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Beautiful Madeira – Walking Route Updates (Oh, and Porto Santo)

Madeira – a firm favourite

Stunning views to Encumeada, Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead)

 

Madeira is beautifully green and floriferous but sometimes the necessary abundant rainfall (or in high summer, forest fires) lead to temporary walking route closures. Thankfully, the island authorities are quick to pinpoint problem sections and repair them. In any case, there are so many great walks that you’ll always find plenty to choose from anytime that you visit.

Have a look HERE for walking information and suggested walking guidebooks and detailed walking maps.

Approaching Ribeira Fundo, Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead)

At the time of writing, the official PR walking routes currently affected by temporary closures are:

 

PR12 – Caminho Real da Encumeada

PR14 – Levada dos Cedros

PR16 – Levada Fajã do Rodrigues

PR17 – Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal

PR19 – Caminho Real do Paul do Mar

Go to the official pages for up-to-date information regarding route closures.

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Descent to the land Bridge, São Lourenço Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead).

Going to Madeira? Hop to Porto Santo

 

If you’re going to Madeira, why not take a day or two take a look at little sister island Porto Santo?

Walkers can try the two official PR walking routes, PS PR1 – Vereda do Pico Branco e Terra Chã and the PS PR2 – Vereda do Pico Castelo

For  the official Porto Santo tourist information including walking look HERE.

 

The ferry from Funchal, Madeira to Porto Santo takes about 2 hours 15 minutes. Please check the freey information website for departure times and note that in early January each year ferries are often out of service for regular maintenance. Ferry information HERE.

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Porto Santo Nature Trail Event 03/04 March 2018

This event is the 5th stage of the “Circuit Trail Madeira 2017/2018”. As you can see, the adult routes look pretty challenging – though you do have until March 2018 to get into shape!

  • Porto Santo Nature Trail (PSNT) – 42.3 km and 1926m climb (circular format);
  • Trail do Porto Santo (TPS) – 21.9 km and 107m climb (linear format);
  • Mini Trail do Porto Santo (MTPS) – 8.9 km and 395m climb (linear format);

There’s also a children’s event:

Kids Trail do Porto Santo (KTPS) between 1 km and 3 km (linear format).

For all the information, look HERE.

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You might also find this post useful for getting out and about on Madeira.

 

 

 

 

 

La Gomera – New Ferry Services Make Adventuring Easier

Simplified map of La Gomera by kind permission of David Brawn

La Gomera is a remarkable, almost circular island, a hop away from Tenerife, (Canary Islands) which rises like a giant cake to central forest-cloaked rugged heights, cut by barrancos (ravines) running to the sea. The island is still largely unspoiled which makes it a wonderful destination for hikers and bikers, though getting around takes time as there are few roads. If you don’t wish to get too energetic, simply amble about, dropping into cafés and fish restaurants and breathing in the pure air and beautiful views, enjoying the contrast between this quiet island and its busier big sister Tenerife.

This makes the introduction of not just one but two new sets of ferry services opening up some of the island’s best coastal towns really interesting. You could, for example, take the new car ferry Volcán de Teno from Tenerife’s Los Cristianos at 08.45 and be in Valle Gray Rey 90 minutes later, making a day out in this wonderful ‘Great King’s Valley’ feasible, heading back to Tenerife on the 16.30.

For all the details and to make a booking, see Naviera Armas website.

 

San Sebastian, La Gomera

It’s around five years since three of La Gomera’s most interesting and important coastal towns were linked by ferry services.

Now Fred Olsen has begun 3 services per day (becoming known as the ‘interior ferry line’), linking San Sebastián, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey, aboard the Benchi Express. If you’re starting from Tenerife you can do the first ferry hop from Los Cristianos. The Benchi can take bicycles, light motorbikes and pets! It also has a small cafeteria and is wheelchair accessible.

For details of the Fred Olsen services, look HERE.

La Gomera – in the south -Tenerife’s Teide visible

Valle Gran Rey

If you’re starting from Tenerife you can do the first ferry hop from Los Cristianos. The Benchi can take bicycles, light motorbikes and pets! It also has a small cafeteria and is wheelchair accessible. Take a look at their website for all the details and to book.

There’s a well- informed and highly readable blog with more La Gomera travel information here.

 

MAPS AND WALKING GUIDE BOOKS FOR LA GOMERA

For information about large-scale maps, digital mapping information and walking guidebooks, take a look HERE.

 

 

Cyber-Travel

Okay, enough of the cold, wet, windy miserable weather in the UK. Sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures seem to be a distant dream. What’s to be done? If you’ve enough spare cash and no commitments, you could simply find a sunny break on the internet and be off and away in a matter of hours.

But for most of us, that’s not realistic. But, consider this; many people find more pleasure in the planning of a holiday than they do when they’re actually there. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it.

So, in this most un-summery of British summers, why not lose yourself in the pleasure of cyber-travelling as you seek out your next holiday destination? Thank goodness for the internet, which allows us to zoom across the planet and home in for a closer look at potential places to explore.  There’s also the many reviews to look at of other traveller’s experiences which can help you home in on a few choices. Give yourself an hour or two’s virtual adventuring. Mountains? Beaches? Citybreaks? Cruising? Activity Holidays? Backpacking? The world’s yours to choose from (well, a good amount of it). You could start making shortlists of where and when  you’d like to go, making notes on the best times of year to visit. Look for trips that fit your budget, or maybe dream of that lottery win. TripAdvisor is one good source of ‘what-to-dos’ for your chosen shortlist.

Even if your plans don’t become reality this time, losing yourself in the fun and fantasy of your perfect holiday gives you a pleasant few escapist hours. And when you’ve got the time, money and opportunity, you’ll already be armed with great ideas.

PS

If you do happen to be in the position of just getting up and going right now, here are one or two suggestions:

Formentera

IMG_8800

Perfect sandy beaches on Formentera

 

La Gomera

La Gomera Walk 31

La Gomera – on Walk 31 (from Walk! La Gomera by Charles Davis).

 

La Palma

Walk la Palma Walk 10 The Southern Volcanoes ascending Teneguia

La Palma – walking on volcanoes

 

Menorca

Walk Menorca on the north coast route 39

Menorca’s rugged north-east coast

 

Brittany’s North – Wonderful Walking

Rollercoaster walking on Walk 10, Plougasnou

How do you like the sound of walking through bucolic countryside, or discovering an orchid-lined pilgrim’s way?

What about exploring a fairy-tale trail winding through ancient woodland, or strolling alongside an idyllic trout stream?

You could be scrambling across a cataract of rocks or following the airy contours of the spectacular coastal path, weaving between delicately sculpted dunes or wandering across the flat sands of the tideland.

 

Port de Ploumanach on Walk 19, Ploumanac’h

Gaze at the wide blue horizon from a wind battered headland or simply lounge about on a breathtakingly beautiful beach.

Brittany, (north-western France) is a perfect ‘get away from it all’ experience.

Abbaye du Tronchet cloisters, Walk 37

Rolling pastures on Walk 32, Langast

Boasting more than 3,000 kilometres of waymarked paths, a tourist infrastructure that is highly developed without being obtrusive, and regular budget flights, the region has all you need for a long-weekend away or a full walking holiday.

 

 

 

If walking in Brittany has you intrigued, we recommend you take a look at experienced walker/researcher/author Charles Davis’ guidebook, Walk! Brittany North.

There’s more information on Discovery Walking Guides’  pages also.

 

 

 

Maps for Corfu, Mallorca and Costa del Sol (Axarquia)

La Axarquia - views from Loma  de las Cuadrillas

Costa del Sol (La Axarquia)

Are you off to any of these destinations soon?

Or maybe you’re thinking of planning a trip for later in the year, when the summer heat subsides and most visitors disappear, leaving all that space (almost) all yours.

 

 

Corfu Tour & Trail map section

Corfu Tour & Trail Map section

If so, then here’s a great opportunity to get hold of digital Custom Maps free to download.

 

If you’ve ever used (or seen) one of DWG’s Tour & Trail maps you already know how detailed, clear and up to date they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Mallorca’s north-west coast

Take a look at Discovery Walking Guides’ latest ENews to get hold of yours!

Mallorca; sun, sea, mountains – and Bird Watching too

On Mallorca’s north-west coast

 

 

Say ‘Mallorca’ and most people think, “Sun, beaches, mountains, walks, sea-food, sangria …..

 

 

 

Avocet

There’s another excellent reason for visiting this beautiful Balearic island, set in the blue Mediterranean.

Mallorca is home to a surprising number of bird species and acts as a passing-through stop-off for even more bird groups.

Bee-eater

The island’s varied geography, from coastal cliffs to rugged mountains, from wetlands, reservoirs and coastal areas, offer bird life of many kinds a welcoming place to live, rest, feed and breed.

 

 

If you’re visiting Mallorca and would like to see some of the resident and visiting birds, take a look at this new map.

It’s an excellent and up-to-date detailed map (waterproof, tear resistant and guaranteed) perfect for touring the island, with a wealth of details such as best beaches, picnic areas, miradors – plus the locations of the best bird-spotting places.

The map reverse details 51 bird species together with photos and ID information.

 

Corfu – One in 6000

With approximately 6000 Greek islands and islets to choose from, why Corfu?

Just one of Corfu’s beautiful bays.

Well, it’s a lush green island with white beaches and azure seas, diverse landscapes and a long history, offering lovers of nature, Greek culture and

Rare Swallowtail, Corfu

water sports alike an unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

The coastline provides many ‘wow’ moments, with plunging cliffs, picture-postcard bays and inlets and impossibly blue seas.

 

 

 

Wild Tortoise, Corfu

Corfu has an enduring relationship with the sea, each sheltered inlet and harbour home to fishing boats or pleasure craft.

You’ll find plenty of choices on offer if you want a trip around Corfu’s dramatic coastline, best viewd from the water.

 

Of course, there are wonderful seafood restaurants, many modestly priced especially away from the resorts.

Lefkimis Bay, Corfu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kaiser’s Throne, Corfu

The mountainous north rolls down towards the south, cypress forests cloaking the hillsides while ancient olive groves and fruit orchards thrive at their feet.

 

 

 

There are walking trails and paths, with the icing on the cake being the Corfu Trail which you can choose to do in part or tackle the whole thing.

 

The ‘main road’ through Ano Korakiana, Corfu.

There’s a sprinkle of ancient, sleepy villages resonating with the island’s long history. If you’re driving yourself through in a hire car, prepare to breathe in!

 

Back in June 2016 we posted ‘Corfu – An Island In Need Of A Good Map’. Good news – here it is!

Just published, this is the perfect map, whatever you plan to do on this lovely Greek island.

Find the best beaches and places of interest. Follow the Corfu Trail in whole or part). IF you plan to drive, this is the most up-to-date map showing all roads and junctions.

Corfu – once visited, never forgotten.

 

 

Island Hopping – Twice The Adventure Nº2 – Tenerife to La Gomera

Hop From Tenerife to La Gomera

There’s no doubt that Tenerife is one of the most popular island destinations, easily reached in around 5 hours from much of Europe and enticing with sunny skies, warm temperature, beaches and mountains and (if you want it) plenty of nightlife.

Looking down to San Sebastian (La Gomera), Pico del Teide on Tenerife in the distance

Looking down to San Sebastian (La Gomera), Pico del Teide on Tenerife in the distance

If you fancy a complete contrast, sample a day on the island of La Gomera, so close to Tenerife yet oh! so different – rugged, shaped like a well-risen circular cake topped by ancient laurel forests and with mighty ravines slicing down to the sea.

It’s laid back, offering astounding views and walks, little tipico cafés and restaurants, flamboyant plant life and stunning geology. Oh, and it has beaches.

Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera

Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera

Frequent ferries mean you can be there in under an hour from Los Cristianos, Tenerife, landing in Gomera’s capital San Sebastián, where public buses await in the harbour to take you onward. Car hire ofices and taxis are located here too.

Journey time: The fastest crossing from Tenerife to La Gomera goes via the harbours Los Cristianos de Tenerife to San Sebastián de La Gomera. The Benchijigua Express Ferry covers this distance in about 50 minutes. Other (slower) ferry services are offered by Naviera Armas. Pre-booking is essentail.

What to do? In one day, you’ll need to be selective. Take a look at these Trip Advisor suggestions.

For lots more information about La Gomera, including maps, look here.

There’s a brand-new edition of Walk! La Gomera, just published; look here.

Island Hopping – Twice The Adventure

Day Trip – Island Hopping Nº1

Going to Lanzarote? Hop to Fuerteventura!

Aloe Vera thrives in Fuerteventura's desert conditions.

Aloe Vera thrives in Fuerteventura’s desert conditions.

You’ve planned your trip to Lanzarote, booked flights, accommodation and maybe a hire car.

Why not plan a day trip to the next island south too, just a 25 to 45 minute ferry trip away?

See ferry information HERE.

 

Fuerteventura is Lanzarote’s big sister and has its own personality. Watersports are big here (think Fuerte+Ventura = Strong Wind) and there are biking and hiking routes too. Or hire a car for the day and take a look. At about 100 kilmetres in length, it’s too big to see everything in just one day, though you’ll get a taste of the place and may want to return for a longer visit.

Watersport heaven on Fuerteventura's east coast

Watersport heaven on Fuerteventura’s east coast

Things to see and do.

Things to do – Trip Advisor has good suggestions for beaches, cafes, museums and watersports.

It’s useful to get hold of a good map before you go. Take a look at this link for up-to-date map information:

http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/fuerteventura.htm

Established in 1405, Fuerteventura's origianl capital of Betancuria is a step back in time.

Established in 1405, Fuerteventura’s origianl capital of Betancuria is a step back in time.

There’s a useful website for those wanting more information about hiking and biking on Fuerteventura; take a look at:

http://tinyurl.com/hj3syt6

Who got a Garmin for Christmas?

If you are one of the many who found a Garmin GPS in their Christmas stocking, this post is for you.

Get your hands on a free sample ‘real-time’ map and see your Garmin come to life. You can choose a sample map of Graciosa ( off Lanzarote, Canary Islands) or Sierra de Aracena (Andalucia, Spain).

What you’ll get is a highly detailed real-time Tour & Trail digital download map, which you can save on your hard drive, transfer to your Garmin GPS CustomMap memory or onto a micro-SD card; you can also use the maps in Garmin Basecamp and Google Earth.

If you like what you’re seeing then you can purchase more mapping to download, for a whole host of destinations including:-

CANARY ISLANDS

Sample segment, Gran Canaria.

Sample segment, Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria
Tenerife
La Palma
La Gomera
Lanzarote
Fuerteventura

MAINLAND SPAIN
Alpujarras (Sierra Nevada, Andalucia, southern Spain)
Costa Blanca Mountains (Alicante, southern Spain)
Axarquia (Andalucia, southern Spain)
Sierra de Aracena (Helva province, southern Spain)

BALEARIC ISLANDS
Mallorca
Menorca
Formentera
Ibiza

PORTUGUESE ISLANDS
Madeira

For more information about Tour & Trail Maps take a look HERE.