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.
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.
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”
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).
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.
- It’s green, natural, not too rugged and with fascinating villages and small towns.
- 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.
- There are castles and a sense of history, with the Moorish legacy clearly apparent.
- The walking isn’t too vigorous overall though many routes will whip up a healthy appetite for sampling those hearty home-made dishes.
If you’re intrigued, find out what to see, where to stay and what to do (other than walking): HERE’s a USEFUL LINK.
There are a few great walks alongside the Brisbane River. This morning we took a ‘down the cliff-face’ old path, then walked along the south bank.
There were a few others about, yet in a few hours’ time, this area will be packed with tens of thousands of New Year revellers watching the fireworks launched from huge barges in the centre of the river.
For now, it was an enjoyable walk, wildlife adorning the route here and there.
So, almost 2018. Wishing all a happy, healthy 2018.