1. Seoraksan National Park, South Korea – 3 to 7km
Only established in 1982, the Seoraksan National Park is spread across four cities and counties. Nevertheless, it has cemented itself as a UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District and has a range of hiking trails to explore. The only overnight hikes are those that summit Daecheongbong peak at 1,708m above sea level. Besides the mountain range there are several waterfalls to explore on the hiking trails. The hiking here can be steep and difficult, so make sure you choose the trail that suits your fitness abilities.
2. Pulpit Rock, Norway – 8km
Dangle your feet over a 640m-high sheer precipice – if you dare – and admire the stunning and unobstructed view of Lysefjord from Pulpit Rock. To get to that surreal lookout point, a climb totalling 8km at an elevation gain of 330m must first be overcome. The hilly route – along boardwalks and clambering over granite boulders – is well-trodden and maintained.
When: April to October
3. Mount Fuji, Japan – 15km
When a mountain is summited by upwards of 300,000 people a year, it is easy to underestimate the challenge of the climb. Make sure that you are relatively fit and carry a good amount of warm clothing even at the height of summer. The highest peak in Japan is filled with strings and strings of prayer flags and the sunset is meant to be the most spectacular in the world. Although some of the hiking trails are open in winter, it is strongly discouraged because of the tough conditions.
When: July to September
4. Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand – 43km
Set in a dual UNESCO World Heritage site, this spectacular 43km hike will take you from alpine herb fields and forests to emerald lakes and desert-like plateaux over the course of four days. Admire the country’s rich geological and ancestral past, and look upon the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe – better known as Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings.
When: December to March
5. Classic Inca Trail, Peru – 45km
A typical trek on this mountainous route will take four days, starting at 2,800m and reaching a high point of 4,200m above sea level. Guided tours – assisted by porters – are highly recommended as the trail is limited to 500 hikers a day. The challenging trail consists of steep ascents, as well as countless narrow steps, but the unparalleled view of the Machu Picchu citadel (below) will be worth the strenuous effort.
When: May to September
6. Everest Base Camp, Nepal – 62km
This 62km trekking route starts from Lukla, 2,860m above sea level, and passes through the heart of the Khumbu region before reaching Namche Bazaar. Perched at 3,440m, this is where most trekkers will spend a few days acclimatising, before trudging onwards and upwards to smaller villages. The end point after two weeks is Everest Base Camp at 5,380m, replete with colourful prayer flags and standing quietly in the shadow of the imposing 8,848m peak.
When: March to May or September to November
7. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – 62km
There are seven established routes used to ascend Africa’s highest peak at 5,895m, and travelling time takes six to 10 days depending on the path taken. For remarkable views that traverse a variety of habitats, choose the Machame or Lemosho route. Treks usually begin with a dense forest of tall trees with moss-covered trunks, move into a wildflower-covered moorland and a highland desert, before culminating in a steep scree climb to the summit.
When: December to February or July to October
8. Overland Track, Australia – 65km
This six-day, 65km trek from Cradle Mountain (below) to Lake St Clair is part of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Expect a diverse terrain that runs the gamut from eucalyptus groves and craggy peaks to alpine meadows and glacier-carved valleys. There are also numerous side trips such as an arduous 1,617m climb up Mount Ossa, as well as the 17.5km hike around Lake St Clair which will require another day (as opposed to taking a ferry across to the finish). The track is not only accessible throughout, but caters to hikers who prefer different seasons as well.