PHOTO: Trekking through Nepal. (photos courtesy of Goats on the Road)
One of the best ways to explore the world is on foot. We've done some pretty epic treks in our travels and while some of them required a certain level of fitness, many were good for beginners as well. But trekking isn't always cheap. Sometimes there are expensive permits, visas requirements and guides that need to be paid for in order to reach your desired finish line. Below we've listed three of our favorite hiking destinations that won't break the bank.
The world's premier hiking, walking and horse trekking destination - and for good reason. Every square mile of this enormous country is open for hiking and camping. There are no fences, no private properties and no closed doors. You can basically walk in any direction, meeting local nomadic people and friendly travelers along the way. The best part is that you don't need any special permits aside from the $50 travel visa to enter Mongolia. Check out our Guide to Independent Trekking in Mongolia here.
Another one of our planet's most scenic places to lace up your hiking boots. We highly recommend the Annapurna Circuit as a great trek for beginners (though going over the 18,000-foot pass will require some fitness). If you're not into doing such a long hike (the Annapurna can take up to two weeks), there are other hikes that can be done in a couple of days, or a few hours.
You'll have to procure some hiking permits in Kathmandu before setting off, but these won't cost more than $20 total. You also won't need a guide to trek here, because the trails are well-marked and mostly follow the valley floor, so unless you're climbing a cliff, you'll be heading in the right direction. There are some teahouses along the way where you can stop to eat and sleep. They often offer a bed for free as long as you buy dinner and breakfast from their restaurant (about $5 a meal).
There are many great hiking trails in Spain, but The Camino de Santiago is one of the most famous pilgrimages in the world. There are numerous trails to take, but the most popular (and the one that was taken in the movie "The Way") starts at Roncesvalles on the French border and goes all the way to Santiago de Compostella (via Leon). This way is about 500 miles total and can take hikers three weeks or more to complete.
Don't expect to have the trails to yourself, as thousands of people attempt this pilgrimage every year. There aren't really any permits that you need in order to take this trail, but you'll want to get the Pilgrim's Passport (about 3 euros), which will allow you to use facilities reserved for pilgrims. Accommodation along the way is pretty cheap, with dorm rooms starting at about 6 euros a night.
Mongolia, Nepal and Spain are three of the best countries for hiking, and they offer a wide variety of trekking opportunities. From high mountains trails to coastal walks, you can pretty much get everything you need from these three destinations. The permits are cheap or free, the accommodations are often free and you'll have some of the best local experiences imaginable.
Topics From This Article to Explore