Standing tall on the summit of one of the world’s most iconic mountains is guaranteed to be top of the bucket list of any lover of the great outdoors. These eight peaks include world-famous mountains and lesser-known climbs and will suit mountaineers of all levels but they all have one thing in common – reaching the top is a true adventure.
Eight bucket list mountains to climb once in your life
MONT BLANC, FRANCE/ITALY
One of the hardest yet most rewarding and recognisable mountains to climb in Europe, the ‘White Mountain’ is a biggie – this is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe. At over 4,800m tall and straddling the French/Italian border, this behemoth requires mountaineering experience (or at least good fitness and time to acclimtise to the altitude).
Need a guide? Mont Blanc Guides take 6 days to reach the top – and if weather conditions are too challenging they’ll take you trekking elsewhere in the Alps instead. The Natural Adventure’s Tour du Mont Blanc itineraries take you through the foothills of the mountain for spectacular views.
The tallest mountain in Africa and the largest free-standing mountain in the world, Kili is a big beautiful beast of a peak. How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro? Altezza Travel recommend five to nine days – while the ascent isn’t technically difficult and you won’t need mountaineering skills, tackling the rising altitude can be a challenge for the fittest trekkers. After your adventure, Tanzania Safaris can take you in search of incredible wildlife.
Need a guide? Altezza Travel offer Kili climbs from £1,690 via the three best-known routes to the summit.
NEVADO PISCO, PERU
Fields of cacti give way to snowy mountain peaks on this incredible climb in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range – you’ll spot turquoise lakes and surrounding peaks on the way to this stunning summit, which requires a good level of fitness and some scrambling experience.
Need a guide? Flashpacker Connect offer a four-day expedition for £1,303.
GOKYO RI, NEPAL
We’ve deliberately avoided including Mount Everest in this list – the mountain considered sacred by locals is so oversubscribed by Western climbers that people now queue to stand on its summit, and even unseasoned mountaineers can pay their way to the tallest peak on earth. Instead, experience the wonders of trekking on the roof of the world by scaling one of Nepal’s lesser-trodden peaks. Gokyo Ri is a supremely beautiful peak and the lakes you’ll pass on the way to the top are so holy they’re known as ‘heaven on earth’. On the peaceful summit, you’ll even spot Everest herself.
Need a guide? Nepal Wilderness will take you on an 11-day teahouse-hopping trek to the top from £1,000.
MOUNT OLYMPUS, GREECE
Just beginning your moutaineering journey? You can still set your sights on a storied peak with a two-day ascent of Mount Olympus. The seat of the Greek gods is a rewarding trek best attempted in the summer months with a night in a refuge along the way to Mytikas, the tallest point.
Need a guide? Olympus Paths offer guided treks and Bookatrekking have info on attempting a self-guided trek as well as guided hikes.
Famous for its perfect silhouette (yep, it’s the Toblerone mountain), the much-loved Matterhorn straddles the Italian and Swiss border and is one of the most photographed, and arguably the most dramatic, peak to gaze upon in the world. This is a challenge for experienced mountaineers, and despite not being more than a moderate Grade 2/3 trek, a guide is a good idea due to sometimes challenging route-finding and glacier crossing, and good fitness and agile feet over exposed rock are required.
Need a guide? Alpine Ascents offer a summit trip with four days of preparatory climbing in Chamonix for £5,677. Or you could circumnavigate this peak on a hut-to-hut adventure – Macs Adventures offer an 11 day tour from £1,910.
MOUNT FUJI, JAPAN
One of the most beautiful mountains on earth is no such thing – Japan’s crowning glory is actually a volcano. The peak that’s graced a million postcards is also beginner friendly, although a guide is recommended due to the altitude you’ll face and decent fitness is required to tackle the all-day climb to stand on the most famous of Japan’s three sacred peaks.
Need a guide? My Tokyo Guide offer two-day climbs which let you watch the sun rise from a mountain refuge for £298.
BEN NEVIS, SCOTLAND
You don’t have to go too far to find rewarding climbs – Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest peak in the UK yet takes only a day to reach the peak and back and requires no technical ability. While the top is wreathed in cloud 80% of the time, if you get lucky you’ll be rewarded with incredible views across the Highlands.
Need a guide? Feeling ambitious? Try the Three Peaks Challenge and tackle Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon all in 24 hours. If you fancy a guide for Ben Nevis, Maximum Adventure offer summer ascents for £85.