Walking - just simply walking - can be one of the best ways to experience a place. The pace and the perspective mean you see things you would never spot otherwise, from the first glimpse of a breathtaking vista to the discovery of a tiny wildflower. While taking on an epic trail it can seem intimidating, the good news is that there are countless rewarding trails to suit the average traveller. You don't have to be a muscled and sinewy hiker from way back - we've got some lovely walks for those of us with less than Olympic fitness levels.
No need to lug a tent and sleeping bag in your backpack for these walks. Here are 10 great spots to base yourself for comfortable day walks:
1. Grand Canyon, USA - A stroll along the rim is spectacular, or you can descend into the canyon for a different perspective.
Image the Grand Canyon by Wolfgang Staudt
2. Aoraki/Mount Cook Village, New Zealand - Several easy trails depart from the village, including the popular Hooker Valley Track with its amazing views.
3. Lake District, England - Ramble along hedgerows and among fells where Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth found their inspiration.
4. Torres del Paine, Chile - It’s hard to believe that this rugged landscape offers accessible day walks. Tour companies offer guided walks from a permanent base or you can go it alone.
Image Torres del Paine by melenama
5. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland - Alpine peaks, waterfalls, views of the Eiger - they’re all at your doorstep.
6. Brecon Beacons, Wales - From waterfalls to Norman Castles, there’s something for everyone here. The National Park Authority offers guided walks.
7. Kakadu National Park, Australia - Short, easy walks take you to Aboriginal rock art sites and amazing views of the Escarpment. Regular ranger talks are a great way to learn about the art and culture.
8. Taman Negara, Malaysia - You don’t have to venture far into the jungle to feel you’ve entered another world. For a thrill, organise a night walk - your guide will probably find you a giant scorpion!
9. Dartmoor, England - Imagine Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s baying hounds pursuing you over the lonely moor - or perhaps don’t! The National Park Authority offers guided walks.
Image of Dartmoor by snaps11
10. Sapa, Vietnam - Local guides can introduce you to life among the terraced rice paddies and surrounding villages.
A lot of people find multi-day walks intimidating because of the amount of gear you need. But with services from huts to bag-ferrying, these multi-day hikes are within reach even for the non-hardcore!
Canada - Companies such as Strider Adventures in British Columbia offer multi-day or shorter walks with llamas to carry the gear. Too easy!
Cinque Terre, Italy - Some walk it in a day, but why not take your time? There’s a train that can take you back to your starting point.
New Zealand - The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a stunning, easy 3-5 day trail with huts provided by the Department of Conservation.
Image Abel Tasman Coast Track by macronix
Peru - The Inca Trail is actually not too tough, and the less-crowded Lares Valley trek still enables you to get to Machu Picchu via bus.
Spain - On the Camino de Santiago de Compostela there are services that will schlep your luggage for you over the last 100km. Or you could buy a donkey to carry your stuff.
United Kingdom - Services like Sherpa Van will transport your bags between B&Bs each day on iconic walks including England’s Coast to Coast and Scotland’s West Highland Way.
Yosemite National Park, USA - A relatively flat stretch of the John Muir trail runs through Tuolumne Meadows; if you want to tackle more, some companies offer guided trips.
Lace up your walking shoes and step up to our range of walking and hiking guides