Melissa York’s top ten treks for beginners on the path to greatness
1. Annapurna and Everest, The Himalayas
worldexpeditions.co.uk, £1,490 per person
This 15-day introduction to trekking among Nepal’s highest and finest mountain ranges, Annapurna and Everest, will earn you the maximum amount of kudos back home with the minimum amount of effort. If you travel in the next few weeks, you’ll also catch the blooming rhododendron trees that blanket the hills, heralding the start of spring.
Departure dates in March and April, more departures from September onwards
2. Snowdonia, Wales
walkaboutholidays.com, £295 per person
Want to climb Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales? This trip will take you on the simplest route to its summit, starting from Pen y Pass via the PYG path – about seven miles which should take you five hours – and then back to the comfort of the Llanberis hotel.
Price includes hotel stay for three nights with a guide
3. Andes Mountains, Patagonia
abercrombieandkent.co.uk, £2,247.50 per person
Fly to Chile and, discover the “thin country” as it is known, where Native Americans settled in the fertile valleys between the Pacific coastline and the Andes Mountains. This 12-day trip takes in snow-capped mountains reflected in clear lakes, to the red-tinged deserts of Atacama and, of course, the lush vineyards of the Wine Country. You’ll also stay on the border of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Torres del Paine National Park.
Patagonia is best for hiking in the spring and summer. Price includes accommodation and flights
4. Aloha Islands, Hawaii
worldexpeditions.com, £2,290 per person
Embark on a hiking adventure in the Hawaiian archipelago, home of natural treasures such as coral reefs, black sand beaches, and cloud forests. Its diversity is fuelled by live volcanoes and constantly shifting tectonic plates that have spawned an ecosystem that supports over 6,000 species of plant and animal life.
Price is based on a 14-day stay and trips depart all year round
5. Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Peru
worldexpeditions.com, £1,390 per person
For those who enjoy walking but don’t want to rough it on a campsite, this trip offers seven different walks in Cusco that can be completed in a day so you can recover in a hotel in the evening. Trek through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the fabled Machu Picchu. You’ll encounter glorious mountain ranges, quaint villages, vibrant street markets, and fascinating Incan ruins along the way along with some impressive Spanish colonial architecture. The final walk takes you along the last section of the famous Inca Trail.
Price is based on an 11-day stay and trips depart from May to September
6. Sapa Trek, Vietnam
worldexpeditions.com, £790 per person
Set in the cool mountains of northwest Vietnam, Sapa and the surrounding mountains are home to many families seeking to escape the heat of the lowland who offer their hospitality as you trek through secluded trails and valleys with cascading rice terraces. Then take an overnight train to the Old Quarter of Hanoi to explore the hustle and bustle of Vietnam’s food markets.
Price is based on a seven day stay and trips depart all year round
7. Virunga Mountain Range, Nairobi
abercrombieandkent.co.uk, £1,357.50 per person
Seeing the rare and majestic mountain gorilla in its natural habitat is a staple on many bucket lists. Experienced guides are on hand throughout this trip to help you get the most out of the experience. The Volcanoes National Park, which forms part of the Virunga Mountain Range, is home to half of the remaining 750 mountain gorillas in the area. Prepare to get wet and muddy as you make your way through the forest in search of one of the four gorilla families that live there. Trekking takes anywhere between one and four hours and an hour is spent with the gorillas, so it’s the most adrenaline-pumped hiking experience a beginner can have.
Price is based on a four-day trek with accommodation and flights. Best time to travel is between July and September or December and January. Children under the age of 15 are not permitted
8. The Pyrenees, France
worldwalks.com, £725 per person
Stay in the historic spa town of Ax-Les-Thermes in the Midi-Pyrenees region and enjoy five days of invigorating hikes. Beginners will appreciate the flexibility of this trek which allows participants to opt in or out of any of the walks. Stay in the Hotel Grande Cordee close to the town centre in relaxing private gardens and feast on Pyrenean cuisine.
Price includes flights and seven nights in accommodation
9. Rocky Mountains, Canada
worldexpeditions.com, £1,495 per person
Most of the Canadian Rockies are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site for a good reason; the spectacular mountain landscape, with its snow-topped peaks, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls, limestone caves and cavernous canyons, and it’s an inspiring place to start walking. If you get tired, you can always hire a car and explore the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Price based on a six-day stay and trips depart from June to September
10. Masai Mara, Kenya
worldexpeditions.com, £1,890 per person
Encounter wildlife on foot without the barriers of vehicles in Masai Mara, one of the finest national parks in East Africa. Experienced local guides will ensure you meet animals in their natural environment without endangering either them or yourself.
Price based on a seven-day stay and trips depart from June to February