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.
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”
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.
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.
“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 …
(Received 24 August 2018)
Forget the tabloid image of all-night clubbing, loud music and young visitors in various states of inebriation and undress.
The real Ibiza is a beautiful place, blessed by a wonderful climate with many hours of sunshine each month.
Numerous fine white beaches and little coves tempt the swimmer and sun-worshipper, while walking/biking trails meander through wild flowers underneath a canopy of fragrant pine woods.
A few Ibizan facts:
- Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean east of the Spanish mainland.
- It’s a naturally beautiful island with white sand beaches, turquoise seas and verdant pine woods, olive groves and wild flowers.
- The island has a long history of invasion by various forces including the Ancient Romans, the Vandas, Byzantines, the Moors, the Norwegians and were finally claimed by Spain. Nowadays, the ‘invaders’ are tourists.
- Ibiza is 572.56 square kilometres (221.07 sq miles) land area.The highest point of the island is Sa Talaiassa, at 475 metres (1,558 ft).
- The population is estimated at approximately 132,500.
- Eivissenc, a dialect of Catalan, is spoken on Ibiza, as is Spanish. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
- Though renowned for its clubbing scene, there are beautiful beaches, pine woods and walking/biking routes across the island.
Late summer, when most of the tourists have gone and the sun is kind rather than fierce, is a perfect time to explore this gem. Take the best map on your adventures – more info here.
Behind Spain’s Costa Blanca with its tourist resorts lies a mountainous region waiting to be explored.
When you’ve had enough of beaches, turn and look inland. Those rugged peaks are more accessible then you might assume. First impressions might suggest an arid, austere region; prepare to be surprised.
But, once you make the decision to explore on foot, bike or horseback, you’ll find green valleys between the rocky peaks. Villages and hamlets nestle in the mountain folds.
Today it was announced that the British Government is “looking afresh” at our National Parks which could lead to new additions to the 15 currently designated (the official website is HERE).
In the meantime, I wonder how many of our existing National Parks you’ve visited, and which is your favourite. One of the finest of the existing National Parks (in this author’s opinion) is Brecon Beacons.
It’s a beautiful and rewarding place to walk, where high peaks hide glacial lakes in ancient moorland, while man-made reservoirs and canals blend with their natural surroundings, and waterfalls cascade down secret gorges and canals.
Castles, churches and monasteries bear witness to the rich history and heritage that can be experienced while walking in this unique area of natural beauty.
“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.
Ah, Madeira! It’s an island that draws visitors back again and again, with its unique plant life, a wide range of wonderful walking from strolls to challenging mountain routes, and a benign climate, making it a year-round destination.
One of the best things about walking here is the sheer variety of routes. If you want gentle, level paths, there are many levada-side routes taking you through lush, natural green scenery. Mountain-lovers have a wealth of inspiring options to choose from. You want views? Wild flowers? Unspoilt villages? Short strolls? Challenging all-day routes? They’re all here.
Madeiran island authorities are well aware of the importance of walking to many of their visitors and do a great job of maintaining routes, keeping them open and safe.
If you’re thinking of a visit to the island, you’ll get much more value from your visit with a good guide book and map in your pocket. Have a look HERE for recommendations.