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Three Day Adventure in the South of Catalonia

The Tierras del Ebro and its mountains, situated in the south of Catalonia, offer anything an adventure lover could wish for – pleasant boat rides, walking or horse-riding expeditions, paragliding flights for the most daring, kitesurfing for the more sports inclined or potholing for inquisitive minds, among many other activities. Here, then, is a selection of activities you can embark on to make the most out of your visit to these splendid climes during a three-day getaway.

First Day

Safari in the Ebro Delta
A good way of making your first contact with the Ebro Delta is by venturing across it. The crew at Natura & Aventura offer an interesting outing along its beaches, lagoons and rice paddies. An expert ornithologist will point out the most interesting species on the way, prominent among them being flamingos, which are sure to be the subject of some of your souvenir photos.

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Priorat
Imagine being able to see the vineyards of the Priorat from the air! With Parapente Montsant, you can do just that. Located in Cornudella de Montsant, they offer flights in a two-seater which will take you above the Serra de Montsant Nature Reserve, an experience you are not likely to forget ever.

Discovering Els Guiamets
After flying over the Priorat, we return to earth and head for the Guiamets reservoir, located in the heart of the Priorat, where the Centro Natura ServiKaYaK offers pleasant rides by kayak, pedal boat or fishing vessel. The idyllic scenery which accompanies the ride is the final flourish to your thrilling first day.

Second Day

The Seductive Sebes Nature Reserve
The second day also starts out in the Ebro Delta, but this time you embark on a guided tour of the Sebes Nature Reserve and the Flix meander. This area is known for its wetlands where you will again be treated to sightings of local fauna, particularly storks, and to exciting panoramic views from a number of observation platforms.

Underground Beauty Too
One of the more unusual attractions in the Tierras del Ebro is provided by the Benifallet Caves, commonly known as the “Cuevas de las Maravillas” (Caves of Marvels), where water has eroded the rock into a unique landscape. Make a point of including it on your wish list.

Third Day

Galloping Across the Montsià
A great way of exploring the Montsià mountain range is on horseback. The Carlos Cid Riding School offers outings through the mountains, following a route studded with olive groves, orange and carob groves, bulls, watering holes with bird-life and dry-farming land. A unique and entertaining way of touring the area. Be sure to sign up for it!

Kitesurfing in the Ebro Delta
Sports enthusiasts should take the opportunity to delight in the playful side of the Ebro Delta’s waters. One option is to try your hand at kitesurfing. The folks at DeltaKiteSup will guide you through your first few paces or bring out your more advanced kitesurfing streak. Take note!

Text and photos by Turisme Catalunya

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Nine Watersports in Tenerife

In addition to a long list of land-based leisure activities, the island offers another extensive gamut of sports and activities in the ocean. Tenerife is practically one huge outdoor gym, open 365 days a year. Its climate, landscapes and natural setting make it eminently appealing for doing sport, attracting professional and amateur sportspeople alike. Here are a number of sea-based sports and activities. They cater to all tastes, from those done solo to others involving pairs or the whole family.

Entertainment? The Sea is the Medium

The Atlantic Ocean’s waters are one of Tenerife’s great treasures, thanks to their perpetually crystal-clear condition and pleasant, stable temperature all year around. Here are nine sports that will make you want to never go back to the humdrum of the rat race.

Diving

Let’s start by putting our head under water. What can you see down there? The island boasts 60 diving spots fringing the whole coastline, with sandy or rocky sea floors or volcanic reefs. The seabeds are varied and teeming with life. Vision is incredibly clear on account of the crystal-clear waters that enable the sun’s rays to penetrate to a depth of practically 40 metres.

Free Diving

Let’s continue with sports involving immersion. Apart from the sea, the island has centres for learning or perfecting free diving. The sea temperature, the scant variation in temperature between depths of 0 and 50 metres (hardly 1 degree centigrade) and the acute visibility up to about 20–25 metres, are some of the striking diving conditions here. There are diving spots all around the island, but the best area is the west, on account of the unusual relief features, which make the temperature, currents and weather ideal for doing all forms of snorkelling and free diving. All the necessary equipment is available for starting out in this watersport or perfecting your technique.

Windsurfing

Here, the watersport par excellence is windsurfing. Some beaches are perfect for amateur windsurfers, notably El Médano, whose success lies in having more than 300 windy days a year. The town has stores that sell or rent out equipment, as well as repair shops and companies offering courses. Top-level competitions are held in Tenerife, including the World Championships.

Kitesurfing

As with windsurfing, El Médano (Granadilla de Abona) is one of the best spots for kitesurfing; indeed, it is actually one of the best in Europe. The winds are strong virtually year around and the water temperature ranges from 16 to 26 degrees centigrade between winter and summer.

Surfing and Bodyboarding

The island’s coastline is packed with places for surfing and bodyboarding – you can find the ideal spot for them virtually anywhere along its perimeter. The most powerful waves are on the north and northwest coastline, while in the south and southwest the breakers are less intense. The sea can, however, be rougher or calmer depending on the time of year.

Stand Up Paddle

This watersport is becoming increasingly more popular around the world. Ideal spots for SUP can be found along various stretches of the eastern and southeastern coastline. This activity can be done on one’s own, in pairs or with the whole family.

Kayaking

Kayaking has become very fashionable as it provides access to spectacular land formations along the coastline, notably the 600-metre-high cliffs known as Los Gigantes which include grottoes and coves. Kayaking is easy to learn – just try it and you’ll see!

Sailing and Dinghy Sailing

The island’s calm waters and pleasant climate make it ideal for sailing. It boasts a total of nine marinas (see here) for mooring vessels scattered especially across the south, but also the north, which makes taking up this sport a hassle-free affair.

Deep-Sea Fishing

This is a sport that is acquiring increasingly more enthusiasts. In addition to the island’s ideal climatic and sea conditions, Tenerife also sits along the migratory route of a large variety of species, including the blue marlin and tuna.

If you’d like to find out more about these sports and activities, as well as accommodation, specialist schools or companies, check out the offers at Tenerife No Limits.

Come and experience these sports for yourself. Check out our flights here.

 

Text and images by Turismo de Tenerife

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Lanzarote deportiva: ¿cómo preparar el Ironman más duro del mundo?

Ironman is a triathlon event with a swim course of 3.8 km, a bike course of 180 km and a 42-km marathon. 1992 was an Olympic year and one of marked change for Barcelona. That same year, 2,700 km south of Barcelona, Kenneth Gasque brought the Ironman to Lanzarote for the first time, having previously headed a sports centre on the island since 1983 and competed in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 1985. From the outset, he waits for each competitor at the finish. After 22 events, in 2014 I was one of the more than 2,200 participants who received a hug from that endearing man at the end of the race. You can be sure I’ll be competing again but, if you would like to train for it too, here are five tips to get you started. The next event is on 23 May.

1. Ironman is not necessarily an event for just anyone. What I mean is that, if you want to do triathlon, you don’t need to start with the blue-ribbon or longest event.

2. Set yourself a realistic goal and plan each detail carefully. Don’t forget the invisible training (nutrition, massage and rest), flight bookings, registration (be warned – it gets sold out!), accommodation, as well as preparing and thoroughly testing your equipment well beforehand.

3. Train on the island for a few days in advance. Knowing the island is key. Constant, 40-knot winds; gusts of up to 60 knots and running under the sun, at a temperature of over 30°C, with wind. Your bodily sensation is delusive because you feel cool, when in reality you are rapidly dehydrating. You have to learn to pedal into the wind while ensuring you stay hydrated and protected from the sun (sun block and cap). To prep for the event there are training centres such as the one run by the organiser, Club La Santa, or races like el tri122 Costa Teguise. Here are some guidelines if you are unable to get here a few days ahead: avoid broad-profile tyres and choose a gear ratio that will facilitate a high-cadence ride. There are no large passes but the wind is worse than in a category 1 mountain pass.

4. On the day of the race, don’t create barriers – flow and enjoy. Forget the stopwatch – Lanzarote is a race that depends on sun and wind conditions on the day, which is what determines the duration of each course, and you need to be prepared to adapt.

5. Come accompanied and pamper your “groupies”. For me, this is the most important point – your family and friends also deserve a prize. Start off with a hearty dinner after the race. I recommend the Italian eatery, La Casa dil Parmigiano, for dinner, after the event. It is next to the finish and has a relaxed atmosphere, despite the bustle of the race. But, make sure you book ahead! Then relax – they have years of experience feeding famished finishers.

It’s a good idea to again calmly savour the beauty of the bike course by later driving across Lanzarote (Cicar is the local car-hire company and you can pick up and drop off the vehicle at almost any point on the island). This way you can make tactical stops at key points on the course.

Landscape

Timanfaya and the Mirador del Río viewpoint are the most spectacular.  And, if you’re a vegetarian, you can stop to eat at the restaurante Puerta Verde in Haría.

Switching Off

Take a trip to La Graciosa, known as “the 8th island”, which can be reached by boat from Órzola. Once there, be sure to hire a bicycle and tour the island, and end up eating at the Restaurante Girasol. Order the fish of the day and the tarta de la abuela (granny tart), a stunning variation on your grandma’s Marie biscuits… and mine, too.

Local fare

The Teleclub de Tao comes highly recommended. For a light, traditional dish, don’t fail to try la vieja a la espalda con papas arrugadas y mojo.“La vieja” is a South American fish which in the Canary Islands is found mainly around Lanzarote – a simple but tasty, typical Lanzarote fish dish. A piece of advice if you’re a newbie – don’t come upstairs if you’ve had amojosauce that’s repeating on you!

Sun and Sea

From El Golfo, heading towards Playa Blanca, you come to the calas de Papagayo (Parrot coves), an ideal spot for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing to switch off altogether in the turquoise-blue waters, with views of Lobos Island off Fuerteventura.

Overdrive

if you’re not exhausted after reading through this posting, your thing is going into overdrive! In that case you should stop at Famara to do surfing or kitesurfing, in which you glide over the water pulled by a powerful kite. This cove is always crammed with surfers and you can take lessons from the pros. One of the instructors who can help you is José María Cabrera, who runs a surf school where you prep on dry sand before completing your training in the sea. I had a coffee with Manuel Lezcano, who explained how the school works. It seemed like a professionally sound teaching methodology based on safety.

I bet you’re now anxious to start training and live out the adventure on Lanzarote! Check out our flights here!

Text by Raúl Casañas

Images by Ginés Díaz, Ïoana Manolache

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Amongst beaches and dunes

Fuerteventura’s volcanic origin gives a great natural beauty, with miles and miles of white sand and turquoise sea, sun for the whole year and a very characteristic flora and fauna you’ll discover in the different natural parks. It is perfect for water sports such as surfing , diving , windsurfing and kitesurfing , with a lot of schools and training courses specilized in these sports , and it is also a good place for hiking .

Some things you should not miss if you visit Fuerteventura

Cofete Beach is located in the south of island and surrounded by mountains. It is easily reached from Morro Jable by a narrow road, though its complicated access makes it not too crowded . There are 12 miles of pristine beach , where there is no building but only open sea, has become one of the most famous of all the Canary Islands. Here takes place the traditional release of turtles to begin their new life in freedom. In the dock of Morro Jable you can also visit the turtles’s kindergarden. It opens to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 13:00 h.

Corralejo’s Dunes and its great beaches in the municipality of La Oliva, running from Three Islands hotel to Barreta’s beach . They are placed within the Natural Park of Corralejo’s Dunes , which has more than 2600 acres, and forms a landscape of exceptional beauty. Feel the tingle of turquoise waters on your feet and relax with that wonderful feeling that happens when you are in these desert dunes next to the crystal clear sea. Within the park it is also the mountain Esmeralda , a natural area of ​​great historical and geological value, some call it the magic mountain.

Opposite the Dunes Park there is Islote de Lobos, a small island attached to Fuerteventura which owes its name to the ancient seals that at some point came to populate the island, also known as sea lions. You can reach it by taking one of the boats that leave from the port of Corralejo. You can tour Islote de Lobos on foot or by bicycle, visiting some of its points of interest, such as the mountain of La Caldera, its coves and swim in its natural pools or explore the wonderful deep sea.

The ancient capital of Bentancuria is largely the essence of the island. Founded in 1405 by the Norman conqueror Jean de Bethencourt is at the bottom of a picturesque valley. Lose yourself in its local elegant craft shops. Some of the pieces are made with techniques inherited from the natives, and museums like the Casa Museo Arquebiologico or Centro Insular de Artesanía. Discover also its architecture, especially church of Santa Maria de Betancuria , fully restored and open to the public.

Picture by Thomas Fietzek

We’ll be there. If you want to come too, check out our flights here.

 

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