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The summer sun is calling, and trekkers will soon be reaching for their light-weight hiking boots and plotting how to make the most of it.
But how do you begin to narrow down the best summer walks, when our beautiful planet is covered with awe-inspiring peaks, lush green valleys and rugged, wild coastlines? We’re here to help.
Whilst the near-impossible task of picking five (just five!) top summer treks may have beaten many, our walking experts put their best foot forward and stepped up to the task. Everyone looks for different qualities in their hikes, so here we breakdown why we chose these superb seasonal treks.
Summer Walking Hotspots
1. A Rural Retreat
Welcome to the Garfagnana, and what a warm welcome it is. Beyond the burnt orange tiles of the city roofs, nestled high amongst the northern reaches of Tuscany’s rugged mountains lies Braccicorti agriturismos.
Whatever this beautifully converted farmhouse lacks in five-star fancy it immediately makes up for in charm; rustic stone walls house a big heart, as this family-run lodge is run by ‘Mama’, whose cooking is famed throughout Exodus staff and travellers alike. This is hearty fuel for days out on the airy peaks of the Apennine Mountains.
Take me there: Walking in Tuscany
2. The Challenge
Push yourself on ‘Europe’s Toughest Trek’
Is there a name on a map more evocative than the GR20’s Cirque de Solitude? What self-respecting walker could not be just slightly pulled in by that title, feel a slight itch in the feet at the mere mention of such a location.
But it’s not all peace and quiet: this is a hard day’s walking, a legendary scramble (aided by ropes and chains) with over 1,000m of altitude gain and nearly as much loss. A serious figure on two feet – even more so scrambling hand over hand up the granite rock. Are you ready for the challenge?
Take me there: Corsica trips
3. The Icon
Take a wander along a wonder. With over 8,850 kilometres of wall, why restrict yourself to one crowded stretch at Beijing? Striking out for the rural reaches of the wall is its own reward.
Some sections we trek have been lovingly restored to glory, an overwhelming statement of power, ego and dominance over not only the landscape but the human psyche. Others are more romantic, slightly faded and crumbling, almost empty of other people. There are no cable cars or shortcuts here – we make our own way, on foot, as the Chinese army would have done in the ancient past.
Take me there: Great Wall of China trips
4. The Coastal One
Perhaps the best coastal views in Europe
Summer is synonymous with the seaside, and the coastline of the Basque Country is hard to beat. The Pyrenees trickle down to the shoreline, where miles of glorious sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs are punctuated by the incredibly chic towns of Biarritz and San Sebastian.
We mix walking with hopping on the local boats, travelling by sea as well as on foot to get the most from your time here. After a day ambling along the scenically spectacular routes, why not cool your feet in the Atlantic surf and dine out at one of the many exquisite seafood restaurants.
Take me there: Trips to Spain
5. The Geologist’s Choice
Watching the sunset over Borobudur temple, then rise over the mist-shrouded volcanic cone of Mount Bromo: these are two of the most impressive night-day transitions on the planet.
The trekking is equally entrancing – this is volcanic earth, born of chaos and delivering scenery turned up to ten. These are active volcanoes: the fumaroles belch out hot steam, the lakes are sulphuric and the calderas have deposited ashy, fertile soil along the slopes, which are home to many tiny villages we pass quietly through.
Take me there: Indonesia trips
Take a look in more detail at our summer trips below.