The hills are calling! Mountainous ranges, lush greens and the soothing weather, everyone finds a kind of romance to kindle within a hill station. The little houses, the towns and the people we meet make all the more different as well. Apart from trekking and hiking, the world offers a lot more when it comes to discovering hidden natural gems. The trick is to find the best to explore. With that, if you are planning to a good hike, retreat from hot and humid weather or a cultural exploration, then we have the best hill stations in the world for you to discover.
Best Hill Stations In The World
A little closer to home, they say. No place better than hill stations to find yourself. May it be a soulful retreat or a getaway from the hectic work life, starting from treks and adventure sport to delectable food and architectural beauties, we have the best picks for you.
The Great Smoky Mountains, USA
If you want some calm but adventurous time at your disposal, nothing beats The Great Smoky Mountains in the United States. The hills station is famous for its blue ridge, wildflowers, waterfalls and black bears. The mountains derive their name from the natural fog that looms over the range, making it look like smoke from a distance. However, it is the old vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds that cause the fog. One of the major attractions of The Great Smokies is The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Great Smokies also has one of the densest black bear population and a diverse salamander population. Most of the hikers come here to view the diverse wildlife and wildflowers, and there is no better place for it than Cades Cove. You can see white-tailed deer, the dog-like coyote, turkeys and black bears.
Furthermore, many historic buildings and structures still stand in the valley, including log houses, barns, churches and a working mill. Another great spot is the highest point of the park, Clingmans Dome. There is an observation tower at the top, which offers viewers a 360-degree view of the Smokies and surrounding areas. Attractions like Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the mystic Mingo falls are a few other reasons why this is one of the best hill stations in the world.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
In the cooling greens in the eastern Alps lies a lustrous mountain resort, St Moritz in Switzerland. As scenic as the surroundings are, hiking in the region is made unforgettable because of the gondolas that go around it. Muottas Muragle is a natural balcony above the upper Engadin Valley that gives you a landscape view of the ranges as well as the space around you. Whereas, the Piz Nair, the 3000-meter peak to the west of the resort and Lake St Moritz add to the serenity of the place. The combination of train and gondolas take you around for an awe-striking mountain lookout.
While you are there for your vacation, don’t forget to check out Hotel Am Waldsee in the valley. The hotel comes with a bar which stacks more than 2500 varieties of whiskey giving it a place in Guinness Book of World Records. It is one of the best hill stations in the world.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
With its contrasting natural colour blocks and unique slopes, the Grand Canyon of Arizona is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the world. Did you know that it is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world? There are various trails you can choose to hike starting from the south rim of the canyon. From there, the Ooh-Aah point is your place to be. While trekking this hill station may be one of the most mind-boggling things to do, various other attractions are equally adventurous too. From rafting in the mighty Colorado and Mule trips to checking out the gushing Havasu Falls and the Tusayan Ruins, the canyon has so much on its plate to offer to wow your eyes. Moreover, it is the painted desert with its hues of grey, orange and brick red that one must not miss.
The capital city of the state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla in India sets up an exquisite holiday experience for romance, fun as well as thrill. Engulfed by snow-capped mountains, lush meadows and dense forests, the town offers pleasant climate for you to hike or sit down for a cup of steaming tea. Apart from trekking to Spiti Valley or setting up a camp in its blissful spots, you should also try river rafting from Chaba to Tattapani Village, famous for its natural hot springs. In addition, the toy train also offers a holistic view of the surrounding scenic landscape. Whereas, if you head there during winter, the blanketed slopes allow you to go ice-skating as well! If you are a person who likes resting in the midst of chirping birds and vibrant flora and fauna, then Kiala Forest is for you to explore.
Overlooking the great Himalayan ranges and ethereal lakes, Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal. What awaits you is its paradisiacal weather, spirited air, idyllic waters and mouth-watering local cuisine. It is best known for the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas which is perfect for trekking through the ranges. Moreover, a walk around the Phewa Lake will get to closer into understanding the local lifestyle as well as calm your soul. The World Peace Pagoda atop a hill offers you the view of gorgeous landscape and is an architectural marvel in itself. You can view the Annapurna range from there. In addition to its natural wonders, do not forget to explore its cultural and leisure activities. From shopping in its local markets to trying traditional Nepalese bites along the sidewalk, the city has a lot more to offer than just views. If you are craving for some adventure activities, then paragliding and bungee jumping are two of the more exciting sports Pokhara offers. Pokhara makes for one of the top hill stations around the globe.
Da Lat, Vietnam
Centred around lakes and golf courses lies the exotic city of Da Lat in Vietnam. Surrounded by layers of green hills, forests, lakes and misty waterfalls, it is often referred to as the City Of Eternal Spring. The place has a lot of temptations to woo you in. Apart from quaint hilltops and lush forests, the architectural remnants from the French Colonial times are outstanding as well. For every nature lover, a walk till the Dantala Waterfalls is a must-do when here. If you don’t want to walk the trail, then you can even take a small roller coaster located on the way! The sad legend surrounding the Lake Of Sighs is sure to light up your interest as well and is a famous lovers’ spot in the city. Apart from that, the out worldly architecture of the Crazy House made to resemble an ageing tree while the Linh Phouc Pagoda will entice you with its intricate yet colourful style. The valley of love, Phenn Falls and several other pagodas are the place’s lovely offerings for its tourist.
Moreover, there is also a historic yet refreshing walk through the old French colony. Doesn’t it make Da Lat one of the best hill stations to visit? We say, yes.
Kakadu National Park, Australia
Are you willing to spend a few days truly in the lap of nature? Well, Kakadu National Park is the place for you. It is a vast natural, and culturally diverse reserve with its terrain covers wetlands, rivers as well as sandstone mountains. The park contains more than 2000 species of plants as well as saltwater crocodiles and flat-back turtles. You can even view aboriginal rock paintings dating to prehistoric times. With its diversified population and history, it has also been marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can go on long hikes through several camps scattered throughout the park or fly above the waterfalls on a helicopter. Moreover, there is Gunlom Plunge Pool and Maguk Pool which are natural pools and provide for a refreshing swim.
With its great diversity, it is also a perfect place for bird watching. One of the best places for bird watching is a hidden observation platform in Mamukala wetlands. You can learn more about the sites from the visitors’ centres or take a free guide through the paintings and the history and meanings behind them.