I admit it, sometimes when I have so much work to do, I do the mature, responsible thing which is to just ignore all of it and dream about being anywhere but here. Maybe I’ll be in a resort overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Maldives, or perhaps strolling down a street market in Krabi, drinking from a cut coconut, with music from the surrounding bars wafting in the air. Or – if I felt like doing something crazy – bungee jumping in Australia. But after stumbling across this page on Viralnova, what I considered “crazy” was pretty mild. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined hiking up winding steps that were carved into a cliff or any of the places that are listed below.
1. Huangshan Paths (China): Huangshan is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. There are more than 30 touring paths in total in Huangshan mountains, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s known for it’s view of the clouds, unique rock formations and the Huangshan Pine trees.
2. Capri Island Path (Italy): This path is located on the Italian island of Capri, starting from an elevation of 400 feet high. The zigzagging Via Krupp, which was carved into the island’s south coast in 1902, reopened recently after being closed for 30 years and restored.
3. The Walkways of the Tianmen Mountain (China): Tianmen Mountain is a mountain located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China. The Tianmenshan Guigu Cliff Path is built among cliffs and tourists can walk on these paths built onto the cliff face at the top of the mountain, including sections with glass floors. It is one of the world’s highest observation platforms.
4. Skellig Island Path (Ireland): Skellig Michael is an island near Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century, but was later abandoned in the 12th century. The remains of this monastery, along with most of the island itself, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stone steps wind around the cliffs and the trail has over 600 steps that are over 1,000 years old.
5. Path to Gaztelugatxe (Spain): This path is located on Gaztelugatxe in Spain, a tiny islet on the coast of Biscay belonging to the municipality of Bermeo, in Basque Country (Spain). A hermitage from the 9th or 10th century stands on top of of the island, connected to a narrow stone path filled with steps.
6. Santorini’s Donkey Path (Greece): This zigzag walkway was built so that donkeys could more easily make the climb up the side of the island. The distance from one end to the other is 4,265 feet. There are 657 tall steps on the walkway.
7. Blue Mountains Mid Cliff Walk (Australia): The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia. It borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area. The Mid Cliff Walk is a path that is carved into the sheer cliff face. There are handrails, ladders and lookouts all along the path, offering wonderful views of Jamison Valley. As long as they don’t mind heights.
8. Yosemite’s Half Dome Trail (USA): The Dome’s peak is nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level. The Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today’s cable route.
9. Vintgar Gorge Trail (Slovenia): The Bled Gorge or Vintgar Gorge is located in Slovenia in the Municipality of Gorje. It was originally carved out by the Radovna River and the canyon walls are 160 to 330 feet high, with a total slope measuring about 820 feet.
10. Ebenalp Path (Switzerland): The Ebenalp is the northernmost summit of the Appenzell Alps. A path that leads up the mountain to the Aescher mountain restaurant is peppered with ancient caves and amazing views. It’s one of the easiest paths on this list to tackle, as the hike would only take you about 20 minutes.
Maybe someday I’ll get around to planning my trips to these places. Right now, it seems like the only heights I’ll have to scale is this huge pile of work.
Text by: Arynah Aminuddin
Images courtesy of Viralnova and Tynan