When planning a vacation, figuring out transportation can be stressful. The solution? Plan vacations that involve a lot of walking. It's affordable and simple, and there are huge rewards for your efforts.
There are always places you can walk to, and they might become your favorite vacation destinations. Because these places are unreachable unless you walk there, very few people have probably been.
The earth has a number of untouched places, full of natural beauty, free of litter and pollution, and loaded with opportunities for the avid traveler. You won't regret taking time off work, buying some comfortable walking shoes, and adding a few more stamps to your passport.
Additionally, these spots tend to be less crowded. That means no more fighting the crowds to get a great picture and see a relic up close. If you enjoy solitude and beauty, these destinations are perfect for you.
You can also enjoy a brand new aspect when walking to these places. Seeing them from afar simply isn't as gratifying as seeing them up close thanks to the extra exercise you got while doing it. Here are some of the top vacation destinations that you can only walk to.
25 La Palma in the Canary Islands – Tunnels Inside a Mountain
The Canary Islands is best known for its beaches and hours of daily sunshine. The mild climate year round brings millions of visitors every single year.
If you venture deeper into the islands, however, you'll be amazed by the island of La Palma, which is filled with underground water tunnels.
They've been naturally dug into the mountains so that water can reach the forests and agriculture at lower elevations. It makes for some fantastic views and an element of nature that you probably haven't experienced before.
24 Supai in Arizona – Stunning Isolation at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon
Did you know that there's a tiny town in the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Those who were set on getting away from urban life and living in isolation settled in this gorgeous destination that makes for great hiking.
Supai is so remote that their mail is still delivered by pack mule, the only place in America where this is a necessity.
Supai is surrounded by the wonders of the Grand Canyon, including waterfalls, streaming rivers, and breathtaking views, and you can only get there by walking.
23 Paro Taktsang in Bhutan – The Birthplace of Buddhism
The Taktsang Monastery is located about 3,000 feet above Paro Valley on a cliff. If you want to see this ancient monastery that's said to be the birthplace of Buddhism, you'll have to go on a two-hour hike.
It starts a few kilometers from Paro Valley, and it's not for the beginning hiker. You'll do a lot of rock climbing, including navigating vertical switchbacks. It's a challenging hike, but the view and history at the top are worthwhile.
When you reach the top, you can breathe in the views and meditate in the Tiger's Lair. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
22 Cinque Terre in Italy – Some of the Most Gorgeous Views in Europe
Cinque Terra is the name of a collection of seaside villages that are centuries of years old. It's located on the Riviera coastline in Italy, and the view from the water is absolutely gorgeous.
You can take a boat to the edge of the village, but once you're there, it's best discovered on foot. There are a total of five towns, decked out with vineyards and colorful houses above the harbor.
Go for a hike along the sea cliffs, taste the region's famous pesto sauce, or go for a fishing adventure with the locals.
21 Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica – A Flora and Fauna Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica is aptly named because as you walk through the gorgeous flora and fauna in this natural reserve, you'll feel as if you're walking on a cloud.
There's a huge network of walking trails that make traversing the destination on foot a breeze. There are also suspension bridges that link the trails together and allow you to enjoy a breathtaking overhead view.
The wildlife is also a treat, and you can only enjoy some of these unique sightings when wandering through the jungle on foot.
20 Stromboli in Italy – An Active Volcano on a Beautiful Island
Stromboli is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Italy. It's home to one of three volcanoes in Italy that are still active, and you can only enjoy this experience to its fullest while hiking.
The hike from the black sandy island beaches to the top of the volcano is about 3,000 feet. You can take the hike in the daylight or by moonlight with torches to light your way.
The active volcano constantly emits clouds of smoke and the occasional eruption. Watch the Volcanic Explosivity Index to avoid an eruption during your visit!
19 Preikestolen in Norway – An Unrivaled View of the Fjords
The Norwegian Fjords are considered some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The Lysefjorden is located in southwestern Norway in the Fyfylke area. About 600 meters above this watery wonderland is a steep cliff called Preikestolen.
At the top of this cliff, which you can only reach via a 3.8-kilometer hike, is a flat top where you can take in the incredible views of the fjords. It's also a popular BASE jumping destination, although you should only consider this sport if you're a professional.
18 Laguna Verde in Bolivia – A Lake in a Volcanic Crater
There's a crater straddling Bolivia and Northern Chile about 400 meters wide called Volcan Licancabur. It's a stratovolcano with a vibrant blue lake on the inside of the crater.
This lake, Laguna Verde, is considered one of the highest bodies of water in the world. It's also the site where NASA discovered the planet Mars.
To reach this lake, you'll have to take an eight-hour hike. It can start in San Pedro de Atacama or Salar de Uyuni, also known as the Salt Flats of Bolivia. The latter is a longer hike, but it has more to see.
17 Motuo in Tibet – A Jungle Town in the Himalayas
There's a county in China called Motuo that you can't access at all by roadway. They tried to create a highway in the 90's, but the jungle grew over the top of it, making it unusable.
Motuo is on the southern slope of the Himalayas. It's primarily inhabited by the Luoba and Menba people and is considered one of the holiest regions in the nation.
The only way to get to Motuo is to hike to a suspension bridge more than 100 meters off the ground and cross it.
16 Crater Rim Trail in Hawaii – A Walk Around an Active Volcano
Circling the Kilauea's summit caldera is an 11-mile hiking and biking trail known as Crater Rim Trail. It's one of the few trails that takes you right through an active volcano. Despite the volcanic activity, there's plenty of native plant and animal life to enjoy along the way.
If you're not up to an 11-mile hike, there are a few places you can drive to and hike from there. But if you want to really enjoy all that Crater Rim Trail has to offer, you'll set aside a full day to walk and enjoy the scenery.
15 Hornstrandir in Iceland – A Hike to the Breathtaking Westfjords
On Iceland's northernmost peninsula is Hornstrandir, a 580 square kilometer cliff formation rests, waiting for you to explore by foot. The entire surface is surrounded by glaciers, fjords, alpine land, and tundra.
It's also a protected reserve called the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve to protect the plants and wildlife throughout the region. Make sure you get to know the rules before hiking, however, because the reserve has some pretty strict guidelines to keep the land beautiful.
14 Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy – A Fortress on a Rock
Castle hunters can't say enough about the stunning Mont Saint-Michel. This island is home to an ancient fort and castle built in the 8th century. Since the time it was built, it's been the seat of the monastery in Normandy.
Mont-Saint-Michel is best explored by foot. The castle is structured according to a hierarchy with God at the top, and the abbey and monastery making up the next two floors. Below that visitors will find the great halls, stores, housing, and lower-class housing for fisherman and farmers.
This is one of France's most notable landmarks, and you can't fully enjoy it unless you walk.
13 Barn Bluff in Tasmania – Australia’s Fourth Highest Peak
The most prominent peak in Tasmania's Cradle Mountain is called Barn Bluff. It's a day-long hike not made for beginners. There are steep outcroppings, sections of rock-climbing, and trails with loose rock. This makes it one of the less frequented hikes in Tasmania's Cradle, but it's certainly worthwhile.
At the top of the peak is a huge dolerite slab and boulder formation, an iconic landmark in Tasmania. It's an isolated hike, as the closest neighbor mountains are quite a ways away. You won't have to worry about crowds, and you'll have breathtaking views on your hike.
12 The Narrows in Utah – A Legendary Canyon
Zion's National Park is a selection of rock formations, hikes, and outdoor beauty in Zion Canyon in southern Utah.
The Narrows is one of the most popular areas in the park. It's a gorge made of rock walls that are more than a thousand feet tall. They're only 20-30 feet wide in most places, and sometimes it's more narrow than that.
You can experience this hike along a paved hike or by wading upstream in the Virgin River. Most hikers do a combination of both. This is one experience you can only have by ditching your transportation.
11 Nunavut in Canada – Where You Can Literally Walk on Water
Nunavut is located in northern Canada as part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It's a collection of very remote villages that you can only reach by plane or boat. From there, you can explore a great deal of the area through walking.
The region is best known for the Inuit culture, including artwork, handmade clothing, and carvings all over the region. The Auyittuq National Park also offers great hiking opportunities through glaciers and fjords.
10 Ciudad Perdida in Colombia – A Lost City in the Jungle
Known as the "lost city," Cuidad Perdida is home to an ancient, abandoned city, an archaeologists paradise. It was founded about 800 CE, which is more than 650 years earlier than the ancient village of Machu Picchu.
The city is deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, and as such, you can only access it by foot. It will take several days to hike in, but it's one of the world's most popular overnight hikes thanks to the landscape, remoteness, ancient history, and adventure.
9 Minority Villages of Guizhou in China – Ancient Local Traditions in Action
While natives make up the bulk of civilization in the country of China, there are a few ethnic minorities, including Dong, Miao, Bouyei, and Shui. Many of these citizens live in Guizhou, and many tourists enjoy visiting the region to get a taste of several cultures in one area.
As you walk through these villages, you'll observe their many talents in embroidering, jewelry, batik, paper-cutting, weaving, and more crafts.
You can also try a variety of foods and drinks best made by those in the area. Ancient civilizations really come alive here.
8 Mirador in Guatemala – Mayan Architecture in Mesoamerica
El Mirador means "the lookout" or "the viewpoint" in Spanish, which makes this pre-Columbian Maya settlement in Guatemala aptly named. It was once a booming Mayan civilization, but it's been abandoned since about 900 A.D.
Now, it's a very popular destination for hikers and archeologists. The area has been well-mapped-out with hikes, suspension bridges, boardwalks, and more so you can wander through the ancient site and get to know the culture a little better.
7 Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – The Saltiest, Flattest Place on Earth
Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. It makes up about 10,500 square kilometers in the Daniel Campos Province in southwest Bolivia.
The salt flats are the remnants of several salty prehistoric lakes that left behind several meters of salt when the water evaporated.
Along with being one of the world's best sources for lithium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium, it's also a wide breeding grounds for flamingos. It's a pretty spectacular place to explore by foot.
6 Rifugio Torre Di Pisa in Italy – A Hostel in the Mountains
In English, Rifugio Torre di Pisa means Refuge Tower of Pisa. It's an alpine shelter in Predazzo named after a rock formation that looks very much like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Tuscany.
It's a fun place to go hiking and enjoy the mountains in Italy. Just make sure you go in the summer when the hiking paths are easy to navigate. During the winter, you'd need cross-country skis or snowshoes, so it's only ideal for extreme sports enthusiasts.
5 Sawtooth Lake in Idaho – Undisturbed Beauty
There's a gorgeous mountain lake in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho called Sawtooth Lake. It's about 7 miles southwest of the tiny town Stanley in the central part of the state.
If you want to access the lake, you'll have to go on a five-mile hike starting at Iron Creek. The elevation is about 8,500 feet above sea level, and it's best to go in the late summer, as it's often still frozen in June.
Take a jacket, as this alpine lake is often surrounded by snowy peaks. It's worth the view, but you probably don't want to go swimming in the freezing water!
4 Pilgrims Way to Holy Island in Northumberland – A Walk Only Available at Low Tide
The tidal ranges in Northumberland are very high, which means that a few hours per day every day, the waters completely recede, revealing a causeway that you can walk on.
It's called the Pilgrims Way footpath, and you'll know it by the upright line of poles that mark the way. It will take you from Lindisfarne to the Holy Island.
Just make sure you get there during high tide with plenty of time to walk the whole way.
3 Dingle Peninsula in Ireland – Dramatic Cliffs and Quaint Country
Ireland's southwest Atlantic coast has stunning craggy cliffs and sandy beaches called the Dingle Peninsula. It's not uncommon to see dolphins and whales jumping out of the Dingle Bay as you walk along the cliffs.
There's also Mount Brandon, a destination for hikers and pilgrims along. The Gallarus Oratory is also a fun place to hike to. It's a historic chapel made of stone where early Christian Celtics worshipped.
Leave yourself plenty of time to explore the craggy outcroppings. It's a delightful, relaxing place to go for a walk.
2 Chasm Lake in Colorado – An Alpine Wonder
Starting at the Longs Peak Trailhead, you can take a gorgeous hike to Chasm Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike is long and a high elevation, so it's not for beginners. It peaks at more than 13,000 feet.
The lake is small and surrounded by shale rocky structures. It requires a little rock scrambling to finally reach it. Not only is the view worthwhile, but it's also a huge accomplishment, leaving you with great stories for entertaining party guests.
1 Appalachian Trail in the U.S. – The World’s Longest Hiking Footpath
The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest trails in the States, ranging from the northwest corner of Georgia to the northern tip of Maine. In total, it's 2,200 miles long, crossing flat and mountainous regions.
More than two million people per year hike on a part of the Appalachian Trail, but only about 2,000 hikers do the entire thing each year. If you want to truly experience the eastern U.S., this hike that can be completed in a summer is perfect for you!
References: cntraveler, worldwalks, iexplore