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The 10 Best Islands for Hiking

Nothing sets the tone for romance better than an island getaway, but if you crave adventure during your honeymoon, you’ll want an island destination that offers more than just resorts and beaches. 

Hiking is a great way for you and your partner to spend time together as you explore and learn more about the area’s nature and history. You can’t beat the views you get at the end of the hike either. There’s nothing like taking in the scenery from a mountaintop or ridge after you’ve finished a challenging hike. 

If you want your honeymoon or couples’ escape to be filled with action as well as romance, read on to discover the 10 best islands for hiking. 

The Philippines

Separated by water from the rest of Southeast Asia, The Republic of the Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands scattered across the ocean. This island nation is famous for its abundance of beaches and delicious Filipino cuisine, which is a mishmash of Chinese, Spanish, Western, and even Indian flavors. 

Its diverse landscape also sets it apart from other islands that offer great hiking. With gorgeous beaches, rolling green hills, mountains, and active volcanoes, hikers are truly spoiled for choice in the Phillipines. 

Beginners can take on Taal Volcano on Luzon Island or Mount Daguldol in Batangas. Both are surrounded by lush greenery and reward hikers with awesome views of the sea after just a few hours of climbing. 

For a more challenging hike, surround yourself with the Sierra Madre mountains as you tackle Mount Daraitan, or stand above the clouds at the peak of Mount Pulag, the highest elevation point in Luzon. 

For adventurers craving some serious nature time, Mount Halcon is a multi-day 29.3-km trail that culminates in a sea of clouds at an elevation of 8583 feet.  

Oahu, Hawaii

Maui might get all the love for its spectacular beaches, but nature lovers flock to Oahu, Hawaii’s best island for hiking. Its dramatic skyline, made up of thin peaks and cliff-like ridges, is the result of millions of years of exposure to trade winds that have slowly eroded the island’s volcanoes. 

The trailhead at Lanikai Pillbox is easy to get to with a car or bike. It’s a relatively short hike, yet it rewards hikers with jaw-dropping views of the Ko’olau coast. If you want something shaded, the Manoa Falls Trail culminates at, you guessed it, Manoa Falls, a 150-foot waterfall where you can cool off after hiking through the dense valley. 

Experienced hikers will enjoy the challenge of Mt. Olympus, a 2000-foot vertical climb that looks down to the Manoa Valley, or Oahu’s highest peak, the impressive Mt. Ka’ala. Mt. Ka’ala is steep and gains over 3500 feet of elevation over just 7 miles, offering spectacular views every step of the way.  

Tasmania

Known more for its unique wildlife than for its hiking trails, Tasmania doesn’t get enough credit. Not only is it one of Australia’s best islands for hiking, but the ferry ride from Geelong to Devonport is an adventure in itself. More like a mini-cruise than a ferry ride, the 10-hour journey across the Bass Strait offers beautiful views both day and night. If you choose to sail overnight, you might even be treated to a rare glimpse of the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.

Once on the island, you’ll have your choice of easy treks or multi-day excursions that expose you to the rugged natural beauty of this southern Australian state. The Bay of Fires is a conservation area near Launceston with walks that range from half a day or less to four days. Scattered lodges and huts provide hikers with beautiful rest stops in between viewpoints. In Freycinet National Park, you’ll find various trails leading you to breathtaking views of Wineglass Bay, Tasmania’s postcard-famous outlook. 

Other hiking areas worth mentioning include Cradle Mountain, Three Capes Track in Tasman National Park, and The Overland Track. 

New Zealand

Hiking is practically synonymous with New Zealand. There are literally hundreds of hikes to choose from on either the North or South island. The town of Te Anau sits just on the outskirts of Fiordland National Park in the South Island, and makes a great base for serious hikers looking to hit the trails for days at a time. 

The Kepler Track near Milford Sound (also on the South Island) is perhaps the most well-known Great Walk, a name given to New Zealand’s best hikes. Typically it takes around 4 days to complete. Along the way, you’ll enjoy views of the forest on one side and the shores of Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri on the other. The hike culminates at the summit of Mount Luxmore where you’ll be surrounded by the peaks of neighboring mountains. 

Gentler options include the Lake Gunn Nature Walk (which is also wheelchair accessible), Mount Iron, and the Queenstown Hill Time Walk, which beginners can complete in around 2 hours. 

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is hands-down the best island for hiking in Canada and has been compared to New Zealand in terms of what it offers hikers at the end of the trail. There are dozens of hikes ranging from easy to challenging to multi-day treks that are not for the faint of heart. 

Beginners can head to Elk Falls Provincial Park and check out the Suspension Bridge Loop, an easy trail that will take you through the old-growth forest and over the deep canyons, offering a birds-eye view of Elk Falls. 

On the island’s western edge, you will find the small towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. These are gateways to Pacific Rim National Park, which features a shoreline walking circuit called the Wild Pacific Trail. Along the way, you can enjoy the spray of the sea and might even spot whales breaching in the distance. 

About halfway between the park and the port town of Victoria, stop and take a leisurely walk through Cathedral Grove, a series of easy trails, one of which leads you to a Red Cedar that’s over 1000 years old. At 80 meters high and 8 meters wide, it’s affectionately known as The Big Tree. 

Grenada

Dubbed the best island for hiking in the Caribbean thanks to its mountainous landscape, the “Spice Island” offers trails through the rainforests that lead to tumbling waterfalls as well as summits over 1500 feet high. 

Grand Etang Lake and National Park is undoubtedly the most popular destination for hikers visiting Grenada. Easy hikes within the park include Mount Qua Qua and Grand Etang Lake Loop. The Seven Sisters Waterfall Hike is a bit more challenging, but hikers can cool off by taking a dip in the swimming holes at the end. 

Experienced hikers can tackle Grenada’s highest peak, Mount St. Catherine. The steep trail takes you through dense overgrown brush and is often muddy, so a decent level of physical fitness is required to reach the top. Once you do, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the whole island.  

Iriomote Island, Japan

Relatively unknown, hikers who travel to this Japanese island will be rewarded for their efforts with quiet trails and unspoiled Instagram-worthy viewpoints without throngs of other tourists. Top hikes include Geeda Waterfall, a challenging 3-km hike up a river that reveals a sprawling jungle over the East China Sea; Kanbiree waterfall, an easy and popular hike whose access point is reachable via a 30-minute riverboat ride; and Utara Coal Mine Ruins trail, a 20-minute complement of the Kanbiree hike that showcases eerie overgrown ruins at the end of a flat path through the jungle. 

For adventure-seekers who want to add some watersports to their hiking day, the Pinaisaarra Waterfall Trail starts with a 20-minute kayaking adventure up a river. At the trailhead, you can choose to follow a quiet stream to the base of the waterfalls. Or if you’re feeling brave (and have the experience and proper equipment) you can climb the ridge to the top of the falls and look out over the mangrove trees.

Madagascar

Madagascar’s lesser-known highland area boasts swimming holes, Baobab trees, unique wildlife not found anywhere else on Earth, and trails to suit all hiking abilities. In Isalo National Park, The Namaza Circuit and the Natural Swimming Pool are quite easy and both lead to a refreshing swimming hole. These two trails are part of a larger circuit, so you can choose how much time you want to spend on the trail before hitting the water. 

A more challenging hike within the park is the Canyon of the Makis and Rats, which leads you past an ancient royal village. Remains from the palace and tombs can be seen along the trail. To hike in the park you need to hire a guide, who can tell you all about the long and fascinating history of the area. 

Another option is Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, which is home to a network of suspension bridges connecting the dramatic, razor-sharp limestone peaks. Again, you’ll need to hire a guide, and previous mountaineering experience is required in order to safely explore the park. 

Madeira Island

At 1862 meters, Pico Ruivo is Madeira’s highest point and a challenge for any climber. This gorgeous Portuguese island offers easier hiking trails as well, making it one of Europe’s best islands for hiking. 

If you want to reach the summit of Pico Ruivo in a day, follow the trail from Pico do Arieiro. It’s steep and exposed and includes plenty of switchbacks, but the views are incredible the entire way. The hike ends with a spectacular viewpoint above the clouds. 

For an easier, leisurely trail, the Vinte e Cinco Fontes leads through a quiet forest and past Risco Waterfall on its way to a magical spot with 25 natural springs. Sea lovers will appreciate the natural rugged beauty of Vereda Da Ponta De Sao Lourenco, a 4.5-mile roundtrip hike that hugs the coastline on the eastern side of the island. 

Martinique 

Martinique has over 250 km of trails left over from early settlers, known as “traces” that crisscross the island. Hikers can follow any one of them to take in the beautiful landscape this island paradise has to offer. 

One of the Caribbean’s best islands for hiking, these traces take you along the coasts, over active volcanoes, and through the thick forests. Each one has something special to offer. 

No trip to Martinique would be complete without a trek to the top of Mount Pelee or the Pitons du Carbet, both challenging climbs that take the better part of a day to complete but offer unmatched views of the island and surrounding deep blue sea. 

On the other hand, a journey through Jardin de Balata is much more forgiving but just as rewarding, featuring ponds, towering bamboo trees, and the chance to see the beautiful hummingbirds of the rainforest. 

Now that you’ve read our roundup of the 10 best islands for hiking, what do you think? Which one appeals to you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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