Which Way? Long Distance Walks in the World

Long Distance Walks in the World

Got an itch to get out and go for a long walk? And by “long walk” I mean a really LONG walk. From centuries old routes to newly minted tracks there is no lack of places to wander on foot in this world. Many trails have been experiencing a resurgence with the growing popularity of turning to our feet to guide us, be it to experience an age-old spiritual pilgrimage or extended thru-hikes to get back to nature’s healing elements.

In the first section you will find paths that are 100 to 2,000 km long. In the second there is an additional list of trails spanning over 2.000 km. Of course I can not outline every trail there is – that massive inventory is best left to Google. Though I have lined up ones that sound rather intriguing to me. Each has a link provided (current at time of posting) and a spot of info. Maybe some of you have walked them? If not, it could be that you will be inspired to seek out a foot journey of your own. I’d be happy to hear your comments about past and future walks.

Happy wandering!

100 – 2,000 KM*
*The Kumano-Kodo is under 100km though is included due to it’s Dual Pilgrim program with the Camino de Santiago

  • Abraham Path Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Israel (1,078 km / 670 mi)
    • Created in 2007 by the Abraham Path Initiative, the trail is based on what is believed to be travelled by Abraham, from Urfa, Turkey to Negev, Israel
    • Can be walked in sections, independently, with local experts, or with an a tour guide
    • Accommodations are a mixture of camping, hostels, homestays, hotels, Bedouin-style tents, and guesthouses
  • Camino de SantiagoSpain (100 – 1,000+ km / 62 – 621 mi)
    • Arguably the most well known Christian pilgrimage around, it is a network of trails through Europe that converge on Northern Spain and ends at the cathedral in Santiago de Campostela
    • Popular paths include Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese, and Camino Nortes, which include way-markers and accommodations
    • A certificate (compostela) is provided for those who have walked the last 100 km / 62 mi or more by showing their stamped Pilgrim Passport
  • Drakensberg Grand TraverseSouth Africa (220 km / 136 mi)
    • Possibly one of the most challenging of treks in South Africa’s Drakensburg Escarpment with high elevations
    • Many tour companies offer guided tours and include camping spots and the park permit required though it can be done independently
    • A wilderness based trek, there are no way-markers
  • Everest Base Camp Trek (south side) – Nepal (130 km / 81 mi)
    • No trekking list would be complete without mention of Everest Base Camp
    • Roughly a 12 day circuit, the trek is usually done with guides or a tour group though can be done independently and is well marked
    • Is a high altitude trail so proper preparation and acclimatization is necessary to avoid altitude sickness
  • Hadrian’s WallUK (135 km / 84 mi)
    • Walking coast-to-coast in the north of England, this ancient Roman wall began construction in 122 CE by order of Emperor Hadrian
    • A relatively easy walk with the wall and way-markers as helpful guides
    • Accommodations can be at campsites, hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and can walked independently or with a tour company
  • Ireland Way Ireland, Northern Ireland (1,000 km / 620 mi)
    • The trail begins in Cork and winds its way to Giant’s Causeway (with portions still underdevelopment) and is divided into sections
    • Accommodations range from wild camping, campsites, B & Bs, hostels, hotels or AirBnB with some areas having more accommodations than others
    • The area passes through incredible nature and historic areas
  • Jordan TrailJordan (675 km / 420 mi)
    • The trail begins in the north at Um Qais and winds it way south to Aqaba, passing through 75 villages and a variety of landscapes
    • Opened in 2015 with a number of legs, the path embraces the historical act of walking as transport with the modern popularity of adventure trails
    • It can be hiked independently or with local tour groups or guides
  • Kumano KodoJapan (70 km)*
    • A network of pilgrimage trails in Japan’s Kansai region that date back 1,000 years, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the Camino de Santiago)
    • The pilgrimage seeks to visit the Kumano Sanzan – 3 religious shrines with a deep history of Buddhism and Shintoism
    • Shares a Dual-Pilgrim program with the Camino de Santiago
    • Can be done independently or with a tour company
  • Kungsleden (King’s Trail) – Sweden (430 km / 267 mi)
    • Winding its way through Swedish Lapland in the north from Abisko to Hemavan this trail began to be way-marked in the 1920s
    • The route is well maintained with markers, cabins for sleeping, and plankways over unsettling ground though some areas have more accommodations than other sections
    • Depending on which section and time of year you walk the trail can be relatively easy and food can be purchased at cabins with other sections being very challenging and fewer amenities available
  • Lycian WayTurkey (540 km / 335 mi)
    • Turkey’s first long-distance trail runs along the country’s southern coast from Fethiye to Antalya
    • The path is way-marked and well maintained though many sections can be challenging due to uneven terrain
    • Accommodations are often hostels, hotels, motels, campgrounds, and B&Bs
    • You can walk independently, on a self-guided tour or with a tour group
  • Red Sea Mountain TrailEgypt (170 km / 105 mi)
    • Mainland Egypt’s first long-distance trail began development in 2018 by Egyptian Bedouins along the Red Sea Mountain Range
    • Crossing over this wild desert area requires carrying all supplies so support is provided and Bedouin guides are required
    • Is a sister project to the Sinai Trail, both with an emphasis on cultural heritage
  • Shikoku PilgrimageJapan (1,400 km / 870 mi)
    • A circular path that visits 88 temples, most start and end at Ryozenji Temple though walking only a portion is common
    • Pilgrims often wear white robes called 白衣 hakui to symbolize that they are pilgrims
    • The way was established in the 800s CE by a Buddhist monk named who Kūkai (named Kōbō-Daishi after his death) and was buried in Kayosan
  • St Olavsleden / St Olav WaySweden, Norway (580 km / 360 mi)
    • The northernmost Christian pilgrimage today, it leads to Trondheim in the steps of King Olav (later St Olav) after his exile from Selånger, Sweden
    • There are other trails in Norway leading to Trondheim based on the saint’s travels
    • Can be travelled on foot, bike or horseback and either independently or with a guide
  • Via FrancigenaUK, France, Switzerland, Italy (1,700+ km / 1,056+ mi)
    • Dating back to 990 CE it follows Catholic Archbishop Sigeric’s travels from Canterbury to Rome
    • Is growing in popularity and uses a pilgrim passport and has increasing infrastructure such as pilgrim hostels, luggage transport, cafes, etc.
    • Has an extra section from Rome to the Puglia region of Italy and is called the Via Francigena nel Sud
  • Waitukubuli National TrailDominica (185 km / 115 mi)
    • Opened in 2013, it is made up of 14 segments beginning in the south of the island and winding up to the north
    • Purchase of a Trail Pass is required for non-residents and visitors
    • The trail aims to feature the nature, culture, and local lifestyle of the island
  • Way of St Francis of Assisi Italy (550 km / 342 mi)
    • A Christian pilgrimage that follows the path(s) St Francis in Italy that have been renewed in 2019
    • The route to Assisi from Rome is popular though there are a few other routes as well from the northern and southern areas of the Umbria region
  • West Highland WayScotland (154 km / 96 mi)
    • A trail from Milngavie to Fort William, it was developed 40 years ago as Scotland’s first Long Distance Route
    • There are amenities and infrastructure along the path including various types of accommodations, baggage transfers, food and drink availability, and more
    • Is open year-round though it is strongly recommended that only experienced hikers do so in the winter months as the route is often covered with snow and ice, particularly in the north

Here you will find a few ultra long distance trails. There are few individuals who have traversed these paths in their entirety, a daunting task to say the least. Most enjoy them in sections for a few hours, several days, or weeks. The latter requiring camping or other accommodation pending location (e.g. guesthouse or hotel if near a town). A few treks recommend using knowledgeable guides, for the safety of all. The included links can help you gain further information.

OVER 2,000 KM:

  • American Discovery Trail USA
    • 10,900 km / 6,800 mi across the US from Delaware to California
  • Appalachian TrailUSA
    • 3,524 km / 2,190 mi of backcountry trails along the eastern US states from Georgia to Maine
  • Continental Divide TrailMexico, USA, Canada
    • 5,000 km / 3,100 mi from Chihuahua, Mexico to Alberta, Canada and weaves along the Rocky Mountains
  • Croatian Long Distance Trail Croatia
    • 2,109 km / 1, 310 mi in 3 legs around Croatia that was completed in 2017
  • Grand Italian Trail / Sentiero ItaliaItaly
    • 6,167 km / 3,832 mi across Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia and is divided into 368 legs
  • Great Himalaya TrailNepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Tibet
    • 4,500 km / 2,800 mi (upon completion) of connected trails through both well-known and lesser visited areas
  • The Great TrailCanada
    • 27,000 km / 16,777 mi and is the longest recreational trail in the world with paths in every province and territory of Canada
  • Pacific Crest TrailUSA
    • 4,240 km / 2634 mi of backcountry trails along the western US states from California to Washington
  • Sultans Trail Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey
    • 2,500 km / 1,550 mi from Vienna to Istanbul, it developed by the Dutch as a European cultural route
  • Te AraroaNew Zealand
    • 3,000 km / 1864 mi along the length of New Zealand connecting communities and people from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south
  • Trans Caucasian TrailGeorgia and Armenia
    • 3000 km / 1,864 mi along the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains once it is completed
  • Via AlpinaSlovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Monaco5,
    • 5000 km / 3,106 mi network of Alpine trails connecting nature and culture
  • Via DinaricaWestern Balkans (Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia)
    • 2,000 km / 1,242 mi network of trails with three sections, one which is completed (White Trail) and other two under development (Blue Trail, Green Trail)

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and closures may be in place.

One thought on “Which Way? Long Distance Walks in the World

Add yours

Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: