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.
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.
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.
How about the quiet beauty of Brittany (France), or fascinating Malta and Gozo?
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:
Canary Islands: Gran Canaria
La Gomera & El Hierro
Mainland Spain: Costa Blanca Mountains
Sierra de Aracena
Costa del Sol
Balearic Islands: Mallorca
Malta & Gozo
2019 looks like being a good year for bargain holidays. Apparently, the unusually long, sunny summer of 2018 in the UK and large parts of Europe made staycationing a logical choice. As a result, travel companies, airlines and hotels offering holidays in many popular European resorts had a lean time of it last year. As a result, there are some attractive prices around for 2019.
If you’re looking at a Canary Islands break, there’s additional good news. The islands’ president wants a special deal for British tourists and hopes to get rid of IGIC (VAT) to make the islands even more attractive.
Each of the islands offers different experiences. Flight time from the UK is approximately 4 hours. And the blue skies and sunshine? Ah, that’s what keeps most visitors coming back again and again.
The best known of the Canaries is, perhaps Tenerife, offering something for everyone. The highest peak in Spanish territory, great beaches, wonderful walks and bike rides, seafood, local fruit, vegetables, cheese and wine .. if you’ve not been, you’re missing out.
Want more reasons to take a trip to Tenerife ? Have a look at ‘Tenerife – antidote to the winter blues‘ and ‘Tenerife South Walks – Back To The Future‘.
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.
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.
“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.
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
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:
- Playa Santiago to Targa With Variation (Walk 10)
- Degollada de Peraza to San Sebastian (Walk 1)
- Playa Santiago – Baja de Guane – El Aguila – La Trinchera – Playa Santiago (Short Walk)
- 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.
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.
4.1 Playa Santiago To Targa With Variation (Walk 10)
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)
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.
- 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?”
Thanks David! User feedback is like gold!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
MAPS AND WALKING GUIDE BOOKS FOR LA GOMERA
For information about large-scale maps, digital mapping information and walking guidebooks, take a look HERE.
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.
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.
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.
Day Trip – Island Hopping Nº1
Going to Lanzarote? Hop to Fuerteventura!
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?
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.
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:
There’s a useful website for those wanting more information about hiking and biking on Fuerteventura; take a look at: