Residents on the Island of Lanzarote tell us that more visitors than usual have been enjoying the great outdoors on this unique island during November and December this year. The dramatic volcanic landscape is unforgettable, though is usually desert-dry with little natural green to see.
It doesn’t rain much (or often) on this arid Canary Island, so recent falls have been most welcome, bringing colour and plant life back to otherwise arid areas.
What a great time to visit! Warm days and sunshine (average of six hours per day in December, even more in January), plus the chance to see the colourful green swathes and flower carpets that happen for only a few weeks each year. Walk, hire a bike or car, or jump on a bus.
There’s plenty of interesting information about the island on the Lanzarote Information website; use the link below.
For more on this fascinating and often surprising island, including printed and digital mapping and walking information, take a look here:-
One of the great things about Tenerife is that you can enjoy the snow-capped peaks in the morning and have time to watch the sun go down from a warm, sunny beach that same day.
If you like lively resorts, Tenerife has them; if you prefer quiet settlements and small towns, you’ll find plenty of choice also.
The bus service on the island is pretty good. If you have to drive while back in your ‘real life’, it’ll be so relaxing to discover Tenerife by bus.
If you want to drive, there are car hire companies galore.
And the walking – it’s varied and surprising. If you fancy country strolls or want to scale the mighty Mount Teide (or anything in between), Tenerife will not disappoint you.
Tenerife’s south is drier than the north, mostly due to massive Mount Teide dominating the island’s centre and affecting the island’s micro-climates.
Teide stands above the vast volcanic peaks and plains of Las Cañadas. The easy way to get to this highest point on Spanish territory is via the exciting cable-car ride. On A clear day you’ll see for many kilometres with fine views of some of the other Canary Islands.
The verdant north includes the capital of Santa Cruz, home to some fine old buildings and modern shopping. One of the original resorts, Puerto de la Cruz, sits on the north coast with plenty to
occupy visitors. Further west along the coast lies the ancient settlement of Garachico. It’s a fascinating old town with an unusual black natural rock-pool coastal area and a swathe of petrified lava remaining from Mount Teide’s eruption in 1706.
To the north-east is the wild area of Anaga, a walker’s delight.
Dramatic and extreme geology on the west coast makes for plenty of ‘wow’ factor. The tiny settlement of Masca has to be seen to be believed though only drive yourself there (and back) if you have nerves of steel and no fear of narrow, winding mountain roads.
Los Gigantes is farther down the west coast, a larger and more modern settlement with a huge vertical set of cliffs plunging seawards with a narrow beach at their feet.
Inland from the west coast are walking paths and small settlements far from the tourist crowds.
The sun-baked south of the island offers wide choices of accommodation, beaches, night-life, sports facilities and shopping. There are also some great walks in this region too. For more information about the island of Tenerife take a look at Discovery Walking Guides’ website
There’s a brand-new edition of the highly recommended Tenerife Hikers’ Maps, out now. Find out more by clicking HERE.
What do you need for an enjoyable walking holiday when winter closes in on the northern hemisphere?
RELIABLE WARMTH AND SUNSHINE
A 5 hour flight south (from the UK) gets you to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. You can expect about six hours of sunshine per day (average) with highs of 20C in December though of course there are variations depending on the island and location.
Madeira is a bit closer and almost as sunny (around 5 hours) and almost as warm though the chance or rain is higher. That’s why Madeira is so green and floriferous!
A GOOD CHOICE OF HOTELS, NIGHT LIFE, SHOPS and RESTAURANTS
The Canary Islands and Madeira don’t really have a ‘closed’ season for tourism so you will find a wide range of accommodation, eating places, shops and night life. There are quieter, smaller places to stay if you want to get away from the ‘bright lights’.
EASY TO GET TO
There are plenty of flights all year round to the Canaries and to Madeira.
WHAT’S THE WALKING LIKE?
Each of the Canaries is unique, offering a wide choice of walks and challenging hikes. If you are looking for a pleasant stroll for an hour or two, a coastal discovery route or a full day in the mountains (or something inbetween), the Canaries are an ideal choice.
Madeira is rugged and steep, though the many levada walks (mostly level walks alongside narrow water canals) make it a walking destination with plenty of choice for all.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CANARY ISLANDS WALKING HERE:-
FOR MORE ABOUT WALKING ON THE GARDEN ISLE OF MADEIRA, LOOK HERE:-
It may not be as well-known as some of the other Canary Islands – that means there’s plenty of room for you to explore this bold, beautiful and dramatic island.
You want mountains and ravines? You want remote, unspoiled sleepy villages? You want abundant verdant woodlands, paths and tracks? You want endemic plant life found nowhere else? You’ve got them all on the island of Gran Canaria.
This third edition includes new walking routes, even clearer ways to show routes and other map features and all the detailed cartographic information that afficionadoes of the Tour & Trail series have come to expect and rely upon. Take a look at this small extract (left).
Detailed updating and addition of new walking routes and additional data have been researched by our ‘on the ground’ walking expert, ‘Rambling Roger‘ and his fellow walking researchers who know the island like the backs of their hands.
If you’re looking for an adventure away from the European winter, with almost guaranteed good weather and great walking (definitely guaranteed) then take a look at Gran Canaria.
Walk! La Palma – new 3rd edition
Authors: Charles Davis and Jan Kostura
ISBN 9781782750215 £12.99
La Palma is the most north-westerly and the steepest of the Canary Islands; arguably it’s the steepest island in the world.
If you’re looking for a walking destination that’s wild, beautiful and unforgettable, La Palma will not disappoint.
Here’s a sample map section; there’s one for each of the 37 routes, along with full walk descriptions, photographs and GPS information.
For more information about Walk! La Palma and the companion La Palma Tour & Trail Map see Discovery Walking Guides’ website.
Just arrived – Fuerteventura Super-Durable Map. HIghly detailed and right up-to-date and printed on a special polymer withstanding rain, wind and folding many times. The island appeals to windsurfers, cyclists, walkers and adventurers, and has miles and miles of pure, clean beaches too.
It’s an intriguing island with a timeless quality, the raw bones of the island shaped by a volcanic past. Unique – once experienced, never forgotten. Read more here
Here’s one of Chris’ photos taken while walking; a view from a col towards Gui Gui.
See the GPS record of one of Chris’ routes, a circuit of Mount Tauro, http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/695801198/share/0?lang=en
See lots more images taken by Chris while walking the island in Walking The World group on Facebook; click https://www.facebook.com/groups/discovery.walking/
And for information on maps and walking on Gran Canaria see http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/gcan.htm
Our thanks to Robert and Penny, recently returned from walking on Lanzarote. Here’s what they told us:-
We have just returned from 10 days walking in Lanzarote. Your book was a great help as there is little in the way of signs or clear path markers. Without your book we would have frequently got on the wrong
One comment, on walk 39, Caldera Blanca, We agree this was a
fantastic walk and the view from the crater rim were fantastic.
However, if we were to do this walk again we would have gone round the
other way (anti clockwise). The decent from the top was much steeper
and the path was full of small stones which required great care to
safely negotiate. We would have been much happier going up that way.
We walked in La Palma a few years ago and again found the guide great.
Thanks again for a great guide.
Robert and Jenny P
We’ve just returned from completing a cartographic survey of this surreal island. Once your eye and mind adjust to the fact that most of it is a vast, volcanic desert, you begin to appreciate its surreal beauty.
There are few towns and settlements, so if volcanic cones, calderas and barrancos are your thing, it is a ‘must-see’ destination.
Fuerte+ventura translates as ‘strong wind’ and this eastern Canary Island lives up to its name.
No wonder, then, that the island pulls in watersports people from all over the world, enjoying the challenge of the winds alongside the serene beauty of miles and miles of pure white beaches.
The island has a long history. Wandering the streets of the original capital of Betancuria (founded 1405) is a journey back in time.
Get up high on one of the mirador viewpoints to see amazing views of the scattering of volcanic cones with a few precious patches of green in the valleys. There’s very little rainfall here so agriculture is an uphill battle.
Goat farmers (delicious white local cheeses) and growers of aloe vera are more in tune with the harsh terrain and climate.
Now we have the raw data, our cartographer David is working on Discovery Walking Guides ‘Fuerteventura Super-Durable Map’ which we hope to publish in April 2015.
Our thanks go to Howard and Penny who recently returned from a walking holiday on the Canary Island of Lanzarote and have sent us these useful notes and updates for those who walk after them.
For more information about the book and map they used, see http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/lanz.htm
Dear David and Ros,
We have just returned from 2 weeks in Lanzarote guided by your excellent version 3 of Walk! Lanzarote. (We visited in 2008 with version 1)
We had a wonderful time and really had no issues at all in finding our way though a few little changes have arisen which we suspect arose after your visit. We particularly enjoyed some of the new routes.
Walk 13 The path from wp13 to wp17 has now been bulldozed out as part of the Orzola to Playa Blanca formal route so is now very easy to follow
Walk 22 This has now been upgraded into a defined path with illustrative notice boards and you are advised that stepping off the path is punishable. The English version of the notices are written in best Brussels Eurocrat speak so it is quite entertaining but the beauty of the place is not lost.
Walk 36 After the quite treacherous drop down to wp6 it was clear we were not wanted on the stone wall so we made a direct line for the extreme right end of the wall where we picked up the path. Looking at the footsteps we were not alone.
Walk 33 We set off up the path from the Recycling Bins at the start only for a lady from one of the houses to shout across to say we were on the wrong path. Clearly we were not the first walkers she had re-routed. The bins have been moved ca 75m up the road. The route begins from the path by the bus stop. How you got to wp 4 in 29 minutes amazed us, we were fairly close to your timings throughout the island but it took us close to an hour for this part of the route. We also struggled from wp 4-6 turning left far too early, it would have been clearer if wp5 had not been detailed and the route was described simply as aiming from wp 4 to the right hand side of the saddle where the track is clear at wp6.
Walk 39 Wonderful.
For those with restricted time we would combine walks 29 and 30 starting at wp1 in Haria and going directly to wp13 (a quick trip up to wp12 is well worth while) then continue to wp17 where you join walk 29 at wp4 and complete walk 29 from there.
Finally we wondered if anyone else had the same experience as us in Ye (walk 36). We were met at the church by two delightful small dogs who befriended us for the day, sticking with us all the way round. Sitting with us when we stopped to eat and then on return trotted off. They seemed to treat us as their dog walkers for the day. Has anyone else performed this service?
We see you are planning Fuerteventura, we have not been there so look forward to you guiding us around that island soon. One request though, please can you publish this with a ring bound spine, they are so much easier to work with.
Many thanks again
Howard and Penny
PS. Note for David, there is a new roundabout on the LZ30 where the LZ402 joins from Famara – a Cartologists work is never done.