best mountain hikes in the world

The best day hikes in the world – an inspirational post!

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been deeply in love with the mountains. Every time I see them appear in front of me, whether it’s from a car or the plane, my heart is skipping a beat. I immediately want to put on my hiking boots, put my backpack on my back and get out and explore. This blog is about my favorite and best day hikes in the world in the mountains, in random order. Enjoy!
Note that this article was first published in January 2017 and has been fully updated in August 2021

Harding Icefield Trail, Alaska

The trail to Harding Icefield is a 6-8 hour trek through the Alaskan wilderness. I hiked it twice, the first time in June when there was too much snow left to make it all the way to the ice field. The second time I had a bruised ankle but I made it all the way to the trail end. Even though the weather was poor, I was extremely happy about reaching the ice field because I had been dreaming about this forever. It was especially important to me because it was my first solo-hike in bear country Alaska and I had injured my ankle severely during a cycling accident the week before. Below you fill find a picture of a sunny hike in 2007 and a cloudy hike in 2015.
More reading:
Solo hiking as a female in bear country Alaska
Hiking wish: Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska
best mountain hikes in the world

best mountain hikes in the world

Laguna de los Tres, Argentina

From the village of El Chaltén in Argentinean Patagonia the hike up to Laguna de los Tres will take you roughly 4-5 hours one way. Ik was lucky because the weather was stunning but as I was up early in the season, the lagoon was still frozen. The hike isn’t too hard, the only part where you have to work a bit is the last bit up, it’s about a half hour climb up to the lagoon. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you may not really enjoy this last part. It’s worth the effort though. When the weather isn’t too good, you can also hike to Laguna Torre instead. The good thing about both hikes is that it goes back the same way so you can always turn around when you don’t feel like walking anymore.
More reading:
Hiking to Laguna de los Tres
Mountainous Monday: Cerro Fitz Roy
mooiste bergwandelingen ter wereld

Aurlandsdalen, Norway

Described as one of Norway’s Classic Hikes, the Aurlandsdalen hike was high up on our list when booking a trip to Norway. We were here in the first week in June, pretty early in the trekking season, meaning quiet trails but lots of snow and mostly closed tracks. Luckily the lowest part of this 40 km hike was possible to do, and left us speechless from start to end. Enjoy this post about Aurlandsdalen, hiking in Norway’s Grand Canyon!
More reading:
The Aurlandsdalen hike
The best unknown Norway hiking trails
best hikes in europe: aurlandsdalen

Brennisteinsalda, Iceland

One of the most magical places in the world are the Icelandic highlands, at least to me. I’ve been hiking in Landmannalaugar for three times and never get bored of its colored mountains, the hot springs and boiling mud pools. All three times I was here, I climbed Brennisteinsalda, also known as the Red Mountain. Your hike starts with a trek through an ancient lava field. Then you will pass some boiling hotpots and eventually you will start your climb towards the top of the mountain. From here, you have a stunning view over the surrounding mountains. I even got lost here last summer, which I can not really recommend you. The picture on top of this blog was made from the top of Brennisteinsalda. Nice, right?
More reading:
About solo hiking in Landmannalaugar and getting lost
Hiking the Laugavegur trail in Iceland
best mountain hikes in the world

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Although I didn’t officially hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as such, I did fully hike it, but then in the opposite direction and as a part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit. You’re surrounded by volcanoes and the highlight of the hike is definitely seeing the emerald lakes down below you when coming down from Red Crater. It’s an alpine hike though so be careful, people who think it’s just a walk in the park need to be rescued occasionally. The weather can be pretty unrelenting, but when you have a good day, it’s pure magic up there!
More reading:
Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
All you want to know about Tongariro National Park
mooiste bergwandelingen ter wereld

From Kaiser-Frans-Josefs-Höhe to Heiligenblut

The best day hike in Austria if you ask me! This is officially section one of the Alpe Adria Trail, but due to public transportation options you can easily do it as a day hike. This track takes you from the base of the highest mountain in Austria to Heiligenblut, one of the most scenic villages in all of Austria. Make sure to take all day as the views will be stunning.
More reading:
Section one of the Alpe Adria Trail
All my Alpe Adria Trail blogs
hiking the alpe adria trail the best day hikes in the world

Lost Valley, Scotland

It’s an understatement that walking in the Scottish Highlands is a pure pleasure. It was a hard decision to pick my favorite hike but eventually I picked Lost Valley near Glen Coe. This hike isn’t too easy and you will have to grab some ropes occasionally when hiking up. Yet when you have made it into the valley, it’s truly stunning. I made this hike early in the season, at the end of May, so it was fairly quiet, I expect it to be quite a bit busier in the summer though.
More reading:
Sorry, no blogs about this yet. Maybe one day…
best day hikes in the world

Conclusion and disclaimer of best one day hikes in the world

These are my favorite day hikes in the world. Many of my other favorite ones are in a multi-day trek, so I did not include them. My blog about the best multi-day treks in the world can be found here. Have you ever done any of these? What are your most beautiful day hikes in the world? Let me know below! This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or reservation through any of those links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.


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