There are plenty of excellent classic hiking trails throughout the world. Each one offers something a little different. Here are some of the top picks for the world's best hikes, including the Andes, Kungsleden, Newfoundland, and Fjords.
1. Kungsleden, Sweden
Nabisco Mountain Station to the Salami Village of Liliuokalani
Best time to go: Even though it's more popular to go in August when Europeans get their holiday vacation, it's best to go in early September when there's no bugs and it's peaceful.
Arctic Circle, Sweden’s legendary Kungsleden (the “The King's Trail”) is located in the Arctic Circle and is one of the last great wilderness adventures in western Europe. Hikers get to experience the vast Arctic landscape of Sweden, making their way through open plains, birch forests and glaciers before crossing over Sweden’s highest peak, 6,926-foot Mount Kebnekaise. There are small huts placed along the path, each about a day apart for refuge in case of bad weather.
Insider Tip: The route goes in both direction, but you can keep the sun from hitting your face the entire trip by starting out north.
Entire trip: 65 miles, 3 to 5 days
2. Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
Lukla to Everest Base Camp
Best time to go: This area tends to suffer from monsoon's so the best time to go is March or April when the flowers are in bloom. For drier weather try hiking in November. It's best to go with the local Sherpa guides, porters and cooks —it completes the experience.
This is truly one of the greatest high-mountain journeys, were you gaze at three of the highest peaks on Earth (Lhotse, Everest and Lhotse Sar), plus dozens of other mountainous pleasures along the way. One of the best views is Thyangboche, called “greatest view in the world” by renowned mountain explorer W.H. Tillman. The real treat is taking in the Sherpas’ Buddhist culture, with it's monasteries and friendly villages.
Insider Tip: It's best to take the trip slow on the way up to allow yourself time to acclimatize. Plus, you will want to leave plenty of time to savor the people and culture.
Entire trip: 70 miles, 16 days
3. Fjords, Norway
Preikestolen cliff or Trolltunga
Best time to go: This is a favorite among tourists and it provides hiking trails of all levels. The easy Preikestolen is a light hike and perfect for a novice. The more difficult Trolltunga is an amazing landscape that leaves you breathless. There are plenty of paths that take you into powerful mountains, or to majestic glaciers. Fjord Norway provides some trails that are perfect for families and small children. Trolltunga rock is one of the most awe inspiring walks in Norway. The walk starts in Skjeggedal, and is best taken between June 15 to mid-September.
Insider tip: Make sure to pick a hike that's meant for your experience level. Always check the weather forecast first and the classification of the walk. Let friends or family know your route plans and keep them updated. Phones do not work well in the mountainous terrain. Remember that conditions on the mountain can change quickly and put you in harms way with fierce winds and poor visibility.
The entire trip: It's about 20 km and takes approximately 12 hours there and back.
4. Andes, South America
Santa Cruz Trek in Peru
Best time to go: The best time to venture through this nature wonderland is April – September. The area offers a variety of treks, plus the ancient city of Machu Picchu can be reached by hiking. While the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most popular, it tends to be too regulated and crowded. Santa Cruz is a great alternative, as well as the Alpamayo, which is a lot longer. There is plenty to see on the way to the Inca ruins, and self-sufficient hikers can get around well if they speak conversational Spanish. You can also choose to hire an English speaking guide if you prefer.
Insider tip: Peru tends to be “touristy”, while Bolivia is just the opposite with political upheavals keeping some away. Ecuador is the perfect blend. Another thing to remember is that most hikers tend to suffer from altitude sickness on many of the treks such as Cuzco 3326m (10,912ft), Quito 2800 M (9200ft), or La Paz 3810m (12,500ft), which means you need time to acclimate yourself.
The entire trip: Highest point reached is 4,750 meters. Takes 4 days.
5. Newfoundland and Labrador
Gros Morne National Park
Best time to go: July and August provide warm and dry conditions, with daytime temperatures between 16–25 °C. Winds can change temperatures very suddenly, so it's best to be prepared. The weather in September and October is usually the most pleasant.
When trekking through Newfoundland and Labrador you’ll find 29,000 km of gorgeous coastline, marked with the occasional beach, sea stack, and over 200 hiking and walking trails. Some of these paths take you through abandoned fishing communities. One of the more popular, Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland, features more than 100 kilometres of trails. Hikers can find passive strolls along the coastal areas, and more difficult climbs such as the James Callaghan Trail up the 806-metre Gros Morne Mountain.
Insider tip: Gros Morne National Park is a great place for nature buffs to encounter forty ton whales, as well as a slew of aviary. The only thing to keep in mind is it's best to give these animals respect, and keep a safe distance, because they are wild and in their own domain.
The entire trip: 5 full days, although there are plenty of day trips to choose from as well.