Tag Archive | mountains

The Azores Islands – good to visit now!

The Azores are on the UK’s Green Travel List!

The Azores (a region of Portugal) are a group of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, offering a gentle climate and unforgettable landscapes. If you are a walker or simply a visitor who wants to drink in the sights, these unique islands will not disappoint.

The Azores, photo by Natanael Vieira on Unsplash

The islands are divided into three groups:-

The Eastern Group (Grupo Oriental) of São Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas Islets
The Central Group (Grupo Central) of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial
The Western Group (Grupo Ocidental) of Flores and Corvo.

Ponta Delgado, The Azores, photo by André Mendonça on Unsplash

For mountain lovers, you’ll find Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m There are many other impressive peaks to be discovered.

Mount Pico, The Azores, photo by Pablo Sievert

There’s a wealth of walking trails to be followed, enhanced by wonderful views and flourishing unique endemic plant life.

Ribeira Grande, Flores, Azores. Photo by Vdugrain

The largest of the islands is São Miguel, where ancient laurel forests and a wealth of endemic flora thrive. The landscape on all the islands is rugged, with extreme peaks; lakes hide in volcanic craters and hot springs confirm the islands’ volcanic geology.

Sete Cidades, The Azores. Photo by Chris Slupski on Unsplash

Tempted to visit? Before you go, why not plan your adventures. You will need a detailed, up to date map. If you want to do any walking on the islands, you need a map that clearly shows the walking trails.

We recommend Azores Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map, from Discovery Walking Guides Ltd.

Madeira – good to go from May 17 2021!

It’s been a long wait but at last, people may travel from England to green-list Portugal from May 17. This includes the beautiful island of Madeira (and its little sister Porto Santo).

Here’s the link to the British government’s official website detailing coutries on each of the lists and what this means for English travellers.

The harbour at Paúl do Mar, Madeira

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 a wealth 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.

Levada Nova, Madeira

There’s useful information for visitors to the Garden Island of Madeira regarding arriving on the island and the safety measures that are in place HERE.

Achada do Teixera, Madeira

Late Spring and early Summer are perfect times to visit Madeira. The rugged terrain is graced with an abundance of native trees and unique endemic flowers, easily enjoyed on many of the levada walks which also lead you into Madeira’s heart from village to hamlet.

Orchis maderensis
Aloe aborescens clinging to Madeiran cliffs

Our thanks go to walking researcher and author-in residence, Shirley Whitehead, for her beautiful photos of Madeira.

The Amazing Island of La Palma

La Palma is the most north-westerly and the steepest of the Canary Islands; arguably it’s the steepest island in the world.

Walk la Palma Walk 10 The Southern Volcanoes ascending Teneguia

La Palma – walking on volcanoes

If you’re looking for a walking destination that’s wild, beautiful and unforgettable, La Palma will not disappoint.

07 [03] Views from Pico Birigoyo (Wp.9) EDITED

Views from Pico Birigoyo

The steepest island in the world, the deepest crater, the clearest skies: volcanoes you can climb without being shot into orbit; a subtropical forest ; 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.

31 La Cumbrecita landscape mode EDITED

La Cumbrecita

Discover this remarkable place on foot or by bike. Take a look at more information including Walk! La Palma guidebook and the newly-published 7th edition of La Palma Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map.

 

 

Another Challenge?

Challenge No.2 The Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Great Britain offers many opportunities for discovering the outdoors, from gentle strolls to big challenges. Here’s one of the big ones. You could plan to tackle the Yorkshire 3 Peaks yourself, or simply lose yourself in the experiences of others who’ve planned and completed the climbs and descents, following them step by step from your own armchair.

On the way to Whernside from Ribblehead

Key to success in completing the Challenge Routes in good time is planning, down to the finest details. It’s fascinating to find out how it’s done.

Ingelborough; the half-way point

A good large scale map, rip-proof and waterproof is an essential tool. Find out about the most helpful ‘how to’ guide and the best map for the job here.

Heading towards Whernside

 

Pen y Ghent in the early morning

 

Our last peak – Pen y Ghent crags

Are You Up For A Challenge?

Challenge No.1 The National 3 Peaks

With the Christmas/New Year break coming up for many, why not plan to complete the National 3 Peaks Challenge. If that’s a bit too energetic, experience these iconic ascents and descents from your armchair. Here’s a few images to tempt you.

Snowdon – the highest peak in Wales.
Starting the last leg of the descent from Ben Nevis.

Find out how to plan your own Challenge. Get the best ‘how to’ advice from those who have completed it. Get the best, detailed up-to-date maps to keep you on track.

Standing stone at the junction of the Pyg and Miners’ Tracks

Axarquia? Think Costa del Sol

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.

Dramatic coastline near Torre Caleta
Axarquia; Las Cuadrillas.

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.

Archez and La Maroma settlements, La Axarquia

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.

Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 1 of 3
Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 2 of 3
Walk 10 (free sample walk) Page 3 of 3
Cerro de Caleta

 Find out lots more from Discovery Walking Guides HERE.

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.

Gran Canaria – it’s a whole new world

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.

Fuerteventura? Yes,please!

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.

High above the resorts (Fuerteventura)

High above the resorts

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.

Looking across to Corralejo (Fuerteventua)

Looking across to Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Discover the island by bus, on foot or by bike to get a real feel of authentic Fuerteventura’s countryside and little white villages.

Iglesia de Nuestro Senora de Regla, Pajara (Fuerteventura)

Iglesia de Nuestro Señora de Regla,Pájara

 

Watersports are really big here too; note that Fuerteventura translates as ‘strong winds’.

Fuerteventura east coast

Watersport heaven on Fuerteventura’s east coast

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.

Dusk (Fuerteventura)

Nightfall, 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.

More Than A Coastline – Costa Blanca’s Mountains

Costa Blanca Mountains - Castell de Castells

Costa Blanca Mountains – Castell de Castells

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.

 

Costa Blanca Mountains - Vall de Laguar

Costa Blanca Mountains – Vall de Laguar

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.

Costa Blanca Mountains - Puig Campana

Costa Blanca Mountains – Puig Campana

There are many walking tracks and paths, some signposted. To get the most from adventuring here, get hold of Costa Blanca Mountains Tour & Trail Map and Walk! The Costa Blanca Mountains.

Brecon Beacons – a jewel in Britain’s crown

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.

Brecon Beacons - on Pen Allt-mawr

Brecon Beacons – on Pen Allt-mawr

Brecon Beacons Sgwd yr Eira

Brecon Beacons; Sgwd yr Eira

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.

Brecon Beacons - Llangattock (Walk 21)

Brecon Beacons – Llangattock

 

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.

Brecon Beacons - on Walk 11

Brecon Beacons – views in all directions

 

Find out more about the walks in the Brecon Beacons HERE.

 

 

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