I was hesitant when I booked my first multi-day trek. I know the Great Outdoors was something you ought to do – like eat your greens – but I was worried that 5 days of continuous walking was going to be more than my modest muscles could handle.
I was happy to be proved wrong.
Surprisingly, I found myself in a state of contentment for five straight days. Although the walking was strenuous, I relished just being among snowy giants and quiet trails. Without mobile service, my IPhone was no longer an extension of my hand. Instead, hours were filled with conversation with fellow trekkers. My mind felt clear and happy. Nothing compares to a few days in the wilderness where the only transportation is your own two feet.
But if you’re a trekking rookie like me, it’s good to know that going on a trek doesn’t have to mean two weeks conquering Everest Base Camp. There are many wonderful multi-day walks and hikes around the world that can be done in less than a week and with little-to-no special gear. These are some of my favourites:
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Nepal. 4-5 Days
Want to be among the Himalaya, but not ready for Everest Base Camp? While lesser known, the Annapurna region near Pohkara in Western Nepal offers some of the country’s most beautiful and diverse scenery.
The scenery changes drastically every few hours. Beginning at the dry valley floor, you’ll go up past terraced rice fields, green meadows and Rhododendron forests—all with Annapurna’s tallest peaks towering above. On your third day, wake up before the sun and make the 45 min ascent to the Poon Hill viewpoint. From there, watch the sunrise over the Himalayan lineup. If you haven’t figured out your camera’s panorama setting yet, now would be the time to start.
No need to pack and tent and stove here! On this trek you spend each night in a tiny mountain village.
Pro tip: Bring a reusable water bottle and a filtration system to save the environment and money!
The Camino de Santiago, Spain. 6 weeks – 5 days
Probably the most famous and historically significant on the list, the Camino de Santiago runs westward 500 miles from France through Northern Spain.
While some trekkers do it for religious purposes, others walk for the social and/or physical aspect. Never expect a lonely moment on the trail if you don’t want to– it’s extremely easy to meet other trekkers. Also, expect the Spanish wine to flow freely around the pilgrim dinner table!
Although many people take the 5-6 weeks to complete the whole route, it’s not required. Many people only do the last 5 days of the walk, starting from the small town of Sarria ending in Santiago de Compostela.
Pro tip: Make sure your feet are ready for full days of walking! Blisters are the biggest deal breakers for most trekkers.
Kuari Pass, India. 5-10 days
While some people argue that Nepal is becoming a bit crowded, touristy and expensive (hey, it’s worth it) there are still other Himalayan destinations worth considering too.
Nearby Rishikesh, India, the Kuari Pass Trek in the Garhwal Mountains is a beautiful location to spend a week. Being such an inexpensive country, India provides guided treks feasible for any budget. (Seriously, it’s a steal!) The porters and guides not only carry all of the gear (including yours too!) but also set up camp and cook multi-course meals each night.
Pro tip: Bring a spare camera battery! You don’t want to miss capturing these vistas because there was nowhere to charge up.
Cinque Terre, Italy. 2-6 days
Hiking sea-hugging trails in-between feasting on Italian meals? I don’t think life gets any better than that. Cinque Terre is a national park comprised of five villages, all of which are connected by train and of course– walking trails!
While there are multitudes of hiking trails along Cinque Terre, the most popular network of trails is the Sentiero Azzurro. This trail is made up of 4 individual paths along the coastline. You could walk it all in one long day, but most people split it up over a few. This way you can stop and take time to explore the seaside towns.
Also, don’t forget your swimsuit. There’s no better reward for a day of walking than a swim in the Ligurian Sea. Okay, maybe gelato…
Pro tip: Start from Riomaggiore. This way the paths are easier and paved, then once things get more challenging you always can head to the nearest train station if you have to!
Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo). 2 days
Rather summit a mountain than walk between villages? Try Mt. Kinabalu then, Southeast Asia’s highest peak.
While strenuous and towering at 13, 435ft, hiking Mt. Kinabalu with a guide is done by many hobby hikers each year. The ascent takes two days, and you reach the summit before sunrise on your second day. Not only will the views be worth the climb, but so will the bragging rights!
Pro-tip: Bring your head torch for that early morning summit!
Feature image c/o Ashley Fleckenstein