The world is full of beautiful, snow-capped peaks, their summits reaching up towards the sky. It's also full of the stories of the people who climbed those mountains, from Edmund Hillary's initial ascent of Everest in the Himalayas, to Miss Sheila MacDonald being the first woman to climb Kilimanjaro. Much as it would be wonderful to make mountaineering history, most of us need to set our sights a little lower. After all, even the world's best climbers had to start somewhere.
Nobody ever said climbing a mountain was easy (and you shouldn’t believe them if they do). But some mountains are easier to climb than others. The highest peak in UK, for example, is much less challenging than the highest mountain in Nepal, for example. We've handpicked a list of the best mountains to climb in the world for beginners, trying to hit that sweet spot between exciting, rewarding and achievable.
The peaks we've selected are all over 2,000 metres (and some are closer to 4,000). To tackle them, you'll need to be physically fit and an experienced trekker. You'll also need to be up for a challenge, as you struggle up the steep slopes to the summit. However, you won't need any technical mountaineering experience to get to the top. So without further ado, these are the 10 best beginner mountains to climb.
1. Mount Triglav, Slovenia (2863m)
At 2863 metres, Triglav is the highest mountain in the Julian Alps (northeast Italy to Slovenia) and first in our list of 'easy' mountains to climb. Attempts to climb the summit normally require two days. While the mountain itself is quite barren and rocky, it sits in the middle of Slovenia’s only national park, with the same name as the mountain. Reaching base camp takes about six hours of trekking through the forest. Much of the way is aided by via ferrata—or iron steps and cables attached to the side of the mountain. Slovenian tradition demands that those who have summited have their bums whipped by ceremonial birch branches!
2. Mount Toubkal, Morocco (4167m)
Toubkal, in the Atlas Mountains of southwestern Morocco, is the highest peak in North Africa, at 4167 metres. It's made the best mountain to climb list because you can climb it all year around, although crampons and ice-axes are needed between November and May. At other times of year no special equipment is needed. At the quickest, it can be climbed in two days and is accessible from Marrakech, although beware of altitude sickness - you want to enjoy trekking. As well as beautiful views, a highlight of climbing this peak is the Berber communities through which you’ll pass on the way. When skies are clear, the Sahara Desert can be seen in the distance from the summit.
3. Mount Maglić, Bosnia (2,386m)
The tallest peak in Bosnia is surrounded by untouched wilderness, and is the ideal hike if you want uncrowded trails. Over a challenging day hike of 8-10 hours you'll trek through primeval rainforest and scramble up the mountainside for views of the surrounding lake and mountains. It's a steep descent down a scree path, but a good night's rest awaits you in the small village of Tjentiste.
4. Breiskrednosi, Norway (1189m)
You may scoff at the thought of a mountain summit that's only a little over a thousand metres, but this hike is a challenging one. For much of the year the trails are covered in snow, making the steep paths to the top even more difficult to challenging. Added to this, the start of the hike is in the heart of Norway's Nærøyfjord, and only accessible by boat. If you're feeling intrepid you can kayak there the day before, and wild camp before attempting the summit. The views from the top are spectacular - you'll see the glassy fjord waters surrounded by dramatic stone mountains.
5. Yala Peak, Nepal (5500m)
Yala Peak had to be on our list of best mountains to climb in the world. Nepal is home to the highest mountains in the world and classifies certain peaks as ‘trekking peaks’. That means you don’t need an expensive expedition permit to tackle them or extreme mountaineering skills. This doesn’t mean that they’re easy or should be taken lightly though. Yala Peak is one of those - and possibly the highest trekking peak, depending on how you classify. It's a good introduction to Himalayan climbing as it gets you amongst those big peaks without the need for much mountain experience as it's not too technical. The trek takes between 6-8 days via the Langtang Valley, close to the Tibetan border, dodging yaks and sleeping in teahouse along the way.
6. Mount Ouanoukrim, Morocco (4089m)
On this ascent, you'll actually bag two summits, known as the Mount Ouanoukrim 'twins', Timzguida (4089m) and Ras (4083m). You'll start the trek the day before, winding slowly up through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, before bedding down in a mountain refuge for the evening. You'll strike out early the next morning, beginning with a short but gruelling scramble up the ridge to the Tizi n Ouagane Pass. You'll be greeted with views of the dramatic High Atlas range extending all the way to the horizon.
7. Mount Olympus, Greece (2918m)
Mount Olympus shrouded in importance. It is prominent both in culture - as the home of the Greek gods - and in appearance, a rocky massif rising steeply from the surrounding pine forests. Climbing to the top is a challenge for experienced hikers only. On the first day you'll climb from the trailhead at Prionia (1100m) up to the Mount Olympus refuge, located at 2,650m. There are two options the next day - you can either climb Skala Peak (2882m) and cross a narrow ridge to the adjacent Skolio Peak (2911m), or attempt the mountain's highest summit, Mytikas (2918m). For the latter, you'll undertake a couple of hundred metres of scrambling, roped up to the rest of your team - something that will help build your confidence in tackling tougher summits.
8. Mount Fuji, Japan (3776m)
Summits to climb don't all have to be multi-day sieges. Mount Fuji has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. The practically symmetrical, snow-capped 3776m volcano is an iconic sight of Japan. It’s a very popular mountain among Japanese travellers so you’ll never have it to yourself; there are even vending machines at the top. The way is challenging as it’s covered in slippery scree, which is especially difficult on the descent. But the views from the top are phenomenal and reach all the way to Tokyo on a clear day. The climbing season is quite short, lasting from July to September, however, it is still possible to climb offseason from the end of September through October. Most people climb it in a single day by starting early, but a longer route through the thick woods at the bottom of the mountain can be taken, with the benefit of far fewer other travellers.
9. Monte Cinto, Corsica, (2706m)
Monte Cinto is the highest peak on the idyllic island of Corsica, and also along its gruelling GR20 walking trail. You can ascend it as part of a multi-day trek along the GR20, or as a challenging day hike - we recommend the former (the more mountains the merrier, right?). The ascent begins from Ascu refuge, and is a gruelling 1,200m ascent to the summit. You'll be surrounded by views of the rocky Cinto Massif, the island's rugged coastline and the azure seas beyond. Mesmerising stuff.
10. Bobotov Kuk, Montenegro (2522m)
Bobotov Kuk is Montenegro's highest peak, and is an ideal summit for beginner mountaineers. Summit day involves around 14km of hiking, and an ascent of 900m, so it's not for the faint-hearted. However, you don't need any technical experience. The hike begins from the Katun Dobri Do trailhead (1,700m) and winds upward through the wilderness of Durmitor National Park. At the top of the mountain you'll have epic views of the rocky Durmitor Massif, and the glacial lakes in between the peaks (which the locals call 'the eyes of the mountain').
Feeling inspired? Check out our full collection of mountain climbing adventures, taking you out of work, and up the highest mountains in the world.