remains of St. James the Great were carried from Jerusalem to his final resting place- Santiago de Compostela.
The El Camino de Santiago trek is known to take its explorers on a spiritual journey. Here, you will not only be visiting the pilgrimage sites but will also be passing through some quaint villages (that are hundred years old), monasteries, and vineyards. Not to forget the breathtaking views of the Pyrenees.
One of the cool things about this trek is that you can select from 8 different starting points of the route depending on your interests.
Accommodation options are plentiful throughout the trail, be it budget-friendly or luxury.
After you complete the trek, you will receive a certificate called the ‘Compostela’ from Santiago de Compostela’s pilgrim’s office.
Distance: 150 km
Duration: 30 days
Best time: All-year-round
9. John Muir Trail, USA
The John Muir Trail is the best long-distance trail in California, named after the famous naturalist John Muir. It is renowned as America’s most prominent trail and one of the world’s best treks by various publications.
The trail runs 340 kilometers in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range.
In this trek, you will be passing through six mountain passes. Since the trail is situated between the northern end of Yosemite Valley and the southern summit of Mount Whitley, you will be trekking in popular areas such as Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and Sequoia National Park.
John Muir Trail is a three-week journey where every trekker gets to experience the beautiful valleys and creaks’ wilderness. The majority of the trail is situated above 2,400 meters in elevation, 4000 meters.
You need a trekking permit to trek the area, which can be obtained from the national park before you commence your trek.
Distance: 340 km
Duration: 3 weeks
Best time: July – September
10. Upper Mustang, Nepal
The Upper Mustang is another best trekking destination in the Himalayas. Mustang, known as the forbidden kingdom of Nepal, lies without the nation’s administrative center’s influence. Its Upper Mustang region was prohibited to foreigners till 1991.
The good thing about these prohibitions is that the region has preserved its ancient culture. Its remoteness is still untouched by any type of modernization.
The Upper Mustang’s heritage remains as it was 2000 years ago. Besides the culture and history, you will see snow-capped peaks, wind-carved canyons, and vast deserted valleys.
You will meet the region’s locals and spend the night at homestays, which is an excellent way to experience their lifestyle and customs firsthand.
The Upper Mustang trek is best for adventurers who love history and culture. It is a local way to comprehend the lifestyle of the past centuries and the lifestyle we have now.
Distance: 125 km
Best time: March – April, September – November
11. K2 Base Camp, Pakistan
K2- the world’s second tallest mountain is also known as the Savage Mountain due to the extreme difficulty on its ascent.
K2 is said to be one of the best treks in the world and is also deemed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity as it has the second-highest fatality rate among the world’s highest peaks. The trek is strenuous due to its location and the security issue of the country.
Looking at the brighter side, the K2 base camp trek shows you amazing sceneries throughout the walk. The trek will start by crossing ice rivers and glaciers and lead you to mighty mountains like Paiju, Uli Biaho, Great Trango Tower, and K2.
The best part of the trek is spending the night at Concordia, also called the ‘throne of the mountain gods,’ where you will see beautiful views of the six peaks, including K2. It will be a sight you will never forget in your life.
Distance: 90 km
Duration: 15 days
Best time: June – August
12.Dogon Country, Mali
Dogon Country, popularly known as Pays Dogon, is one of Africa’s most beautiful regions that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trekking in this region can take you around 2 – 10 days in which you will be walking through the lush vegetation as well as the arid plains.
The main highlight of the trek would be visiting the Bandiagara escarpment. Here, you will see old abandoned cliffs being inhabited by the Dogon people. You will also visit the African villages and see the muds huts with carved doors.
You will watch the locals perform masked dances, which is a part of their tradition.
The Dogon country is an excellent place for detours and has numerous villages that will give you an in-depth cultural experience.
Distance: 20 km
Duration: 2-10 days
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Best time: November – January
13. The Long Range Traverse, Canada
The Long Range Traverse is a 35-kilometer trek in the remote backcountry of Gros Morne National Park. It is one of the best treks in Canada.
The Long Range Traverse trek has no marked trails, and you need to rely on advanced map-and-compass navigation. You will face cliffs, swarming black flies, encounter moose, caribou, and black bear. An authentic wilderness experience, isn’t it?
The trails will lead you through the Long Range mountains ending it in Ferry Gulch. The trek will reward you with jaw-dropping landscape scenes that are one in the world. You can also go on a boat ride in the Western Brook Pond and be awed by the fjords.
The Long Range Traverse trek is a complete package to enjoy the abundant wildlife, rare arctic plants and put your photography skills in play.
Distance: 35 km
Duration: 3-4 days
Best time: May – September
14. Cinque Terry, Italy
Cinque Terry in Italy is the best place to trek for beginners.
Cinque Terry has about 48 hiking trails that will take you through the picturesque villages and sparkly beaches. You will be passing by the five major remote villages of Cinque Terry: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. All of these villages have colorful houses along rocky terrain.
Of all the 48 hiking trails, you will only need a special ticket called the ‘Cinque Terre Card’ for Monterosso- Vernazza and Vernazza- Corniglia.
Trekking in the Cinque Terre gives you the chance to indulge in Italian culture and natural beauty. You will get the best of Italian gastronomic delights, all the while hiking amidst the Mediterranean flora and fauna.
Distance: Depends on the trail
Duration: Depends on the trail
Best time: September – October
15.Overland Track, Australia
The Overland Track is the most famous trek in Australia that invites more than nine thousand people each year to trek its rugged wilderness.
Located in Tasmania, the trek runs from Cradle Mountains to the lake St. Clair. You will walk through glacial mountains, temperate rainforests, rivers, and alpine plains.
Since you will be walking within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, you will see several flora and fauna species.
The trek can be completed within 5-6 days, but if you want more, then many renowned side tracks lead to valleys, waterfalls, and especially to the Cradle Mountains and Mount Ossa summit– the tallest mountain in Tasmania.
Distance: 65 km
Duration: 5-6 days
Best time: December – April
16. Mount Roraima, Venezuela
Mount Roraima is a splendid destination for a trek. It is a great spot to explore the unique landscapes of the mountain region of Venezuela.
Mount Roraima rises high above the clouds and looks almost ethereal. Trekking to Mount Roraima is suitable for experienced mountaineers even though there is a ramp-like trail that leads to the summit.
You will traverse some waterfalls, lush greenery of Canaima National Park and walk with the Guyana mountain range in your background. You will also learn about the indigenous tribe in the region and hear some spooky tales of spirits and supernatural beings.
To get the most out of your Mount Roraima trek, you should camp beside the rushing rivers and sleep under the starry skies. You will also get to explore the Valley of Crystals.
Another great thing about the trek is that you will stand in three countries (Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana) at once on the triple border.
Distance: 45 km
Duration: 6-9 days
Best time: May – September
17.Torres del Paine- W-trek, Chile
Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, the Torres del Paine National Park is renowned for its majestic mountains, icebergs, and lowlands that serve as a home to wildlife. The national park is famous for three granite towers and the horn-shaped peaks called Cavernas del Paine.
The main thing that excites many people to visit this National Park is the W-circuit trek.
The W-circuit, popularly known as W-trek, is a 5-day trek that can be easily added to your Chile itinerary.
The trek does not require much trekking experience, but having excellent physical and mental fitness would help you hiking about 8 hours a day. Plus, there is a constant weather change.
The trails are correctly marked, and there are many campsites, lodges, and hotels along the route.
The W-trek offers a great trekking experience because of its picturesque scenery, good infrastructure, and low difficulty level.
Distance: 100 km
Duration: 5-6 days
Best time: December – March
18. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
It is no doubt that Tanzania is a nature lover’s paradise. Tanzania not only has one of the best national parks in the world but also takes pride in housing Africa’s highest mountain- Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m)
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano mountain that provides one hell of a trekking experience. Trekking the Kilimanjaro is a unique experience as you will get to traverse varied ecosystems as well as tropical jungles. Crazy right?
The trek sure is not as challenging as trekking the Himalayas, but be prepared for climate change, especially in the mountains.
The trek has six routes, each with diverse landscapes to show. Machame and Marangu routes are the most popular routes.
Conquering the Mount Kilimanjaro Trek is undoubtedly a highlight of many trekkers in East Africa.
Distance: 51-72 km
Duration: 5-8 days
Difficulty: Moderate – Challenging
Best time: September- March
19. GR20, France
The GR20 (fro li Monti) is considered Europe’s most demanding long-distance trek. It is a GR footpath that runs for 15 days and traverses Corsica’s Mediterranean island, commonly walked from north to south.
The trek shows you the diverse landscapes, from forests, granite lakes and plains. G20 is a great place to unwind in nature.
Now let us get to the part where we said it is the most demanding long-distance trek of Europe.
The trek is rocky and steep at some points. The first part of the trek includes a dizzying rate of climbing through the dense maquis forests.
GR20 trek is best if you have a long-distance trekking experience and excellent physical fitness.
The total duration of the trek varies from trekker to trekker. If you are a speedy trekker carrying a light backpack, you can complete it within 5-7 days. If you are slower and want to include side trips, it will take 15-16 days to complete it.
GR20 is an excellent adventure for thrill-seekers. The trails bless you with spectacular views with each ascent and descents.
Passing the rocky ridges, mountain forests, and picturesque villages will be a great experience, especially after reaching the top. The scenery would be magical as you will be surrounded by the most beautiful sight of natural beauty that will make you change the perspective of life.
Distance: 180 km
Duration: 7-15 days
Best time: June-September
20. The Great Wall of China, China
Listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is a famous place for tourists and a fantastic place for a trek.
The Great Wall of China was built to defend the country against nomadic tribes. The site is an ultimate architectural masterpiece made by human hands.
The Great Wall of China trek stretches across the hilly region and takes you to watchtowers and battle stations built around 2000 and more years ago. Trekking the whole sections of the Great Wall would take about 12 to 17 months. If you have a limited time, then you can go on short hikes or treks.
You will pass through terraced farmlands, woodlands and walk on the beautiful hills of north Beijing’s remote areas.
The Great Wall of China is a thrilling challenge consisting of numerous ups, downs, twists, and turns. It would be best if you were a dedicated trekker to complete this trek, as you will need to walk thousands of steps.
In the end, the most beautiful views of the vast mountain ranges and all the greenery around you will surely make your trip worth it.
Distance: 21,196 km
Duration: 9 days – 17 months
Best time: April- May, September-November
Thus, these are the best 20 trekking destinations in the world. Do you have a favorite trek in mind? Share with us in the comments.