All of them require a sturdy pair of lungs, fit legs and a good amount of preparation. However, if you choose to go on any of these trails then you will be rewarded with experiences that last a lifetime. In no particular order:
1. GR20, France
This demanding 15- day (168km, 104mi) slog through Corsica is legendary for the diversity of landscapes it traverses. There are forests, granite moonscapes, windswept craters, glacial lakes, torrents, peat bogs, maquis, snow-capped peaks, plains and névés (stretches of ice formed from snow). But it doesn’t come easy: the path is rocky and sometimes steep, and includes rickety bridges and slippery rock faces – all part of the fun. Created in 1972, the GR20 links Calenzana, in the Balagne, with Conca, north of Porto Vecchio.
2. Inca Trail, Peru
This 33km (20mi) ancient trail was laid by the Incas and is currently traversed by thousands each year. The trail leads from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu winding its way up and down and around the mountains, taking three high passes en route. Views of white-tipped mountains and high cloud forest combine with the magic of walking from one cliff-hugging ruin to the next – understandably making this South America’s most famous trail.
3. Pays Dogon, Mali
‘The land of the Dogon people’ is one of Africa’s most breathtaking regions. A trek here can last anywhere between two and 10 days, and takes in the soaring cliffs of the Bandiagara escarpment inlaid with old abandoned cliff dwellings. Dogon villages dot the cliffs and are an extraordinary highlight of the journey. The Dogon are known for their masked stilt dancers, intricately carved doors and pueblo-like dwellings built into the side of the escarpment.
4. Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Reaching a height of 5,545m (18,193ft) at Kala Pattar, this three-week trek is extremely popular with those who want to be able to say, ‘I’ve been to the base of the world’s highest mountain’. The difficult trek passes undeniably spectacular scenery and is trafficked by Sherpa people of the Solu Khumbu. The heights reached during this trek are literally dizzying until you acclimatise to the altitude, and the continuous cutting across valleys certainly has its ups and downs.
5. Indian Himalayas, India
Fewer folk trek on the Indian side of the world’s greatest mountain range. So, if isolation’s your thing try trekking in Himachal Pradesh. Hardcore hikers can try teetering along the mountain tops for 24 days from Spiti to Ladakh. This extremely remote and challenging walk follows ancient trade routes. The bleak high-altitude desert terrain inspired Rudyard Kipling to exclaim, ‘Surely the gods live here; this is no place for men’.