Looking to take a vacation where you can mix it up with the glaciers one day and steep valleys the next? It’s not your ordinary day at the one-dimensional beach or the ski slopes with these top picks for international hiking routes.
Inca Trail, Peru – The consensus No. 1 pick by many, the Inca Trail runs through diverse topography including but not limited to lakes, jungles, mountains, cross valleys, and steep drops along Cuzco, Huayna Picchu, and the Urubamba river. At 4000 meters in altitude, it helps to stick around for a few days prior to making the trek. Get your trail pass any time but February with professional guides, as the number of hikers at any one time is limited to 500 per day.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – Over 25,000 visitors a year descend on Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest peak, towering at 20,000 feet. Every climatic zone is represented from hot to cold. Estimate five days to reach its peak with a moderate pace as you cross glaciers, hot lands, and cool forests. The best time to go is non-rainy season from June through February. Check out the Marangu Route, the most populated route with a nod to the Umbwe and Machame routes, as always with a professional guide to pat your altitude sickness off your shoulders.
Annapurna, Nepal – Annapurna is Nepal's tallest mountain, consisting of four primary regions running the topographical gamut from ice-cold peaks to tropical valleys. Mixed between the jungles and snow is Nepal commoner life at its finest with Buddhist temples and small guesthouses with more character than the next. The best time to go is in October with estimated trek times of 3 weeks to finish the full route. For more information on obtaining trail permits, head to VisitNepal.
Mont Blanc, France – The hotshot luxury pen has its own trail. Consider one of Europe's most scenic trails, the Mont Blanc hike runs through France, Italy, and Switzerland in a roughly 7 to 10 day walk with 7 valleys and a smorgasbord of alpine lakes and crystalline mountains. For a reputable professional guide service, visit Boundless Journeys, considered a Top 10 tour operator in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine.