Now that the world is opening back up for travel after the global pandemic, a lot of people are planning vacations to soak up the sun and enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation. In this post, we will go over the 11 best destinations in the world for amazing climbing and hiking. From bouldering to sport climbing, ice climbing, and good old-fashioned traditional climbing, there are many top climbing and hiking spots in destinations across the globe that will leave climbers breathless.
Though you likely think of crystal blue waters and white sand when you think of Barbados, you can also do some pretty great climbing there with astonishing views. Along the shores of Bathsheba Beach lie some huge sharp rocks. Once you reach the top, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime panoramic view of the beautiful Barbados landscape. So, when you plan your next vacation package in Barbados, don’t forget to sign up for rock climbing!
#2. Yosemite Park, USA
If leaving the country still makes you a bit nervous, don’t worry. There is incredible climbing right here in the U.S.A., beginning with Yosemite National Park in California. Climbers affectionately refer to Yosemite as the “center of the universe.” For years, the best climbers around the globe would flock to Yosemite and make the legendary Camp 4 their home. Yosemite has always been on the cutting edge of the climbing world, which makes it a must for climbing aficionados.
#3. Zermatt, Switzerland
If any place could rival Yosemite in terms of great climbing, it would be Zermatt, which is often referred to as the birthplace of alpine climbing. Climbers in Zermatt have access to 38 peaks of 13,000 feet or more. In Zermatt, climbers can tackle the Matterhorn Mountain and the infamous Eiger Mountain — two mountains full of interesting challenges for climbers.
#4. Fontainebleau, France
The Fontainebleau Forest in France is home to perfectly smooth sandstone boulders that climbers have been conquering for centuries. Alpinists from Paris have been descending on Fontainebleau since the late 19th century. They climbed in succession — what’s known today as bouldering circuits, to prepare for bigger walls they were planning to climb on future expeditions.
This pastime eventually took off and evolved into what’s now known as bouldering — arguably the most popular rock climbing discipline. Fontainebleau is massive, and the forest spreads out to more than 900 square kilometers with over 100 bouldering areas and more than 30,000 registered boulder problems where climbers can test their skills.
#5. Kalymnos, Greece
The rock climbing epicenter of the Mediterranean is Kalymnos, Greece. The area offers an incredible blend of sun, sea, and history to accompany the outstanding limestone. There are hundreds of climbing routes you can choose from in Kalymnos, which means something for all skill levels. What’s more, due to the steady Mediterranean weather, the rock walls remain accessible all year long.
#6. The Dolomites, Italy
This is another area that gets compared to Yosemite National Park. The Dolomites in northern Italy offer everything that rock climbers could ever dream of, from dramatic landscapes to incredible history and culture, on top of countless climbing route options. Experienced alpine climbers will be left awe-struck at the sight of towering spikes that reach 8,000 to 9,000 feet in the air. There are also shorter, yet still challenging, pitches below for sport climbers.
Patagonia stretches across the southernmost tip of Chile and Argentina and is often described as one of the most amazing wilderness regions on the face of the planet. Patagonia is also home to some of the world’s most famous climbing walls and towers. The most prominent are the Torre Egger and Fitz Roy — two climbs that are reserved for the most experienced climbers. There are still plenty of easier routes for novice climbers to test their skills on, in addition to great bouldering. Add to that some unmatched ice hiking and climbing opportunities on the region’s numerous glaciers, and you have one of the best playgrounds on the planet!
#8. Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca, located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, is another climbing location that blends warm weather, beautiful beaches, and amazing climbing opportunities. The island is home to limestone cliffs that provide incredible climbing opportunities for all levels. Mallorca is also a top destination for “deepwater soloing,” — which involves climbing up rock cliffs and towers found along the coast. Deepwater soloists do not use ropes or any other safety devices. Instead, when they fall, they land safely in the water below them. This provides a safety measure that’s not found in other types of soloing and opens up a whole new world for the sport.
#9. Verdon Gorge, France
This climbing destination requires not only skill but also athleticism and finesse. Climbing at Verdon Gorge is all about the ability to move your entire body. This means climbers should be well-rounded in their skill set and approach before attempting to tackle the Verdon Gorge. The Verdon Gorge has unbelievable scenery, epic rock climbing, and an amazing support community, making it a truly magical place to climb for people of all ages.
#10. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park offers climbers the incredibly unique opportunity to climb 60-foot pink granite cliffs at the edge of the sea. Climbers venturing out to the Otter Cliffs and Great Head must be mindful of the weather because it can turn hazardous quickly. Acadia also offers crack and face climbs and bouldering along the ocean.
#11. North Cascades National Park, Washington
North Cascades National Park offers rugged and varied routes that are both challenging and breathtakingly beautiful. These arduous climbs to glacier-covered summits reward climbers with amazing views of jagged peaks and alpine meadows. Some routes even require cross-country, multi-day treks over steep and snowy slopes. These routes require climbers to have impeccable mountaineering skills to scramble over the ice.
Climbing is an extremely exhilarating activity to do, and there are so many amazing places around the world to bask in the sights and sounds from above! Did we miss your favorite climbing spot in the world? Do you have a story to share about an epic climb? Feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or recommendations.