Behind Spain’s Costa Blanca with its tourist resorts lies a mountainous region waiting to be explored.
When you’ve had enough of beaches, turn and look inland. Those rugged peaks are more accessible then you might assume. First impressions might suggest an arid, austere region; prepare to be surprised.
But, once you make the decision to explore on foot, bike or horseback, you’ll find green valleys between the rocky peaks. Villages and hamlets nestle in the mountain folds.
Today it was announced that the British Government is “looking afresh” at our National Parks which could lead to new additions to the 15 currently designated (the official website is HERE).
In the meantime, I wonder how many of our existing National Parks you’ve visited, and which is your favourite. One of the finest of the existing National Parks (in this author’s opinion) is Brecon Beacons.
It’s a beautiful and rewarding place to walk, where high peaks hide glacial lakes in ancient moorland, while man-made reservoirs and canals blend with their natural surroundings, and waterfalls cascade down secret gorges and canals.
Castles, churches and monasteries bear witness to the rich history and heritage that can be experienced while walking in this unique area of natural beauty.
“The steepest island in the world, the deepest crater, the clearest skies: volcanoes you can climb without being shot into orbit; a subtropical forest minus the slimy things slinking up your trouser leg; black beaches, blue seas, high mountains, vegetation that is literally flamboyant, everything linked by 1080 kilometres of waymarked paths, and all virtually untouched by tourism.” (Author/researcher Charles Davis)
More clues? Okay then – it takes under 5 hours to fly there from the UK. It’s a whole lot warmer and sunnier than most of northern Europe, definitely so for more than half the year. Sometimes it is referred to as, ‘La Isla Bonita’.
So, have you guessed the location of this alluring destination? Check if you are correct, or give in and find out by looking HERE.
Ah, Madeira! It’s an island that draws visitors back again and again, with its unique plant life, a wide range of wonderful walking from strolls to challenging mountain routes, and a benign climate, making it a year-round destination.
One of the best things about walking here is the sheer variety of routes. If you want gentle, level paths, there are many levada-side routes taking you through lush, natural green scenery. Mountain-lovers have a wealth of inspiring options to choose from. You want views? Wild flowers? Unspoilt villages? Short strolls? Challenging all-day routes? They’re all here.
Madeiran island authorities are well aware of the importance of walking to many of their visitors and do a great job of maintaining routes, keeping them open and safe.
If you’re thinking of a visit to the island, you’ll get much more value from your visit with a good guide book and map in your pocket. Have a look HERE for recommendations.
Last weekend, the Sunday Times Travel called this ‘the forgotten corner of Spain’. Not forgotten by us! (read the Sunday Times article here though you will need to sign in (free) to read it).
We were intrigued by the Sierra de Aracena (Huelva), north-west of Seville, several years back while looking for lesser-known walking areas of Spain.
- It’s green, natural, not too rugged and with fascinating villages and small towns.
- There are inquisitive herds of pigs, wonderful flora and a laid-back air.
- Little rustic bars and restaurants serve local foods at pocket-money prices.
- There are castles and a sense of history, with the Moorish legacy clearly apparent.
- The walking isn’t too vigorous overall though many routes will whip up a healthy appetite for sampling those hearty home-made dishes.
If you’re intrigued, find out what to see, where to stay and what to do (other than walking): HERE’s a USEFUL LINK.
Which Mediterranean holiday island destination has no traffic lights?
Got the answer yet? No? Here’s a few more clues:
- The island is 19km long
- There are plenty of white, clean natural beaches. (Look here for beach information.)
- It has no airport
- There are no fast-food places
- There are no discos
- Residents are unmoved by celebrity visits (for example, recent visits from Kate Moss, Jade Jagger, Philippe Starck , Naomi Campbell)
The answer is Formentera, Ibiza’s little sister.
Despite its laid back ambience there are some great places to stay (and eat). See this article from the New York Times.
There’s a great highly-detailed map of Formentera (a short ferry ride from Balearic island Ibiza) – for details of the map look here.
The Telegraph Travel 15.12.17) wrote an article entitled ‘15 beautiful villages in Spain you’ve probably never heard of‘
What a place to walk! Spring is a great time to visit. There’s likely to be snow on the mighty peaks to the north, while Spring flowers burst through on the lower slopes and in the valleys.
Tenerife is a fantastic choice for walkers, as the island offers a huge number of walks in a wide variety of terrains, with choices for all levels of fitness and endurance.
While this is great, it also throws up a problem when researching and putting together a comprehensive walking guidebook that’s portable. Some walks had to be left out of later editions of Walk! Tenerife, but many walkers let us know that they wanted them back.
Now Discovery Walking Guides has revisited some of their early and easily accessed southern routes that many walkers remember with fondness. These have been compiled into a free pdf book. The routes are ideal for families as they are not too challenging and are easy to reach from the resort areas. Tenerife South pdf walking book is free to download.
There are a few great walks alongside the Brisbane River. This morning we took a ‘down the cliff-face’ old path, then walked along the south bank.
There were a few others about, yet in a few hours’ time, this area will be packed with tens of thousands of New Year revellers watching the fireworks launched from huge barges in the centre of the river.
For now, it was an enjoyable walk, wildlife adorning the route here and there.
So, almost 2018. Wishing all a happy, healthy 2018.
After all the turkey, pud, mince pies and drinks, wouldn’t it feel good to get out in the fresh air and get moving?
If you’re in reach of the Malvern Hills you’re spoilt for walking choices. How about climbing the Worcestershire Beacon? It only takes an hour and a half, ending at a café at St. Ann’s Well. It’s a circular walk so you end up back at your transport.
Or perhaps a delightful, gentle stroll that skirts Midsummer Hill then climbs to the landmark obelisk in Eastnor Park before descending to Eastnor village?
Field and woodland paths drop us close to Ledbury and a charming back route through the town to The Market House.
It’s a 2 hour linear walk with taxis available at the end if needed; just the right length to get moving again post-Christmas.