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Fuerteventura? Yes,please!

Surreal pastel hills in ice-cream hues form Fuerteventura’s backbone. It’s an island of golden beaches interspersed with rugged volcanic coastlines, turquoise seas and watercolour landscapes.

High above the resorts (Fuerteventura)

High above the resorts

If you simply must have forests and lush greenery, it’s best to look elsewhere. But, if you want to be seduced by out of this world views, Fuerteventura ticks the boxes.

Looking across to Corralejo (Fuerteventua)

Looking across to Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Discover the island by bus, on foot or by bike to get a real feel of authentic Fuerteventura’s countryside and little white villages.

Iglesia de Nuestro Senora de Regla, Pajara (Fuerteventura)

Iglesia de Nuestro Señora de Regla,Pájara

 

Watersports are really big here too; note that Fuerteventura translates as ‘strong winds’.

Fuerteventura east coast

Watersport heaven on Fuerteventura’s east coast

Although the island is only around 5 hours’ flight away (from western Europe) it feels as if you’re on another planet. You’ll never forget Fuerteventura.

Dusk (Fuerteventura)

Nightfall, Fuerteventura

As winter’s grip takes hold, what better time to revel in the gentle twenty-something temperatures and blue skies of this unique Canary Island.

Take a look HERE for mapping information for Fuerteventura.

Madeira Walking – get the latest updates

­­­MADEIRA WALKS VOLUME ONE AND VOLUME TWO

 

Madeira Walks Vol2 Path to Encumeada Walk 61

High above the world on Madeira’s peaks

 

The good news is that there are dozens of excellent walks of all types on this beautiful island. As the summer heat abates and the August visitors leave, it’s an ideal time for a walking holiday. Our resident researcher/author on the island, Shirley Whitehead, has just sent in the following important updates affecting a few routes; some changes are temporary while Shirley suggests alternative detours for some of the walks.

 Volume One – Walk 9 – Monte – Bom Sucesso – Funchal

This trail is temporarily closed due to erosion of the pathways and levada following severe fire damage in 2016.  Unlike most other water channels, this levada is privately owned and therefore repair work is not at the discretion of the authorities.

Volume Two – Walk 6l – Pico do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo (PR1 Vereda do Areeiro)

This route is shown as ‘Conditioned’ on the official Tourism website describing the trail as accessible along the whole length of the western footpath which passes through tunnels to arrive at Pico Ruivo. However, the route along the eastern part of the trail via Pico das Torres is temporarily closed. This situation has been apparent for some considerable time but our notes will be updated as and when the alternative route reopens.

Volume One and Volume Two – Walks 27 – 64  – 66

Due to the construction of a large reservoir on the Paúl da Serra plateau, scheduled for completion in 2020, the following walking routes are shown as amended or closed. Those affected are as follows:

Walk 27 – Levada do Paúl – Cristo Rei – Fatima Chapel, Rabaçal

 This route is closed from Wp.7 where the channel crosses the regional road until it reaches the chapel of Nossa Senhora de Fátima and the Rabaçal car park on the ER105 at Wp.8.

As an alternative route, follow the notes until reaching the regional road at Wp.7 turning right for 300 metres to the junction with the ER105. Turning left from here, it’s around 1 kilometre to Wp.8 at the Rabaçal car park.

Note: the changes to the timings and distance from the original notes are negligible.

Walk 64 – Calheta Slopes – Levada da Rocha Vermelha – Levada Nova – Estrela da Calheta

This route is temporarily closed due to extensive construction work around Wp.3 where the trail becomes impassable in the area of the riverbed and Levada da Rocha Vermelha.

Walk 66 – Rabaçal: Ribeira Grande  -Lajeado – Paúl da Serra

This walking trail is impassable beyond Wp. 10. As an alternative we suggest two options: (1) to follow the trail to Pico Rabaçal as a (linear out and back) or, (2) to head in an easterly direction from Wp.9 following the broad moorland path until it reaches the ER209. Turning right here, it is around 800 metres to the cross roads with the ER105 and turning right, passing the Jungle Rain Restaurant, the original trail can be picked up again from Wp.17 to return to the starting point. This alternative section is around 4.8 kms in total making the timings and distances with the original notes negligible.

For further information of closures and conditioned sections of the Officially Recommended Walking Routes go to www.visitmadeira.pt “Notice to Walkers”

For walking map and guidebook information, look here.

Madeira SWMW Walk 33 Levada da Ribeira da Janela to Lamaceiros

A spectacular waterfall on the Levada da Ribeira da Janela

Tour and Trail Maps Go To Sea

We know that most people use our Tour & Trail maps for hiking and biking, for driving and occasionally while horse riding. Their strength, toughness, foldability and waterproof qualities make our maps ideal for all these pursuits.

Look at those magical blues! Paddle Boarding off Northern Menorca

But here’s a first! We received an interesting email from Oliver, a kayak, open canoe and paddle board guide. He uses our maps to navigate around coastlines and sent us a couple of photos showing how he does it.

Paddle Boarding off Menorca’s North Coast

“Just wanted to say how impressed I am with the quality of your maps, I use them to navigate our way around coastlines, most recently around some of the awesome north coast of Menorca on Stand Up Paddle Boards, (I guide in both sea kayak and Open canoe too).

Your maps definitely make life easy while afloat …

Oliver”

(Received 24 August 2018)

And here’s how to use your Tour & Trail map while paddle boarding.

Thanks Oliver!

You can see that map and many others from Discovery Walking Guides here.

Any more unusual uses for our maps out there? Let us know.

Late summer – perfect for a trip to Ibiza

Cove on Ibiza's west coast

One of Ibiza’s beautiful coves (on the west coast)

Forget the tabloid image of all-night clubbing, loud music and young visitors in various states of inebriation and undress.

The real Ibiza is a beautiful place, blessed by a wonderful climate with many hours of sunshine each month.

Numerous fine white beaches and little coves tempt the swimmer and sun-worshipper, while walking/biking trails meander through wild flowers underneath a canopy of fragrant pine woods.

A few Ibizan facts:

  • Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean east of the Spanish mainland.
  • It’s a naturally beautiful island with white sand beaches, turquoise seas and verdant pine woods, olive groves and wild flowers.
  • The island has a long history of invasion by various forces including the Ancient Romans, the Vandas, Byzantines, the Moors, the Norwegians and were finally claimed by Spain. Nowadays, the ‘invaders’ are tourists.
  • Ibiza is 572.56 square kilometres (221.07 sq miles) land area.The highest point of the island is Sa Talaiassa, at 475 metres (1,558 ft).
  • The population is estimated at approximately 132,500.
  • Eivissenc, a dialect of Catalan, is spoken on Ibiza, as is Spanish. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
  • Though renowned for its clubbing scene, there are beautiful beaches, pine woods and walking/biking routes across the island.

Late summer, when most of the tourists have gone and the sun is kind rather than fierce, is a perfect time to explore this gem.  Take the best map on your adventures – more info here.

Ibiza Sunset

Ibizan sunset

More Than A Coastline – Costa Blanca’s Mountains

Costa Blanca Mountains - Castell de Castells

Costa Blanca Mountains – Castell de Castells

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.

 

Costa Blanca Mountains - Vall de Laguar

Costa Blanca Mountains – Vall de Laguar

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.

Costa Blanca Mountains - Puig Campana

Costa Blanca Mountains – Puig Campana

There are many walking tracks and paths, some signposted. To get the most from adventuring here, get hold of Costa Blanca Mountains Tour & Trail Map and Walk! The Costa Blanca Mountains.

Brecon Beacons – a jewel in Britain’s crown

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.

Brecon Beacons - on Pen Allt-mawr

Brecon Beacons – on Pen Allt-mawr

Brecon Beacons Sgwd yr Eira

Brecon Beacons; Sgwd yr Eira

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.

Brecon Beacons - Llangattock (Walk 21)

Brecon Beacons – Llangattock

 

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.

Brecon Beacons - on Walk 11

Brecon Beacons – views in all directions

 

Find out more about the walks in the Brecon Beacons HERE.

 

 

Guess The Island

 

“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.

Madeira – Garden Isle

Taken by author/researcher Shirley Whitehead – stunning views from Encumeada.

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.

Spain’s ‘forgotten corner’? Really?

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).

The entrance to Aracena Castle

The ancient bell-tower, Aracena Castle

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.

The plaza, Alajar

The plaza, Alájar

  • It’s green, natural, not too rugged and with fascinating villages and small towns.
Iberian pigs

Iberian pigs

  • 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.
The mezquita at Almonaster la Real

The mezquita at Almonaster la Real

  • There are castles and a sense of history, with the Moorish legacy clearly apparent.
Los Madroneros

Los Madroñeros

  • The walking isn’t too vigorous overall though many routes will whip up a healthy appetite for sampling those hearty home-made dishes.
Cortelazor

Cortelazor

 

If you’re intrigued, find out what to see, where to stay and what to do (other than walking): HERE’s a USEFUL LINK.

 

More? Take a look HERE where you’ll find the Map and Guide Book information.

 

 

Which Mediterranean holiday island destination has no traffic lights?

Which Mediterranean holiday island destination has no traffic lights?

IMG_8800 Formentera

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.

IMG_8798 Formentera

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.

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