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FULFIL YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS... BY TRAVELLING

Take up a sport, lose weight, stop smoking, learn English... Whatever your new year's resolution or wish, you'll achieve it. All you need to do is travel! And here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

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Cabo de Gata Natural Park

Located 30 Km from the city of Almeria, the Cabo de Gata is the most important natural park in the entire Mediterranean region due to its size and ecological significance. Visitors can enjoy some spectacular walks, sunbathing on its virgin beaches, bird watching in the marshes and wetlands, water sports, visiting its charming villages, cycling or horse riding.

The Natural Park comprises the entire area between the towns of Cabo de Gata and Carboneras. Along the way can be found a large number of small, particularly charming villages, such as San José, Las Negras, La Isleta del Moro, Agua Amarga and Rodalquilar.

The best beaches are those of Mónsul, Playa de los Muertos in Carboneras, El Playazo de Rodalquilar, La Fabriquilla in Cabo de Gata, and the bays of San Pedro and De Enmedio, along with many others.

Picture by Mihael Grmek

So you feel like visiting Cabo de Gata Natural Park, do you? Book your flights here!

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Gran Canaria A Paradise of Contrast on Two Wheels

Gran Canaria has become the favourite destination among cyclists in the last few years owing to the good climate on the island and the challenging routes it offers. The island has hosted professionals of the calibre of Alberto Contador, entire pro cycling teams such as Tinkoff, world champion triathletes like Daniela Ryf and Stöckli’s Swiss mountain bike racer, Jolanda Neff. But, the fact that it’s teeming with pros does not mean they have exclusive rights to the land – amateurs can also delight in touring it on two wheels. Here is what is special about this island, and my recommendations.

Advantages of Gran Canaria as a Cycling Destination

- The mean annual temperature is 21°.

- Direct flights from most European airports.

- Good, tarred roads with little traffic, as well as cautious drivers accustomed to cyclists.

- The land elevation is almost 2,000 metres (1,949 m) in the Pico de las Nieves, considered to be one of Europe’s toughest mountain passes, together with Mortirolo, Angliru and Stelvio. However, here the advantage is that the temperature is much warmer than in Asturias or the Alps.

- Marked scenic contrasts, ranging from white sand dunes in Maspalomas to tropical parkland in the north of the island, to the oasis in the Fataga Gorge.

Practical Tips

Accommodation. If you’re seeking tranquility and vegetation, the best option is to stay in the north. A good spot is the Bandama Golf Resort, which forms part of the oldest golf course in Spain, located in the Bandama Caldera with its noticeable volcanic presence. Nearby you will come across the vineyards of the Bodegón Vandama, offering delicious dishes well worth trying. And, if you require other services, as well as sun and long afternoons, the Barceló Margaritas in Maspalomas is a good choice, with the broadest culinary variety to be had in the hotel itself. Remember that, if you want to pedal, you’re going to have to rest and eat properly.

Essential routes and sights. The number of places you visit will depend partly on the length of your stay. Detailed descriptions and route times can be sourced at the Strava cycling community. Following are the key points, and a rundown of what to expect in terms of your level, to help you plan your itinerary.

Pico de las Nieves. This is the highest point on the island, situated in its centre. On a clear day you can pick out Mt Teide on Tenerife and Roque Nublo from there. Different access routes are available. The toughest route – which I would not recommend, unless you’re a seasoned climber – is the Ingenio por Cazadores, which reaches gradients of 23%. Next comes the ascent from Ayacata, which you get to from Maspalomas, while the easiest route is on the north side, via Cueva Grande. You need to take the climb leisurely. Once at the top, apart from some fine views, there is a food station where you can refuel.

Tejeda. A mountain village with excellent gastronomic offerings. If you’re planning a route on a non-competitive day, this is an ideal spot for stopping to enjoy some traditional island cuisine.

Three Big Dams (Soria, Las Niñas, Chira). It is surprising to come across so much water on the south of the island. All the dams are connected by district roads with virtually no traffic. If you’re after peace and quiet, this is a great route.

Maspalomas Dunes. For those who have never seen sand dunes, this is a must-visit destination, featuring dunes worthy of the Sahara. My advice is to go there at dusk, when the light is at its best.

Fataga Gorge. It starts just past the Degollada de las Yeguas, and the scenery ranges from a desert landscape to a “valley of a thousand palm trees”. Those who have been to Morocco will feel like they’re still in the Draa Valley.

Artenara. Located in the Tamadaba Nature Reserve, the vegetation here is different from the rest of the island, the prevailing species being the indigenous Canary Island pine.

Puerto de Mogán and Güi-Güi Beach. Puerto de Mogán is near the great dams route, while Güi-Güi beach can be reached on foot and is well worth visiting.

If the weather is still bleak and cold where you live, don’t think twice – get away to Gran Canaria and discover the island on two wheels. Book your ticket at Vueling.

 

Text by Raúl Casañas

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From the Heart of Tenerife

Tenerife as a destination has options for a variety of holidays in an enviable climate. Its 22°C mean annual temperature, which virtually blurs the borderline between summer and winter, is one of its major assets, but not its only one. Another is its scenery and natural surroundings, ranging from dense laurel forest (similar to the vegetation that covered Europe in the Tertiary Age, some 20 million years ago) to beaches, coves, charcos (natural pools) and – why not? – the Teide National Park.

Tenerife No Limits – Land Sports

Healthy lifestyles have caught on in recent times and Tenerife has acquired added value as a holiday resort also offering outdoor sport and activities. Indeed, Tenerife is practically one huge outdoor gym, open 365 days a year. Its climate, landscapes and natural setting makes it a veritable paradise for both professional and amateur sportspeople. In hardly half an hour you can go from working out at sea level to doing so at an altitude of 2,000 metres. Following is a rundown of some of the many possibilities for doing land sports and other activities in natural surroundings, apart from those in the sea or air:

Hiking. The island boasts some 1,500 kilometres of walking trails, both official ones and those pending approval. They traverse Tenerife’s 43 protected natural spaces, accounting for almost half (48%) the island’s surface area. Each trail is unique, distinct from the next. One of the most striking is the Gran Recorrido 131 (part of the E-7 long-distance footpath), which comes from the European continent and crosses the island from north to south, a route stretching 83 kilometres that runs through all kinds of landscape, including Mt Teide.

Caving. The island features Europe’s largest volcanic pipe, known as the Wind Cave. It is 27,000 years old and 17 kilometres long, if we add up the tunnels at all levels. The tour lasts about two hours and immerses the visitor in a fascinating, dark and mysterious realm.

Climbing. Tenerife is also a paradise for rock climbers, with its myriad volcanic rock faces to be scaled. There are options for everyone, from beginners to experts.

Mountain biking. Lovers of this sport can enjoy some 200 kilometres of bike trails crossing the island. Most of these paths run across the heights of Tenerife, but set primarily in the Corona Forestal Nature Park. This is a comprehensive network of trails, many of which have parking areas, transport and services at their start and finish.

Cycling. The island is covered by a broad road network in very good condition. Many of the roads go though areas with little traffic, well suited to cycling. You can cycle at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres, at the foot of Mt Teide, or at sea level. Hundreds of world-class cyclists come to Tenerife to train for such races as the Tour de France, the world championships and even the Olympic Games.

Tennis and paddle tennis. Over eleven sports complexes are available to enthusiasts of the racket and paddle on all types of surface – clay court, Plexicushion and synthetic. There are also ample facilities for playing pelota and squash.

Golf. Eight top-notch golf courses, designed by golfers of the calibre of Severiano Ballesteros and Dave Thomas, make this island one of the destinations to seriously consider for playing this sport.

Accessible sport. Here, too, there are facilities for playing accessible sport. The island is one of the training centres for local, national and international Paralympics, featuring such complexes as Tenerife Top Training.

If you’d like further information on all these sports and activities, or on accommodation and specialised schools and companies, check out the offerings at Tenerife No Limits.

And, to discover the island first-hand, you have to see it for yourself. Check out our flights here.

Text and images by Turismo de Tenerife

 

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