There are places that you dream of walking down to your fairy world, so surreal they feel unreal, yet they exist in some hidden off the beaten destinations in the world. Whether being adventurous or needing a lazy walk to summon your inner being, these 10 walkways are the most aesthetic there is.
Milford Track – New Zealand
“Before, behind, to the left and right, the forest comes unbroken – vista after vista, lofty hall past hall, of glorious, living green, pillared by the great brown limbs and boles of beech-like ‘birches’. Half-a-hand deep with velvety moss, embroidered with lichens, dripping with ferns and orchids, the immense branches zigzag mazily in and out of the leafy layers they support.” No one could ever describe the beauty of the Milford Track better than poet Blanche Baughan, who in 1908, declared it as ‘the finest walk in the world’.
Beginning at the head of Lake Te Anau in New Zealand, the 53-kilometer expedition passes through mountains, boardwalks, suspension bridges, meadowed forest isles, valleys, waterfalls, and murmuring winds; these being just under descriptions of the real beauty you get to experience along the Milford Track. In summer and autumn, enjoy the picturesque view of the misty breath of Sutherland Falls accompanied by the winged symphony of bird songs; while the rainy winter brings to life the Milford magic of cascading water down the steep slopes.
Tunnel of Love – Ukraine
Romance is calling and for us who are hopelessly romantic, the Tunnel of Love is the place to express our deepest feelings to our cherished ones. What was once just a railway line in Ukraine’s western town of Klevan, has now become one of the world’s best lovers’ destinations, and one of the most photographed spots in Ukraine.
The fairy tale-looking tunnel that naturally formed as green trees encroached the passageway, is now a source of Ukraine’s pride in a modernized era.
With a left split running in to a military base hidden in the forest close to the Odek factory, it is said that the trees date back to the Cold War, purposely planted along the trail to hide transportation of the Soviet military hardware. If you are truly in love, cross the tunnel holding your partner’s hands, and it is believed your wishes will come true. Though yonder, Lo! The tunnel of love!
Inca Trail, Peru
The Inca Trail is popular among long-distance hikers and walking enthusiast from around the world, due to its gratifyingly aesthetic route along agricultural terraces, through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). The Sun Gate is particularly an attraction on itself, an entrance to Machu Picchu, a Peruvian city discovered over 100 years ago and whose construction remains a big archaeological mystery since it was built mortar-free and without the use of metal tools or the wheel.
Now a deserted city, Machu Picchu was in 2007 named as one of the new seven wonders of the world. While major changes have taken place and somehow altered the site from its ancient magical attraction of a ‘lost city’ of the Inca, it remains a national pride for Peru with thousands of tourists streaming every year. Want to experience a world wonder? Take the Inca Trail, but remember to always be a responsible traveler, taking only memories and leaving only footprints.
Great Wall of China
We have all heard of it, read about it, watched it on movies and National Geographic, and if not climbed it already, we have at some point in our lives added the Great Wall of China on our travel bucket lists. Built by China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang between 220–206 BC., the iconic wall is a spectacle that runs along impressive views especially the popular section of Badaling.
Its architectural splendor is a marvel we would all want to take a walk, or rather a climb ‘up’ into China’s history. A gait into some of the unrestored sections that stand magnificently ruined, dotted with green vegetation and trees, debris on the walkways and miles of wilderness; will give you an experience of a lifetime. The Great Wall of China is a World Wonder and in 1987, was listed as a UNESCO world Heritage.
Garden Route – South Africa
On the south-eastern coast of South Africa, lies a scenic stretch from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River. The Garden Route, as it is popularly known, is surrounded by an assortment of lush natural vegetation and plentiful bays. It is the giant trees, ferns, and bird life that inhabits the route that make it any nature lover’s paradise.
Hikers enjoy the meandering trails in the forests, beach lovers a leisure walk along the coastline, while swimmers swim away on the lakes and rivers. Garden route’s mild climate topped by awe-inspiring scenery are factors that will get you parking and voyaging to South Africa.
Lake 22 – Cascades Washington State
A walk/hike to Lake TwentyTwo provides one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. It is a combination of alpine wetlands, mountain views and rain-forests which during winter are covered in a thick blanket of white, with the snow cascading down the creeks. Efforts have been made to make the trail sustainable and able to withstand the harsh thrashing of the waters, by using gravel, stone steps, and beautifully constructed puncheon bridges to ensure your safety while enjoying the nature about.
Tarr Steps – England
A 17 giant stone slabs’ bridge in river Exmoor make up the Tarr Steps. Legend has it that the devil himself built the steps, so he could sunbathe. A slap of fresh breeze together with the stunning views of the river banks guarantee a relaxing experience that the ancient Tarr Steps provide. For an even better quest, head to the alluring wooded valley of the River Barle for an exploration of the wildlife in the area. Enjoy watching wild ponies on the moorland of Winsford Hill, through deep in to the Somerset village via the Withypool bridge. Every step of the Tarr Steps, leads into another wonderland worth exploring.
Point Reyes Cypress Tree Tunnel – California
When and if visiting Central California, do not miss to take a walk down the unadulterated and scenic Cypress Tree Tunnel leading to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The walkway is beautifully impinged by Monterey Cypress trees forming a natural tunnel and an artistic masterpiece in all its being. Whether driving or taking a lazy afternoon stride to the beach, make sure to capture some of the most breathtaking sunset photographs of all time.
The Mysterious Crooked Forest – Poland
Some have described it as a mystery with no straight answer, but most refer to it as the Crooked Forest, just outside the town of Gryfino in Poland. The pine trees that make up the forest interestingly bend 90 degrees to the North before straightening back up. Bizarre right? There has not been a clear explanation to this mystery, but one thing is clear. A walk along a path into mystery can never go wrong but will arouse in us a sense of wonder and discovery. Does this describe the adventure you are looking for? Then the crooked forest is the place to walk down to.
Saiwa Swamp National Park – Kenya
Dawn or twilight, Saiwa Swamp National Park is every nature lover’s nirvana. Saiwa’s walking trails through the natural wetland surrounded by opulent flora, create an alluring connection between man and nature. With an accompaniment of the dawn chorus and small animals including the Sitatunga Antelope, Africa’s only amphibious buck, it remains one of the most aesthetic places to be.
Remotely located near Kitale town in Kenya’s Rift Valley, Saiwa Swamp boasts a mix of swamp habitat, reeds lined up along its marshy edge, an assortment of trees overlooking the swamp and eye-appealing exotic flowers. This is just one of Kenya’s copious tourist attractions, the East African country globally recognized as the ‘World’s Best Safari Destination’.