1. Everest Base Camp, Nepal
The route to Everest Base Camp is probably the most famous mountain trek in the world. Every spring and autumn the trail fills with awestruck walkers winding their way through friendly Sherpa villages. Porters and yaks ferrying equipment look minute in comparison to the towering heights of Ama Dablam, Kangtega and Tawoche. Revel in the sublime views around the the famous Tengboche monastery.
An exciting flight into the tiny mountainside village of Lukla is the start of most treks to base camp. Due to acclimitisation requirements the pace is slow going at first, with a rest day in the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. Fortunately this is a very interesting place. The standard route then follows the Khumbu Valley north between the giants of Ama Dablam and Cholatse, ending in the stunning bowl encompassing Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Pumori. Staying in Gorak Shep, trekkers usually summit Kala Pattar (5545m) for views and trek up to the climbers' basecamp before returning to Lukla the same way.
Accommodation is either in tea houses or tents, depending on your trip. Tea houses can be booked solid in the busy months and aren't much warmer (or more comfortable) than camping anyway. They do have lovely warm dining rooms and delicious food though.
The flight in is as scary as it is spectacular; Namche Bazaar is a cultural maelstrom that physically cannot be missed; the preponderance of Buddhist prayer flags, prayer wheels and muni (prayer stones) never lets you forget where you are; The view of Everest from Kala Pattar just after dawn is the best you'll ever get; and then, there are the peaks themselves.
There are many, but Everest: a Trekkers Guide by Cicerone Publishing is a good one, as is Trekking in the Everest Region by Trailblazer.
WHEN TO GO
Trips are usually best planned between April-May and October-November to avoid the monsoon or extreme cold. October is the busiest season.
For a list of products that will help you survive the trek, check our gear list.