Rather than staying inside and hibernating this winter, we’d rather be out in the fresh air experiencing some of Europe’s milder climates and beautiful landscapes. With that in mind, we’ve selected our favourite winter walking destinations; from the Canary Islands to the Maltese archipelago. Enjoy these locations away from the crowds and heat of summer for a relaxing, rejuvenating winter break.
This small archipelago holds average annual temperatures of 19°c, one of the highest in Europe. Having a colonial history spanning centuries, the islands offer walkers some of the most stunning views anywhere in the Mediterranean. Expect to find fossil-studded cliffs, hidden cave chapels and mysterious prehistoric sites. Gozo, the second largest island in the group, is intersected by tracks and lanes and is an excellent walking region with moderate terrain. it is particularly known for its interesting archaeology and the dramatic Ta’Cenc cliffs (pictured).
The Portuguese region of Madeira is noted for its wine, endemic flora and fauna and the unique, UNESCO-listed, subtropical Laurel Forest. Lying in the Gulf stream, Madeira boasts an equable and mild climate year round. Starting in the bustling capital of Funchal, you can experience the natural and unspoilt charm by following the elaborate system of levadas or irrigation channels on foot, making the most remote parts of the island accessible.
3. La Gomera
Prepare to be blown away by lush green valleys descending to the breathtaking sea cliffs on one of the smallest of the Canary Islands. La Gomera is the secret paradise for walkers, where routes follow old donkey paths and forest walkways within the Garajonay National Park. Features of walking holidays here include impressive rock formations and a myriad of plants such as hibiscus, juniper and papaya. The route has some challenging gradients and showcases the Island’s culture, homesteads, small vineyards and large rock peaks.
4. La Palma
Another of the Canary Islands, La Palma has some excellent self-guided walking opportunities. Its trump card is its scenery, declared a biosphere by UNESCO in 1983. The island upholds its natural tapestry, evident in the Taburiente National Park where you will be surrounded by the caldera peaks, waterfalls and dense canarian pine forest. Experience the changeable landscapes from east to west and enjoy the famous wine from the small village of Fuencaliente whilst taking in the picturesque rugged coastal views.
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