Hiking lovers will know that one of the main issues with this kind of hobby, is getting from your home to the beginning of a trail. That’s even harder if you don’t have a car, and if you’re willing to do some hiking abroad… Well, you probably know already how it feels to be that close to a nice trail, but not be able to get there!
So, with the help of our beloved team of Spotters, we put together for you nature lovers a selection of hiking (but also biking, horse riding, …) trails and areas that are inside city limits and that can be easily reached by public transportation – or even just by walking.
Get your backpack ready, grab a bottle of water, and happy hiking!
New York, United States
No, it’s not a joke – we’re really starting with New York City. We promise you won’t be disappointed! Loved by locals for its deep woods and quiet ponds, High Rock Park is a real treat for people looking for a quiet getaway. You have the choice between many different trails to explore it and the hills provide a bit of a challenge, especially for runners. If you’re in the mood for it, there’s even an option to climb up to 260mt to enjoy the most peaceful view. Come here early and you will even be able to spot wildlife hiding in the woods!
Prague, Czech Republic
What most tourists don’t know is that Prague offers a lot more outdoor escape options than expected. Kozí Hřbety (Goat’s back) is the perfect example! You can get here by bus, and once you get to the forest where the hike begins, you’ll find out the path is actually marked for visitors. No risk of getting lost! At the end of the hike, there’s another trail starting that leads you all the way to Roztoky, in case you feel like walking some more. Once there, you can take a train back to Prague – just after getting a well-deserved cold beer!
Skopje, North Macedonia
The Balkans are a must-go destination for mountain lovers, but if you happen to only be in Skopje for a city-break, don’t worry – you can still hike! Actually, you can even hike from the city center to Mount Vodno directly, no need for a car if you’ve got enough energy (and snacks). Otherwise, you can get up there by cable car, public transportation, or with your own vehicle. In short, there are several hiking paths and options to get to different viewpoints of the mountains, with different lengths and difficulty levels.
Mexico City, Mexico
If you’re traveling to Mexico City, you are probably not going there for a quiet natural retreat. Or maybe – you just did not know it was possible to find one! If so, welcome to los dinamos, a 2400 hectares oasis of water, forest, and nature. This place has several kilometers of trails for hikers, bikers, and horse riders, but that’s not all. You can climb, fish, go camping for the night… the options are limitless, and this area can be enjoyed by everyone, adventurous groups of friends, families or couples.
Manchester, United Kingdom
In love with England’s countryside? In Manchester, you can walk (or bike, or horse ride) the longest urban cycleway in Britain. It’s called the Fallowfield Loop and it was originally a train track. Now it’s 8 miles long path part of the National Cycle Network, that offers scenic panoramas and plenty of wonderful parks along the route.
Among those parks, our Spotter Lauren recommends Reddish Val for a picnic break. Very popular among locals, it’s an official natural reserve where you can observe all kinds of animals. And the river crossing it is truly a gem on a hot summer day!
Slovakia is a rather undiscovered hiking destination that deserves to be known, as the nature is stunning and mostly untouched. No need to go all the way to the Tatra mountains and their wild nature for a hike though! If you’re based in Bratislava and are looking for a quick day-trip, you can head to the forest of Devinska kobyla. There are plenty of hiking trails, all very well marked, and you can always make a loop, or get from one suburb to the other.
Hiking in the desert is an experience not to miss, and Cairo offers the perfect opportunity for it. The Wadi Degla is an open, peaceful area, that is worth coming to even just to breathe and meditate. However, there are actually a lot of trails going up and down the hills for hikers and bikers to enjoy. We think it’s a beautiful place to do some sports first, and then sit down in a quiet spot for a while, maybe reading a book.
Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania, U.S.
Go big or go home they say. So if you happen to feel like walking while in Philadelphia, how about just going to the biggest urban park systems in the world? Fairmount Park spreads over 2,052 acres and offers over 50km of hiking trails. If you don’t know where to start, our Spotter Andrea recommends choosing the Forbidden Drive path. This will lead you through the heart of the park on a wide gravel road, passing by the historic restaurant and coffee shop, and will let you take a detour into the woods on several occasions. Be careful not to be lost though!
And if your legs are not too sore the next day, you can head Northwest and discover the Whissahikon Valley. Despite being easy to reach from the city center, this place offers a lot more than just hiking and biking: you can fish, horse ride, go camping, rock climb… you name it!
You’ve probably read all about the best beaches, sights, and bars in Barcelona, but did you know you could hike there? And you can get there by public transportation! This trail is called carrettera de les aigues (the road of the waters) and it’s a 9.5km path through the hills that’s perfect for hiking, running, or biking. It’s a rather easy one and offers constantly changing views of the city that will impress even the most experienced traveler.
Switzerland is famous for its stunning views and high, steep mountains. If you’re looking for a more “like a local” experience though we recommend you check out Gurten Bern. At just 858mt, it’s more of a hill than a mountain, but it’s very close to the earth of people from Bern who head here in mass when it’s sunny. Besides the beautiful panorama, here you can find all kinds of outdoor activities to do, including the Gurtenfestival in Summer.
What can you find right around the airport of Cologne? You guessed it right, a natural reserve! It’s called Wahner Heide and it’s actually the reserve in North Rhine-Westphalia that hosts the biggest number of different species. A paradise for bird-watching enthusiasts! If you’re looking for hiking instead, there are several trails of different lengths all through the area. However, be careful not to wander off the paths: up until 2004, this area was used for military training, so there might still be live ammunition.
For a hiking getaway in Lisbon, you’ve probably been advised already of heading to Monsanto Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in Europe. It’s a huge area with plenty of options for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Among all of these, we recommend you check out Miradouro Keil do Amaral. Pay close attention because it’s not easy to spot! Once you find it though, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best panoramas of the city than you can have.
The Scottish Highlands are one of the most amazing places for hiking, but not the most accessible… Luckily, Edinburgh offers its visitor a number of trails going straight through its city center! And they’re not banal at all – the most famous one is John Muir Way and it brings you coast to coast over 215km. Another interesting trail is St Margaret’s Way, a modern-day pilgrimage route of 100km. Of course, you can always only hike a part and visit some lovely villages around the city on a day-trip.
Besides being incredibly interesting to visit, Warsaw is a very green city as well, offering plenty of hiking spots. One of the most remarkable places is definitely Kampinos, an area designated UNESCO biosphere reserve and hosting 16,500 different animal species. It’s a huge place with endless hiking trails and many options for horse riding as well. Another spot worth checking out is Las Sobieskiego, possibly the most diverse green space in Warsaw and hosting a stunning oak forest.
Copenhagen can be considered unique under many aspects and being a capital that hosts 3,000 acres of protected nature is definitely one of them. Naturpark feels like another era: cattle roam freely and you can come here to pick fruits, berries, and wild herbs for your breakfast. It’s an incredibly scenic place as well, and you can spot plenty of wildlife here.
More unique spots? We have locals in more in 80+ cities!