Archive | Canary Islands RSS for this section

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.

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.

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.

Tenerife South Walks – Back To The Future

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.

Tenerife South Life in the Raw looking towards Playa ParaisoSMALL

Walking high above Tenerife’s southern resorts

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.

View from 'Walkers Who Lunch' route above Tenerife's south coast

View over Tenerife’s south coast from ‘Walkers Who Lunch’ route

For more information take a look at our latest ENews. Or go to Discovery Walking Guides website where you’ll find lots of walking information.

Walking on La Gomera, Canary Islands – a User Review

Thanks go to David L, just back from walking (and golfing) on the Canary Island of La Gomera. He’s been there before and knows the walking pretty well, and has sent us a detailed review of some of the walks he did (self-adapted in part) using Walk! La Gomera guidebook and La Gomera Tour & Trail map along with digital mapping which he accessed on his smart phone.

Here’s part of David’s walking report:

On 18 December 2017 at 20:24 David L wrote:

Where? La Gomera – Jardin Tecina Hotel

Walks 2017.11-12.

We did three – or perhaps more accurately, 2.5. We took golf clubs and tennis rackets, too – and my wife is not a bad walker, but not as keen as I am.

We were looking for walks with the least amount of travelling possible, avoiding those with vertigo warnings, and ideally, in the sun.

The walks we did were:

  1. Playa Santiago to Targa With Variation (Walk 10)
  2. Degollada de Peraza to San Sebastian (Walk 1)
  3. Playa Santiago –  Baja de Guane  – El Aguila – La Trinchera – Playa Santiago (Short Walk) 
  4. Navigational Aids

All walks were undertaken with benefit of the digital version of the Tour & Trail Map on iphone via Memory Map, and hard copy print of the relevant area – one side with route marked – the other unmarked. Full hard copy Tour & Trail Map and Walk! La Gomera Book taken but not referred to en route.

  1. Weather

Previous visits/walks have been in February and December. In comparison, the countryside was far more burnt up on this occasion, with virtually no greenery, and noticeably warmer than Christmas, but cooler than Feb. We have had NE Alisio weather patterns on previous visits, but, on this occasion, the wind was between south and west.

  1. Walks

     4.1   Playa Santiago To Targa With Variation (Walk 10)

Looking down to Playa Santiago

I had done this walk twice previously, so knew roughly what was involved. The part through the former cultivation terraces is probably fair enough for one experience but, in my view, not more.

So we headed up your down route, which was hot work in mid 20s C, but OK.

The route to the climb up the Playa Santiago cliff is completely different to the map – but more similar to the blow up on the reverse.

Had lunch in the shade close to the FRANCISCO DIAZ BARROSO NAMEPLATE Waypoint. Waypoint beyond this particularly useful as otherwise not clear when to head up the hill to the right – though clearer looking back on it.

Turned left to Targa itself and then along a couple of paths to Alajero. Bar where second path joins road up from Playa Santiago closed. Turned off into central Alajero, where found an open bar with Bus Stop opposite. Perfect! Bus turned up on time and dropped us off by Jardin Tecina for next to nothing.

Conclusion on 1. I think the route we did is better than the one in the book – but I was looking for something different to the route through the cultivation terraces. Probably worth including as an alternative. The variation at the top was not planned in advance, but evolved when we got there.

The leg adjacent to the stream south of Targa is tricky/ steep sided in places with few foot/handholds.

An unexpected hazard was the local authority painting some of the bus stop benches – but not warning of this! My wife wrote off a pair of trousers! Not sure whether this is a seasonal event!

Overall, an enjoyable and rewarding walk. Nice to get up into the cool – and amongst some genuine village life.

4.2   Degollada de Peraza to San Sebastian (Walk 1)

San Sebastian port, La Gomera

This is one of the more accessible walks from Jardin Tecina without vertigo risk- although, by analysis of non-vertigo walks, I have since found a more accessible one, at least to start.

 

 

 

We had toyed with which is gazetted as a’ vertigo trial’ but I had done the bottom 75% of this on my own on a previous visit, and had backed off when I reached a very sheer slope; furthermore, a section of this looked very sheer on Google Earth. It also looked pretty aggressive from the top of Degollada de Peraza.

Up here, we were in cloudy conditions, but the cloud base was well above us.

Shortly after the start, there was no observable issue with the landslide you mention. The path is quite steep sided in places and flat sided in others. Throughout the first 75 % or so, it is dominated by views of the main road from San Sebastian up to Degollada – and traffic noise from it, which was a pity.

On the plus side, we had some good views, and encountered a watchful raven, which I had not previously seen on the island.

The run down into San Sebastian was hard work, along a made up but very uneven ‘donkey’ track.

To return, we had the options of buses or the Fred. Olsen Ferry. We chose the latter, to give us a chance to relax a bit, an opportunity to see this section of coast, and avoid the lengthy/somewhat tedious road route.

We enjoyed the ferry ride, albeit that it was late starting by half an hour, it appeared because of a mechanical issue.

Conclusion on 2. We enjoyed the walk, but were disappointed by the main road/traffic noise impact and the extent of uneven donkey tracks on the descent. Probably good for anyone to do once, but I do not think we would do it again.

4.3   Playa Santiago –  Baja de Guane  – El Aguila – La Trinchera – Playa Santiago (Short Walk)

This was really a ‘fill in’ while my wife wanted to sunbathe – which I cannot do. I have a friend who has a holiday Property Bond Investment and had stayed at ‘Balcon de Santa Anna’ – and wanted to have a look at this – and the walk round the cliffs outside shown on the map looked interesting.

All went according to plan – having your map on my iphone proved ever useful, as I was not sure how long I was along the walk, on several occasions. Good views of the cliffs and breaking seas – and a pleasantly made up path. Also a short link at the end down to Playa Santiago.

Conclusion on 3. An enjoyable and worthwhile short walk which it might be worth mentioning.

  1. Overall Conclusion On Walks

We expanded our horizons – though did not visit the Valle Gran Rey/El Cercado area this time.

We enjoyed our walks – which were much aided by your materials and, particularly, the digital functions, which had either not been available or we hadn’t been aware of before. The map on the iphone with the flashing curser and marked waypoints really is a massive help.

We were surprised how warm the weather was – particularly having experienced quite a cool Christmas here once. The countryside was much the most frazzled we had ever seen it.

I am quite a keen bird watcher. I missed the plain swifts over the mountains and villages, normally in abundance. On checking, I see they return to Africa for November and most of December. On the plus side, we had a hoopoe in the hotel grounds, where there were singing chiffchaff and blackcap, and the aforementioned raven.

I attach copies of our tracks, in case of interest. As your book suggests, we took a good bit longer than you did! I also include some vehicle/ferry tracks and one round of the golf course, in case of interest. The speed the ferries travel at is notable – and the time saving from San Sebastian to Playa Santiago by sea, as opposed to land. The golf round was quicker than for an average UK course – because the hole sequence was downhill?”

-0-

Thanks David! User feedback is like gold!

Warm Weather Walker – or Intrepid Snow-Hopper?

Blackstone Ridge, England’s South Pennines

On flicking through outdoor activity magazines, you’ll see plenty of photographs of fit-looking intrepid types posing on rugged, windswept mountain peaks wearing plenty of layers. Is this you? Do you wish you were here? Or do you long to get away to kinder climates?

Do you fit fairly neatly into one of the following groups?

THE INTREPIDS, striding through winter landscapes, dealing with biting winds and snow-capped hills in full weather-defying gear, and feeling invigorated as you finally reach a cosy country pub for a well-earned lunch.

 

How about England’s rugged and beautiful South Pennines? They’ve had quite a bit of a snow-dusting already this winter, although this pic taken on Corn Du was taken in summer.

 

Tenerife, walking above the west coast

WARM WEATHER WALKERS, escaping to warmer climes when winter bites at home, exploring in t-shirt, shorts, sunhat and sun-cream under a blue sky, sweating as they gain the heights, then

relaxing on a beach as the sun goes down.

There’s a whole lot of destinations within a 4-6 hour flight from northern Europe; Tenerife is ideal for pretty reliable gentle temperatures with several sunny hours per day.

For lots of walking destination ideas and inspiration, take a look HERE.

Of course, you might well have a boot in each camp so to speak, getting the best of all walking worlds. It would be great to know your opinions.

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

 

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

%d bloggers like this: