This is a list of my 'top 10' hikes from around the world, in no particular order or ranking. I've chosen these based on some of the things that make a great hike - beautiful scenery and nature, interesting and varied terrain, a good balance between difficulty and reward, and just enjoyable walking.

Sometimes the best places are off the main path. While hiking Kungsleden in the most northern reaches of Sweden, I took a detour into the valley of Stuor Reaiddávággi and encountered one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It was the fourth day of my trip, and after three days of rain and overcast weather, the sun finally broke. The timing couldn't have been better, because my elation at enjoying the first dry weather of the hike was only matched by the sheer delight of walking through such a pristine landscape. 

 

The valley is at least a day's walk from any town or road, so this is a very isolated spot. But there are mountain huts at either end of the valley and you can also spend a night at the Nallo cabin at the heart of the valley. Talk about getting away from it all. 

Llyn Idwal is my favourite place in the UK: a wild and lake hidden nestled at the foot of the jagged, ice-sculpted peaks of Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia National Park. Waterfalls stream down the hillside into the lake, boulders lie scattered across the landscape and the gentle Y Garn looms in the distance. The water is named after a prince whose father ruled over northern Wales in the ninth century - this is old-earth, weathered beauty.

A walk around the lake only takes 1 or 2 hours and is quite gentle. If you want something more challenging, you can hike up to Y Garn (947m) or Glyder Fawr (1,000m) via the Devil's Kitchen. However you enjoy Llyn Idwal, you'll promise yourself to come back one day.

The hike to Navajo Knobs in Capitol Reef doesn't offer some of the features you'd hope for in a great walk: the route is there-and-back, the terrain is fairly monotonous, and you won't encounter any water features or exciting wildlife. But the views along the trail are second-to-none and at the finale you're rewarded with one of the most breathtaking views imaginable: a 360-degree panorama of the Henry Mountains, the Cathedral Valley District and - the most dominant feature in Capitol Reef - the Waterpocket Fold. It's this feature, a 65-million-year-old wrinkle in the earth's crust, that makes this view so epic and unforgettable. 

This hike is easy to reach, as it's only a short drive hike from the park's visitor center at Fruita, and can be completed in a long morning or afternoon. If you're coming to this part of the world, make sure you bring a 4x4 for some of the best off-roading in the US.  

In 2018, I spent 8 days hiking in the Svaneti region of Georgia. It was an unforgettable trip for so many reasons - from the journey to our starting point (via an overnight train, a minibus ride and a hitch in the back of a pick-up truck), to a truly dramatic night on a (very cold) mountain pass, to the timeless beauty of the Georgian mountains.

 

Although we saw spectacular scenery every day, the most pleasant hike was probably from Tsvirmi, perched on the edge of a dramatic plateau, to the timeless village of Adishi. Spending a night in a Svan tower is a must-do if you find yourself in this part of the world. 

Ok, so this is a popular one and you're probably sick of seeing the pictures on Instagram. But despite its popularity, and the need for some forward planning, this is a must-do hike that has it all: awesome scenery, fantastic walking and the promise of adventure. For starters, you have to drive for hours through the dusty roads of Arizona just to reach the trailhead. Second, the hike begins on a spectacular cliff at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Third, you're hiking through Native land and pass through a Havasu village that lies miles from anywhere at the base of a deep canyon. And lastly - as if from nowhere, that impossibly-blue water. 

The key to this hike is grabbing yourself a permit and planning ahead. And being prepared to share the trail, and the falls, with other hikers. But whether you come to Arizona just for for Havasu, or are fitting this into a longer trip, this is one hike that is worth the hype.  

Your fortunes can change quickly in the mountains. My favourite section of the GR20 was Day 8, between Refuge de Petra Piana and Refuge de Manganu. The night before had been truly miserable, holed up in a very cold (and wet) tent trying to avoid the rain. But as we set off early the next morning, the weather began to clear. As we hiked up to the beautiful Lac de Capitello, we were rewarded with a spectacular sunrise over a sea of clouds and while navigating our way through craggy spires of rock, the the clouds spilled, waterfall-like, from one valley to the next.

 

After enjoying the incredible views from the mountain pass, we dropped into another valley and washed in a small, ice-cold lake before enjoying a beer and an omelette at the very pleasant Refuge de Manganu - the thought of rain a distant memory.

In 2017, I hiked from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn via La Haute Route: a world-famous trek that takes in some of the most spectacular mountain scenery Switzerland has to offer. It was also a long trip that at times almost broke me. The most memorable section was probably Day 9, when I crossed into German-speaking Switzerland via the Meidpass, and spent a night camping alone - with one of the best views in the world. 

This is a trip you could make fairly lightly - staying in hotels and taking advantage of the ski lifts - or with a lot more effort. However you do it, after more than a week on the trail your first sight of the end point, the Matterhorn, will probably be an emotional moment.  

Kaçkar Mountains, Turkey

08

 

Zion National Park_039

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Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for titles, paragraphs & more. Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for titles, paragraphs & more. Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

09

 

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Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for titles, paragraphs & more. Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for titles, paragraphs & more. Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go to font for.

Gulch Canyon, Utah

10

 

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