9 of the best guided trekking holidays in the world

From relaxed daily wanders to multi-day treks across epic mountain ranges
9 amazing guided world treks

We love hiking holidays – the chance to give yourself a real challenge with a multi-day trek, making some unforgettable memories plus all that beach time and relaxation afterwards.

With so many tour operators offering dedicated walking trips around the world, the hard bit is whittling down your list. Using a tour operator means you can blend hiking with another activity, such as yoga, and choose accommodation with good restorative options, such as a pool and spa where you can kick back after some walking.

For those seeking something more challenging, there are plenty of multi-day trips that see you hike further each day, often with some steep sections and even mountain hikes thrown in for good measure. Trekking newbies should look for trips that cover a shorter daily distance, without too much ascent, to make sure it doesn't become an ordeal.

If you’ve only got limited time, consider ticking off a section of a longer route. For example, the whole Camino De Santiago is some 800km-long – but you can still gain a compostela (a certificate proving you’ve completed the route) by hiking the final 100km of it. Or, throw in the extra challenge of braving the elements in Scotland, where the West Highland Way runs for 154km and can be tackled in an eight-day stint.

Kumano Kodo, Japan

The best trekking holidays around the world

A nine-day trip that sees hikers travel through the beautiful forests of the Kumano mountains as they follow the ancient trails leading to three ancient shrines.

The centuries-old UNESCO listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage is far from just a scenic walk though, with some of the mountain paths offering a tricky and often challenging journey - the very reason that the trails were picked for a pilgrimage.

Although it may be a tough hike it's one that pay's back in impressive experiences including a visit to the grand shrine, Kumano Hongu, exploring of ancient Japanese forests, a chance to relax in the pristine River Onsen hot springs and experience cultural activities like Zen mediation, Origami, and Karaoke.

Duration: Nine days (six of those hiking)

Distance: 90 kilometres, with 7,747m ascent and 7,919m of descent

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Price: From $1,939 AUD per person

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The W Trek, Chile

The best trekking holidays around the world
Chimu Adventures

Chilean Patagonia should be right up on there on any hiker’s bucket list. The landscape is truly spectacular – all snow-capped mountains, silver-grey rocks, milky-blue lakes and lime green beech trees.

The famous “W” trek sits high on the flank of a granite massif that soars 10,000ft out of the vast grasslands of the majestic Torres del Paine National Park. Latin America specialists Chimu Adventures operate five-day treks along this famed route, taking in the shape of a giant W through volcanic peaks, towering glaciers and shimmering lakes, before reaching the magnificent Paine Towers.

Duration: Five days

Distance: 80km

Difficulty: Moderate

Price: From £979

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The West Highland Way, Scotland

The best trekking holidays around the world
Wilderness Scotland

Scotland’s most famous long-distance walking trail stretches from Milngavie to Fort William, offering hikers spectacular scenery, from country parks and tranquil lochs to open moorland and steep mountains. Take on the challenge with Wilderness Scotland, who offer guided, seven-night trips.

Walking between 14-30km per day, you’ll learn the history and legends as you walk through Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, and climb up the Devil’s Staircase and Conic Hill for fantastic views over Loch Lomond. There’s also a detour to see the carved stone seat said to contain the sword of Robert the Bruce.

Duration: Eight days

Distance: 154km

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Price: From £1,545

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The Great Guadiana Route, Portugal

The best trekking holidays around the world
Celtic Trails

For an alternative to the well-trodden routes of the Algarve and the Rota Vicentina, head to the quieter Great Guadiana route on the Spanish border. Tracing the Guadiana river, the trail takes in a string of new paths (all launched within the past two years) as well as sections of the waymarked Grande Rota de Guadiana long-distance route.

Self-guided walking holiday specialist Celtic Trails offers a week-long walk of the route, which sees hikers cover between 15-20km per day, stopping at rural hotels along the way. You’ll follow ancient smugglers’ routes, uncover Roman archaeology, cross the border to visit Spain’s whitewashed town of Sanlucar and explore Vila Real de Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve, home to flamingos and black-winged stilts.

Duration: Six days

Distance: 106km

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Price: From £705

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Senja, Norway

The best trekking holidays around the world
Inntravel

Far above the Arctic Circle, Senja is the second largest of Norway’s coastal islands. And with its towering peaks, sandy beaches and colourful fishing villages, it offers fantastic hillwalking opportunities.

In summer, days are long thanks to the arrival of the “midnight sun” – meaning you’ll have more time to explore during your holiday. Inntravel has a week-long trip that blends moderate hiking with trips by boat and road.

You’ll walk through Mefjordvær, one of the island’s oldest communities, and pass through Kaperdalen, on the edge of the Anderdalen National Park, to walk the Langdals lake and peak. Don’t miss the ancient Sami settlement of turfed buildings, last inhabited just 50 years ago.

Duration: Seven days

Distance: Daily hiking distances range from 3-10km

Difficulty: Easy

Price: From £1,440

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Camino De Santiago, Spain

The best trekking holidays around the world

Christian pilgrims have made the journey to Santiago on foot since the Middle Ages. Their ultimate goal was the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galician northwestern Spain.

Nowadays, the route to the site of the saint’s remains is dotted with hikers from all walks of life – though most of them do not complete its entire 800km-long length from Roncesvalles.

Instead, most opt to tick off the final 100km, which earns them the compostela certificate. G Adventures offers exactly this, taking hikers from Sarria to Santiago, covering up to 23km a day and refuelling on tasty local dishes along the way.

Duration: Eight days

Distance: 100km

Difficulty: Moderate

Price: From £799

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The Inca Trail, Peru

The best trekking holidays around the world

One of the world’s great treks, the Inca Trail takes you through magnificent scenery of the Andes, culminating in the arrival at Machu Picchu. Now a Unesco World Heritage site, the terraces and buildings of this ancient ceremonial site bear testament to the might and ambition of the Inca people.

South America specialists Real World Holidays has a range of packages featuring the trail, including the Classic Inca Trail, which includes time for acclimatisation and trips to other Inca sites in Cusco and the Urubamba valley.

The final day of hiking will see you rise at dawn to pass through the cloud-forest of giant ferns until you reach the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and watch the sunrise over the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu lying below your feet.

Duration: 11 days (including the four-day trek)

Distance: 43km

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Price: From £1,595

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Ladakh, India

The best trekking holidays around the world
Shakti Himalaya

In the Indus Valley, Ladakh is a remote region of rugged mountains, steep slopes dotted with yaks and vast swathes of wetlands. Shakti Himalaya has a guided, seven-day Ladakh journey, including optional treks into the Indus Valley with all meals included (prepared by a private chef) and luggage transported by porters.

Starting in the village of Moncarmo, guests will travel to Matho Phu (4,900m), Shang Phu (4,500m) and Chogdu Phu, with impressive panoramas across the jagged landscape, dotted with the pink blossom of apricot trees.

By day, you’ll cross glacial streams, stop at local tea houses and plant prayer flags in stone cairns, by night you’ll sleep under the stars in spacious dome tents and spruced up village houses – accompanied by fine dining and top-notch service.

Duration: Eight days

Distance: Plenty of shorter walks, but the main hike (on day seven) is the first day of the trek towards Stok Kangri mountain (approximately 5km)

Difficulty: Easy

Price: From $8,765 (for two people)

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Antigua and Barbuda

The best trekking holidays around the world
Hike Antigua

Blend guided group walks with restorative yoga and luxurious digs in beautiful Antigua. Hike Caribbean has a new trip based at the luxurious Sugar Ridge hotel, on Antigua's west coast.

As well as twice daily yoga classes in the hotels’ new yoga shala, the itinerary includes four guided hikes, ranging from a short nature walk to a hike up Mount Obama, the highest point on the island.

There’s also a trek from Wallings Dam in the southwestern rainforest to the ocean at Rendezvous Bay. Afterwards, pamper yourself in the spa or relax by the pool with views stretching over the ocean.

Duration: Eight days

Distance: Four hikes of varying distances, ranging from a gentle two-hour nature stroll to longer hikes with some steeper sections

Difficulty: Easy

Price: From £895

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