Survey reveals the world's top 20 hiking trails

Appalachian Trail
Find out where the Appalachian Trail, in America, comes in the top 20 list (Image credit: Getty Images)

New research has revealed the top 20 most beautiful hiking spots worldwide. The survey includes some obvious hotspots, as well as a few surprises.

The list has been compiled by assessing data on a popular social media. Analysts, on behalf of outdoor sports and outdoor footwear brand Zalando, set out to discover the world's most photographed hiking trails on Instagram.

They assessed almost five million Instagram hashtags from the world’s most famous hiking trails to find out how many images were associated with a route. This figure was then divided by the number of miles the hike covers to find which one had the most photos taken per mile.

Top of the list is Peru’s Inca Trail, which had 9255 photos per mile. In second place is the popular European pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago in Spain (3,979).

The third spot goes to a route in Argentina, the Refugio Frey via Cerro Catedral (2,030).

America’s iconic Appalachian Trail, where a four year old became one of three million walkers annually, sits at 13th in the top 20 most beautiful hiking spots list. 

Meanwhile, seven of the hotspots trails are found in the UK, with the famous Scottish long-distance trail, the West Highland Way in top place and sixth overall. The West Highland Way had 1180 photos per mile, which is more than twice the amount for Tour du Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago is in the top 3 of best hiking trails worldwide (Image credit: Getty Images)

Inca trail

It's the Inca Trail in Peru that takes top spot (Image credit: Getty Images)

Survey reveals: top 20 hiking spots 

The data from Instagram reveals the top 20 hiking routes in the world:

1. Inca Trail, Peru

2. Camino de Santiago, Spain

3. Refugio Frey and Cerro Catedral, Argentina

4. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

5. Eiger Trail, Switzerland

6. West Highland Way, UK

7. El Camino del Rey, Spain

8. GR 20, France

west highland way

Scotland's West Highland Way (Image credit: Fiona Outdoors)

9. West Coast Trail Vancouver Island, Canada

10. South Downs Way, UK

11. Tour du Mount Blanc, France

12. Thames Path, UK

13. Appalachian Trail, USA

14. Indus Valley, India

15. Fife Coastal Path, UK

16. Cleveland Way, UK

17. South West Coast Path, UK

18. Cotswold Way, UK

19. The Lycian Way, Turkey

20. Via Francigena, Italy.

Which hiking trail would you vote as the best in the world?

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.