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To give you a deeper understanding of our cycling and walking holidays in Europe, we like to introduce you to the On Track feature. This is a series of quick Q&A’s on a specific trip from the Sherpa Expeditions offer.
Today’s FAQs (frequently asked questions) are answered by resident guide John, who is one of our experts on walking in Tenerife.
#1 What aspects about the weather make Tenerife great for walking?
Tenerife has a pleasant sub-tropical climate with average daily maximums of over 20°C throughout the year, but it rarely gets too hot outside of high summer because of the prevalent north-easterly Trade Winds and because the island is cooled by the Canary Current. This means that temperatures are slightly cooler than would normally be expected at this latitude and keeps temperatures in the high-twenties rather than the mid-thirties.
The sun is very strong so you do need to use sunscreen and wear loose fitting clothes. The island is pleasant for walking year-round. Trekking on the coast and up in the mountains in winter time can be slightly colder due to winds and the altitude you gain.
#2 What is special about walking in Tenerife?
Clean air, fantastic lapis blue sea views over to other islands, extensive well waymarked trails, and the chance of finding a small bar or restaurant to take in a fish dish or tapas while drinking a nice glass of wine or golden beer. There is a great cheap bus service on Tenerife which enables you to really explore and do some full day walks. It doesn’t take too long to get to starting points and really get walking on some great mountain and coastal trails.
#3 What language do people speak?
Spanish is the language of Tenerife, with local dialects. It would be worth learning a few phrases in Spanish such as greetings, but many people who work in the hospitality sector speak some English. Being polite and asking if people understand English is always a virtue.
#4 As Tenerife is such a well-known island, are there still quiet places?
The island is quite densely populated on sections along the coast such as Los Cristianos, Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. There are also vast sections of cliffs and coast where there are just small holdings or wild terrain, you’ll discover these while walking in the Canary Island. In the interior of Tenerife, where the slopes of Mount Teide and the volcanic Caldera rise, there are very few settlements and it becomes a barren moonscape.
#5 Will we encounter other walkers on this trip in Tenerife?
The island of Tenerife is very popular with Dutch, German and British travellers. They usually come either for the beaches or for hiking and some of the paths do get a lot of traffic, but you will rarely feel as if you are in the crowds. At times around Mount Teide it can get busier due to the arrival of coach tourists.
#6 To what other region in the world can you compare Tenerife?
Well, you can compare a walking trip in Tenerife to the other volcanic islands around: such as La Gomera, La Palma, Hierro, Gran Canaria, and of course Madeira and the Azores, although these latter are much greener islands. Then globally, you can compare the landscape to the volcanic areas in Central America: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and parts of Mexico, these also have similar Spanish or Portuguese colonial heritage.
#7 What extra costs will I make on Sherpa’s Tenerife walking trip?
You can find very keenly priced restaurants and well-priced drinks as well as some very expensive places. What is nice is discovering a traditional restaurant that the locals are using and having a meal with a local wine for under EUR 25. Buses are cheap and you can purchase a Bono travel card for EUR 15-25 on arrival and keep it topped up for bus transfers. There is 1 bag transfer to Puerto de la Cruz (EUR 75) on day 3 of our Tenerife walking holiday, this has to be paid directly to your hotelier on arrival.
We hope this information has indeed answered some of the questions you may have had on walking in Tenerife. If you have other queries, please get in touch with John and the Sherpa team via phone or email.
Did you like this Q&A and would you like to get similar details of one of our other active Europe holidays? We’d be happy to hear about your suggestions.
Or if you like to be among the firsts to hear about the latest On Track Q&A destination, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.
With so many micro-breweries popping up these days, drinking a pint has been taken to the next level and many flavours and brews are available. From vanilla bourbon and cherries to citrus and chestnut beers, it seems there’s a beer to any taste.
The people around the Mediterranean were far ahead of their time and beer, known as the ‘liquid bread’, was an important part of people’s daily staple back in the day. It took however until 1996 for the island of Corsica to produce their own beer when Armelle & Dominique successfully opened their brewery. This year, at 21 years young, their first brew Pietra has come of age and is now typically found all over the Mediterranean island.
The chestnut beer came about after several years of studying, testing and tasting, which taught the brewers that chestnut has good brewing qualities. Today, the nuts give the beer its beautiful golden colour and distinct taste. Some of the supply must definitely come from around the charming old chestnut town of Evisa on the westside of Corsica.
Besides the offering of beer brewed with chestnuts, Corsica has always been a fascinating land with its 1,000km long coastline and more than 200 beaches that surround a mountainous (86 percent) interior. The Corsican mountains feature 21 summits of over 2,000m, as well as the GR20 (Grande Randonnée 20), the toughest long-distance trail in Europe and part of the European network of long distance trails. Another famous trail on the island is the Mare a Mare, or "Sea to Sea", which crosses the mountains from east to west. The island hosts lots of small festivals throughout the year and with its rich cultural heritage and dense forests is a fantastic walking destination.
Whether you are in search of a personal challenge or looking for an excuse to have an ice-cold ‘Pietra’ (the local beer made of chestnuts), finding a good reason to visit the third biggest island in the Mediterranean shouldn’t be difficult. The 8-day Corsica: Mountains & Sea walking holiday departs until October this year and then again in May.
For more information or booking inquiries, please contact our team of travel experts in London.
Few places in Europe celebrate autumn in such a dynamic way as Madeira…
Through a wide range of festivals, you can experience a lively autumn in Madeira. Most likely, your main reason to visit Madeira in September, October & November is exploring the Portuguese island on foot. But there are many more things to do in Madeira in autumn besides navigating the island’s ancient levadas and walking paths. From wine and apple cider festivals to celebrating the organ and stunning nature, below find an overview of some of the festivals to attend this autumn.
Madeira Wine Festival
When >> 27 August – 10 September 2017
Where >> from Estreito de Câmara de Lobos to Funchal (start & finish of the Madeira Island Walking trip)
What >> The wine festival has been running since the 70s and coincides with the island’s Wine Harvest Festival, European Folklore Week and street entertainment in Funchal. Late August/early September is when the annual grape harvest takes place in Madeira and attending these is certainly a reason to plan your travel dates accordingly. There are musical performances, ethnographic parades, demonstrations of old-style viticulture tools and even the opportunity to join in treading the grapes!
More >> madeirawinefestival.com
When >> 14-16 September 2017
Where >> the island of Porto Santo northeast of Madeira (ask our team for details on how to get there)
What >> The world-famous explorer once called home Porto Santo Island and each year in September, the island close to Madeira organises many events evolving around the epic Portuguese discoveries from the 15-16th century. You can for example witness the ‘disembarking of Columbus’, browse a 16th century market for food & craft, listen to orations as they were held at the time, and join in many of the other things to do at this time of year. Expect to be drawn back in time when visiting this small island close to Madeira in September.
More >> festivaldocolombo.visitmadeira.pt
Apple Festival & Apple Cider Festival
When >> 16 & 17 September 2017
Where >> Ponta do Pargo (on the far west of the island)
What >> In its 33rd year in 2017, the Madeira Apple Festival is a rural event to celebrate the ‘pêro’ – what Madeirans commonly call the apple. The small festival takes place in Ponta do Pargo in the western tip of Madeira and attracts apple farmers from the surrounding farmsteads. Festivities usually include apple cider tasting, a street parade, exhibitions, and several musical performances. Besides the festival, Ponta do Pargo is a charming town to visit on its own.
Madeira Nature Festival
When >> 3-8 October 2017
Where >> around the island of Madeira (check the stand at the Largo da Restauração for more info)
What >> Just like the Madeira Flower Festival in spring, the island’s nature festival celebrates all activities on the island that involve nature. The natural heritage of the island is rich thanks to its subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil and Madeira is even nicknamed ‘Garden Island’ or ‘Ilha Jardim’. Everything that you can do during the Madeira Nature Festival takes place on the land, in the air or in the sea and includes activities like birdwatching, mountain biking, levadas walks, sailing, and short leisure flights.
More >> madeiranaturefestival.visitmadeira.pt
Madeira Organ Festival
When >> 20-29 October 2017
Where >> Funchal, Machico & Porto da Cruz (which you’ll visit at the beginning of the walking holiday)
What >> The organ is a relatively unknown part of Madeiran heritage and can be found in several churches and cathedrals across the island. A series of 12 concerts will be held to showcase the instrument and beautiful music it can produce. The festival will have Portuguese and internationally renowned master organ players perform in stunning venues like the Cathedral of Funchal, College Church, Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Church of St Peter.
More >> festivaldeorgaodamadeira.com
Madeira is a year-round walking destination with pleasant temperatures to be in the outdoors and there are lots of things to in Madeira apart from walking. For more information and advice on planning your holiday, feel free to contact our team of travel experts in London.
The 8-day Madeira Island Walking holiday departs daily, year-round.
Discover the Surprises of a Majorca Walking Holiday
When browsing through the images we took on our recent inspection of the paths and accommodation in Majorca, we can feel the travel bug start itching again. With so many fantastic places, viewpoints and things to do in Majorca, the island is a perfect getaway for a week of walking. Good times to visit are the European spring (March, April, May) and late summer or autumn (September & October).
Whether you are interested in culture and history, agriculture, nature and geography, or are a foodie, the island of Majorca, with all its different facets, offers something to any type of walker. To give you an idea, we wanted to share some of our images with you so that you can see for yourself all that you can do in Majorca on your walking holiday.
1. Santuari de Lluc
When you search for things to do in Majorca, one of the top highlights that come up is Santuari de Lluc, or Lluc Monastery – and rightfully so. The monastery in the north-west of the Spanish island is the most important pilgrimage site of Majorca and is surrounded by impressive high mountains, forests and a network of walking trails. The 13th century building offers a hospitable place to stay and will be your personal sanctuary at the start of your trip.
The northwest part of Majorca is the most forested and when walking in or out of the mountains, you’ll often find pretty holm oak forests, but also woods of myrtle, arbutus and pine. The forests that cover the hills of this part of the island hide some interesting features, such as a forest nursery with an educational building, the 500-year-old ‘Encina d’en Pere’ (Oak of St Peter), and several sitjes. A sitja is a circular earth mound ringed with stones, which was used to make charcoal. Sometimes you can even find the remains of a stone hut dwelling near such a sitja.
3. Sierra Tramontana Mountain Range
The Sierra Tramontana, or locally Serra de Tramuntana, forms the backbone of north-west Majorca. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with 90km long it covers some 30% of the island and is home to several 1,000m peaks. The highest are Puig Major (1,443m), Puig de Massanella (1,348m), Serra d’Alfàbia (1,069m), Es Teix (1,064m) and Galatzó (1,026m) and we recommend ascending the peaks of Es Teix and Puig de Massanella for impressive scenery and views.
4. Església de St Bartomeu
The façade of this cathedral on the main square of the picturesque town of Soller is designed by Juan Rubio, a follower of Antonio Gaudi who designed the world-famous Sagrada de Familia in Barcelona. The church was built before 1236 and has seen several amendments over the years. It has features of different architectural styles and part of the Church of St Bartholomew even made up a section of Soller’s defence wall. Inside, the rose window with its stained glass is beautiful.
5. Wine & Vineyards
Perhaps less expected, but Mallorca is home to two wine-growing regions. A little south from the route of our walking holiday, you can find several vineyards that are part of the Vino de la Tierra Serra de Tramuntana – Costa Nord. There also are the more inland vineyards, which are part of the Binissalem Denomination of Origin. It is believed that wine was introduced to the island by the Romans back in the 15th or 16th century. Why not try some local wine during one of your meals...
6. Trails & Coastal Walkways
In Mallorca, the main walking routes are part of the GR (Gran Recorrido, or in French Grande Randonnée) network, which stands for long distance paths. Virtually all the walking we do in Majorca is carried out on this network of paths and trails, and wherever possible, we avoid the use of tarmac roads. With the peaks of the Sierra de Tramontana on one side and the north-west coast of Majorca on the other, this is one of the most spectacular coastlines of the Mediterranean. Walk in Majorca and you will follow bare mountain paths, the Archdukes’ Way and even an old mule path, interchanged by shaded forest paths and trails through terraces of olive, orange and almond groves.
The villages of the mountains, such as Valldemossa, Soller, Deia, Biniaraix and Fornalutx are particularly attractive, with their mellow stonewalls and flower-bedecked balconies. In Valldemossa we’ll stay in one such old house with good views over the village and surrounding hills. The town used to be home to Chopin and his mistress George Sand and the monastery where they used to live is now a museum open to the public. Out of Valldemossa, you can also follow the Camino de Arxiduque (Archduke’s Way), which is one of the first examples of a path built for recreational purposes.
8. Oranges & Orange Groves
The descend into Soller town from Mirador de ses Barques, is a very pleasant walk amid orange and lemon groves. You’ll walk through the town’s important history as Soller prospered because of the export of oranges. You’ll be able to get a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for just a couple of euros, or try the locally produced orange liqueur. Another thing to do in Soller is to take the tourist train to La Palma. Originally, the tramway was built in the early 1900s by orange growers to transport their fruits to the port of La Palma. We think the scenery is worthy and it makes for a enjoyable return day trip.
9. Seafood & Grilled Meats
Majorcan cuisine is hearty with plenty of grilled meats marinated in garlic and chunky stews loaded with fresh vegetables providing you with the perfect source of energy to get you through a day of walking. Since Majorca is an island, seafood is also a common staple throughout. Sea bream and monkfish are the two most popular fish dishes served grilled and smothered in all kinds of exciting sauces.
10. Casa de Robert Graves
In Deia, close to Soller, you’ll find the house where Robert Graves (1895-1985) lived on and off for 52 years. The famous British poet and author served in the British army during WWI, studied at Oxford University, and moved to Majorca in 1929. In his house in Deia he wrote two extremely successful historical novels, I Claudius (1934) and Claudius the God (1934), which were the base for a popular television series in both the UK and USA. A visit to Casa de Robert Graves allows you to tour the house and garden to experience it as it was in the mid-40s.
Visit Majorca on a walking holiday with Sherpa Expeditions for a piece of mind and to have your accommodation booked, bags transferred and maps & route notes in hand.
If you like to enquire about the possibilities of walking in Majorca or like to learn more about the 8-day Majorca: Sierras and Mountains holiday, do get in touch with our team of travel experts and they will be happy to assist you more.
From spring next year (2018), you will have even more choice to go on an active holiday in the UK as we will be launching several brand-new trips again.
Next year, we will be adding three new walking programmes spread out over England and the isles, plus a completely renewed cycling holiday that will follow one of the UK’s most popular walking trails.
Isle of Man Coastal Path >> new walking holiday
- Beautiful Coastal scenery on quiet trails
- Cultural heritage towns such as Castletown, Peel, Ramsey and Laxey
- Wildlife spotting opportunities
- Seascapes embracing views to England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
- Bathing opportunities
- A network of steam, electric, mountain and horse drawn railways
- Interesting histories to discover
The Richmond Way >> new walking holiday
- Magnificent Lancaster, Bolton and Richmond castles and the 'motte' (remains) of several others
- Ingleton Village and waterfalls
- Walking on ancient Roman roads
- Beautiful 'Green' villages such as Bainbridge and Reeth
- High limestone walking with views over the Yorkshire fells
- Beautiful valleys of Wensleydale and Swaledale
- Ribblehead Viaduct – a mecca for railway enthusiasts
The Cyclist’s Coast to Coast >> new cycling holiday
- Ride across England from Irish to the North Sea, crossing the Lake District and Pennines
- Biking through the hills & dales of northern England
- Attractive hamlets and traditional villages
- Industrial heritage, lead mines and the River Tyne
- A satisfying and very challenging ride
Jersey Island – Channel Island Way >> new walking holiday
- Discover legacy of wars, occupations & pirates
- Second part of the Channel Island Way
- Magnificent rock pools & sweeping dunes
- Follow rugged cliff paths sprinkled with wildflowers
- Charming seaside pubs & fishing villages
We are currently finalising the details for these new trips, so stay tuned on this page (perhaps you like to bookmark it) for updates and to find out when the trips are available next year.
If you like to enquire or like us to send you a message as soon as the trips are available online, please contact our team of travel experts in London.
Guernsey is well known for its beautiful scenery and fantastic food, so why not join the two together on your next trip?
For the third consecutive year, Guernsey is hosting the Guernsey Food Festival from the 15th-24th September. The event aims to support local food and drink producers as well as showcase the island’s wide variety of fresh produce, fabulous restaurants, well-known chefs and local delicacies. A visit to the island at this time of year is the perfect chance to taste all that Guernsey has to offer.
The festival includes plenty of events around the island for all to enjoy, ranging from beer-and-cheese-pairing to chilli-eating competitions. As different events are dotted around the island, it’s the perfect excuse to try some of the great walking itineraries and burn off some of the delicious food.
The first weekend of the festival focuses around the Big Guernsey Market on 16-17 September, where more than 40 food and drink stalls display the best of Guernsey cuisine along Crown Pier. There are also opportunities to join a boat trip around the oyster beds of Herm to see the island’s delicious delicacy of the Herm and Rocquaine oysters, or if you prefer to stay on solid ground visit one of the live food shows along the pier and watch top chefs prepare their favourite dishes live on stage.
The Grape, Apple and Grain Festival takes place over the second weekend from 22-24 September, when you can enjoy a variety of craft beers, real ales & ciders, and sample a variety of street foods from all over Guernsey, whilst enjoying the live music and entertainment.
Capital St Peter Port offers a range of restaurants where you can have a bite to eat before venturing to one of Guernsey’s treasures: Castle Cornet, guarding Guernsey harbour and with fabulous views of the island and neighbouring Herm and Sark.
On day 3 of our Guernsey walking trip, you hike along more rugged terrain and get close to the coastline to see the largest cave in Guernsey, Le Creux Mahié. Then go up to Les Tielles, a beautiful part of the cliffs with fantastic views, and a great place for a picnic.
Sherpa Expeditions’ walking holiday further takes you around the Bailiwick of Guernsey, following the Channel Island Way. The 110-mile route circles the island in daily stages, usually around 5-6 hours per day. The route takes you from the Guernsey capital, St Peter Port, to Petit Bot Bay, onwards to Perelle Bay and back to St Peter Port where you can then catch a ferry to explore Sark and Herm. There’s also the option of continuing to Alderney to explore the third-largest Channel Island.
- The Guernsey Food Festival is organised by Visit Guernsey and is ‘the greatest food festival ever to arrive on Guernsey’s shores’. It celebrates the island’s culinary side and, as it takes place in September when average temperatures range around 18°C/64°F, is a fantastic time to visit the island.
- Another big Guernsey event takes place in 2018 and is the Guernsey Heritage Festival from 30 March-10 May. This popular Festival returns for its fifth year and 2018 shines a spotlight on life in the Bailiwick of Guernsey under German rule and the islands’ subsequent liberation from the Occupying forces after WWII.
Text & images courtesy of Visit Guernsey.
5 Long Weekend Break Ideas for Europe
If you’ve only got a few days of holiday left this year, it does not mean there are no options to go away anymore. For those who’ve got at least 2 days of annual leave available and are looking for a weekend break in Europe, we gathered a few really short breaks across the continent and in England.
All of these short breaks depart daily, so it is entirely up to you to choose when you like to go. Perhaps you’re combining a break with a visit to overseas family and friends or saw a good flight offer. Our team in London can quickly support you with your request, leaving you to pack your bags and get ready for places like Tuscany, England’s Yorkshire Dales and the Swiss Alps.
Italy | Cycle San Gimignano to Siena
Delve into the magic of Tuscany from the walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano to one of Europe’s best preserved medieval towns, Siena. This iconic bicycle ride takes you through the typical landscapes that characterise this part of Italy. The trip is specially designed for those who want to experience the best of Tuscany’s palette of colours at handlebar level, but who only have a few days available.
You can take this European weekend break from March-November and it is graded as a moderate-challenging cycling holiday, find more info here >>
England | Yorkshire Dales Mini Break
Escape to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in northern England and stay at the Old Brewery, a tastefully decorated house that retains its old-world charm, yet offers every modern comfort. The bed & breakfast is a stone’s throw from the River Swale, at the foot of the castle hill, and just a short walk from the cobbled market place. This little break is perfect for several days walking surrounded by peaceful trails, quiet country lanes and sleepy villages.
You can take this trip year-round and it is graded as an introductory-moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>
England | Isle of Wight Cycle
Pick up your hire bike at the traditional seaside resort of Ryde, the largest town on the Isle of Wight, and let your holiday begin! This European mid-week or weekend break is deal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling break, the circular route is undulating and distances are kept fairly short, giving you time to stop and explore. Highlights include sophisticated Cowes, world famous for its regatta; the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey; taking the cycle path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line; the tidal estuary at Newport, known for its chain ferry; and Chale, the shipwreck capital of the British island.
You can take this short break in Europe from March-October and it is graded as an introductory-moderate cycling holiday, find more info here >>
Switzerland | Meiringen: Panorama’s of the Swiss Alps
Swiss Meiringen is famous for the Reichenbach Falls, a spectacular cataract that was the setting for the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. A natural transport hub situated at the convergence of three of Switzerland’s major passes, getting around is easy and it is possible to set out each day in a different direction using a network of cable cars, postbuses and mountain railways. A perfect setting for you a quick weekend break in Europe. The high places can be reached quickly without long uphill climbs out of the valley and you can fill a week with excellent day walks, from gentle strolls to high ridges.
You can take this short break in Europe from May-October and it is graded as a moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>
England | Exploring the Cotswolds
An itinerary specially crafted for those who want a soft introduction to walking in the English countryside. Highlights include the medieval wool town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the picture perfect village of Guiting Power, the atmospheric ruins of Hailes Abbey (destroyed under Henry VIII) and the still inhabited Sudeley Castle.
You can take this weekend break from April-October and it is graded as an introductory-moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>
More information? Download the complete trip notes via the blue button on the trip page or contact our team of travel experts for a chat.
Isle of Wight holidays for active travellers
A place which in many ways exists in its own time warp, the Isle of Wight is ideal for an active break. Half of the island is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, there are more than 300 miles of footpaths, it is easy (and cheap!) to reach and enjoys a milder-than-most-parts-of-the-UK climate. At Sherpa Expeditions, you have a choice of two Isle of Wight holidays and manager Tali Emdin explains why we’re quite big fans of the island.
Half of the British island is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
“Everything on the Isle of Wight is on a manageable scale – there are no huge towns or big industrial blights but long chalky downs, sandy beaches and enchanting woodlands. You will find plenty of seaside rock, ice cream and fish ’n’ chips, but also great British pubs, quiet paths, historical churches and gems of traditional villages.
Any given day along the famous ‘Coastal Path’ will take you through some wonderful areas...
Queen Victoria’s Osborne House is quite a sight (you can even walk down to her private beach for a peek of her original ‘swimming machine’). At The Needles Park, the backbone of the island dives into the sea like a dragon’s tail with chalky sea-stack scales. And seeing the sunset from the only surviving medieval lighthouse in Britain at St Catherine’s Oratory is definitely worth the steep walk up!”
Whether you are looking for a holiday on foot or by bike, you can choose from the following two breaks on the Isle of Wight:
Isle of Wight Coastal Walking
Spend a week circumnavigating the Isle of Wight and taking in its great natural beauty, enjoying glittering sea views across the Solent and the English Channel. Learn about its well-known white cliffs and sea-stacks around The Needles and of course take in miles of beaches on an Isle of Wight holiday. Following mostly public footpaths and minor lanes, there are several attractions to break down each walking day, including a visit to the holiday home of Queen Victoria, Osborne House and the thatched church at Freshwater Bay. You’ll also be walking through timeless seaside resorts such as Ventnor, Shanklin and Sandown and the great Palmerston fortresses.
Find out more >>
ON TWO WHEELS
Isle of Wight Cycle
Pick up your hire bike at the traditional seaside resort of Ryde, the largest town on the island, and let your holiday begin! Ideal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling break and an easy to navigate island. The circular route is undulating and distances are kept fairly short so that you will have plenty of time to stop and explore. Highlights of this Isle of Wight holiday by bike include sophisticated Cowes that is world-famous for its regatta, the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey and taking the cycle path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line. Cycle to reach the tidal estuary at Newport that is known for its chain ferry and on to the village of Chale, the shipwreck capital of the island.
Find out more >>
Both of these Isle of Wight holidays join in Ryde, the main port on the island. For more information, you can download the trip notes via the blue button on each trip’s page or you can contact our team of travel experts by phone or email.
To give you a deeper understanding of our cycling and walking holidays in Europe, we like to introduce you to our On Track feature. This is a series of quick Q&A’s on a specific trip from the Sherpa Expeditions offer.
Today’s frequently asked questions are answered by resident guide John, who was in Guernsey last year to see what there is to do on the Channel Island and to select the best trails for our new Guernsey Islands – Channel Island Way trip.
"Guernsey: An active holiday filled with quiet island hopping and coastal bliss!"
#1 Doesn’t the English weather on the Guernsey Islands prevent good walking possibilities?
The Guernsey climate is amongst the mildest and sunniest in the whole of the British Isles, being warmed by the adjacent Gulf Stream and so much further south. Every year, the Island of Guernsey enjoys up to 2,000 hours of sunny weather. During the summer months, the weather is not only sunny, with average daytime temperatures of anywhere between 20°C / 68°F and 25°C / 77°F, but also extremely dry.
April, May and June tend to be the driest months on Guernsey, when precipitation levels rarely top 120 mm / 4.7 inches for this entire period.
#2 What is special about Guernsey walks?
Guernsey and her islands have extensive white sandy beaches and medium-high cliffs with beautiful views. In, at least spring and early summer, this is being topped by some lovely flowers. It is all a little old-fashioned and each of the islands has a unique pace of life and history. Alderney Island seems wilder and has some great bird watching opportunities, Sark Island is a bucolic beauty, and Herm Island has lovely grass backed beaches. Guernsey Island has the most variety and is of course bigger.
#3 What language do people speak on the Guernsey Islands?
The Channel Islands were possessions of the Dukes of Normandy and when after 1066 they took over England, the islands were attached to the English crown. Although most place names and streets are in French, the Guernsey language ‘Guernésiais’, is a Norman French tongue, and you won’t hear much being spoken. People sound English generally and most who speak French are French tourists.
#4 What is a Guernsey holiday and exploring the island on foot like?
Guernsey is certainly getting busier. In the height of summer there are lots of holidaymakers on the beaches, in the capital St Peter Port and on the sister islands. At the same time, there is a surprising amount of countryside and this results in the coastal footpaths, except for perhaps on Herm, not being very busy. When approaching popular beaches, old Nazis fort sites, or when walking through towns it can be a little busier though. There is a surprising lack of development by a lot of the beaches and there are few kiosks or cafes on the Guernsey walks. Out of the high season, there are generally few people around.
#5 What 3 items should we pack for a walk in Guernsey?
- Binoculars... to spot the birdlife, such as puffins on Herm and a large Gannet colony on L’Etacs rocks of Alderney, and woodland birds Guernsey and Sark. You can even use them to spot seals on Herm Island and binoculars are useful for viewing the islands and Normandy from the varying islands,
- Swimming costume... if it is warm enough, and
#6 What extra costs will we make on this trip?
Walkers on this Guernsey holiday must set aside extra budget for ferries to Herm and Sark and the flight to Alderney. Other expenses will be for airport taxis or bus transfers and dinners, lunches and coffees & other drinks. Generally, things are slightly more expensive than much of the UK and the British pound is accepted. Guernsey does have its own currency however, the Guernsey pound, which has been used on the Channel Islands since 1921 and Guernsey still has its own £1 note, as well as a £50, £20, £10 and £5 note like mainland Britain. Some shops also accept Euros and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the islands. The other way around, Channel Islands notes and coins are not accepted in the UK.
There is no VAT in Guernsey but it is not a duty-free island. ATM machines are available at most high street banks in St Peter Port, the airport and selected sites, including supermarkets, garages and some out of town banks throughout the island.
We hope this information has indeed answered some of the questions you may have had on Guernsey holidays. If you have other queries, please get in touch with John and the Sherpa team via phone or email.
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With the six-week long Salzburg Festival taking place in Salzburg from the end of July until the end of August, these months are a great time to plan for an Austria summer holiday.
If you are planning a trip this summer to take in Austria’s spectacular scenery, we offer a number of trips that are great for cyclists and hikers alike. From June until mid-October, regions like the Dachstein Alps, Austria’s Lake District or the shore of the Danube River are fantastic to experience summer in Austria. Below, we choose three of the most exciting options.
Grab your hiking boots
Austrian Lake District and Dachstein Alps
Towering peaks, high mountain passes, alpine meadows and lakeside walks are all combined in this surprisingly compact area. The heart of Austria’s Lake District encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the impressive Dachstein Glacier and breath-taking rock faces up to 3,000 vertical metres high. Wander through mountain forests and alongside glimmering lakeland shores as you explore alpine villages of wooden chalets decorated with colourful window boxes.
Includes historic Hallstatt
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Best of both worlds
Innsbruck to Salzburg Hike & Bike
High above the ski resorts of Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps lend themselves to mountain hiking whilst the valleys connecting alpine towns en route to the ‘Sound of Music’ town of Salzburg are ideal for cycling. This itinerary combines both activities to ensure you get the most out of this scenic region, from hiking to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and passing tiny ski villages to taking a guided tour of the Moserboden dam or visiting an old salt mines and beer breweries.
Includes famous ski resort Zell am See - Kaprun
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At handlebar level
Follow the winding route of the Danube and discover the lively history of one of Europe’s most important rivers. Cycle from the elegant city of Vienna and cross northern Austria before heading into Slovakia. Here, vineyards climb the slopes of the Little Carpathian Mountains and baroque architecture is ever present. Wind past the unusual artist village of Szentendre and numerous delightful towns before reaching the capital of Hungary, where you should definitely check out Sissi’s favourite palace, which towers high above the Danube.
Includes border crossings between Slovakia and Hungary
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The Salzburg Festival takes place from 21 July – 30 August 2017 and if you cannot wait until next summer, there also is a spring edition, which in 2018 is from 18-21 May. The Austrian festival is celebrated since 1920, or even earlier since Mozart times. The festival showcases opera, drama and concerts and has established itself as the most important in its field.
For more information and for possibilities to add extra nights in Salzburg, please contact our team of travel experts.