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Mapped: The world’s highest countries (the hiker’s bucket list)

Do you like lofty views and rarefied air? Then you could do far worse than take a trip to Bhutan, the country with the highest average elevation on the planet. While the Drangme Chhu valley drops to 97 metres below sea level, and the summit of Gangkhar Puensum is 7,570m above it, Bhutan’s average elevation is 3,280m. To put that into perspective, Ben Nevis – the UK’s highest mountain – tops out at 1,345m.

The map above shows other destinations according to their average elevation. Want to hike above the clouds? Then consider Nepal, Tajikistan (“The best trekking destination you’ve never heard of”, according to our reporter), Kyrgyzstan and Lesotho, the only countries on Earth that lie, on average, above 2,000m. Antarctica is the highest continent, at 2,300m. Andorra is Europe’s highest country, at 1,996m.