Anyone who has embarked on a long distance trek will understand the transformative experience of hitting the trail for days on end. It’s an opportunity to be immersed in nature, encounter spellbinding landscapes and become completely self-reliant, carrying your world on your back. There’s really no limit when it comes to finding spectacular multi-day treks around the globe, traversing deserts and forests, and from the mountains to the coast. But if you want to tick a few of the world’s best off your bucket list, here are eight of the best treks in the world that we recommend.
1. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
160–230 kilometers (100-145 miles) | 15-25 days
Considered one of the most beautiful treks on earth, the Annapurna Circuit follows an ancient trade route through the dramatic Nepalese Himalaya. Tackle the 5,416 meter high Thorung La Pass, watch the sunrise over the peaks of Poon Hill and take in the glimmering waters of Tilicho Lake. The length can vary widely depending on the side treks you opt to do, but a minimum of 15 days is recommended. Guesthouses dot the route so you don’t need to carry camping equipment or food, with the local hospitality all part of the experience.
Check out the Annapurna Circuit during a Build Abroad trip to Nepal!
2. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
43 kilometers (27 miles) | 4-5 days
Following an ancient Inca route through snow-capped mountains, cloud forests and tropical jungle, the Inca Trail is undoubtedly South America’s most famous trek. It traverses the Peruvian Andes’ Sacred Valley to the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, with ancient ruins scattering the route. There are designated campsites along the way and you must trek with a licensed guide, with most opting to join a group where all meals, camping gear and porters are arranged for you. The final day of the trek starts in the pre-dawn hours to watch sunrise over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate and see this UNESCO World Heritage Site in a rare moment of quiet before the rest of the day’s tourists descend.
Check out the Inca Trail during a Build Abroad trip to Peru!
3. Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
34 kilometers (21 miles) | 8 days
Africa’s highest peak towers over the plains of Tanzania near the border with Kenya and hiking to its peak has become a legendary “must do” experience on the continent. It takes you from the dry savannah plains through lush tropical rainforests, alpine deserts and moorland to the glacial-carved peak and snowfields. There are multiple routes up to its 5,895 meter high summit where outstanding views are on offer (weather permitting!), meaning you can do it more than once and still have a unique experience. But keep in mind that the high altitude conditions are demanding on the body and taking it slow is key to making it. You must go with a licensed guide or tour group who will normally organize everything from tents to hut accommodation, food and porters.
4. Mont Blanc, Switzerland/Italy/France
125 kilometers (78 miles) | 8-10 days
Passing through Switzerland, Italy and France, this epic hiking circuit is one Europe’s most rewarding. It offers spectacular views across glaciers, dramatic valleys and the peak of Mont Blanc itself as you trek through alpine meadows ignited in wildflowers. Mountain refuges provide a comfortable space to bunk down at night and experience the renowned local hospitality. It’s best trekked during the summer months of June through to September and at least eight days is recommended to experience everything this high-altitude region has to offer.
5. Torres del Paine “O” Circuit, Chile
133 kilometers (83 miles) | 8-10 days
One of the most spectacular national parks in Patagonia, Chile’s Torres del Paine is a trekker’s paradise which transforms magically throughout the seasons. While most opt for the four-day “W” trek, the longer “O” circuit allows you to explore even further, get away from the trekking crowds, and take in some magnificent high-altitude passes. Immense glaciers, picture-perfect lakes and sprawling steppe plains are just some of the highlights. You can either carry all your own camping gear or opt to bunk down in their refugios which are scattered throughout the park and serve up enticing hot meals at the end of the day.
6. Overland Track, Australia
82 kilometers (51 miles) | 5-6 days
Taking in the pristine alpine landscapes of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park within the island’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, this trek is one of Australia’s most famous. It takes you past dramatic mountain peaks and wild rivers, and through untouched temperate rainforest and alpine plains. Most complete the track from north to south over five or six days, although a range of side tracks to the summit of Cradle Mountain and Mount Ossa, as well as the Labyrinth tarns, can be added on. There are basic huts to bunk down in or you can carry camping gear with you. Alternatively, splash out on the new luxury Cradle Huts experience with the trek accompanied by gourmet Tasmanian produce and wines.
7. Pacific Crest Trail, United States
4285 kilometers (2663 miles) | 4-6 months
Stretching from the border with Mexico to the edge of British Columbia’s Manning Park, the Pacific Crest Trail traverses California, Oregon and Washington over a mammoth 4,285 kilometers. It was created as a National Scenic Trail in 1968 and made famous in the recent movie “Wild”, taking trekkers through seven national parks and 25 national forests as it follows the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. While it takes between four and six months to complete in full, most opt to do just a short section, or use the equestrian and bicycle trail which now run parallel. You need to carry all your own camping gear, but there are places en route where you can overnight in huts and stock up on supplies.
8. Mt Roraima, Venezuela
34 kilometers (21 miles) | 6 days
Sacred to the region’s indigenous people, the tabletop summit of Roraima is said to have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel “The Lost World”. The six day trek takes you through savannah and thick cloud forest as you explore the unique flora and fauna of this spectacular region, arriving at its summit which lies at 2,810 meters. Trekking days are normally anywhere from 4-8 hours with accommodation in tents along the route. Mt Roraima can easily be combined with a canoe expedition through Canaima National Park and treks to Angel Falls for an off-the-beaten-track Venezuelan adventure.