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 – 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.
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.
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.
Lanzarote – the Fire Island; volcanic, mysterious and mesmerising terrain, lava seas and alpine meadows. Other-worldly. Once visited, never forgotten.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to author-researcher Shirley Whitehead for these beautiful photos of her home island.
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)
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.
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.