The Peak to Lung Fu Shan Country Park
Victoria Peak—or, to Hongkongers, simply ‘The Peak’—has been home to the city’s most affluent residents for more than 150 years, and it’s easy to see why. With its panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline, Victoria Harbour, and the sprawling cityscape of Kowloon beyond, it offers one of the most spectacular vistas in the world. Best reached by riding the historic Peak Tram—which dates back to 1888 and is an unmissable experience in its own right—The Peak is replete with captivating attractions both natural and man-made, from the shops and restaurants of the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria, to hidden World War II fortifications, to the numerous leafy hiking paths—such as the one that leads to neighboring Lung Fu Shan Country Park—that provide jaw-dropping views of the city and the outlying islands. Visit at sunset to watch the city lights shimmer into life.
Tsing Yi Nature Trails
Connected by impressive bridges to verdant Lantau to the west, the New Territories coastline to the north and the bustling Kowloon Peninsula to the east, the island of Tsing Yi can feel like a gateway between worlds, and hiking the Tsing Yi Nature Trails is the best way to see them all. Ascend the steps all the way to the top to enjoy sweeping views over some of Hong Kong’s most remarkable sights, from the undulating green hills of Lantau and the endless skyscrapers of Kowloon, to the engineering marvel that is the Tsing Ma Bridge and the fleets of container ships that dot the horizon beyond.
Eagle's Nest Nature Trail
Set between the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, Lion Rock Country Park not only offers spectacular views to both the north and the south, but is also a great place to see some of Hong Kong’s most cherished wildlife. Following the mostly shaded Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail provides expansive views over the 110-year-old Kowloon Reservoir, the central New Territories mountain range, and the skyscraper-packed cityscape of Kowloon. Keep your eyes peeled along the way and you’ll see rare endemic flora such as the Ailanthus tree, Shiuying Bamboo, and the Silver-back Artocarpus, as well as the occasional cheeky monkey amid the forest and majestic black kites—Hong Kong’s most iconic bird—soaring overhead.
Siu Sai Wan to Shek O
Hong Kong’s history is inextricably linked to the sea, and there are few better places to appreciate the territory’s natural coastal beauty than by walking from Siu Sai Wan to Shek O in the southeast of Hong Kong Island. Hike uphill via Leaping Dragon Walk to enjoy uninterrupted views out across the South China Sea from Pottinger Peak View Compass while birdsong fills the air, before descending to the aptly named Big Wave Bay. Here, crashing waves provide a dramatic soundtrack as you follow the craggy shoreline south towards Shek O, one of Hong Kong’s most picturesque beaches. To hear Mother Nature in full flow, take a walk to the end of Shek O’s rocky peninsula, where endless swells surge and thunder onto the outcrop like cymbals in a grand orchestral finale.
MacLehose Trail (Sections 1 and 2)
For those in search of tranquility, the first two sections of the 100km-long MacLehose Trail offer a serene tonic for the soul. Composed of alternating stretches of peaceful peaks and idyllic beaches lapped by frothing waves, Sections 1 and 2 of Hong Kong’s most famous trail also offer a fascinating window into the territory’s prehistoric past. Accessed via the imposing High Island Reservoir East Dam, the High Island Geo Trail provides stunning views of the area’s unique hexagonal volcanic rock columns that were formed over 140 million years ago, as well as a large sea cave. Further on, the pristine beaches of Long Ke Wan and Ham Tin Wan are a fitting reward for conquering the trail’s steeper paths.
Pak Tam Chung to Sam Chung
Famed for its lush greenery, Sai Kung Country Park is one of Hong Kong’s most beloved areas of natural beauty. But for those in the know, the park is just as satisfying for the taste buds as it is for the eyes. Hiking the Pak Tam Chung Family Walk through the forest and uphill to the crest of Lui Ta Shek is the best way to work up an appetite while drinking in the scenic views. From here, the Cheung Sheung Country Trail wends its way down to Yung Shue O, from where the coastal footpath leads to Sham Chung and an unassuming cafe that is famed for two must-try local delicacies: Hakka stewed pork and oyster omelets.
The third largest of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, Lamma is famed for its laid-back, bohemian vibe and exceptional seafood, but for those willing to spend a bit more time here, there’s an abundance of other wonders to uncover. While the waterfront restaurants of Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan are the obvious draws for those seeking the freshest scallops, squid, clams, and lobster, Lamma is a treasure trove of culinary delights, from the traditional desserts served street side at Ah Po Tofu to the smoky cobs of barbecue corn and cooling servings of frozen pineapple served up by the family-run stalls on Hung Shing Yeh Beach. Better still, you can visit them all during a leisurely one-hour stroll that also takes in Lamma’s most famous temple (dedicated to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea) and a succession of panoramic viewing points.
Tung Chung to Tai O
Nicknamed ‘The Venice of Hong Kong’ in reference to the distinctive stilt houses that line its waterways, Tai O is Hong Kong’s oldest fishing village and one of the best places to encounter the territory’s traditional culture at its most authentic—and pungent. For the full experience, start at Tung Chung Fort, which was built in 1832, and follow the Tung O Ancient Trail as it meanders past centuries-old villages and small temples thick with incense smoke. On reaching Tai O itself, it is impossible to mistake the heady aromas of drying seafood and shrimp paste being made by the locals, which also present irresistible photo opportunities. Make sure you treat yourself to a well-earned beverage (or even an overnight stay) at the historic Tai O Heritage Hotel before you depart.
Tung Ping Chau / UNESCO Global Geopark
Geologically unique and visually stunning, Hong Kong’s UNESCO Global Geopark provides a tangible link to the volcanic forces that shaped the majority of the territory. Many of the area’s most striking attractions lie on islands that are reachable by ferry, while others are off-limits and can only be glimpsed from the safety of a passing boat or sea kayak. One destination not to be missed is Tung Ping Chau, Hong Kong’s easternmost island, where visitors can clamber over strangely shaped outcrops and feel the distinctive textures of the wave-cut sedimentary rock stacks by the shore. Further geological wonders await at the Ung Kong and Ninepin groups of islands to the south, whose craggy cliffs and distinctive arrangements of hexagonal volcanic rock columns are best viewed by hiring a boat.
Towering 869m above Lantau’s southern coastline, Sunset Peak is Hong Kong’s third highest mountain, and arguably its most picturesque. Accessible for walkers of all abilities, the hike to the top offers sweeping views of the bays and beaches below, and the opportunity to run your hands through the soft silver grass that grows trailside. Pause at the top to enjoy the cooling sensation of a gentle breeze on your face before making your way down past a succession of old mountain huts that pepper the hillside. As you make your way back towards the ferry pier at Mui Wo, be sure to take a detour along the old village path to Nam Shan, which will take you past the Luk Tei Tong Watch Tower, a traditional structure that was built in 1942 but looks much older.