El Hierro is small, unique and unforgettable. It’s the most westerly of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, for centuries thought to be the westernmost point of the known world – until Columbus went further west to the Americas. He stopped off here to gather supplies before making his second voyage to the Americas.
El Hierro’s Punta de Orchilla was the original prime meridian of 0º established by Egyptian astronomer, mathematician and scientist Ptolemy (born c. 100 ce—died c. 170 ce). It remained earth’s prime meridian for over 200 years until 1884 when an international conference voted to move it to Greenwich, England.
El Hierro has only around 10,000 inhabitants and modest numbers of visitors. It’s small but offers a wide variety of landscapes from rocky cliffs to green meadows, hamlets and farms to ancient gnarled forests. You can hire a car, walk, bike or hire a taxista or explore by public bus at pocket-money prices. For all the travel information once you’re on the island see http://www.transhierro.com/
If you have already travelled to Tenerife you can either fly to the tiny capital of Valverde in 40 minutes, or ferry in about 2-3 hours. There are also flights from Gran Canaria (approx. 55 minutes).
El Hierro may be a small island, yet it has developed its own character and cuisine. They make excellent cheeses, wines and local specialties.
The island is in the forefront of using renewable energy sources. obtained from inexhaustible natural resources such as wind or waterfalls. A combination of hydro and wind energy at the Gorona del Viento Power Plant supplies a sizeable proportion of the island’s energy needs.
There’s a good website with plenty of useful and inspiring information:
If you’re tempted to visit, we suggest a really detailed and up to date map from Discovery Walking Guides
This wonderful festival had to be cancelled in 2020. The 2021 date was postponed – and now, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival is back! Held later than usual (from 09 October to 22 October 2021) it should make for an interesting experience for walkers. If you’ve been before, when the festival has typically been held in May, then you’ll enjoy your favourite walks and views in the glow of autumn colours this year.
Find all the information you need on the official website HERE.
Make sure you get the most out of your visit with a really good walking map. This one from Discovery Walking Guides is ideal; large scale, clear and waterproof tto. All routes are clearly marked and easy to follow. See the details HERE.
Great news! Last night (24 June 2021) the UK Government moved Malta to the green list for travellers from England. You’re free to go! Malta and sister island Gozo offer a wealth of experiences. The tiny limestone islet & bird sanctuary of Comino sits between them and is home to Blue Lagoon bay; there’s also a 17th century tower & chapel. The climate is kind and there’s plenty of walking adventures to explore.
The islands are rich in history (there are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites), having been inhabited since around 5900 BC.
Many of the powers that ruled the islands, from the Phoenicians to the British, have left their marks, making the islands a living museum.
With unique flora, architecture and beaches, a visit to the islands (25 minutes ferry connection between Malta and Gozo) offers plenty to interest and fascinate.
Discovery Walking Guides have published their Malta & Gozo Tour & Trail Super-Durable Map, ideal for walkers, bikers, adventurers and visitors. The map is also available for use on some GPS devices; click here for details.
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.
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‘.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.