Five Destinations That Every Hiking Enthusiast Should Visit

If you are thinking about going hiking on your next travel break, then you will no doubt have plenty of places in mind. After all, you only have to go online, or scroll through Instagram and you will be inundated with photographs and suggestions on where to go.

But if you are still a little unsure, or maybe haven’t quite seen somewhere that tickles your fancy, then I have compiled a list of places that I have personally visited and believe warrant a place on any hikers wish list. So sit back and allow me the opportunity to try and convince you why the destinations that are on my five destinations that every hiking enthusiast should visit, should find their way onto your travel list.

Val di Funes

No hiking trip would be complete without paying a visit to the Dolomites. Val di Funes is a 24km long, scenic valley that is located on the edge of the Dolomites in South Tyrol, North East Italy.

Although a little off the beaten track, it is a stunning part of the world and one that I would encourage people to visit. Surrounded by breathtaking views and hiking trails, it is the perfect place to come for any hiking enthusiast.

The Adolf Munkel trail beneath the sublime Odle/Geisler mountain range is one of the most popular trails in the area, and one of the most spectacular in the Dolomites. This sweeping trail, with its dramatic scenery, and alpine views, culminates under the peaks of Odle/Geisler where the views and rare, untouched beauty, will leave you in awe of mother nature.

The Funes Valley also has a number of shorter trails to hike. Most notably, Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg that climb above and around the valley offering up unique views of the rolling fields, meadows, farms and churches that all lie beneath.

The possibilities for hiking throughout the Val di Funes area are endless. With trails in all directions for miles on end, you have ample opportunity to fulfil your hiking needs whilst at the same time getting to see a spectacular part of Italy and the world.

If you are exploring Val di Funes, and the Dolomites in general, then travelling by car is a great way to get around and see all that it has to offer. Whilst this is probably your best option, it is still easily reached if you are using public transport with the closest airports being Innsbruck and Verona, where you can continue your journey onwards via train that will take you to Bressanone/Brixen, before getting a connecting bus that takes you to Val Di Funes.

Graubünden

Nestled amongst endless beauty in Eastern Switzerland lies the canton of Graubünden. You might be familiar with the name due to it being home to the popular resort of St. Moritz, but this part of Switzerland is so much more than just an upscale ski resort.

With alpine valleys and snow capped mountains providing views that seem to linger for miles, this stunning part of the world seems to do an effortless job of flattering at every available turn.

Graubünden is the largest canton in Switzerland, composing of eleven districts with over 600 lakes, 150 valleys, and over 900 mountain peaks. Diverse as well as beautiful, this part of Switzerland is officially trilingual with Swiss German, Swiss Italian and Romansh all spoken throughout the canton.

There are endless possibilities for hiking with what seems like unlimited trails ranging in both difficulty and length depending upon your preference. One of the smaller but extremely picturesque hikes is the Caumasee, Crestasee and Rhine Gorge trail. Two beautiful lakes compliment the striking views that include the Rhine Gorge; a place so picturesque and staggering that it has earned the nickname of the Swiss Grand Canyon and provides the perfect backdrop for a hike that only whets your appetite for further adventures throughout this epic region.

Graubünden is easily accessible from Zurich, with the train journey taking no more than 90 minutes. Whilst those looking for an area to stay within the canton itself should consider the regions capital, the picturesque little town of Chur. It is the perfect place to set up camp if you are looking to immerse yourself within the local delights and sample the Swiss culture.

Cinque Terre

Here you will find the five beautifully colourful, seaside villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, all located along the rugged coastline of the Italian Riviera.

Harbours are filled with fishing boats, whilst locals and visitors pull up seats at eateries and cafes, to sample the local cuisine.

Hiking trails link all of the villages and stretch over a distance of 120 km in total, offering you the chance to take in Sea views and beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see in this stunning part of Italy. With 48 hiking trails to chose from there are plenty of options for those who are serious about hiking, whilst the more casual walker is also catered for with less demanding routes.

Make sure to check for closures before you set off, as due to the rugged nature of the trails it is not uncommon for certain parts to be closed whilst under repair.

Reaching Cinque Terre is straight forward enough. Both Genoa and Pisa have trains that run directly to Cinque Terre and take less than ninety minutes each.

Alpstein

Tucked away in a breathtaking pocket of Switzerland is a mountain range that not only dazzles, but is a must for those who have been bitten by wanderlust and are seeking adventure.

Stunning scenery and fantastic hiking trails, all mean that a date with this Swiss beauty is one that I would highly recommend. With a broad range of trails catering to all level of hikers, this is the perfect place to visit if you need to disconnect from modern day living, and the stresses that accompany it, whilst at the same time are looking to enjoy the great outdoors and serene simplicity that nature brings.

Alpstein is a haven for anyone who is serious about hiking. Not only is it one of the most impressive places in Switzerland, it is also one of the best places that I have ever visited, and is still relatively untouched from mass tourism.

Popular routes around the area include the Asher, Ebenalp and Seealpsee hike from Wasserauen, the Three Lakes hike, and the Hoher Kasten to Saxer Lücke trail. All spectacular in their own right, and only a few of the many options that you will have available to you should you choose to visit.

Reaching Alpstein is made simple due to the relatively close proximity of Zürich and the country’s efficient rail network. The journey lasts no more than 90 minutes from Zürich to the town of Appenzell. Whilst there are also plenty of accommodation options available in the surrounding towns and villages, all within a close proximity to the hiking trails.

Rutland

Situated in the East Midlands, sandwiched between Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, lies Rutland. Known for being England’s smallest county, what it might lack in size it more than makes up for with beauty and charm.

You will be spoilt for choice when deciding upon your walking route, as the hole county is littered with trails that are easily accessible. The great advantage of hiking through Rutland is that due to its diminutive stature, it is very easy to make your way around large portions in a small amount of time

Some of the county’s most notable walks include the Rutland Water loop, Exton to Greetham trail, and the Rutland Round; a 65 mile circular walk around the whole county that can be broken down into smaller sections should you choose to do so. But those are only a few of the many options open to those who are looking to visit.

Although you won’t be scaling mountains in Rutland, the scenery and walks are quite spectacular and the county has an alluring quality that seems to pull you in from the moment you arrive. The locals are very friendly and welcoming, whilst if you visit during the warmer months when the days are longer, you will be able to stop off at one of the many countryside pubs that reside here and wind down your evening with a drink in hand whilst enjoying some local cuisine.

The easiest way to reach and travel around the area is by car. Most trails will have villages, or verges where you can park before embarking upon your hike. The County is also serviced by one train station in the town of Oakham, whilst the neighbouring county of Lincolnshire also has a station in the town of Stamford that is close by.

So those are my five destinations that every hiking enthusiast should visit. Have you visited any of these places before? What destinations are on your travel list? Let me know in the comments below.

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