Top 5 Urban Hikes

Posted June 20, 2013 by Elica Sue in Travel Lists

They say the best way to get to know a city is to live like a local; eat, drink and shop where the locals choose and you’ll soon become well acquainted with your new destination.  For me, I find a bit of perspective always helps me get a feel for a new place and I find there’s no better way than to get an aerial view of the city.  Plus, a brisk walk ensures I can indulge in local treats without any guilt!  Here are my top five urban hikes across the world…

1. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

It’s hard to believe that Holyrood Park, a large open area of parkland lies in the heart of the cosmopolitan Scottish capital, Edinburgh.  A well-trodden path leads you to the top of Arthur’s Seat, the highest peak in this group of hills, and views from its 250m high vantage point across the whole of the city.  On a clear day, walkers will even be able to see the all the way to Fife over the Firth of Forth.  At only six kilometres long, this circular walk which starts and finishes at the Palace of Holyroodhouse is suitable for most fitness levels but you’ll want to leave plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding parkland; you could easily make a day of it.  Try Sykes Cottages for great value holiday accommodation in the thick of the action.

Arthur's Seat

Flickr photo by Phil Hollman.

2. Mount Tibidabo, Barcelona

With its near perfect blend of cultural hotspots, trendy restaurants and gorgeous beaches, it’s little wonder that tourists return to Barcelona year after year.  For a different way to experience the city, leave Las Ramblas behind and head for Mount Tibidabo.  Enjoy a stroll along tree-lined avenues with impressive Gaudi architecture at every turn before reaching the funicular which will take you to the summit of Tibidabo.  The stone-built Temple de Sagrat Cor offers an interesting comparison to the lively amusement park and occupies a commanding position on the mountain.  The few steps to the top of this pretty church are well worth it for the far-reaching views of Catalonia and the coastline.

Ferris Wheel

Flickr photo by Scott Roberts.

3. Mont Royal, Montreal

You’ll be in good company if you choose Mont Royal, the city’s largest urban park at 200-hectares, as it’s where the locals go to jog, ski and relax.  Designed by the same person behind New York’s Central Park, visitors can enjoy downtown views of the river and the Olympic Stadium.  There are three peaks on Mont Royal with the highest being just shy of 250metres above sea level.  The huge illuminated cross which sits atop the summit provides a great focal point for walkers wanting to reach the highest point in Montreal.  Visit on a Sunday to enjoy the Tam Tam festival; a lively gathering of musicians and dancers enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Montreal Skyline HDR

Flickr photo by Intiaz Rahim.

4. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio is one of the most instantly recognisable sights in the world.  At 30 metres tall and standing aloft on the summit of the 700 metre high Corcovado mountain within the Tijuca Forest National Park, the statue bears down imposingly on the bustling city below.  A regular tram ferries tourists to the summit of Corcovado but hiking through the forest has to be one of the best ways to reach the top.  Forest trails wind through beautiful national park and the views of Rio from the top more than make up for the physical exertion of the climb!

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Flickr photo by Terry George.

5. Seven Hills, Bath

As one of the few cities to be built on seven hills, Bath offers an impressive range of hills to summit.  The six mile Skyline walk is undoubtedly the best way to appreciate the beauty of this Georgian city and tick off Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths and the majestic Royal Crescent.  Head towards the north of the city where the Grade II-listed Sham Castle holds court over the honey-coloured city below.

View of Bath

Flickr photo by Amy Wharton.

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Sykes Cottages.

About the Author

Elica Sue

Elica Sue is WildJunket's web editor and writer specializing in languages and student travel. Based in California, she grew up with an exposure to a menagerie of culture, language, and art, and is a student pursuing what she is most passionate about: writing, traveling, and learning languages. She blogs at Travelengua.

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