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.
If you do happen to be in the position of just getting up and going right now, here are one or two suggestions:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take a look at Discovery Walking Guides’ latest ENews to get hold of yours!
Say ‘Mallorca’ and most people think, “Sun, beaches, mountains, walks, sea-food, sangria …..
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.
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.
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.
With approximately 6000 Greek islands and islets to choose from, why Corfu?
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
water sports alike an unforgettable experience.
The coastline provides many ‘wow’ moments, with plunging cliffs, picture-postcard bays and inlets and impossibly blue seas.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day Trip – Island Hopping Nº1
Going to Lanzarote? Hop to Fuerteventura!
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?
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.
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:
There’s a useful website for those wanting more information about hiking and biking on Fuerteventura; take a look at:
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.
Alpujarras (Sierra Nevada, Andalucia, southern Spain)
Costa Blanca Mountains (Alicante, southern Spain)
Axarquia (Andalucia, southern Spain)
Sierra de Aracena (Helva province, southern Spain)
Thanks to Peter and Ginny, just back from a walking holiday on the isle of Madeira, we are passing on their update:
“Levada Nova has had rock falls along an extensive section near the start so that virtually all the safety barriers have disappeared. This makes the walk dangerous! We tried to carefully continue thinking the damage would be limited to a short section but it seemed to go on for a long distance so we turned back.”
Levada Nova is a popular walking route; if you are using Madeira Walks Volume Two, it is Walk 73.
Do check before setting out, either by asking at Tourist Offices or by looking on the island’s official website walking pages.
Madeira! What a great desination, especially at this time of year.
Swapping the dark and cold of Northern Europe for Madeira’s green and spring-like mountains is a popular choice at this time of year.
If you are planning to walk there, it’s worth checking that the paths you’re planning on following are open. The best place to look for information is on the official ‘Visit Madeira’ tourism website. To see which routes are open or temporarily closed, LOOK HERE.
If you are already on the island, you can also ask in Tourist Offices who usually have up to date information on walks that are open/closed.
At the moment only three of the official routes are temporarily closed. The authorities are vigilant and usually restore routes quickly; often, the problem is a landslip after heavy rain.
The three routes to avoid at the time of writing this are:
PR1 – Vereda do Areeiro
PR12 – Caminho Real da Encumeada
PR19 – Caminho Real do Paul do Mar
There’s so much great walking on Madeira that you’ll find plenty to tempt you, from strolls to all-day high altitude challenges. Even if you aren’t keen to do much walking, it’s a great idea to use the local buses which give you brilliant (sometimes a bit hairy!) adventures around the island for pocket-money prices.
There’s a great bus map available, also really useful as a driving map; LOOK HERE for details of the Madeira Bus & Touring Map.
For more information including details our two Madeira Walks guidebooks Madeira Tour & Trail Map and digital mapping for Madeira, take a look at Discovery Walking Guides; Madeira pages.