Looking for a way to fit some exercise into your holiday? Lace-up your hiking shoes and go on a hiking trip. Hiking is a type of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity which you can enjoy individually or with family and friends, while enjoying spectacular views. You’ll be improving both your physical and mental health.

Be captivated by dancing light displays, awed by human engineering and humbled by the majestic beauty of the Earth’s past on these popular hiking trails.

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5 Amazing Hiking Destinations for Your Next Trip

1. Northern Lights

A night hike to see the Northern Lights is a breathtaking way to get some exercise while on holiday.

Why it’s spellbinding: The coloured lights, created by nature, dance across the Arctic night sky in a display that has mesmerised many. Known as the Northern Lights or aurora borealis, the multi-coloured lights that cover the dark clear skies in the Northern Hemisphere’s polar regions are the most well-known of the auroras.

Where to go: Auroral displays can be seen over many areas such as Iceland, Greenland, the northern parts of Norway and Canada, Finland, Sweden, Siberia, Scotland and Ireland.

When to go: In the north, midnight in winter (November — February) is generally a good season to view lights, thanks to the long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights.

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2. Grand Canyon

Taking time to enjoy the expansive view of the Grand Canyon after a hike is good for mental health.

Why it’s spellbinding: Carved by the copper-coloured Colorado river, the Grand Canyon is rich in history and wildlife; and spectacular at any time. To top it all, it is also a world heritage site.

Where to go: You can try hiking trails with spectacular views of the Inner Canyon for both the South Rim and North Rim. For an easier day trek, try the North Rim trails. Each trail takes up to 1.5 hours for a round trip. Bright Angel Point Trail, Transept Trail, and the Bridle Trail are some of the more popular hiking trails. If you are fitter or more adventurous, try the steeper trails on the South Rim.

When to go: March to May, and between September and November, when the daytime temperatures are cool and there are fewer crowds.

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3. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a popular hiking destination.

Why it’s spellbinding: An immense engineering and man-made marvel, the Great Wall of China has an awe-inspiring history that spans over 2,300 years with breath-taking views to boot. As you walk on this world cultural heritage, you can also have the cultural experience of trying local cuisine or interacting with the locals.

Where to go: Several sections of the Great Wall are open for visitors. The highly recommended sections are in or near Beijing. Easier routes that take up to two hours include Badaling, Mutianyu or Huanghuacheng. If you are fit and ready to reap the benefits of hiking, try the hiking trails that take several hours at Jiankou, Gubeikou, and Jinshanling.

When to go: October is ideal as the temperature would be cool and it is not peak tourist season.

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4. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hikes in the word.

Why it’s spellbinding: With the distinction of being one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a world heritage site, Machu Picchu is a masterpiece of engineering and is also the best-known archaeological site in South America. No wonder this is one of the most popular hikes in the world.

Where to go: If you are looking for a gentler route, take a train to Aguas Calientes and you can trek from there to the ruins in 1.5 hours. For physical activity over a few days, try the memorable and scenic Inca Trail or Lares Trail to Machu Picchu. These trails take 3-14 days.

When to go: The dry season from May to October. The peak tourist season is from June to August. Book your hiking trip well in advance, as these popular hiking destinations are booked up months in advance and visitors are limited to 2,500 per day.

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5. Himalayas, Nepal

Nepal’s mountain ranges and highest peaks are hiking destinations for the adventurous.

Why it’s spellbinding: Nepal hosts some of the highest peaks in the world, with picturesque sites that boast the mesmerising views of Annapurna mountain range and Pokhara valley. Nepal is a wildlife enthusiast and bird watcher’s paradise.

Where to go: The treks in Nepal range from moderate to high levels of difficulty, involving several days of hiking. Each trek promises spectacular views, whether you are attempting the treks at the Mount Everest region, trails on the Annapurna circuit or in the Kathmandu Valley region.

When to go: March, April, October, November

Stay Safe When Hiking

For an enjoyable and safe hike, ensure that you plan and prepare physically for the hike.

Know yourself well and choose a route with a level of physical activity that suits you and those you are hiking with. Always hike with at least one other person, and most importantly drink often to stay hydrated. Dress appropriately for the weather and use sunscreen and a hat to prevent sunburn.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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