For the Orophile at heart, the mountains are always calling! It’s time to leave out those cosy blankets and to get atop and see, or rather feel, how it is to be at the top; what is it like being in or amidst or above the clouds, how does it feel to be in the freezing cold and how does it feel to walk miles along to reach our most fascinated destination!

Below are the top 5 mountain trails from around the world that an orophile should put into their bucket list!

5Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Circuit. Image Source: Pixabay

Hiking the Annapurna circuit is rather the most stunning and beautiful experience one should have in a lifetime. The life-changing experiences and lovely hospitality of the Nepalese will make you captivate the place right from day 1. The trek is long and tiring (physically as well as mentally). Any route you take is going to be 13+ days where at times you will sleep on some hard rock beds, drink the chlorinated or steri-pen filtered water, have a limited supply of clothing and no internet access.

Highest Mountain – The Mount Annapurna 1 Main – 8091m. Highest point- Thorong La pass- 5416m.

Location – Central Nepal

Trek length – 16-20 days

Distance – Between 170-230 kms.

When to go trekking the Annapurna Circuit

The best times to visit are between October to early December and from late Feb to April. Going anytime other than this means risking your life on the tricky and snow-covered Thorong La pass.

Accommodation 

You will find guesthouses and teahouses all along the way right from Besisahar to Jomsom. These pretty places are made from rock and wood and give enough space for relaxing and spreading out.

#Trek permit 

Irrespective of the time you hike, you need to have a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) permit and  Annapurna National Park Permit. If you go as part of a hiking group, these will be better managed by the guides. But if you are a solo trekker then you have to obtain these permits from Nepal Tourism Office based in Kathmandu or the Pokhra tourist office. Never forget to put 4 passport sized photos along with for the permit.

4Kungsleden – (The King’s Trail)

A reindeer in northern Sweden on the great foot walk Kungslegen

The path established at the beginning of the 20th century stretches more than 400 km and lies between Abisko and Hemavan. Passing through the varied landscapes in the Lapland mountain world, the dramatic changes along the alpine terrain and low lying birch forest, and the several mountain villages make it worth it all. Kungsladen passes through four National Parks – Abisko, Stora Sjofallet, Sarek and Pieljekaise. Reindeer husbandry can also be seen all along the way. The trail is well marked with bridges on the fast-flowing streams.

Location – Gällivare, Sweden.

When to go 

Mid-July to late August is the best time to visit Kungsladen.

Accommodation- Huts managed by the Swedish tourism can be found all the way. These provide you with the basic facilities needed. Although at some huts you won’t find any water and electricity but not to worry, you will surely find a freshwater source nearby.

3Camino de Santiago

Camino de Frances – the most popular route to take for this trail

Stretching from the Pyrenees in France, across the top of Spain and finishing in Santiago de Compostela, this trek is a 500 km walk. During the summer months, you will find it very social and rather crowded, so if you are a seeker of solitude, try going in the off-season periods. The publication of Irish Hispanist and traveller Walter Starkie’s ‘Road to Santiago’ published in 1957 brought this pilgrimage into the limelight and since then has seen thousands of Christian pilgrims.

The Camino de Santiago route is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also read the history associated with this route and its importance for Christian pilgrims here.

Location – France and Northwestern Spain

When to go – April to September is the best time to walk the route of Camino de Santiago

Accommodation- The credencial- can be termed as the pilgrim passport. One needs to have this document to get access to overnight accommodation along the trek.

The best fact about this trek is that once your Credencial is checked (there have to be stamps of each accommodation facility you stayed), which says you have either walked 100 km or cycled 200 km along the official route, you get the Compostela- The certificate of accomplishment. One can collect this from the pilgrim’s office in Santiago.

If you plan to walk the entire route from France to Spain it will take about 30-35 days to complete the journey based on an average of 23-27 km covered each day.

2Haute Route

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the Mercedes of the trekking world, this trek will have you gazing at the world’s most famous peaks, Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. The name literally means ‘high route’ and to complete this you have to encompass a journey of 125 miles (201 km) of around 12 days ranging from the Chamonix Valley in France to Zermatt in Switzerland.

Location – France & Switzerland

When to go –  July to October is the best time to trek up Haute Route.

Accommodation – Plenty of accommodation options are available throughout with nearly all of them having online booking facilities.

1Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Sun Temple at Machu Picchu

One of the most travelled routes of the world is the Inca Trail which leads to Machu Picchu. The reason being its striking beauty. The 26 miles trek will lead you through many ancient settlements, providing clues to the history of the Inca Empire. On the route is a mix of everything, from the snow-capped Andes to the luscious tropical jungle. The day you pass the Sun Gate is the best as you can see the beautifully laden ancient city of Machu Picchu. But you have to be lucky enough to let out a gasp at the view as the clouds here are a major hindrance to the beautifying view.

The trek mostly lasts for 4-5days wherein you start from Cusco, then to the ‘kilometer 28’ where you check in for the park and get your guide and porter. For most of them, the day 2- Dead Woman’s Pass is toughest which has 5 hours worth of constant uphill.

#bookitfast – You really need to be attentive as to when the bookings start. Because of the limit of just 500 people per day, the tickets get sold out really quickly. Also, make sure you get your trip and a guide along with through a verified travel service provider.

Location –  Peru

When to go – April to August.

Accommodation- Plenty options available online as well as provided by the travel guides.

You can read more about trekking up Machu Picchu by an experienced traveller 

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