From the Silk Road to Spain, and Chile to Cornwall, we pick 10 of the most spectacular and rewarding walks and hikes on the planet...
10 of the best walking and hiking adventures in the world
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Hike North America's most famous trail the original way, carrying all you need on your back and staying in huts along the way. Your guides will take you along the trail trough the White Mountains National Forest on one of the most impressive sections of the North East American trail. With no support until the finish, this is true, challenging hut-to-hut hiking with plenty of summits to cross but the views and great American wilderness experience will be worth it!
Price: From £1,579, includes nine-days guided hiking, Boston transfers, 9 nights in basic hut accommodation, all meals
South West Coast Path
From Minehead in north east Devon, to Poole in Dorset, this National Trail traces the coastline of southwest England with a staggering (not literally we hope) 630 miles of breath-taking walking. From towering cliffs, to hidden coves, tin mines to subtropical woodland, and fishing villages to deserted beaches, this path has it all, with an incredible diversity of scenery, culture and history at every step. Walk it all in one and you'll need about eight weeks and the legs to climb the equivalent of four ascents of Everest. Encounter Walking Holidays breaks the Trail into nine self-guided sections, each a week long, with accommodation and luggage transfers arranged for you, so you can concentrate on the view!
Price: From £467.50 per person for seven nights B&B accommodation and 6 days walking, luggage transfers, mamps and route guides.
Hike Corsica's GR20
In the adventure travel world notoriety often breeds success - a point which is proved by the infamy of Corsica's Grande Randonnée 20 (GR20). Often described as Europe's toughest trek, this classic 170km trail has almost 20,000 metres of vertical gain as you scramble over the top of this sun-baked Mediterranean island. For full bragging rights you need to carry all your own gear, food and water, as well as sleep in the basic overcrowded mountain huts for the two-week hike. No wonder three-quarters of al those who start don't finish... If you want to improve your chances take a look at Exodus' 15-day 'holiday' hike of the route where you stay in private gites, get fed and have your luggage transferred for you.
Price: From £2,049, including flights from London, all accommodation, food, baggage transfers, and guiding.
Trek Uzbekistan's Silk Road trails
Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan, you'll hike along the Oxus River, to the Silk Road oasis of Bukhara, which flourished in the 9th and 10th centuries, and visit the mosaic-clad and turquoise-tiled monuments of Samarkand. KEAdventure's 14-day tour is a mix of on-foot sightseeing and four days of occasionally challenging day hikes - some with the help of camels - across the Steppes and into the high valleys of Zarafshan mountains. This part of the Pamir range is rarely visited and you'll get the chance to meet Uzbek shepherds, stay in yurts and authentic 'homestay' style accommodation and experience a traditional way of life at the crossroads of Asia.
Price: From £1,875, including flights from London, four days guided walking, all accommodation, meals and transfers.
Hike the Torres del Paine circuit, Chile
Soaring condors, towering needle-sharp rocky spires, ice-blue glacial lakes and some of the most breath-taking and challenging hiking await any who take on the Chile's famous Torres del Paine hiking circuit. World Expeditions runs a 14-day, guided trip around the circuit starting out at the spectacularly sited EcoCamp. The 93km hike takes about seven days, as you hike through a landscape of giant grantie peaks, hanging glaciers, vast glaciers and views of the Patagonian Ice cap from the the 1,180m high John Garner Pass. With its stylish domed wooden pods and surely one of the best views in the world to wake up to, the EcoCamp is worth visiting in its own right and is, of course, perfectly placed for some spectacular day hikes.
Price: From £2,790 per person including all meals, guide, hotel and refugio accommodation in the Park, porters, transfers, and a one-day glacier boat trip.
Trek the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
With post-earthquake struck Nepal in dire need for tourists to return, there is all the more reason for the world's best high mountain hiking destination to be on your hiking bucket list. Joining the circuit from Kathmandu, you'll trek through forests and gorges from 1,000m up to, and over 5,000m high mountain passes, including the 5,416m Thorung La Pass, where you'll definitely be feeling the effects of the altitude. The view over the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri ranges will be worth it! The full 230km trek takes up to 24 days but even if you only do part of it, you'll not only leave having experienced one of the most incredible mountain countries on the planet but the tough, inspiring Nepalese people who populate it. Explore runs a 17-day trek of the route, which starts in Besi Sahar and treks the circuit in the most popular anti-clockwise direction.
Price: From £2,100 including flights, transfers, hotel and simple teahouse accommodation, meals, porters and expert guides.
Trekking Mount Kenya, East Africa
Tanzania's Kilimanjaro might be the tallest mountain in Africa - and a sure-fire hiking bucket list contender but summiting the 4,985m high Mount Kenya in neighbouring Kenya is arguably just as rewarding, and, as it requires a bit less altitude acclimatisation, can be done in less time. If you want to do more than just 'bag' the summit, Go To Mount Kenya's Trekking Sirimon - Chogoria Traverse trip combines two of the most scenic routes up the peak, making for a spectacular and diverse trek. Starting at Sirimon Park gate, you'll trek through giant montane forest and camp on high altitude moorland, under the glacier. After a day of acclimatisation at Shipton Camp, you make a final ascent over frozen scree and rocky tracks in darkness for a sunrise summit on Point Lenana, with Mount Kilimajaro on the horizon.
Price: From £520, including all transport to and from the mountain, Park fees, all food on the mountain, accommodation in mountain huts, guiding and porters.
Trek the Balkans' Via Dinarica
A succession of oppressive regimes and conflicts has kept the Western Balkans largely off limits for decades. At their heart is the comparatively little explored Dinaric Alps mountain range, through which the recently conceived Via Dinarica trail network now threads. Stretching some 650km through Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, this new trail scales 240 peaks higher than 2,000m, crosses 20 national parks and passes 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Green Visions' 15-day Best of Via Dinarica hiking tour takes you along the highlights of the trail, from Zagreb in Croatia, to Tirana in Albania. The tour includes city tours in Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Mostar and Sarajevo, rafting in Tara, and wine tasting in Herzegovina.
Price: From £1,321 including all transfers, 14 nights hotel accommodation, meals, and guiding.
Walking in the Picos d'Europa
Northern Spain's Picos de Europa is one of Europe's wildest and least visited mountain ranges. Starting just 20 km from Spain's northern Bay of Biscay Atlantic coast, the towering spires of the Picos rise to a maximum of 2,650m above sea level.
A walk in these spectacular mountains might bring you sightings of eagles and vultures in the sky, and rebeccos (a type of chamois), as well as countless butterflies on the ground, particularly during the spectacular wildflower months of May and June.
Collett's Mountain Holidays run walking trips in the Picos based out of a three-star posada near Potes. Every day, except Wednesdays, you can join one of two free walks - one a moderate to easy walk, the other a high-level tougher hike for the more experienced.
Price: From £620 per person, per week for half board accommodation, includes breakfasts, dinners and daily guided walks..
Walk the Camino Santiago del Norte, Spain
What started as a religious pilgrimage for millions of European Christians is now a well-established hiking route that is steeped in culture and incredible sights and experiences. Although there are several established routes to the finish at Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain, the coastal Camino del Norte is the most challenging, authentic and quiet. Hugging the Bay of Biscay coastline, the route takes you from Irun near the French border, through the western Basque country, Guernica, Bilbao, Santander, LLanes, before skirting the great mountain wilderness of the Picos de Europa mountain range and into Galicia. Sounds far? At 825km it is, so unless you have five weeks or so spare you might want to walk a few sections of it at a time. Macadventures breaks the route down into five self-guided stages, with accommodation in hotels, and hostels, all with private rooms (unlike many of the Camino hostels!).
Price: From £595, including accommodation, daily baggage transfers, breakfasts, guide books and route maps.