Whether you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or find something active to do, look to the mountains. Great no matter the season, traveling in the mountains always has plenty of fun activities to offer you.
With mountain destinations right across the planet, you’ll find that each has its own way of entertaining and delighting visitors. To offer some balance, the following destinations include some beloved favorites but also a couple lesser known gems.
Restorative Alpine Life in the Swiss Alps
Few destinations say mountains quite like Switzerland. This European nation is known for many things, but surely its mountains rank at the top.
Throughout the country’s expansive Alps, there are countless ski towns, health retreats and cozy chalets to be enjoyed. No surprise that skiing is a common activity among the peaks of the Alps, but the country is just as well known for its health spas and retreats. Indeed, for centuries travelers have sought out the Swiss mountain air for its fabled healing abilities.
With so many mountain destinations to choose from, a comfortable place to start is with the canton of Graubünden in the east. Perhaps the most well-known spot here is the town of Davos, an ideal ski destination. Nearby, the town of Arosa makes for a family-friendly alternative and is also popular with paragliders.
For a touch of the high life though, consider visiting a luxury destination like the resort town of St Moritz.
Waterfalls and Temples in Taroko NP, Taiwan
At the heart of the island of Taiwan lies a vast mountain range that stretches throughout. There are numerous destinations in Taiwan’s mountains, but a firm favorite is Taroko National Park.
Following Taroko Gorge from the east coast deep into the mountainside, the national park treats visitors to a bounty of temples and waterfalls. While it’s possible to drive along the gorge, many visitors opt to strap on their hiking boots and walk the seasonal trails that join the natural and cultural landmarks.
For spotting waterfalls in Taroko National Park, visitors can’t go past the many, many waterfalls visible from the Lushui Centre or by the Yue Wang Ting suspension bridge.
As for popular culture icons along the gorge, there’s the impressive hilltop sanctuary of Xiangde Temple and the almost-mythical setting of the Eternal Spring Shine, as a waterfall flows from the remote temple.
Wildlife and Ruins in the Andes of Peru
Surely, one of the most famous mountain destinations in the world is the rediscovered Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. Perched in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the remains of this bygone empire are truly a world wonder.
Visitors to this mountainous corner of Peru typically visit the many different majestic ruin sites by trekking along challenging hiking routes. The most well-known of these trails is the Inca Trail that leads hikers through the Sacred Valley and ultimately to Machu Picchu. A common alternative to the Inca Trail is the Salkantay trek which explores other trails in the mountains.
It’s worth noting that the ruins of the Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail aren’t the only in the region. The Sacred Valley is home to numerous Incan remnants, such as those in Ollantaytambo and Pisac.
Ruins aren’t the only thing to be found in the stretch of the Andes that runs through Peru. The mountains are home to some iconic wildlife, including condors, llamas and alpacas. Not to be forgotten is their cousin the vicuna, the national animal of Peru.
Adventure after Adventure in Queenstown, New Zealand
If you’re looking for an adventure in New Zealand, there’s no better place than the city of Queenstown. Located on the country’s South Island, Queenstown is unquestionably New Zealand’s adventure sport capital.
For a mountain destination Queenstown is actually quite low, but it happens to be lodged between multiple mountain ranges. It’s mostly in these mountains that the variety of activities occur, starting mild and escalating to the insane. On the lower end of the scale there’s the gentle mountain hikes, and then bolder choices like skiing in the The Remarkables or bungee jumping in Kawarau Gorge.
Other adventure activities in the surrounds of Queenstown include a Via Ferrata route, abseiling and canyoning. Perhaps the ultimate sport here though is “heli-biking”, where a helicopter drops you and your bike at the top of a mountain, so you can make your own way down.
If you’re after a hit of adrenaline, Queenstown in New Zealand is the place to be.
Visiting Ethnic Villages in Sapa, Vietnam
Traveling in the mountains isn’t always just about the activities and scenery, it’s also about the people that call these mountains home. The perfect example of this is the many different ethnic tribes that live in the mountains around Sapa in northern Vietnam.
This region is adored for its majestic landscape of cascading rice terraces, but also for the simple way of life lived by the people that reside there. Sapa is home to a myriad of separate ethnic minority groups, often differing from one village to the next. For instance, you’ll find that Hmong villagers dress and speak a different language than locals from a nearby Red Dao village.
Visitors to the region often hike through the rice terraces and bamboo forest from village to village. When stopping for the night, it’s common for tourists to stay in the family homes of villages such as Ta Van. It’s only due to the remote nature of these mountain villages that this kind of experience is possible.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by David Johnston and is for informational purposes only. Barclays makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
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