Looking for ideas for a hike in the canton of Vaud? we offer you 2 magnificent itineraries to do with your family (with maps and details)
Best hikes in the world
Do you like hiking? Are you looking for inspiration to prepare your next hike? So don't move, you've come to the right place! :) We have always loved hiking, but it was really during our world tour in 2013 that the virus totally bit us. Hiking is the best way to discover a destination "off the beaten track" and at your own pace.
We walk for the landscapes, to reach a viewpoint, to find ourselves alone in the middle of nature or simply to "get some fresh air" and unwind a little.... On this page we share with you our most beautiful hikes around the world as well as tips and tricks to prepare your next adventure.
At the end of the page you will also find all our blog articles dedicated to hiking. As I write these lines, there are more than 75 articles on hiking in France, Switzerland, elsewhere in Europe, Asia and South America!
Note: our website is currently in the process of being translated. Not all articles might be available yet, but we're adding more content every week!
Table of Contents
Map of our hikes around the world
More or less everywhere we go, we always try to fit at least one hike into our program. Walking has really become over the years our favorite way to discover a destination (and incidentally it is also a very cheap hobby);)
If you are looking for a hike in a particular region you can use the map below to see if we have already published something that might meet your expectations.
Click on the button to display the map:
Day hike: Equipment and preparation tips
Going for a day hike (or a half-day hike also works) is the best way to get some fresh air without having to think about the logistics of camping in the wild or planning your itinerary in a refuge. It is not for nothing that day hikes are the most popular!
On our side we are fond of "through hikes" but we also particularly like these days when the weather is nice and we decide quite spontaneously to go for a hike! (You will find a lot of day hike itineraries on our blog)
In terms of equipment, we no longer have many questions. When we leave for the day we put on comfortable clothes, we put on adapted shoes (often we opt for trail running shoes when we leave for the day unless we plan to cross large rock outcrops, there we take our hiking boots).
For the rest the equipment is quite basic:
- A small backpack: we usually take a 20L backpack. It allows us to put everything we need in there.
- A picnic and water (for the last 2 years we have only used our Lifestraw water bottles, this allows us to easily take water from everywhere). Greener, lighter, in short, we always have them with us.
- A sweater and possibly a windproof or rain jacket according to the forecasts
- our Swiss army knife ;) (this one is always with us)
When we leave for the day we rarely take our hiking poles... We have gotten used to using them when we have heavy loads on our backs, but if you have knee problems it can be a good addition to the backpack (personnally I always take them if I know the trails will be super steep).
Multi-day hike: what equipment to bring?
Multi-day hikes with hut or cabin stages (the Swiss name) are very often the first step between day hikes and larger scale treks. For our part, we love alpine hikes with small stops in these refuges. The atmosphere amongst hikers, the limitless passion of the refuge guards, the good local dishes served in the evening and even the atmosphere in these large dormitories which smell like old wood (and a little like feet too)!
Here are some of our favorite multi-day hiking experiences:
- The tour of the Val d'Hérens: our heart has remained a little crooked in this magnificent Swiss valley which is a little out of time...
- The tour des Dents du Midi: This is home! We grew up in front of these mountains and so it was only natural that we should go around them! Have we already told you that these "Dents du Midi" are the most beautiful mountains in the world? :)
- The "tour des dents blanches": That's right next to the dents du Midi (chauvinist you said????) but it's a slightly more sporty version.... A hike reserved for hikers who are already a little more experienced.
Hiking equipment for several days with overnight stay in a refuge
When you go to sleep in a refuge, the "daily" equipment does not differ much from the equipment for day hikes, except perhaps you will have to bring a slightly larger bag (even if this point is not even necessarily true...).
In regards of the backpack, I recommend that you stick to something like 30L or 40L at most. This will be more than enough to hold the few extras.
The essentials to have with you for a night in a refuge:
- A silk bag: some huts offer to rent them, but seriously it is really better to have your own! Unless otherwise specified you will need nothing more than a silk sheet, as blankets and pillows are provided. See on Amazon
- Small toiletry bag: toothbrush, toothpaste and possibly wet wipes to refresh you a little when you arrive (some shelters offer showers but this is very rare)
- A change of clothes: ideally it should be something to change in case you get wet. Personally I often take a leggings and a spare T-shirt. The leggings are perfect spending the evening in the hut and act as pajamas in the dormitory ;)
- Earplugs: If you only have a little light sleep, it is better to plan for it... in large hiking dormitories there is often at least one that snores a lot (and strangely enough, it is always the one who falls asleep first). To me, the best earplugs for sleeping are the wax earplugs. See on Amazon
- A Headlamp: It can be used to go to the toilets at night or if you want to go admire the stars at night (the refuges being often in spots without light pollution it would be a shame not to go outside to watch the sky)! :)
- A small power bank (solar powered) to charge your mobile phone or camera: this may not be a priority for everyone, but for us it is true that it has become a bit of a reflex to have a power bank with us. Electricity is only rarely available to clients in huts. We have this model and are happy with it. This can also be combined to a solar panel like this one for even more power.
Trekking: all our advice to start well prepared
To go on larger treks and especially with a tent and food on your back the organization is a little different! Here the watchword is MINIMALISM! In order to lighten the pressure on your back but also to be able to enjoy your walk as much as possible, you must really try to limit the weight you carry on your back. In theory, it is said that the weight of the backpack should never exceed 15%-20% of the hiker's weight (15% is ideal, 20% is the limit).
Then I don't hide from you that we are good for theory, but in practice we tend to be bad students. ;) On our side it is often at the level of the photo and computer equipment weight ads up quickly (yes yes, we leave regularly with at least one computer for our trekking adventures... But we are responsible for hosting our customers' websites and therefore we prefer to do it (and it also allows us from time to time to share articles "live" like during the Via Alpina).
If you want to see our trekking equipment I suggest you not to spread us too much on this page. Instead, I invite you to read the different posts we have made on this topict:
- Our complete equipment for the via alpina: a one-month trek in August 2017 in our beautiful Swiss Alps. We had our tent and all the hiking gear, but as we used to go through villages regularly, carrying food was not too much of an issue.
- Our complete equipment for the Kungsleden trek: a one-week trek in October 2018 in Swedish Lapland. A colder climate and almost total autonomy in terms of food. In this article you will find our tips to limit the weight of food and optimize calories for weight.
- Our trekking equipment when travelling around the world: We shared the equipment with which we do our treks independently during our trip.
- Our equipment for the Torres del Paine trek: also during our world tour but there we had to carry the equivalent of 10 days of food... We had done without freeze-dried food and had to be a little more creative for the menus.
Hiking danger: What should I pay attention to?
Hiking is not a very dangerous activity overall (at least compared to other sports activities). Nevertheless, there are still regular accidents. Sometimes it is inevitable, but often they are also the result of a lack of vigilance or preparation.
The mountain world enjoys "good press" and there are therefore more and more people who want to discover it. Normal, you might say.... But then you have to be aware of your limits and don't underestimate the dangers of the mountain just to take a nice picture for your Instagram account!
We have already met people a few times in places where they should never have been.... I think in particular of these 2 Asian tourists who were climbing to the top of a peak in the Lofoten Islands. The path was far from easy, the night was starting to fall and they were wearing jeans, CONVERSES and a T-shirt. So let's skip the shoes, their behavior was totally irresponsible! Without a bag, without a jacket, without water, without a headlamp, it is simply stupid to climb a steep peak without a path just before nightfall...
The main dangers when hiking are:
- Weather elements: Rain, snow, mountain storms, very strong wind gusts on the ridges, etc.... Before leaving for a hike, never forget to check the forecasts and always take a warm layer and rain protection in your backpack.
- Falls: this is probably the leading cause of accidents. So of course we can't predict all cases, but before you go on a hike, always make sure you have shoes adapted to the terrain (hiking boots, trail running shoes, light sneakers... everything depends but you need good soles). Note: hiking poles can be a good complement to give yourself a little more stability (especially during the descent).
- Injuries caused by others or animals: here, precautions depend a lot on the country you are in.... In Switzerland or France, animal and "human" risks are relatively low. Then, in Canada, for example, you have to be prepared to eventually encounter a grizzly bear or a bear depending on the area! In Peru, some valleys are strongly discouraged because drug cartels are established there... in short, here too the golden rule is "Do your research before you leave!" Go informed, but don't panic unnecessarily either;)
Yes, this is probably the danger that we underestimate the most... The night is approaching and we are "almost" at the top? We are exhausted but we absolutely want to see this viewpoint? Never forget to think about your hike as a whole! A large part of accidents occur at the end of the day. We reached our goal of the day by going to our limits and we almost forget the way back... Sometimes you have to give up your daily objective to finish your hike in good conditions! In short, it's easier said than done, but don't be too stubborn, okay?
The most beautiful hikes and treks in the world: our selection
It is difficult to make a really objective selection, but here is the list of the hikes that we think are the most beautiful. Some of them are those we have already done and you will usually find the link for our article and others are simply hikes that make us look good and, who knows, may one day turn into a future project;)
- The Swiss Via Alpina: yes yes, we are a little chauvinistic but being Swiss and having done this hike during the summer of 2017 we couldn't possibly not start with this one;). The Swiss Via Alpina is 380km across the Alps with good ascents that will for sure hurt your legs! All our posts about this hike here.
- The Choquequirao trek: this one we did it on our round the world tour. A VERY physical but absolutely sublime 10-day trek. It was our very first autonomous trekking experience, so we have to keep a very emotional memory of it! Our article here.
- The Tongariro Alpine Trek: This mythical trek is in New Zealand. We have never set foot on this part of the planet before, but this trek will probably be part of our first plans if we go there (or I should rather say when we go).
- Crossing Jordan: We recently came across a video that presented this itinerary that crosses the country. Apparently it's a little complicated in terms of logistics (especially water supply) but it just seems crazy!
- Kungsleden trail in swedish Lapland: we completed part of the mythical royal road in the fall of 2018. We followed the Kungsleden for a good hundred kilometres between Nikkaluokta and Abisko. We have only one hurry: to see another part of this itinerary. Our article here
- Circus tour on Reunion Island: We've been looking at this itinerary for a while... if only the flights to get there didn't cost a kidney!;) In short, we don't rule out going there if sometimes we find a cheap flight offer to go there...
- Patagonia as a whole: yes yes it is cheating to formulate it like that but spontaneously I would have put the torres del Paine trek, but unfortunately it seems that it is a little victim of its success these days and that there are now really too many people. We were lucky, because in December 2014 it was still relatively quiet. Our article here
- Climbing the Kilimandjaro: Africa is a continent that we do not yet know but volcanoes and us are a bit of a great love story... Anyway, we'd really like to climb on this one one day! After that remains a very high summit, so we will have to see if it is within our grasp...
- Baltoro Glacier and K2 Base Camp (Pakistan): This trek just looks AWESOME! We haven't done much research yet but the pictures we saw of it clearly made us want to see the K2 up close!
- The GR34 - sentier des douaniers: Brittany is one of our favourite regions in France and we had a first glimpse of the GR34 when we went around the Crozon peninsula in 4 days (our article here). We would like to do the 1800km of this trek as a whole one day!
- The PCT - Pacific Crest Trail: THE mythical trek of the USA. This route of nearly 4300km runs along the entire west coast of the USA. Personally I don't think I want to follow it all at once but on the other hand some sections are clearly calling us! Hmmm, I would like to tell you that I would like to cover 1000km on this mythical trek (in 2-3 times probably)