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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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Holland The Bicycle Paradise

The bicycle is clearly one of the identity traits of the Netherlands, as are their canals, windmills and tulips. The flat terrain, with hardly any slopes, and the fabulous infrastructure available for this ecological means of transport, makes it the ideal land for cyclotourism. Following is our selection  of four itineraries for discovering Holland from a healthier perspective, both in terms of environment and fitness.

Route Through Amsterdam

A comfortable, entertaining way of touring the Dutch capital is by emulating most of its inhabitants and pedalling through it on two wheels. Riding comfortably along the city’s streets poses no problems, as Amsterdam is fully cycle-aware and caters specifically for bicycles. You should, however, be mindful of the rules governing the use of cycle lanes and cycling areas; otherwise, you are more than likely to be on the receiving end of a reprimand.

In addition to getting about the historic centre in search of landmarks, we recommend you head for Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest), where you can indulge in nature to the full. Located four kilometres from the centre, this huge park acts as the city’s green lung and leisure area. Take note!

Tulip Route

The best way to enjoy spring in Holland is by pedalling through the countryside carpeted in tulips. The most spectacular sightseeing period is in April and May, when the tulips come into flower. This route, which starts and ends in Amsterdam, will bring you into contact with nature in all its splendour. It runs for 305 kilometres and lasts 8 days, taking you to such towns as Gouda, known for its cheese; Delft, famous for its blue ceramic; Leiden, the birthplace of Rembrandt, and Haarlem, where you should make a point of visiting the museum dedicated to the painter, Franz Hals. The highlight of this itinerary is Keukenhof. This huge park, regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe, is located between the towns of Leiden and Haarlem.

Windmill Route 

Another iconic landmark of the Netherlands are its windmills, which also have their own bicycle route. The point of departure and arrival is Bunnik, located next to Utrecht, and the itinerary involves covering 200 kilometres in six days. The high point of this trip isKinderdijk,a polder situated at the confluence of the rivers Lek and Noordt which is drained by a system of 19 windmills built around the year 1740. The route will also take you past Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities in Holland, and Gokum, set amid some fantastic scenery.

North Sea Route

The North Sea coast has some beautiful spots that make a cycling getaway well worth your while. To see it in all its splendour, we propose an itinerary of under 50 kilometres, running from The Hague to Zandvoort, which affords some beautiful sea views and takes you past lovely beaches.

You can obtain maps of these and many other routes, with details of each itinerary, from the Dutch Tourist Board. Book your Vueling here and venture through the Netherlands on their star means of transport – the bicycle.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên, Mandie, Tarod

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Autumn Delight in Majorca

After the hot, bustling Majorcan summer crowded with tourists seeking the sun and fabulous beaches, autumn arrives and, with it, tranquility, at one of the most beautiful times in the year to visit the island. The weather is still good enough to go on excursions around the island and the number of people you are likely to encounter is infinitely lower. Just one hitch – on any outing in this season, you are likely to find many beach bars and summer businesses closed. However, it is well worth taking the risk, especially if you’re hankering after some peace and quiet and are eager to relax amid some of the most picturesque Mediterranean scenery.

Stroll Around Palma

One of the first things to do on the island is to enjoy its capital city and seek out traces of its past in the historic centre. The many sites you should make a point of visiting on your itinerary include the formidable Cathedral – where works by artist Miquel Barceló are featured in the Santísima Chapel – the Almudaina Palace, the Lonja and the Plaza Mayor. And, be sure to head for Santa Catalina, the city’s trendiest district, where you can enjoy the varied culinary offerings, among other things.

Enjoy the Beaches

Have the last dip of the season on a solitary beach, enjoy a magnificent sunset or go into contemplative mode and delight in the splendid views – these are some of the pleasures to be had in Majorca at this time of year. Boasting almost three hundred beaches – be they sandy, rocky or shingle – and secluded coves, you are sure to find the ideal spot for switching off from everyday noise.

Take Part In Nature Activities

The island’s good weather all the year around and the wealth of possibilities it offers make it the ideal spot for doing sport in natural surroundings, particularly cycling and hiking. Devotees of cyclotourism can either check in their bike or hire one, and then set off on main or district roads, cycling comfortably from one village to the next while enjoying the scenery to the full.

Hiking enthusiasts should make a point of heading to one of the most beautiful spots on the island, namely the Serra de la Tramuntana mountain range, which has areas of acclaimed ecological value such as the island nature reserve of Sa Dragonera or Torrent de Pareis and the Fonts Ufanes, both of which are listed as natural monuments.

Birth-watching buffs take note – Majorca is a great spot for bird watching as it is a place of passage for numerous migratory species in the months running from autumn to spring. Among the various activities related to this pastime is the event known as the I Mallorca Birding Race, a bird-watching marathon held from 21 to 23 October.

Taste Their Wine

Majorca boasts some 70 wineries, a great reason for embarking on a wine-tasting tour of the island. The most popular route is through the DO Binissalem, which includes the following towns in the centre of Majorca – Santa María del Camí, Consell, Binissalem, Sencelles and Santa Eugenia. This route will take you to such classical wineries as José Luis Ferrer and Vins Nadal, and others which have not been on the market for so long, notably Celler Ramanya. Curiously enough, off this route and outside this DO is the 4Kilos winery, home to the enologist, Francesc Grimalt and one of the founding partners of SÓNAR, Sergio Caballero.

Fire up and take your autumn getaway to Majorca – book your Vueling here.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Cristian Bortes

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Fine Wine in Beer Land

At some spot between Ingolstadt and Nuremberg, the Bavarian accent becomes gentler, the wind blows a little further down and wine competes with beer as the local beverage. This is Franconia (Franken) and, as locals never fail to point out, the Franconians – who live in the wooded hills and on the banks of the river Main – are very different from their outgoing southern cousins.

The wine producers in the north-east of the region make sublime white wine, sold in a characteristic tear-shaped bottle known as the bocksbeutel. For open-air enthusiasts, the Altmühltal Nature Reserve is an ideal area for hiking, cycling and canoeing. However, it is Franconia’s incredible towns – Nuremberg, Bamberg and Coburg – that attract most visitors. But, let’s concentrate on that marvellous elixir that has captivated human beings since the dawn of time.

Wine – the Soul of the Region

The wine of Franconia is not merely a beverage, but a celebration of the senses. It is welded into the DNA of the whole region. Its presence is felt everywhere. To see how influential it is in the landscape, suffice to go walking or cycling on the banks of the river Main, or to visit Würzburg Residenz Palace. Its presence is also tasted in the culinary creations of local chefs and in the taverns. Moreover, in Franconia, wine is extolled at festivals and trade fairs –Heckenwirtschaften– dedicated solely to wine.

The region’s mild climate is propitious for the production of this delicious beverage. It is continental, with very cold winters and mild summers, meaning the grapes mature very slowly. The soils are highly varied, being formed of coloured sandstone, granite, limestone and some slate, so that each soil type yields a different kind of wine. The coloured sandstone yields red wine, while the granite and limestone are ideal for white wines. Grape-growing has been an important and constant activity here for over 1,200 years. It is a joy to explore the wines of Franconia and all their nuances.

This wine-producing region lies east of Frankfurt and some 65 kilometres from the Rhine. The vineyards are planted on the south-facing slopes along the river Main and encircle the city of Würzburg, so this is the only vinicultural region in the state of Bavaria. Franconia is divided into three districts – Mainviereck, Maindreieck and Steigerwald – formed by the shapes adopted by the Main’s meanders. It is worth a trip along the river to get an idea of how varied the area’s vineyards really are. The main types of grape are the Müller-Thurgau, Sylvaner and Bacchus.

Wine Cellars and Taverns

Wine cellars have proliferated lately. True, the consumption of white wine has increased markedly in recent years. They put it down to the economic crisis – white wines are usually cheaper than red – and to global warming – wine served cold is more appetising. The great advantage held by Franconia’s wines is undoubtedly the exceptional grape varieties grown there. And, the exuberant architecture of the wine cellars provides added value for the senses. Here is a list of the wine cellars and taverns specialising in the area’s leading wines.

DIVINO Nordheim
Langgasse 33 · 97334 Nordheim a. Main. Website

Fränkische Flaschenpost
Kirchplatz 2 · 97236 Randersacker
Tel. +49(0)931/30489627

Vinothek im Kuk
Rathausplatz 6 · 97337 Dettelbach. Website

Vinothek Iphofen
Kirchplatz 7 · 97346 Iphofen. Website

Vinothek Sommerach
Kirchplatz 3 · 97332 Sommerach a. Main. Website

Weinforum Franken
Hauptstraße 37 · 97246 Eibelstadt. Website

Winzer Sommerach- Der Winzerkeller
Zum Katzenkopf 1 · 97334 Sommerach a. Main. Website

Have you got that? Then come and discover the wines of Franconia. Check out our flights here.

 

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Alexander Von Halem, Goegeo, VisualBeo, FrankenTourismus/Fraenkisches Weinland Tourismus/Hub

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