Best day hikes in the world

Bucket list: the best day hikes in the world

When I’m traveling, I usually make a lot of day hikes. For me, this is the perfect way to get to know an area. In this article, I’ll share some of the best day hikes in the world.

Observation Point, Zion National Park (Utah, USA)

View from Observation Point
This is what Zion Canyon looks like from Observation Point.

The first time I visited Zion National Park, I could only choose to go on one day hike: Angels Landing or Observation Point. I chose Angels Landing, which is one of the most popular hikes in the park. This is also one of the scariest hikes in the world, because of the high cliffs. Although it is an amazing hike, I couldn’t stop wondering, what would it be like to hike to Observation Point?

Luckily, a few years later, I went back to Zion National Park and hiked to Observation Point. And it was amazing! It’s a 13-kilometer hike (roundtrip) and there’s quite a climb. The landscape changes every time and the view from the top is amazing! Do you see that large rock on the right? That’s Angels Landing. For me, the hike Observation Point is surely one of the best day hikes in the world.

Hooker Valley Track, Mount Cook National Park (Nieuw-Zeeland)

Hooker Valley Track - New Zeeland
Hooker Valley Track in New Zeeland.

Photo: Nik Shuliahin | Unsplash

New Zealand is one of the countries that are on top of my bucket list at the moment. Nature must be overwhelmingly beautiful and there are so many awesome hiking trails! One of the main attractions in New Zealand is Mount Cook National Park. A landscape you might recognize from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. There are several great hiking trails in the park, and the 5-kilometer long Hooker Valley Track looks absolutely stunning. Can’t wait to go and hike it someday!

Antrim Glens (Ierland)

Antrim Glens - Pic Jessica Knowlden - Unsplash
Hiking in Ireland.

Photo: Jessica Knowlden | Unsplash

Hiking in Antrim Glens in Ireland is the first hike in Europe on this list with the best day hikes in the world. You can find some long-distance trails in this area, but you can also choose to do day hikes.

For me, I’d love to hike to Giant’s Causeway (a really weird and beautiful rock formation), but I would also like to cross one of these cool rope bridges. It looks like an amazing place to hike and discover the coast of Ireland.

Inca Trail (Peru)

Inca Trail
Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru.

Ok, I have to admit, hiking the Inca Trail is not a day hike. But if you like hiking as much as I do, it’s probably on your list as well. The famous Inca trail to Machu Picchu is one of the main reasons for people to visit Peru. It’s a gorgeous trail, that leads you over mountains (the highest point is 4200 meters), through the jungle, and you will see multiple hidden Inca ruins.

It’s only 42 kilometers long and during the last day, you only have to hike 2 kilometers. That moment when you arrive at the Sun Gate at dawn and see Machu Picchu for the first time is truly magical.

Check out this post if you’d like to read more: Everything you need to know about the Inca Trail

Puez-Geisler Nature Park, Dolomites (Italy),

Puez-Odle - Pic by G R Mottez - Unsplash
This looks like a fairytale!

Photo: G-R Mottez | Unsplash

Another great place for hiking in Europe is the Dolomites in Italy. I haven’t been here myself (yet!), but every time when I see pictures on Instagram or Pinterest, I tell myself that I really need to go there! Granite rock formations, breathtaking mountains, valleys with cute villages, it looks like a fairytale! In Puez-Geisler Nature Park you can choose from several day hikes, from 5 to 15 kilometers. This is perfect if you’re not that experienced with hiking.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (California, USA)

Half Dome - Pic by Denys Nevozhai - Unsplash
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Photo: Denys Nevozhai | Unsplash

Half Dome is one of the most well-known rock formations in Yosemite National Park. Hiking to the top of Half Dome is also one of the most popular day hikes in Yosemite. It certainly is a challenge, during the last part of the hike you have to use cables to climb all the way to the top. But the view must be really rewarding!

The hike is about 25 kilometers long and will take about 10 to 12 hours. To go to the top with the cables, you have to have a permit. You can find more information about this hike on the official website of Yosemite.

Cinque Terre (Italy)

Cinque Terre - Pic by Dallin Holding - Unsplash
Hiking along the coast of Italy.

Photo: Dallin Holding | Unsplash

Another hike in Italy! Cinque Terre is one of the prettiest places in Italy. And yes, it attracts a lot of tourists! But you can avoid the crowds when you go hiking! Along the coastline of Cinque Terre, you’ll find several hiking trails. Some are only 3 kilometers, but you can also hike for 11 kilometers or more. The views are incredible!

What to pack for a day hike? Check out my packing list in this article.

Mount Bromo (Indonesia)

Mount Bromo - Pic by Kevin Zhang - Unsplash
Have you ever seen anything like this?

Photo: Kevin Zhang | Unsplash

I absolutely love Indonesia. The food is so good! To avoid becoming too big, I’d like to go hiking (what else is new). The night hike to the top of Mount Bromo is probably one of the most famous hikes in Indonesia. You will hike in one of the most scenic landscapes you’ll ever see, and you might even see a volcano erupting. How awesome is that?

Trolltunga (Noorwegen)

Trolltunga - Pic Benjamin Davies - Unsplash
What a view! Trolltunga in Norway.

Photo: Benjamin Davies | Unsplash

The last hike on this list with the best day hikes in the world has probably the most spectacular view. The hike to Trolltunga in Norway ends on this iconic cliff, which is about 700 meters above the Ringedalsvatnet-lake. It sure is one of the must-sees in Norway!

There are two itineraries to go to Trolltunga, there’s a 20-kilometer and a 28-kilometer hike to choose from. Make sure the weather is good because it can get really dangerous! It’s recommended to only hike this trail between June and September. You can go on a self-guided hiking trip, but if you’re not sure about hiking here, I would recommend going on a guided tour.

This is my bucket list with the best day hikes in the world! Do you like exploring a new area on foot as well? What’s your favorite day hike?

In need for some more hiking inspiration?

Check out these posts:

Or order one of these cool books for more hiking inspiration:

Fifty Places to Hike Before You Die: Outdoor Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations

100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails


Hi! I'm Co and a travel addict. On this website, I'll share stories of my travel adventures and share some travel tips. I'll make sure to keep you inspired for your next trip!

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