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The Highest (and Lowest) Points Of The Planet

Reach the highest and lowest point of each country that you visit with this guide.

By: G. John Cole + Save to a List

There are two key ways to travel when you plan to go beyond the ‘city break’ thing or a week on the beach: the random drift and the goal-oriented mission. While drifting is great for dreamers lost in urban spaces, many more adventurous travelers will find themselves going home unfulfilled if they haven’t ticked a couple of lines off their explorer’s bucket list.

One such challenge is to reach the highest and lowest point of each country that you visit – a truly satisfying way of getting to know what a place is all about. From dramatic vistas to moody valleys and plains, there will always be something to experience and reels of great photos to take home with you when you visit these extremes.

Kenya’s eponymous mountain, for example, is the second highest place in the whole continent, and is in fact a 3 million year old extinct volcano. As the centre of a national park, the mountain is particularly visitor-friendly – but will you be one of the mere 250 or so people who make it to the highest peaks each year?

Switzerland is an interesting one to try the high-low challenge, because the whole place is pretty high. Monte Rosa is the highest point, with ten peaks higher than 4,000 meters and the almighty Dufourspitze rising above them all. It should not be attempted without a guide!

Reaching across into Italy, Lake Maggiore is Switzerland’s lowest point – though it’s still 195 meters above sea level. The countryside around the lake is exquisite, and you can look down from above by taking a cable car. The epic yet tranquil nature of the area makes it a popular spot for meetings and conventions, but there’s plenty of potential to get adventurous if you leave the beaten track.

To Asia, and you’d want to visit iconic Mount Fuji while in the land of the rising sun even if it wasn’t Japan’s highest point. You can climb Fuji while its snowless between July and September, although it gets pretty busy in August. Either way, you’re sure to find yourself in good company on the way up, as it makes for a challenging but enjoyable hike to which locals and visitors flock. At four meters below sea-level, Lake Hachirō is Japan’s lowest point, and a joy for fishing enthusiasts. It sounds like a pretty good place to relax after all that hiking!

And in South America, Brazil’s Pico da Neblina is a national high-point that you need to add to that bucket list. Literally meaning ‘fog peak’, its misty crags make for otherworldly views that will give quite a different impression from the country’s famous beaches.

Inspired yet? To start putting that list together...

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