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The top of the 70 most beautiful treks in the world

The World’s Most Beautiful Treks

Most rankings of the world’s best treks are based on the author’s subjective opinion. However, this one here is different. It’s based on a large survey we carried out between 16th and 21st October 2019, with 645 walkers amongst our readers and members of several trekking Facebook groups.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

Trek Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

The glacial water gives the lakes a beautiful turquoise colour

The Huayhuash mountain range is much less known and visited than the Inca Trail or the region in Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca. Harder to access, this mountain range in the Peruvian Andes is only 30 kilometres long, but comprises six summits over 6,000 metres tall. The mountain trail follows mule tracks that connect remote villages. The views from the snowy peaks and the emerald and turquoise lakes are spectacular.

  • Duration: 8 to 12 days
  • Distance: 120 km
  • Altitude: 3,300 – 5,000 m
  • Difficulty: 4 / 5
  • Best time: May to September
  • Guide required: no
  • Accomodation: camping

Everest base camp via Gokyo lakes, Nepal

Trek Everest Basecamp via Gokyo

The six Gokyo lakes make up the highest freshwater system in the world

This trek is a variant of the Everest Base Camp one. It allows you to do a loop instead of a simple round trip on the same track. The paths are less busy than on the classic trek. You’ll be immersed in the Sherpa culture: prayer flags, Buddhist monasteries, yak caravans… You’ll walk along the emerald lake of Gokyo and gaze up at the Himalayan peaks during the ascent of the Gokyo Ri.

  • Duration: 11 to 15 days
  • Distance: 130 km
  • Altitude: 2,600 – 5,600 m
  • Difficulty: 4 / 5
  • Best time: October to December and March to April
  • Guide required: no
  • Accommodation: lodges

Laugavegur / Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Trek Landmanalaugar, Iceland

Moss and lichen are sometimes the only traces of green in the mineral landscape

The Laugavegur trail sums up the wild beauty of Iceland. You’ll discover all the diversity of its mineral landscapes: glaciers, natural hot springs, lava fields, ice caves, fumarole fields… The trek starts in Landmannalaugar and ends in Thorsmork, but many hikers carry on to the impressive Skogafoss waterfall.

  • Duration: 4 to 5 days
  • Distance: 77 km
  • Altitude: 0 – 900 m
  • Difficulty: 3 / 5
  • Best time: June to September
  • Guide required: no
  • Accommodation: camping / mountain huts

Cirques, Réunion Island

Mafate's Cirque, Réunion Island

The steep and green walls of Mafate’s cirque

The island of Réunion comprises three big breathtaking volcanic cirques: Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos. To explore them, you can choose between three long hikes:

  • GR R1: Tour du Piton des Neiges
  • GR R2: Traversée de la Réunion
  • GR R3: Tour de Mafate (the most mentioned in our survey)

The landscapes are lush with lots of waterfalls and islets.

  • Duration: 4 to 5 days (GR R3)
  • Distance: 39 km (GR R3)
  • Altitude: 300 – 2,000 m (GR R3)
  • Difficulty: 3 / 5
  • Best time: April to November
  • Guide required: no
  • Accommodation: lodges

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Expect to see the eye of Sauron appear at the top of the volcano

You’ll see the forces of nature at work on this big day hike. You’ll feel like you’re walking on another planet amidst craters, active volcanoes, pumice stones and volcanic rocks that look like they’ve been sculpted into statues. The contrast between the perfect blue of the lakes and the burning red of the craters is striking. No wonder that Mount Ngauruhoe, right next door, was the setting for Mordor in The Lord of the Rings.

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Distance: 19,4 km
  • Altitude: 700 – 1,900 m
  • Difficulty: 2 / 5
  • Best time: December to February
  • Guide required: no

Annapurna trek, Nepal

Annapurna Trek, Nepal

The green terraced rice fields contrast with the immaculate white Annapurna

According to our survey, this mythical trek is the most popular amongst our RTW travellers. It’s also one of the longest on our list, which is probably why it draws travellers who have some time to spare. The landscapes are extremely varied: the trek, constantly dominated by the four peaks of the Annapurna, starts in the tropical plains, then passes through alpine landscapes, until the rocky (and sometimes snowy) Thorong La pass, before going back down to the valley.

  • Duration: 15 to 18 days
  • Distance: 260 km
  • Altitude: 1,400 – 5,400 m
  • Difficulty: 3 / 5
  • Best time: October to November and March to April
  • Guide required: no
  • Accommodation: lodges

Huayna Potosí climb, Bolivia

Huayna Potosi, Bolivia

Don’t forget to acclimatise to the altitude before starting the ascent

The Huayna Potosi trek is one of the easiest climbs above 6,000 metres in the world. Of course, it’s not a walk in the park, climbing for seven or eight hours is tiring for anyone at high altitude. However, if you’re well acclimatised and in good shape, there’s a good chance you’ll make it to the top.

  • Duration: 2 to 3 days
  • Altitude: 4,800 – 6,100 m
  • Difficulty: 4 / 5
  • Best time: May to September
  • Guide required: yes
  • Accommodation: mountain huts

GR20, Corsica, France

GR20 Corsica

No need to go far from UK to find incredible treks

The GR20 goes through Corsica from north to south diagonally. It’s thought to be one of the hardest Grande Randonnée trails in Europe, with more than 10,000 metres of cumulative elevation gain. It’s also one of the most beautiful ones, with its sunsets, its stunning sea views and its ridge passes.

  • Duration: 15 days
  • Distance: 180 km
  • Altitude: 200 – 2,200 m
  • Difficulty: 4 / 5
  • Best time: June to September
  • Guide required: no
  • Accommodation: camping / mountain huts

Mount Kilimandjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa

Kilimanjaro is the highest isolated mountain in the world. There are six different routes you can take to reach its summit. It’s accessible to trained hikers, even without mountaineering experience. You won’t need ropes or special equipment to climb Kilimanjaro. However, it’s far from being a stroll in the park. It’s a very physically demanding trek.

  • Duration: 5 to 9 days
  • Distance: 98 km (Machame Road)
  • Altitude: 1,700 – 5,900 m
  • Difficulty: 5 / 5
  • Best time: July to October and January to February
  • Guide required: yes
  • Accommodation: camping

Ciudad Perdida trek, Colombia

Ciudad Perdida trek, Colombia

Colombia is still more or less spared from mass tourism

The Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) trek, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta jungle in northern Colombia, leads to a sacred site of the Tayrona people that was built 650 years before Machu Picchu. To get to it, you’ll have to cross rivers and fjords, climb steep hills and brave the humid tropical heat. Once devastated by the conflict between the army and paramilitary groups of the extreme right and left, the area is now perfectly safe. Nonetheless, even though the site has been open to tourists since 2005, it’s still relatively unvisited.

  • Duration: 4 to 5 days
  • Distance: 47 km
  • Altitude: 100 – 1,200 m
  • Difficulty: 2 / 5
  • Best time: December to March
  • Guide required: yes
  • Accommodation: bivouac

Overall ranking

Our methodology

Of the 645 survey respondents, we only kept those who’d done at least six treks of at least 20 km. On average, the remaining respondents had 10 treks under their belt.

Some treks, however exceptional, are mentioned less often because few travellers do them, even though they deserve to be at the top of the ranking.

So, instead of simply ranking the treks according to the number of times they were mentioned, we chose to do a calculation that’s a little “smarter”.

The treks are ranked according to this ratio: number of mentions of the trek in the top three / number of respondents having done this trek.

In this way, a trek that’s very popular, but which isn’t often mentioned in the top three best treks, won’t be highly ranked. On the contrary, a trek that not as many travellers do, but which is consistently mentioned in the top three, will be higher in the ranking.

In this ranking, we’ve only included treks which have been mentioned by at least nine survey respondents.

Trek Country Number of times mentioned in the top 3 Number of respondents who’ve done this trek Percentage of walkers having ranked this trek in their top 3
Cordillera Huayhuash Trek Peru 9 10 90%
Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Nepal 8 9 89%
Laugavegur / Landmannalaugar Iceland 10 13 77%
Cirques of Réunion Island France 21 31 68%
Tongariro Alpine Crossing New Zealand 28 44 64%
Annapurna Trek Nepal 40 67 60%
Huayna Potosi Climb Bolivia 8 14 57%
GR20, Corsica France 20 36 56%
Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania 5 9 56%
Ciudad Perdida Trek Colombia 6 11 55%
Trek W, Torres del Paine Chile 30 56 54%
Fitz Roy, El Chalten Argentina 26 51 51%
Santa Cruz Hike, Cordillera Blanca Peru 13 26 50%
Rinjani Volcano Climb Indonesia 10 21 48%
Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu Peru 14 31 45%
Tour of Mont Blanc France 6 14 43%
Tiger Leaping Gorge China 5 13 38%
GR10, Pyrenees France 4 11 36%
Way of Saint Jacques de Compostela France and Spain 4 11 36%
Langtang Valley Nepal 6 17 35%
Kepler Track New Zealand 3 9 33%
Mercantour Park France 4 13 31%
Inca Trail, Machu Picchu Peru 4 13 31%
Choquequirao Trek, Machu Picchu Peru 6 20 30%
Abel Tasman Coast Track New Zealand 8 30 27%
Sapa rice fields Vietnam 3 14 21%
Kalaw – Inle Lake Burma 5 25 20%
Colca Canyon Peru 5 34 15%
Quilotoa Loop Ecuador 2 17 12%

Unranked treks

We didn’t include these treks in our main ranking because less than nine of our survey respondents did them. Therefore, the figures aren’t statistically significant. However, we thought it’d still be interesting to show you them.

Trek Country Number of times mentioned in the top 3 Number of respondents who’ve done this trek Percentage of walkers having ranked this trek in their top 3
Ausangate Trek Peru 5 5 100%
Yading National Park China 2 2 100%
Mount Fuji Climb Japan 2 2 100%
Huemul Trek Argentina 3 4 75%
Sajama National Park Bolivia 3 4 75%
Yosemite National Park United States 4 6 67%
Milford Track New Zealand 2 3 67%
Everest base camp Nepal 5 8 63%
West Highland Way Scotland 4 8 50%
Banaue Rice Terraces Philippines 4 8 50%
Cerro Castillo Chile 3 6 50%
Ala Kul Kyrgyzstan 3 6 50%
Acatenango Climb Guatemala 2 4 50%
Cinque Terre Italy 2 4 50%
The Lofoten Crossing Norway 2 4 50%
Manaslu Trek Nepal 2 5 40%
The Ecrins Trek France 3 8 38%
The Queyras Trek France 3 8 38%
Taman Negara Malaysia 2 6 33%
Overland Track, Tasmania Australia 1 3 33%
Hsipaw Trek Burma 1 3 33%
Lake Louise – Lake Moraine Canada 1 3 33%
Los dientes de Navarino Chile 1 3 33%
Cocora Valley Trek Colombia 1 3 33%
Cotopaxi Climb Ecuador 1 3 33%
The Belledonne Crossing France 1 3 33%
Mount Canigou Climb France 1 3 33%
Great Crossing of Zanskar India 1 3 33%
Trolltunga Hike Norway 1 3 33%
Alpamayo Trek Peru 1 3 33%
The High Tatras Crossing Slovakia 1 3 33%
Mount Triglav Climb Slovenia 1 3 33%
Routeburn Track New Zealand 2 8 25%
Los Nevados Colombia 1 4 25%
El Choro Bolivia 1 5 20%
Santo Antao Trek green cap 1 5 20%
Verdon Gorge France 1 6 17%
Stevensons Path France 1 8 13%