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Malta, Gozo (and Comino) get the green light!

Malta coastline (image by Ferenc Horvath on Unsplash)

Great news! Last night (24 June 2021) the UK Government moved Malta to the green list for travellers from England. You’re free to go! Malta and sister island Gozo offer a wealth of experiences. The tiny limestone islet & bird sanctuary of Comino sits between them and is home to Blue Lagoon bay; there’s also a 17th century tower & chapel. 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.

Valletta, Malta. (image by Micaela Parente on Unsplash)

Many of the powers that ruled the islands, from the Phoenicians to the British, have left their marks, making the islands a living museum.

The Citadel, Gozo (image by Reuben Farrugia on Unsplash)

With unique flora, architecture and beaches, a visit to the islands (25 minutes ferry connection between Malta and Gozo) offers plenty to interest and fascinate.

Discovery Walking Guides have 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.

Madeira – good to go from May 17 2021!

It’s been a long wait but at last, people may travel from England to green-list Portugal from May 17. This includes the beautiful island of Madeira (and its little sister Porto Santo).

Here’s the link to the British government’s official website detailing coutries on each of the lists and what this means for English travellers.

The harbour at Paúl do Mar, Madeira

Madeira is a classic destination for keen walkers, though you don’t need to be an expert. There are plenty of lovely strolls as well as high end challenges for experts, with a wealth of variety in between. Or, why not explore by bus, a pocket-money way to experience the island. For plenty more information on discovering Madeira, take a look HERE.

Levada Nova, Madeira

There’s useful information for visitors to the Garden Island of Madeira regarding arriving on the island and the safety measures that are in place HERE.

Achada do Teixera, Madeira

Late Spring and early Summer are perfect times to visit Madeira. The rugged terrain is graced with an abundance of native trees and unique endemic flowers, easily enjoyed on many of the levada walks which also lead you into Madeira’s heart from village to hamlet.

Orchis maderensis
Aloe aborescens clinging to Madeiran cliffs

Our thanks go to walking researcher and author-in residence, Shirley Whitehead, for her beautiful photos of Madeira.

Canary Islands – Here We Come!

At last the Canary Islands are back on the British Government’s unrestricted travel list. The Canaries offer so much variety, each island unique and unforgettable, and with a warm, welcoming climate, the perfect choice as northern hemispheres feel the first shivers of winter.

Gran Canaria (photo by Joel Rohland on Unsplash)

Gran Canaria – the miniature continent, a roughly circular island of ravines and 60 kilometres of beaches, winding forest roads and criss-crossed with walking routes. Plenty to discover, day and night.

Wooden balconies, Gran Canaria (photo by Joel Rohland on Unsplash)

For more information click here.

Want the Gran Canaria Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map? Look here.

La Gomera, just west of Tenerife and easily reached via a short ferry crossing – plunging barrancos and soaring forest-topped mountains sprinkled with hamlets and farmsteads clinging to the slopes. Walk, bike, swim, explore – enjoy.

On La Gomera – Tenerife’s Teide visible

El Hierro, small, fascinating, the most remote and westerly Canary Island promises rugged terrain, narrow winding roads and great walking. A world-class marine reserve, free island-wide wifi and electric car charge ports contrast with the traditional feel of the island. Yet, there are very few tourists – for now.

El Hierro

There’s more information on La Gomera and El Hierro here.

La Gomera and El Hierro Tour & Trail Super-Durable Maps can be bought onlime including HERE.

Lanzarote – the Fire Island; volcanic, mysterious and mesmerising terrain, lava seas and alpine meadows. Other-worldly. Once visited, never forgotten.

Montaňa Corona, Lanzarote
Lanzarote coastal adventure

Find out more about Lanzarote here.

Buys the map from online selllers including HERE.

Fuerteventura, known for beautiful beaches and great water sports, also offers a surprising variety of fascinating walking adventures. Wild coastlines contrast with traditional towns and views across pristine seas.

Established in 1405, Fuerteventura’s original capital of Betancuria is a step back in time.
Aloe Vera thriving in Fuerteventura’s desert conditions.

See more information about Fuerteventura here.

Maps can be foundfrom online sellers including here.

La Palma – La Isla Bonita; dramatic landscapes; a breathtaking mountain spine splits this volcanic island. Black beaches, Lush vegetation and 1080 kilometres of waymarked walking paths.

La Palma – walking on volcanoes

There’s more information about walking on La Palma here.

Buy La Palma maps online including here.

Tenerife – a Walker’s Island There’s so much to Tenerife. 2034 square kilometres offer coastal adventures, mountain hikes, pine and laurel forest trails, strolls and strenuous challenges including Spain’s highest peak (Mount Teide).The choice is almost endless.

Tajinastes – wonderful endemic flora in Tenerife.
Tenerife – unspoilt rugged coastline in the island’s north-east (Walk 41)

See all the information here.

You can buy the walking guide, walking maps and bus map online.

The South Pennines – a Little-Known Walker’s Delight

Gentle, green hills of the South Pennines

Several well-known walking areas of Britain have been almost overwhelmed by visitor numbers in 2020. Why not take a look at somewhere less crowded, offering a unique experience?

England’s South Pennines are not usually on most walkers’ ‘top ten’ lists. Well, those walkers are missing out on a fascinating region combining beautiful countryside with history.

Piethorne & Kitcliffe Reservoirs, South Pennines

Old paths and trails dating back generations beckon, revealing the unique character of a region shaped by hundreds of years of human toil and creativity. Canals, railways, mills, bridges, viaducts and reservoirs are testaments to humankind’s work.

Roman Bridge at Roman Lakes, South Pennines

Many of the walks can be reached by train, making for a varied day out, punctuated with refreshment breaks in pubs or cafes, while making the area feasible even for those not living in the area. For example, within 20 minutes of leaving the hustle and bustle of central Manchester you can be in the wildest and most lovely countryside. Most of the walks lie within a rough rectangle contained by Walsden in the north, Bollington in the south, Oldham and Stockport in the west and Glossop in the east.

St Chad’s CHurch, South Pennines

Anyone who has a mental image of soot-blackened towns and dull countryside is mistaken. Many of the old industrial buildings that remain have been converted into heritage centres or living accommodation. Farms dot the countryside where flora and fauna flourish; bird watchers will find plenty to discover.

The Hall, Lyme Park, South Pennines
Longdendale, South Pennines

For more information on wonderful walks in the South Pennines, take a look HERE.

Madeira – good to go!

Levada Nova, Madeira

Although many parts of the UK enjoyed some warm sunny September days, the switch seems to have suddenly flipped to full Autumn. Chilly, windy and rain that sets in for hours on end. Overseas travel is still tricky to plan, though Madeira remains one of the Government’s ‘green list’ destinations.

Approaching Ribeira Funda, Madeira

How does the weather in Madeira compare to London’s at this time of year? A quick check of BBC weather services for October 03 2020 has London’s temperature range as 10C – 15C, heavy rain, zero sun. Madeira should enjoy 19C to 25C, little chance of a shower and plenty of sunny intervals. Madeira gets plenty of rain too; look at those beautiful forests, trees and flowers. But the island’s sunshine and temperature figures look tempting as winter beckons.

The harbour, Paúl do Mar, Madeira

Madeira is a classic destination for keen walkers, though you don’t need to be an expert. There are plenty of lovely strolls as well as high end challenges for experts, with plenty of variety in between. Or, why not explore by bus, a pocket-money way to experience the island. For plenty more information on discovering Madeira, take a look HERE.

Câmara de Lobos, Madeira

Thanks to author-researcher Shirley Whitehead for these beautiful photos of her home island.

Travel Gets The Green Light

The British Government has published the list of countries you can travel from, into England, with no quarantine needed. At last, the brakes are off and all of us who want to get away have a tempting array of countries to choose from.

Plenty of fresh air and views, Las Canadas, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)

Of course, keeping safe is important, so what better than getting out and about on airy mountain walks or breezy coastal trails, well away from the crowds.

Palaiokastritsa Bay, Corfu (Greece)

Greece and its lovely islands is on the ‘good to go’ list, along with all of Spain including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Dragonera, from La Trapa, Mallorca, Balearic Islands (Spain)

How about the quiet beauty of Brittany (France), or fascinating Malta and Gozo?

Pointe de Landunvez, Brittany (France)
Malta

There’s plenty of information to help you choose your getaway destination here.

Have a look at our free digital maps, fully detailed and just what you need for adventuring away from the crowds. Take a look at our printed maps and walking guidebooks too.

We can offer maps (many also available as free digital downloads) and guidebooks for most of the following destinations which are all on the UK Governments ‘free to travel‘ list:

Our maps and/or guides:

FRANCE
Brittany

SPAIN
Canary Islands: Gran Canaria
La Palma
Tenerife
Lanzarote
La Gomera & El Hierro
Fuerteventura

Mainland Spain: Costa Blanca Mountains
Sierra de Aracena
Costa del Sol
Alpujarras

Balearic Islands: Mallorca
Ibiza
Formentera
Menorca

GREECE

Zakynthos (Zante)
Corfu

Malta & Gozo

Lanzarote’s north, Canary Islands (Spain)
Costa Blanca Mountains – Puig Campana (Spain)

MADEIRA WALKS, UPDATES

MADEIRA WALKS VOLUME ONE AND VOLUME TWO

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO WALKING ROUTES

20th FEBRUARY 2020

Volume One – Walk 10 – Levada dos Tornos – Monte – Curral Romeiros – Circular
Whilst this route remains open, is it should be noted that the forest section between Wp.3 and Wp.4 is currently in a poor condition. Therefore it is recommended that anyone finding difficulty ascending this path should turn back immediately and follow the lower route via the João Gomez valley. Once in Romeiros there is an option to walk out and back along Levada dos Tornos between Wp.7 and Wp.4 before returning again via the João Gomez valley. This is an extremely pretty section of levada and remains in good condition but does retain the grade 3 risk of vertigo due to a number of unprotected sections. There is also a very short section at Wp.4 where the channel shoulder has suffered some erosion, but this can be totally avoided by walking on the opposite banking crossing and re-crossing the two concrete slabs over the channel.

Volume Two – Walk 55 – Levada do Caldeirão Verde
This route is shown as ‘Conditioned’ on the official Tourism website due to a substantial rock fall around the green pool. Therefore at the present time walkers can either continue along the suggested extension to reach Caldeirão do Inferno or turn around after Wp.9 and return to the starting point where a new café facility has recently been opened in the Parque das Queimadas

Volume Two – Walk 58 – Camacha to Monte
After reaching the Choupana Hills Resort (this hotel was closed in 2016 following the fires in that area), we follow the path through the gardens, which remain open and continue along the levada to Romeiros, where you leave the channel descending steps at (Wp.13). Here follow the road right for a short distance to reach more steps ascending back to the levada. At this point we recommend that you consider the options for continuing on to Monte, either via the levada or by following the trail into the João Gomez valley. Both these options are described clearly in Madeira Walks Volume Two. However, you should note that due to some problems on the descent after leaving the levada (Wp.4) until reaching the point where both options rejoin at (Wp.3) it may be preferable, and much safer for some people, to take the lower route back to Monte. (Refer to the update above for Walk 10)

Portela to Porto Cruz (Walk 58).

Volume Two – Walk 65 – Rabaçal Lagoa do Vento
This trail has recently been refurbished providing stepped ascents and descents along its whole length making for a much easier terrain. The upgrade also includes new signage and diverts the path away from the previous wet and slippery sections referred to in the original text in Madeira Walks Volume Two.

Axarquia? Think Costa del Sol

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.

Dramatic coastline near Torre Caleta
Axarquia; Las Cuadrillas.

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.

Archez and La Maroma settlements, La Axarquia

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.

Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 1 of 3
Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 2 of 3
Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 3 of 3
Cerro de Caleta

 Find out lots more from Discovery Walking Guides HERE.

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.

Lanzarote – what an experience!

Walking in the Haria region of Lanzarote

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.

Lanzarote coastal adventure

Before you visit, get a really good map – and perhaps a walking guidebook.

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:

Lanzarote Toast Rack Thingy

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.

Amazon Customer

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.

Dylan

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.

Freddie

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.

Los Cocoteros, Costa Teguise

 

 

 

 

 

Tenerife – antidote to the winter blues

Wild Tenerife in Spring – wow!

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.

Tenerife – unspoilt rugged coastline in the island’s north-east (Walk 41)

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.

Roques de Garcia, central Tenerife

For more information and reasons to be on Tenerife this winter, take a look HERE.

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