Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 of the most awe-inspiring treks around the world?

There is no doubt that hiking and trekking is an acquired taste,with many people viewing walking as dull and tiring or they simply don't have time (especially the case with small children). However, hiking can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying forms of exercise, with hundreds of walks around the globe offering such fabulous views and scenery that any notion of the fact that you are exercising is forgotten. Hikes do not have to be huge. long, multiple day affairs either. Granted, some of the more iconic walks are better fully completed, but many are divided up into sections that are perfectly do-able in a day, making them perfect for a change to your everyday holiday lifestyle. 
Complied here are some of the most famous trails around the world that will add variety, indescribable beauty and mind-boggling history, and that must be added to and then crossed off  your bucket list. 

The Camino de Santiago, English Way - 45 miles

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Spain's most famous pilgrimage way features many different routes (some of which start in France!), all leading to the third most religious city in the world, Santiago, and it's cathedral. Although the route can be as long as 500 miles, the English way means you get the ferry to A Coruña, reducing the trek to just over 45 miles spread over around 3 days. As this route is under 100km, you don't get the 'compostela' - a traditional certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims at the end - but you will get the satisfaction and the views over the Spanish coast. Of course you don't have to be religious to do this walk, it is open to everyone and is a brilliant trail with tons of history behind it, with pilgrims making this trip since the medieval ages.  
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If you are a really hardcore trekker and are looking for a bigger challenge, why not start in England, get the ferry across to St Malo, get to Mont Saint Michel and continue your route down through France. Obviously you will need a lot more time for this one, but crossing two countries on a path that hundreds of years old is something that is a lifetime achievement. 
There are many ridiculously cheap hostels to stay in along the way - we're talking less than six euros a night, that often don't need to be booked (although better to be safe than sorry). It is such a famous route that if you feel you may have gotten yourself lost, there will always be a local to put you back en route, although with all the scallop shell markers leading you along the way, this is unlikely!
Although this isn't the longest walk in the world, it is advisable to pack for all weather - check out our travel section which will provide you with everything you need!

The Inca Trail - 26 miles

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The Inca Trail had to be on this list. Whether you are interested in hiking or not, this world famous trek to Machu Picchu is something you've heard of. This short trail can be completed in just five days, although there is a three day route as well, and although this seems like a long time for just 26 miles, don't be fooled. The Inca Trail reaches heights of 13,800 feet above sea level, so this isn't for beginners, or for just filling up some time on your holiday, but is an astonishing trail none the less. You will pass several ruins that are reminders of collapsed civilisations, with the Inca tribe dating back to the early thirteenth century. 
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Theirs was the largest empire in pre-Colombian America, before being conquered by the Spanish in the late sixteenth century, and there are so many remnants of this along your way. Paired with fabulous views over the Andes and rich, green scenery with their rare animal inhabitants, this trail is one that any outdoor enthusiast needs to experience.
Due to the altitude, age and erosion of this path, walking poles and some good boots with strong ankle support are a must - our recommendation would be the hugely popular trekking boot, the Meindl Borneo 2.

The Lantau Trail - 44 miles

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This circular walk just a short ferry ride from Hong Kong is divided into 12 sections, allowing you to choose how far you want to go - some of the sections are a mere one and a half miles. With excellent facilities all along the trail, this walk can be totally tailor made for your needs, whether you're on Lantau Island for a day trip from Hong Kong or you're after a long, varied hike, The Lantau Trail suits everyone. The facilities make it possible to take kids, and with waymarkers every 500 meters there is no danger of getting lost if you choose not to take a guide with you. 
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This means you can enjoy the stunning views over the island and it's natural landscape stress free - what feels like a million miles away from the noise and clamour of Hong Kong. Alongside the beaches, hills and gardens, you will experience temples, fishing villages, and the breathtaking Tian Tan - or the 'Big Buddha' as it's come to be known! Although it is nowhere near as historic as the previous trails, as it was only developed in 1983, it doesn't lack character or charm - this walk really is stunning, especially on a clear day, when you can see for miles.
With this walk being such a family friendly one, with the option to tailor it to whatever age children you have, it is useful to invest in a child carrier backpack which will mean you can walk a bit further even if your little one can't! Check out our range of baby carriers here!

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - 11 miles

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This eerie landscape full of sulphur pools and craters is one of the most popular day walks in the world due to it's astounding natural beauty and the fact that it is the filming location for Lord of the Ring's very own Mount Doom! New Zealand is known for its incredible landscapes and this walk, set in one of the national parks, does not disappoint. Although there are two steep, tricky climbs and the weather can be unpredictable, it is worth it to experience views like nowhere else in the world - thoroughly breathtaking. Due to it's short length, this day walk is not particularly tricky but 11 miles is still a long way for little or unstable legs, so unless you are a fairly fit, prepared and confident walker you might want to think twice about this one. It takes around 7 or 8 hours, so although it is one of the shorter walks featured on here, it is not simply an afternoon stroll.
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If you are travelling in New Zealand, an avid Lord of the Rings fan, or simply enjoy taking in one sublime view after another, this short walk will suit you down to the ground! Due to this walk being arguably one of the most amazing day walks in the world, it is, understandably, very popular - so do expect company, although there are several side tracks to take if you want to have a bit of a more solitary hike, and there are plenty of local guides to show you them. The unpredictable weather on the crossing means it is advisable to pack waterproofs that can pack up nice and small and fit in a normal day bag - our suggestions would be the Berghaus Stormcloud and the Rab Fuse over trousers (both available in men's and women's sizes). 

Bryce Canyon, Utah - 1 mile +

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America's canyons always have been and always will be areas of astonishing views and a reminder of just how bizarre yet powerful our world can be. Bryce Canyon has many different trails running through it, many of which are day or even afternoon hikes, however there are many campsites dotted around which are open for your convenience - as long as the bears aren't around! It is tricky to believe your own eyes in the canyon, with one of the most popular trails even being called the Fairyland Loop, and the mazes of sandstone spires twisting up into the sky. These magical spires - or rococo hoodoos - create a breathtaking surrounding and often much needed shade during the walks throughout, which can be as easy or as difficult as you like, some even allowing pets on them!
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To make the most of the hoodoos, you can walk the 6 and a half miles around them, taking in the sheer brilliance of nature's own architecture while you weave your way through the forest of the Bryce canyon! These trails can be suited to anyone - old or young, fit or not, but they all involve steep climbs back out of the canyon which is wise to bear in mind. As Bryce Canyon is a national park, there is a huge network of facilities and safety warnings in place, with lightening being a constant threat, especially during summer storms. If you hear thunder, the lightening that comes with it is only ten miles away so make sure to get under cover - due to all of the facilities you can be sure a building to take shelter in is never far away!
Although there are plenty of facilities, with the weather being fairly changeable it is advisable to take a day sack, where you can store waterproofs, food and drink and anything else you'll need just in case! Have a look at our range of day packs here

At Penrose Outdoors we stock everything you'll need to take on any of these walks - from our wide range of travel kit, hiking boots, men's and women's clothing and anything else hiking related that you can possibly think of! 


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