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Hand luggage in summer – what can I carry on board?

Last summer you vowed not to leave packing till the last minute, but it's happened again... now you're in a hurry and you're not sure about what you can carry in your hand luggage this summer. As we don't want you to stress out before you go on holiday, we'll go over some items that you may not be sure about.

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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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7 unforgettable experiences in Marrakech

There are endless opportunities to dive into Marrakech, a magical and vibrant Maghreb city. We can not say goodbye to the city without visiting:

1.- Majorelle Garden

Majorelle Garden is the most important art work performed by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, designed during his stay in Marrakech at the villa where he was staying. 

It is a lush botanical garden rich in different species of exotic plants which Majorelle brought from his many travels around the world. It was opened in 1947 and closed in 1962. It remained closed until the designer Yves Saint-Laurent bought it and restored for later reopening in 1980, adding more plant specimens. The blue coloured walls in this wonderful palace contrast to the deep green of this paradise’s vegetation, full of cactus, palms, yuccas, lilies, coconut and banana, among many others. Exploring this unique paradise is priceless.

2.- El Palmeral

The Palmeraie (El Palmeral) more than 13,000 hectares of land that conform a particular and mystical ecosystem, full of palm.

Conservation is very important since it is the first supplying source of wood and dates in  Marrakech. This ancient park is often visited both in chaise or by camel. By about 100 dirhams (10 euros), you can take a camel ride along inside it. Rent a chaise with horses is a bit more expensive, from about 200-250 dirhams (20-25 euros), but it is also charming. The chaise ride takes about two hours and goes from theJemaa el Fna to Palmeraie Golf Palace Hotel, located at the furthest point in the area. You can also find a number of buildings and luxury hotels as well as some golf courses that only suits the wealthiest pockets. Is a fairly sightseeing tour but very pleasant and is worth trying the experience at least once.

3.- The Djemaa el Fna

The Djemaa el Fna, the most iconic and well known place in the city.

Here you will live a continuous show at any time of day. You get mesmerize by the dulled atmosphere made of smells of spices and those ones arising from the multitude of traditional food stalls.  Haggling is the marrakechi practice by excellence. It can be used without hesitation in this square and all over thesouk, which extends from the north of these narrow alleyways and labyrinthine passages into the heart of the city. Not to forget that they are used to haggle even in the stores themselves. From water or natural juices to taxis in the souk you may get all sorts of craft items and food and pay  a third part of their “real” price. The tajine, couscous, snails and lamb meat are some of the most appetizing dishes that can taste around here.

In this diverse activity center there is also room for a spiritual reality: the seers who read the hands or throw the tarot and snake charmers are the key characters in this mix of cultural movement. For those who love ostentation, there is a luxury restaurant called Al Baraka in the same square where you can mingle with high class people for eating typical delicious dishes while dancing girls dance around, it is is perfect for Ali Baba’s a thousand nights.

4.- Leather Tanning

The traditional process of tanning leather is one of the city’s oldest crafts.

The Moroccan tanners’ work is very hard, especially because of the stench given off by waste substances needed to carry out such work.

We recommend going with a guide who can detail perfectly this interesting procedure’s different stages and we should not forget to take a few mint leaves that are available at the entrance to help the nose soothe the unpleasant sensation caused by the smell . Living this experience will lead us directly to theMiddle Ages.

5.- Medina’s Teahouses

Medina’s Teahouses in Marrakech are a must on your trip to the Arab world.

Take a mint tea or spearmint, popularly known as Moorish tea in the Marrakech’s Medina is essential to make us feel as authentic Moroccan.

Some of the most glamorous and chic teahouses are the Arabic Cafe and La Terrasse des Epices. It is also highly recommended to try the exotic saffron tea.

6.- Hammams

A Hammam is a traditional bath room where you get fully relax.

Are also common in these centers the beauty treatments such as moisturizing and skin peels. There are different styles of hammam targeted for all ages and budgets. Although formerly attend this sort of Roman baths were an activity reserved for the rich, today it is a pleasant experience to suit everybody’s pockets. Some names of our favorites are Les Bains de Marrakech and La Maison Arabe.

7.- Ksar of Aït BenHaddou, Sus-Masa-Draa

The Ksar or fortified city of Aït BenHaddou is considered World Heritage Site since 1987.

It has been used as a location for many films such as Gladiator or The Mummy, because of it’s adobe-house architecture’s great beauty and the spectacular views it offers. It is a dream place that strikes for it is extremelly well maintained. Getting here is not easy, the journey is 200 km from Marrakech by vehicle through mountain ports, which takes about four hours. Once arrived there, you will forget all the effort that has involved getting into a new world merged by ocher, green palm trees and blazing blue sky.

Picture by Donarreiskoffer

By Blanca Frontera

A place well worth discovering! Check out our 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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