Malta and sister island Gozo offer a wealth of experiences. The climate is kind and there’s plenty of walking adventures to explore.
The islands are rich in history (there are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites), having been inhabited since around 5900 BC.
Many of the powers that ruled the islands, from the Phoenicians to the British, have left their marks, making the islands a living museum.
With its unique flora, architecture and beaches, a visit to either or both islands (25 minutes ferry connection) offers plenty to interest and fascinate.
Discovery Walking Guides have just published their Malta & Gozo Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map, ideal for walkers, bikers, adventurers and visitors. The map is also available for use on some GPS devices; click here for details.
Things change, of course and our walking guidebooks for the garden island of Madeira are no exception. From time to time, erosion or weather events mean that parts of a walking route need to be changed, or other safety issues prompt the authorities to make route changes. If you have either of our guidebooks ‘Madeira Walks’ volume one or two, please take a look at these notes sent to us by our resident author/researcher, Shirley Whitehead.
Volume One – Walk 35 – Levada das 25 Fontes – Via Calheta Tunnel (PR6)
Volume Two – Walk 68 – Rabaçal – Levada das 25 Fontes & Levada do Risco (PR 6.1)
The following update applies to both the above routes along the final section between the Ribeira Grande Bridge and the 25 Fontes.
“Around 400m beyond the Ribeira Grande Bridge, a stairway appears on our right; this is a new return route recently constructed to improve safety to walkers by reducing the volume of traffic along the narrowest part of the levada which is subject to serious erosion.
Walkers are therefore asked to respect this safer diversion on their return to Casa do Rabaçal. The new route starts around 120 metres from the 25 Fontes. The stairway is approximately 250m in length with an ascent and descent of 50m therefore reducing the original return journey by around one kilometre.”
Volume Two – Walk 76 – Loreto to Madalena do Mar
Due to a large landslide below the levada around Wp.8, the right hand pathway descending to Lombo da Achada is now closed. As an alternative route to connect with Wp.10 and enable continuation down to Madalena do Mar, we suggest the following:
Just beyond Wp.2, turn right following the cobbled lane as it descends through the woodland. Around 100 m ahead, swing right onto a tarred road. This is “Impasso de Cova da Arco” which winds down the hillside towards Arco da Calheta. Shortly after a right and left bend around 800m ahead, go left down “Caminho das Paredes” to rejoin with “Impasso de Cove da Arco”. Turning left here, follow the road for around 500 metres to reach a T-junction. The total descent to this point is around 263 m. You are now on “Rua da Achada do Santa Antonio” and turning left the route ascends towards Santa Antonio. 700 m ahead take a left turn following “Caminho do Lombo” the lane bends left around100m ahead. Another 50m ahead, you will arrive at a well on your left.
This is Wp.10 of the original route where you now drop down steps on the right of the road to continue on to Madalena do Mar. The variances in timings and distance between the original route and this detour are negligible. The increase in ascents and descents is around 25m.”
2019 looks like being a good year for bargain holidays. Apparently, the unusually long, sunny summer of 2018 in the UK and large parts of Europe made staycationing a logical choice. As a result, travel companies, airlines and hotels offering holidays in many popular European resorts had a lean time of it last year. As a result, there are some attractive prices around for 2019.
If you’re looking at a Canary Islands break, there’s additional good news. The islands’ president wants a special deal for British tourists and hopes to get rid of IGIC (VAT) to make the islands even more attractive.
Each of the islands offers different experiences. Flight time from the UK is approximately 4 hours. And the blue skies and sunshine? Ah, that’s what keeps most visitors coming back again and again.
The best known of the Canaries is, perhaps Tenerife, offering something for everyone. The highest peak in Spanish territory, great beaches, wonderful walks and bike rides, seafood, local fruit, vegetables, cheese and wine .. if you’ve not been, you’re missing out.
Want more reasons to take a trip to Tenerife ? Have a look at ‘Tenerife – antidote to the winter blues‘ and ‘Tenerife South Walks – Back To The Future‘.
Challenge No.2 The Yorkshire 3 Peaks
Great Britain offers many opportunities for discovering the outdoors, from gentle strolls to big challenges. Here’s one of the big ones. You could plan to tackle the Yorkshire 3 Peaks yourself, or simply lose yourself in the experiences of others who’ve planned and completed the climbs and descents, following them step by step from your own armchair.
Key to success in completing the Challenge Routes in good time is planning, down to the finest details. It’s fascinating to find out how it’s done.
Challenge No.1 The National 3 Peaks
With the Christmas/New Year break coming up for many, why not plan to complete the National 3 Peaks Challenge. If that’s a bit too energetic, experience these iconic ascents and descents from your armchair. Here’s a few images to tempt you.
Find out how to plan your own Challenge. Get the best ‘how to’ advice from those who have completed it. Get the best, detailed up-to-date maps to keep you on track.
There’s so much more to Spain’s Costa del Sol than sun, sea and sangria. Turn inland and you’re looking at the Axarquia, an unspoiled wildly beautiful and rugged area, waiting for you to explore it. Mountains, wooded hills and plunging gorges, dotted with small towns, tiny settlements and farmsteads give a sense of the true heart of this unique region.
Almond, olive, lemon and orange groves thrive in valleys fed by springs and from streams descending from the mountains, fertile land carved into terraces to maximise the best agricultural areas.
The best way to explore is on foot or by mountain bike. Let’s get started with this free sample circular walk, quite short and not too energetic.
You’ll also find information about using your device for accessing walks in the Axarquia as well as how to get your hands on the area’s most detailed guidebook and map. There’s also another free walk (pdf format) for you to download.
Each of the Canary Islands has its own unique personality. Lanzarote is strangely surreal. There’s plenty of wide open unspoiled places ideal for exploring by car, bike or on foot.
The best map by a long way is Lanzarote Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map.
But don’t take our word for it – there are dozens of user reviews on line. Here’s a few of them:
Kung Fu Panda
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended if planning a driving holiday on Lanzarote
Compared to many “travel” maps this map is very good with an impressive level of detail, including different road types, paths and tracks, contouring, etc. The map itself is printed on a very durable (and ultimately recyclable) plastic sheet material. I would highly recommend this to anyone planning to drive around Lanzarote and perhaps to combine that with some walking. I have just driven around 500 miles during a 10-day holiday and found this invaluable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product.
I’m a regular user of OS maps & wanted a map of Lanzarote for our forthcoming holiday. This map, with the accompanying book, looks just the job. I particularly like the way the map & book cross-reference each other & the useful information about the walks.
5.0 out of 5 stars great product
Fantastic map at a very reasonable price. Large scale shows walking trails etc. Great for research prior to our planned trip.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent map, a must for driving around as road signs are atrocious on Lanzarote for independent motorist! Very good for walks too. Also, yes bended, folded, chucked on back seat & footwell several times, and not a single tear of hole on the folds. Would recommend & will buy for other Canaries when we visit them.
Lanzarote for sunshine, blue seas, amazing huge skies and volcanic sci-fi landscapes. See it for yourself. You’ll never forget it.
Some folk don’t mind the short, dark days of northern European winters. If you’re like me and you really DO mind them, how about hopping over to Tenerife? With temperatures to 23C and 6 hours of sunshine daily, it’s just the place to recharge your batteries. If you’re able to travel just before or just after the Christmas and New Year rush, you can get good value all-inclusive or full board deals that won’t cost much more than paying your home heating costs and food bills at home.
Ifyou tire of the sun and sea of the coastal resorts, you can visit the mountainous interior of Tenerife where there’s often snow in the winter months on the highest peaks, then go back down to the coast by sunset to warm up again.
Tenerife is a great destination for relaxing – and for hiking and biking too.
For more information and reasons to be on Tenerife this winter, take a look HERE.
They don’t call it the ‘mini-continent’ for nothing!
Though it’s under a 5 hour flight away (from the UK and western Europe), it feels like a different world.
There’s plenty to see and do, though the best thing of all is to walk the trails and marvel at the views, the forests, flora and fauna and the ancient villages.
Gran Canaria Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map is now in its 5th edition. This is the level of detail you need when exploring the island.
Here at Discovery Walking Guides, we’ve watched the rise and rise of this fascinating island as a hiking/biking/touring destination over the past few years. Gran Canaria has emerged from the shadows to become a ‘must walk’ destination in the Canary Islands.
There’s wonderful dramatic scenery and unspoilt villages, plus clean, spacious beaches for the days you don’t want to walk (or bike or drive).
To get the best from your visit, get the best map. Here’s a small segment – look at that clarity and detail. To find out more about the map look here.
There’s plenty of walking information from Rambling Roger, who lives there and knows the island like the back of his hand.
If you fancy 18-23C and mostly sunny days from December to April, hop over to Gran Canaria.
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.
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.
Discover the island by bus, on foot or by bike to get a real feel of authentic Fuerteventura’s countryside and little white villages.
Watersports are really big here too; note that Fuerteventura translates as ‘strong winds’.
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.
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.