Hike Around the World
January 18, 2017 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations of multi-day hikes, ideally with places to sleep each night.

I'd like to do more longer hikes, but I'm not a huge fan of camping. I never sleep well and am usually cranky the next day. I also enjoy meeting people and eating local foods, so I would love to find more hikes where the stopping points have villages. Camino de Santiago is a good example of this, but apart from it being ridiculously crowded, I've also accidentally driven most of it on a road trip already.

What are some other options? I've looked into the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland, but it seems like you can't do the whole trail without camping a few times. I can't tell if the Lan Tau hike in Hong Kong has places to sleep. Most people seem to only do parts of these so it's been hard to find reviews of doing the entire hike. I'm not an advanced hiker, but I'm fairly in shape and in my 20s, so it doesn't have to be too easy.
posted by monologish to Travel & Transportation (37 answers total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
Hadrian's Wall. There are lots of companies that will carry your stuff from one B&B/inn to the next.
posted by rtha at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Self-guided tour of Hadrian's Wall is the classic, not too expensive and not too gruelling.
posted by praemunire at 3:21 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

My wife and I had an absolutely fantastic 8 day/7 night walk across the Harz Mountians on the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg. We used a local tour company to arrange everything and take our luggage from one town to another.

There's also the Pieterpad in The Netherlands.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:23 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nakasendo Way in Japan. We did the Magome to Tsumago leg and it was magnificent. You can send your luggage ahead.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Milford Track in New Zealand. There are actually many long hikes in NZ that have communal huts for overnights.
posted by oceanmorning at 3:26 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Years ago, my friend and I did the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek in Nepal. There were guest houses all along the way. We were not experienced hikers, and we found it totally manageable.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:38 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

On the Japanese island of Shikoku there is a pilgrimage trail where you go to 88 temples. The whole thing would take months but you could easily do a section of it. There are lodging options along the way or at some of the temples themselves. This is less of a hike and more of a very long walk.

You can also hike one of the trails of Kumano Kodo in Wakayama (Japan). The trails are a UNESCO site. This is a proper hike but there are places to stay along the way.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:45 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tour du Mont Blanc - hike through France, Italy, and Switzerland and stay in a different hut or town each night. It's not *easy* hiking, but there are lots of ways to make it easier if you take the occasional bus or skip a leg.

There are actually lots of routes in the Alps and across Europe where you can hike or at least walk from town to town - the Grandes Randonees in France, for example.
posted by mskyle at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Kumano Kodo in Japan. This site was really handy for planning accommodation along the trail and luggage transfer for my trip last fall. I did a 2 day trip (Hongu to Nachi) but you can hike other portions to make it a longer. Memail me if you want more details on my trip.
posted by paradeofblimps at 4:19 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am reasonably sure you could do this in San Diego County. There are plenty of things to see and do there. It is a densely populated county. You can literally walk from one small city to another (I have done that) and you should have no problem finding restasurants, hotels, etc. You could potentially wing it. If things get hairy, you can be rescued by pubpic transit.

I will suggest you consider putting Torrey Pines State Park on the agenda, as well as the sea lions in La Jolla. There is some kind of hike/bike/kayak tour company for seeing the sea lions.
posted by Michele in California at 4:29 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I agree with mskyle that you should consider the Grandes Randonees routes! I've done parts of the GR10 in the Pyrenees. The scenery is spectacular, and there are nice gîtes to sleep in.
posted by HoraceH at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Laugavegur trail in Iceland has cabins for each night, but they're specifically there for the trail and there's no village around except at Thorsmork. Spectacular hike though. You have to book beds in the cabins ahead of time to be guaranteed a spot, and if you have very specific dates you want then I'd try and book several months ahead at least (more if you'll be trying to get a group together).
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Seconding the Laugavegur trail in Iceland. Spectacular! Also the W, O, or Q in Torres del Paine, Chile. There are refugios with cafeterias and beds at pretty much every stop. If you do plan on needing lodging on either of these trails, advance reservations are a must as they get very popular during the right seasons.
posted by Otis the Lion at 5:16 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did the Camino from NL to Spain, and honestly the Spanish leg is the least interesting part of the trip.

La voie de Vézelay in France is one of the oldest and least traveled camino roads through France and it is absolutely spectacular. I still dream of it at night. I carried a tent, but it was generally easy to find accommodation in the towns for pilgrims.

In NL, the Pieterspad was mentioned above, but there's also the Pelgrimspad-- also a Camino route. Though some of the stops are campsites, they almost always have permanent tents with cots which can be rented, and there is a Dutch organisation called Vrienden op de Fiets (Friends on bicycles) which you can join and then stay in local homes.

You could also consider the Portuguese Camino-- not so popular, but also meant to be beautiful.

I have not walked, but long to walk the Via Francigena, and that has lodges and refugios set up along the way as well. This my plan for my 50th birthday. :)

Nakasendo Way was great-- I did a chunk of it lodge to lodge and it's spectacular, but expensive. Be warned.
posted by frumiousb at 6:10 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


The Lantau Trail in Hong Kong is only 100km. There are huts which can be rented and a hotel in Tai O, but you could honestly get off the trail every night and take a bus to the airport and sleep there. If you want to hike in Hong Kong, ping me since I live here, but it isn't great for multiday hikes.
posted by frumiousb at 6:12 PM on January 18, 2017

The Three Capes Track in Tasmania fits the bill in some ways. Every night there are cabins to stay in with gas stoves and so forth; however there aren't any villages.

For a more luxury version, there's The Great Walks of Australia; in many cases you will carry only a day pack, and food is generally provided and cooked for you. In some cases you do sleep in tents, but they're not your standard nylon dome tent - more like swank canvas tents. Everyone I know who has done one raves about it.

Full disclosure: I work for Tourism Australia - but I'm also an avid hiker and am looking to do these walks myself. (Bay of Fires, I'm coming for you in April!)
posted by rednikki at 6:18 PM on January 18, 2017

The Overland Track in Tasmania is probably the most famous in Australia. You are staying in very basic cabins (running water, pit toilets) though, not villages. I think you also have to take a tent in case of bad weather or if a cabin is packed when you get there.

If you are really rich you can do the Bay of Fires walk, also in Tasmania.

Other seconding the Milford Track - if you do the guided version it is very luxurious - hot water, drying rooms, nice food. Not villages, but you do get the camaraderie of the group. Routeburn is similar, but easier/cheaper to do yourself with still pretty nice cabins.
posted by trialex at 6:21 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding frumiousb, there are multiple routes of the Camino de santiago besides the Camino Frances, which has been getting more and more popular. There are several Northern routes, but I'm planning on doing the Camino Portugues this summer along the coast of Portugal into Spain.
I've also read about a few pilgrimmage routes in Italy, like the Way of St. Francis, and the Via Francigana that goes from Canterbury through France, Switzerland, and Italy to Rome, but don't know as much about those.
posted by ceramicblue at 6:54 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park, Alberta. From what I've heard, it's spectacular. I've only ever been on day hikes at various points along it but from what I've seen it lives up to the reputation.

Unfortunately, it's quite popular and the camping spots have limited capacity. You'd be wise to register well before the hiking season starts, which is part of the reason I've never done it.
posted by figurant at 6:55 PM on January 18, 2017

We hiked the Coast to Coast Walk in 2011 and had a fabulous experience. We worked with a company that arranged our lodging for each night and picked up our bags the next morning and moved them ahead to the next stopover, so all we had to carry was rain gear, lunch, map, and camera. Feel free to PM me if you want more details.
posted by anderjen at 6:59 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Quilatoa Loop in Ecuador!! Beautiful hiking in the Andes. Pretty self directed ( or you can hire a guide) but relatively well signed and you hike from village to village. All the villages have hostels that are set up around the hikers and do a dinner/breakfast thing. There's enough people hiking that you keep bumping into the same folks for dinner and I the trail so it's fun and social, but few enough people that you're hiking alone 95% of the time if you don't set out with someone else. Oh and did I mention it's beautiful?
posted by geegollygosh at 7:54 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Iirc you'd have to be pretty aggressive with your mileage but it would be doable on Bruce trail. Rideau trail also passes through many towns and villages in distances walkable in a day but I'm not sure about the availability of accommodations.
posted by mikek at 8:29 PM on January 18, 2017

The South West Coast Path can take months, but you could spend several days hiking around the Cornish peninsula and staying in a village every night. Most likely other sections of the path would work as well, but I've only done that part. Beautiful views, and some really good food in the area (book a room at The Gunnard's Head!)
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:42 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

We went hiking through some of the Karakoram range in Ladakh in July of 2016. There are lots of Leh (administrative center of Ladakh)-based travel agencies that will arrange hikes ranging from 2 to 10 days with homestays along the way. We went with the wonderful Ladakhi Women's Travel Company - a trekking company fully owned and run by Ladakhi women. Our guide was amazing.

We met other hikers who were going with other trekking companies and I grew to appreciate our women-run one even more. For example, other trekking companies seemed to spend a lot of effort in providing western comforts to the hikers (sandwiches, potato chips, coke, etc.) while our company made it a point to provide us with delicious local (vegetarian) food sourced from local families. The other trekking companies seemed to be more interested in getting their customers to their destination with least exertion from the customers. Our guide made it a point to pick up stray plastic bags and coke cans from the trail to properly dispose of at the next recycling bin.
posted by thaths at 10:57 PM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

The West Highland Way in Scotland passes through lots of small towns so it's easy to find places to stay if you book far enough in advance. It's pretty busy in the height of summer - I'd recommend April/May as the best times to do it to balance weather for crowdedness.

You can carry your own stuff like I did or use one of the numerous companies to shuttle it to your next stop.

The scenery is spectacular, if a little bleak at times!
posted by neilb449 at 11:35 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thirding the Grandes Randonnées (GR) in France. That site has links to communal cabins, called refuges in French. I've stayed in several, from the Jura to the Alps to the Mercantour, and they're really nice. Granted, "really nice" is coming from this here Oregonian who grew up wilderness camping, so the more detailed explanation would be: they're solid beds with mattresses, usually in stone buildings. You bring a sleeping bag and, if you so prefer, pillow. Some refuges are inhabited by people who will also cook you breakfast or have a hot dinner ready for a nominal fee. You just tell them when you plan to arrive/wake up.

France is filled with gorgeous scenery and a lot of the villages the GR go through are quite picturesque.
posted by fraula at 1:20 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't recommend La Réunion island enough. It's a french island not far from Madagascar. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and magical, there are two volcanoes, and if you climb the Piton des Neiges you can see the indian ocean all around. The hikes are pretty tough though, plan to go there during the winter (june - november is best). There are two GR (chemins de grande randonnées) and the refuges are 1000 times better than in metropolitain France. Very simple, very clean, very ecological. Food is awesome, people are awesome (it's a successfully mixed population of all origins- feels like an utopia!!) and in certains places I felt like in Mongolia (except there are no plains AT ALL in La Réunion) : very few people, living like 300 years ago. In the Cirque de Mafate for example, the mail man and nurses go from families to families on foot and need a week to make the whole trip!
Another big plus : there are no dangerous animals : no bears, no spiders nor scorpios...
The only caveat is that they only speak French and Créole.
posted by Ifite at 2:33 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Take a look at Norway's 'Turlag' — DNT.no, the Norwegian Trekking Association— they've loads of multi-day hikes which go from hut-to-hut-to-hut. They have another site, UT.no, where you can see maps and route descriptions, and where hikers upload photos and reports. It's a smashing resource, and popping into a Turlag office when you're in Norway is a really useful thing, they're super encouraging, they can answer practically any question you might have, and they'll print out maps on the spot.
posted by Joeruckus at 6:31 AM on January 19, 2017

The everest basecamp trek is amazing. You don't pass through any actual villages after you pass Namche but there are teahouses at regular intervals where you can stay.
The high altitudes can make it difficult for some and I found it hard to sleep properly.
I did it as a fairly fit and healthy man in his early thirties with no hiking experience.

It has some of the best scenery you will find anywhere in the world.
posted by drugstorefrog at 6:31 AM on January 19, 2017

In Germany, you could try the Rheinsteig along/above the river Rhine between Wiesbaden and Bonn (320km). I've done most of it in bursts of 3 to 4 days or as day hikes, but you can easily spend the nights in towns/villages along the way. You can also pick part of the Rheinsteig and start/end wherever you like. There are some very scenic parts with lots of castles to look at along the way.

Also, there are several multi-day hiking paths in the Black Forest, and the Schluchtensteig is very scenic (120km). You can book accomodation and luggage transport so you hike for five or six days and spend the nights at hotels in between. The hotels will have breakfast and lunch bags for you and transport your luggage to the next one so all you have to carry is a day pack. I've hiked this in six days a few years ago and loved it.
posted by amf at 8:03 AM on January 19, 2017

These are amazing! Thank you!
posted by monologish at 9:20 AM on January 19, 2017

There are specialist travel companies who will book all of this for you (and sort out baggage transfers etc). Just search for "self-guided walking holiday".

I've used these for a really nice week in the Swiss Alps. These guys specialise in the UK.

Even if you prefer to organise the trip yourself, their brochures should give you some ideas.
posted by tinkletown at 10:20 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

There was just an article in a Sunset special issue about the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite, which is this exact thing! The circuit is set up to take a week.

If you want a one-nighter you can hike Mt. Fuji from station 1, sleep at station 5, and hike to the top for sunrise. (Most people take a bus to station 5 and start there, but it's a beautiful hike!)
posted by jrobin276 at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fingerlakes trails - a very extensive system, lots of trails and the occasional leanto or structure for sleeping.
posted by 445supermag at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nepal is perfect for this. The aforementioned Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is part of the larger Annapurna Circuit Trek, which is an absolutely amazing experience. The whole circuit takes 18-22 days, but you can do smaller chunks of it, from 3-10 days. I did Birethani to Muktinath/Kagbeni, and then down to Beni, which took about 9 days - apparently there is a road on that side of the Circuit now though.

Anyway, I think the Annapurna Circuit is sort of the platonic ideal of this - the trails are essentially the foot highway/trading route that links dozens of ancient villages, so in addition to diverse landscapes and ecosystems (everything from subtropical rhododendron forests to high Tibetan Plateau), you get to see villages, temples, monastaries - and interact with lots of kids. And every village you walk through has multiple lodges - when I did the Circuit, all I had to carry on me was a few changes of clothes, some toiletries, and whatever I would carry on a day hike.

The one thing about the Circuit is that because these trails connect villages, it's not so much of a solitary wilderness experience - there's stunning natural beauty, but you'll be on the trails with porters carrying supplies, other trekkers, farmers walking to their fields, kids going to school, etc. I thought that was a feature, not a bug, but it's a good thing to be aware of.
posted by lunasol at 6:21 PM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fitting all criteria; The Via San Francesco from Assisi to Rome.

Googling "St Francis of Assisi walk to Rome" will give you plenty of options, from maps and directions that can be used for self guided travel to tour groups that arrange luggage transport etc.

The route is marked with yellow and blue striped signs and marks in some of the sweetest and most spectacular villages and countryside in Central Italy. Lots of local culture, good food and towns along the route.
posted by Flashduck at 12:58 AM on January 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

obsessed with this thread, thank you for posting. i've walked several weeks on the Camino and done some other long hikes and although i don't have firsthand knowledge here, have heard wonderful things about Torres Del Paine, Chile, per Otis The Lion's recommendation.
posted by gillianr at 6:19 PM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

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