El Camino de Santiago Spain

Three of the Best Walks in the World?

Unless you’re talking empirical facts, lists can be subjective. So we’re going to let you decide. We’re going to lay out, what we believe, are three of the best walks in the world.

A day walk, a weekend walk and a long walk, and you can be the judge.

Please leave your comments below, and let us know if you agree?

Have you done these walks?  Or some you think were better? And why?

Walking is such a personal thing, people seek out and appreciate different elements in their trips. Natural beauty, culture and ancient history, serenity and isolation, unique wildlife, every walk has its own combination of features, and you’ll gravitate to those that feed your soul the most. Or, those you have time for!

So, here’s our thoughts. Let’s see if you agree. We’d love to hear from you.

Maybe, the best day walk in the world?

Mount Gower, Lord Howe Island, Australia

Lord Howe Island

To understand why we think this is one of the best day walks in the world, we have to tell you about a little slice of paradise called Lord Howe Island.

600km out to sea from Port Macquarie, only two hours flight from Sydney or Brisbane, it’s the remnants of a shield volcano that erupted for roughly 500,000 million years, about 7 million years ago.

These figures can be difficult to get your head around, but it means the island has never been part of a continent, all the wildlife and vegetation arrived by sea or air, and it’s old enough for species to have evolved in their own unique way.

So as you climb up Mount Gower, a strenuous eight hour return trip, you’ll frequently hear your guide saying “This is the only place in the world you can see that”.

And they won’t be talking about anything dangerous, as, believe it or not, there are no snakes or highly venomous insects or plants on Lord Howe. How un-Australian!

At only 11 kilometres from end to end, and not even three kilometres at its widest point, you’ll also see the entire island as you ascend the 875 metres to the summit. A crescent moon shape appears below you, with the world’s most southerly barrier reef nestled in its western embrace. Sparkling. Cerulean. Beckoning for you to take a dip when you descend.

Only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at one time, and there’s so much to see and do, you’re hardly going to bump into anyone on your walk. It’s no easy saunter though. There are challenging sections with rope assisted climbs, and you’re not allowed to take on the 14 kilometre round-trip without a licensed guide.

So what makes the walk so special in our eyes?

Is it the breathtaking view you achieve over a UNESCO World Heritage listed island from the summit? Is it the fact that you have to work quite hard, to gain this perspective? Is it the terrifying drops and cliffs that you skirt, while Providence Petrels twirl around your ears, or is it that you know, deep down in your heart that there’s no place on earth quite like this.

And you’ve just climbed to the top, of paradise.

Possibly, the best weekend walk in the world?

Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

If you live in Sydney, or you’ve ever visited for more than a couple of days, you’ve probably been to the Blue Mountains. Lined up with all the tourists in Katoomba and had your picture taken in front of the impressive sandstone formation, the Three Sisters.

What you probably didn’t know, is that you were standing at the beginning of one the best weekend walks in the world. Well, in our opinion anyway.

You’ll start at the viewing platform, surrounded by throngs of selfie taking day trippers in thongs, and you’ll put them in your rear view mirror as you descend the 862 steps to actually touch the Three Sisters. Right now, you have your hand on the Great Dividing Range that stretches the entire length of Australia. Well done.

Before you continue on, plunging into the lush forest below, you can look out across Megalong valley and see the blue haze emanating from Australia’s endemic Eucalypts, which is where Blue Mountains name comes from.

Keep your eyes open for Aboriginal Rock Art, as you wind your way into the Jamison valley that, according to Dreamtime tradition was carved out by an epic battle between Mirigan and Garangatch, a half fish and a half reptile.

Total immersion is one of the delights of this walk. Sun filtering through the forest canopy, lizards scarpering off as you approach, the light catching a drop of water balancing on the tip of a fern beside a crystal cascade. Periodic clearings allowing you to glimpse the immensity of the view, and eventually, you’ll end up in Leura for the night.

The next day takes you through the same environment, but also along a path that’s been carved into the side of the escarpment, adventurously leading you towards the spectacular Wentworth Falls.

Worship the spray on a hot day, then complete the final hike up to the edge of the cliff, and your walk is complete.

Two days. Total immersion. An hour or so from Australia’s biggest city.
Very difficult to beat as far as we’re concerned.

Probably, the best long walk in the world?

El Camino de Santiago, Spain

El Camino de Santiago, Spain

OK we’re leaving Australia for this one. And the fact that it’s one of the most popular walks in the world is difficult to dispute. There have been, at least, ten movies made about the El Camino, and a couple of hundred thousand people complete it every year.

Surely no other walk has claimed such a prominent place in popular culture. The question, however, concerns whether it’s the best long walk in the world.

It certainly ticks a lot of boxes, but does it do it for you? Let us know.

Steeped in history and religion

According to scripture St James was the first of Christ’s apostles to be martyred, when his head was cut off in Jerusalem. His body was transported to Spain, and then overland to Santiago de Compostela.

The El Camino de Santiago represents a series of routes all joined together, following St James’ final path, and the literal translation is the ‘Way of St James’.

For Christians the attraction is clear, it’s a pilgrimage, although the journey has grown way beyond religion, and many take on it on for a range of personal, often spiritual reasons.

Stunning landscapes

Although there are many routes converging on Santiago de Compostela, they all traverse across the top of Spain, and they all take in the landscapes to found in that part of the world.

The lush green pastures of the Cantabrian coast, the fierce vertical peaks of the Picos de Europa, forests rich with birdlife and rolling meadows filled with olive groves and vineyards.

Your walk is constantly punctuated with tiny villages, most of which add to the beauty of the scene as if they’ve been painted onto the landscape.

Foodies dream

And speaking of those little villages and towns, whenever you stop for the night, or lunch, you’ll have the pleasure of tasting a cheese, or a dish that’s been made locally for hundreds of years. You’ll pass through La Rioja, where we’re convinced they keep the best wines for themselves, and lucky visitors, and almost every step along the way there’s cured meats, delightful produce and delicious meals to be had.

Everyone has a story

Finally, and you may or may not like this aspect, it’s a very sociable hike. Everybody is friendly and in our experience, almost everybody has a story to tell.

Why they’re doing the walk. What spurred them on and what’s keeping them going.

There’s a camaraderie to it we haven’t found anywhere else.

And for us, although we like the isolation and wilderness to be found in some other walks, for a walk of this length, we’d rather have some company along the way.

So for a combination of all of the above, but probably, mostly, because of the interesting people you meet on your journey – the El Camino is the best long walk in the world.

To book a walk or hike package, book now online or call us on +44 808 304 8701.

But what are your thoughts? Do you agree? We’d love to hear from you below.

Three of the Best Walks in the World? has 10 Comments

  1. Colin Shatwell

    15 February, 2019 at 3:31 AM

    Sorry guys but you are having a laugh about Camino Santiago de Compestela. If you think this is one of even the top 50 walks in the world you haven’t looked very far. We have a walking club of 30 years standing in Spain and none of our 200 plus Members would rate this walk anywhere near so highly. There are much better walks even in Spain and most certainly on every other Continent in the world. We can’t believe with you being Australian that you haven’t included a walk in Tasmania.
    Tasmania and Lord Howe Island both have walks right up there and we have walked there also, as we have in all of the Americas (Andes, Patagonia, Atacama, Rockies), Australia, New Zealand, French, Swiss, German and Austrian Alps, Dolomites, Norway, Himalayas, South Africa and more, so we have some experience to reflect on..

    Keep up the good work, but please be realistic and not misleading.

    • Maja Grey

      15 February, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      It’s always tricky when you decide to pick a few favourites as there are so many fantastic walks out there. And you’re right, we certainly rate Tasmanian walks as some of the best walks we’ve done. Love hearing what other walkers enjoy and it sounds like you and your walking club has had some amazing experiences!

  2. Anne

    14 February, 2019 at 7:02 PM

    I did the Camino for my 60th … I started in France and walked 6 weeks . Certainly was the most memorable trek I have done .

    You left the Overland Track in Tassie off the list . Fabulous walk . Everyday the terrain was different and I loved it !

    • Maja Grey

      15 February, 2019 at 3:02 PM

      That sounds like a great way to see in your 60th! And we certainly love the Overland Track as well, Tassie does have some great walks.

  3. Peter Brandon

    14 February, 2019 at 5:16 PM

    Having done all three of the walks above I am afraid that neither of them come in my top five. Don’t get me wrong these are all excellent walks. My number one walk would have to be the Dusky in NZ’s Fiordland National Park, for its beauty variety and funnily enough its difficulty. Crossing rivers, climbing from sea level up to the alpine regions and descending to NZ’s deepest lake. All pretty heady stuff. Second for me is the Camino Primitivo which is in Norther Spain and links the Camino del Norte with the Camino Frances. This is a truly spectacular Camino and is steeped in history. My third choice is also a Camino, the Chemin de St Jacques which starts in Le Puy en Valet in Central France and makes its way to the start of the Camino Frances in St Jean de Pied de Port.

    • Maja Grey

      15 February, 2019 at 3:55 PM

      It really is tricky to put together a list of the best walks as it is, naturally, subjective. We do love hearing about what you enjoy and rate as your best walks!

  4. Janet Nolan

    14 February, 2019 at 4:06 PM

    Yes, yes, yes! The Camino is everything I dreamt it would be, and so much more. Spectacular, challenging, gorgeous, brilliant and so much fun. Just do it!
    Can’t wait to go back for the Portuguese Coastal Camino ?

    • Maja Grey

      15 February, 2019 at 3:26 PM

      That’s great Janet, we do love it too!

  5. Heather

    14 February, 2019 at 4:48 PM

    I wonder why the two best walks in Australia are on the east coast?

    • Maja Grey

      15 February, 2019 at 2:23 PM

      Thanks for reading our blog! It’s always tricky with subjective lists like these, there’s so many great walks all over the world. In this case we picked three walks that we really love.

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