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Hiking Areas for Your Next Vacation

LISTICLE | 07/21/2022
Author:
Uschi Horner

Hiking all day, then jumping into a lake or the sea, ending the evening with typical local food and drinks: You can do that anywhere in the world. We have seven hiking areas for you, each of which is an absolute highlight. Important: Inform yourself in advance about permits and the condition of the trails. For the Kalalau Trail, Hawaii, for example, the rules change again and again as to how long in advance the ticket has to be booked, on the summit of the Teide, Tenerife, you can only go with permission, and the Vinschgau High Hiking Trail can also be impassable due to too much rain.

1

Vinschger Höhenweg - an Insider Tip

It is almost something like the little brother of the well-known Merano high-altitude trail. But the views on the Vinschger Höhenweg do not have to hide - on the contrary. In addition, the charm of this hiking area is more pristine and rustic. And there is also less going on! A good starting point is Reschen at the pass of the same name, and then it's about 100 kilometers on partly existing, partly new footpaths, on ancient Waalwegen and small trails to the end point in Schlanders. Two stages stand out: through the sunny Matschtal valley to the Glieshöfe farms at the end of the valley and the variant over the Spitzige Lun. While green mountain meadows with comfortably grazing donkeys, cattle and Haflinger horses inspire on the steadily uphill march through the valley, the ascent to the 2324-meter-high peak of the Spitzige Lun is accompanied by many flowers; among others, purple monkshood, pink alpine rue, blue Bavarian gentian, pink alpine carnation. Even if this stage is a bit more strenuous: the view from one of the most beautiful panoramic peaks in the upper Vinschgau Valley is simply sensational!

View over the Matscher valley to the Ortler mountain
2

Krk - the "Golden Island"

It is not only one of the largest, but for many it is the most beautiful of all Croatian islands: the island of Krk in the Adriatic Sea. Already in ancient times it got the nickname "Golden Island" - no wonder with these spectacular sunsets. Its coastline runs for about 219 kilometers and the hiking region delights with 400 kilometers of signposted trails. Krk offers sensational beaches paired with cultural sights. The highlight of the Krka National Park is its seven waterfalls. Who wants to hike the island completely - since 2019, the old pilgrimage routes are marked: The Camino Krk, a circular 150-kilometer hiking trail, can be done in seven days. Best time: from September, there is less going on.

Caution: Another snake that feels at home on Krk is the horned viper, one of the most poisonous snakes in Europe. In summer, it likes to leave its hiding places in the morning and evening - so be especially careful at these times. And: It is always best to wear hiking boots and slightly higher socks when you go on an excursion.

Krka National Park: seven waterfalls, ancient ruins, mills and monasteries
3

Crete - The Island of Gorges

Even if some people manage the 16-kilometer path through the Samaria Gorge with slippers: Mountain boots make the descent a lot more comfortable, and gentler on the ankles. It starts at 1200 meters down to the Libyan Sea. A steep stone path with wooden railings leads down into the gorge, in the course of which the steep walls come closer and closer together. After the so-called third gate "Iron Gate", the narrowest passage of the route, where the rock faces almost touch, the beach lies promising. And the bath in the sea makes all the spirits return. But the Samaria gorge is far from being the only one on the island in the Mediterranean: Imbros, Agia Irini, Figou, Anidri and Aradena, to name just a few of the 400 gorges. Common to all: many endemic plants and endangered species of animals can be seen.

Entrance to Samaria Gorge
4

Tenerife - Island of Eternal Spring

The largest of the Canary Islands is a year-round hiker's paradise, and a hiking region second to none. Many different trails and levels of difficulty entice. The climb up the volcano Teide, for example, is a highlight for experienced hikers, while the Anaga Mountains in the north have something to offer for everyone. However, routes in the Teno Mountains that start right by the sea (for example, in the northwest near Los Silos) and climb steeply are also a lot of fun. The views are more than impressive even after a short time. And Tenerife also delights with a sensational gorge hike: the spectacular and also dangerous path through the Masca Gorge was elaborately renovated for three years, and has been open again since 2021.

In a short time still up - view from the Teno mountains to the sea
5

Lycian Trail - Between Tranquility and Culture

It is the first long-distance hiking trail in Turkey and truly one of the most beautiful hiking areas in the world. 26 stages lead 540 kilometers through the Lycia region - which, by the way, means "land of light". Scenically, the Lycian Trail is incredibly charming and offers both tranquility and culture. It runs through shady pine forests, past blue bays, and impresses with its partly alpine character. Most of the time it meanders along the coast - so evening refreshment is provided. Especially the stages around the "pirate bay" Cerali are extremely varied. Here, hiking can be wonderfully combined with a stay at the beach. Local cab drivers are happy to take you to the starting point in Adrasan, and from there you walk up the gorge to the summer pastures, and then past strawberry and laurel trees down to the ancient site of Olympos. Along the beach you can reach Cerali again without any problems. Or you can start in Cerali and hike to Tekirova - along the way you will be enchanted by wild cyclamen, among other things.

Small climbing unit on the stage Cerali-Tekirova
6

Chile - Towers of the Blue Sky

Even if the color of the sky in Torres del Paine National Park is sometimes rather gray: the lakes sparkle in a sensational emerald green. 30 years ago it was still unproblematic to explore the park on your own (after passport registration at the entrance), and to pitch your own tent at Lago Pehoe. Today there are various camps and tent camps - and the loneliness in the hiking area is also a bit over: Until 2025, 500,000 tourists will visit the park annually. Nevertheless, the landscape around the three granite peaks that give the park its name takes your breath away. Glaciers, fjords, lakes and grasslands alternate. And if you are tired of hiking, you can switch to the back of a horse. The view of the landscape is then completely different.

Breathtaking displays of color in Torres del Paine National Park
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Hawaii - Trails, Trails, Trails

The islands of Hawaii are truly not known as a hiking region. But besides surfing and turtle-watching, there are various routes that inspire with their diversity. For example, the Kalalau Trail on the "garden island" of Kauai - flanked by dragon trees, palms and exotic plants. But beware: jagged volcanic rocks with exposed sections make the trail somewhat difficult, but the view of the Napali Coast is unique. The ocean shimmers in the most incredible shades - from dark blue to turquoise. On Maui, the first thing to do is to drive up to the Haleakala crater (3057 meters altitude), and then various trails lead through the lunar landscape into the crater cone. The Pipiwai Trail comes up with another attraction: Waterfalls and bamboo forests. And if you want to feel a bit like Magnum: buy a Hawaiian shirt and enjoy the view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach on the Diamond Head Summit Trail.

Kalalau Trail: the most beautiful sea view of all the Hawaiian Islands
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Author:
Uschi Horner
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