In this blog we are sharing with you some of the most amazing day hikes that we’ve done around the world that you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
We’ve hiked over a thousand miles in the past eight years of being a full time travel family and have seen some incredible views.
We have a deep affinity for rugged, serrated mountain landscapes and have dedicated extensive time exploring the Rockies. However, we also passionately pursue surfing and rock climbing. Our travels span Europe, multiple visits to Costa Rica, a month-long sojourn in New Zealand, and a memorable road trip through Canada to Alaska. While our adventures are diverse, our unwavering penchant for embarking on remarkable hikes remains constant.
These are some of our favorite day hikes in the world. You can read aobut our favorite day hikes in the US here.
Bucket List Day Hike In Costa Rica
Location: Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
Distance: 3.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2,224 feet
The Draw: Hiking through dense rainforest to a gorgeus crater lake.
Cool things nearby: Stay in a glamping tent immersed in the rainforest at Essence Arenal and prepare delicious communal vegan meals on-site. Take a dip in the free hot springs.
Related Blog: Which is better Arenal or Monte Verde in Costa Rica?
Bucket List Day Day Hike In Norway
Location: Hafslo, Norway
Distance: 4.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2,030 feet
The Draw: Epic fjord and mountain views.
Cool things nearby: Camp at Kjørnes. Rock climb at Kvam.
Related Blog: Best Norway Hikes
Bucket List Day Hike In UK
Helvellyn Trail (via Striding Edge)
Location: Patterdale, Lake District U.K.
Distance: 8 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 2,980 feet
The Draw: Epic mountain views and the adrenaline rush of feeling like a mountain goat scrambling the ridges. (Note: scrambling is optional. There are paths along the side if you’d rather just walk.)
Cool things nearby: Camp at Gillside Camping and Caravan Park Ullswater and start hike from your pitch.
Related Blog: Best Scramble Hikes In the UK
Bucket List Hike Switzerland:
Eiger (from Alpinglen to Wengen)
Location: Jungfrau region of Switzerland
Distance: 9 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 2,440 feet
The Draw: It’s Switzerland. Need we say more? Incredible towering rocks, lime green mountain sides, glaciers with falling avalanches breaking the silence, forests, and quaint towns filled with church steeples and flower boxes on every house window.
Cool things nearby: If you like hikes, check out the 4 mile RT hike to Oeschinensee Lake that starts in Kandersteg. If you are an adrenaline junkie, try out one of the many adrenaline packed activities like paragliding and wingsuit flying.
Start in Grindelwald. Take train to Alpinglen. Hike to Eigergletscher to Mettlenalp to Stalden to Wengen. Take train from Wengen to your next destination or back to your car in Grindelwald.
Related Blog: Travel Guide To Interlaken, Switzerland
Bucket List Day Hike Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Distance: Varies 3-18 km
Elevation Gain: Varies but nothing too strenuous
The Draw: A wooded walkway that meanders past 16 crystal clear turquoise lakes and dozens of cascading waterfalls. Tip: Go early for best lighting and less crowds.
Cool things nearby: Rock climbing and hiking in Paklenica National Park
Related Blog: Best Destinations In Croatia
Bucket List Day Hike In Italy:
Location: La Spezia, Italy
Distance: Up to 13km (varies on how many sections you do)
Elevation Gain: varies (1,800 feet if you do all of the coastal path)
The Draw: A one of a kind experience walking between fishing villages filled with delicious food options and incredible cultural experiences.
Cool things nearby: Florence & surrounding Tuscany area.
Bucket List Hike Portugal:
Rota Vicentina (Odeceixe to Zambujeira)
Location: Odeceixe, Portugal
Distance: 18 km one way (11.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
The Draw: Hiking along the rugged coastline of Portugal. Walking along rolling sand dunes and poor fishing villages with views of waves breaking on the jagged rocks below.
Cool things nearby: Uuummmm.…you’re in Portugal. Go to Lisbon and surf Ericeira and Peniche, duh!
Related Blog: Guide To Surfing Portugal
Bucket List Day Hikes In Spain:
Camino De Santiago (Celorio to Playa San Martin)
Location: Northern Spain
Distance: 1.5 miles RT
Elevation Gain: Minimal
The Draw: Following the golden seashell trail markers knowing you are on a journey of self exploration, even if it’s for less than a mile. That and sitting all by yourself on a secret cove in the middle of gorgeous Asturias.
Cool things nearby: The FOOD!!! You haven’t eaten until you’ve eaten in Asturias. Yes, the apples are amazing, but so is ALL the food. There are epic surf breaks all along the northern coast of Spain and amazing hikes. You really can’t go wrong spending a week from San Sebastian to Galacia.
Punta del Pacino
Location: Spainish Pyreneees
Distance: 5 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
The Draw: Epic views of mountains and picturesque ski villages.
Cool things nearby: So much rock climbing in Spain!
Valle de Nuria
Location: Catalonia Spain
Distance: 14 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 5,000 feet
The Draw: Feeling disoriented amidst vast mountains, only to discover, after a few hours of hiking, a secluded ski resort offering great food and drinks—a welcomed revelation. Additionally, nearby, residing in the town of Ribes De Fraser promises a cultural experience you won’t forget, nor regret. This enclave is akin to the Idaho of Spain, yet distinguished by its remarkable culinary offerings.
Related Blog: 15 Best Adventures in Northern Spain
Bucket List Day Hikes In France
Cemin de la Mature
Location: French Pyrenees (Etsaut)
Distance: 7 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
The Draw: It’s the fall colors and the abundance of amazing food in the cutest towns that draw us back to the Pyrenees. It’s like getting a huge hug from nature while still keeping the senses overloaded with beauty.
Cool things nearby: Find a local farmer who sells cheese. Then head to the local baker for bread and you’re good to go.
Related Blog: How To Hike The Tour du Mont Blanc Self Guided
Cirque de Gavarnie
Location: French Pyrenees (Gavarnie)
Distance: 8 miles RT
The Draw: Hike to a beautiful cirque and one of the largest waterfalls in Europe.
Cool things nearby: Stay at Hotel du Cirque. Explore the Troumouse and Estaube cirques nearby. Get pastries in Lourdes at Boulangerie des Pyrenees. Grab cheese, chocolate, and fresh produce in Luz-Saint-Sauveur. Starting from San Nicolas de Bujaruelo and hiking through the Breche de Roland to reach the cirque in Ordesa National Park would be quite a challenging day-long hike. Bonus: There’s an urban rock climbing wall near in the parking lot by the visitor center in Gavarnie.
Related Blog: Adventure Road Trip Through France
Bucket List Day Hikes In Canada
Location: Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Distance: miles varies depending on the number of peaks
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
The Draw: Adrenaline pumping scrambling with some “hell ya” edges and gorgeous views of the turquoise sound below.
Cool things nearby: Visit Backcountry Brewery for beer and pizza, followed by an early morning rock climbing session at Chek Recreation Area, and then head to Brom Lake for an exhilarating hike to experience the rope swing.
Related Blog: Sea to Sky Highway: An Adventure for the Whole Family
Devil’s Thumb + Plain of 6 Glaciers
Location: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Distance: 5.2 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
The Draw: While the scramble up steep, loose scree may be challenging, the breathtaking reward of overlooking Lake Louise and Lake Agnes makes it entirely worthwhile. Plus, you get to hike past two tea houses and up to a gorgeous glacier if you do the whole loop (see related blog).
Cool things nearby: Head to Canmore for good breweries and delicious French pastries. While you are there, hike to the oh so steep East End of Rundle for more epic views.
Related Blog: Adventurers Guide to Day Hiking Lake Louise
Location: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Distance: 3.7 miles RT
Elevation Gain: only 200 feet 🙂
The Draw: A reason to carry bear spray. Plus, wonderful views of alpine lakes with very little effort. Bring mosquito repellent!
Cool things nearby: Visit Canmore for excellent breweries and delightful French pastries. While there, embark on a challenging hike up the steep slopes of the “East End of Rundle” to savor breathtaking vistas.
Related Blog: Canada National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
Bucket List Day Hikes In New Zealand
Routeburn (Glenorchy to Harris Saddle and back)
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Distance: 20 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet
The Draw: Indeed, there’s incredible value in this option. For a taste of untouched nature, consider day hiking from Glenorchy to Harris Saddle if backpacking permits aren’t available.
Cool things nearby: Adventurer’s paradise in Christchurch and the relaxing beauty of Milford Sound
Related Blog: How To Backpack the Routeburn Track
Location: Tongariro National Park
Distance: 12 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 3700 feet
The Draw: Feel like you’re in a real life middle earth filled with an active volcano, vivid lakes of green and blue, and hike along exposed ridges.
Cool things nearby: Surf the famously perfect wave, Raglan. Camp below a glacier at Mount Cook. Hike above alpine lakes in Wanaka.
Related Blog: 3 Week Road Trip Through New Zealand
What’s your favorite day hike in the world? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to download our free hiking pack list below.