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Make Island Hopping in the Canaries Worth Your While
Jun 26th, 2017 by Tom Kerswill

The Canary Islands are a popular holiday destination, but most people stick to just one for the duration of their break. However, it is possible to broaden your experience of the Canaries by island hopping.

Your self-catering holiday villa can provide the perfect base for exploring the different islands, whichever destination you choose.

Getting About

For island hopping purposes, the best means of getting about is by using ferries. With the hydrofoil and high-speed ferry services, island hopping is far less time consuming, while remaining relaxing and pleasurable.

The main airports of the Canaries are Fuerteventura, Tenerife South, Las Palmas for Gran Canaria and Arrecife for Lanzarote. Once at your main destination, you can explore the ferry and boat links to the other islands.

 

Tenerife

This is an ideal ferry destination for island hopping because it has a bit of everything, from imposing volcanic landscapes to the tourist-friendly centres of Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos.

Explore the vineyards of La Orotava, or go whale watching off the coast. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest mountain, and the world’s third highest island volcano, situated in Teide National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy the spectacular views by riding on the Teide Cable Car.

Tenerife is also the main hub for inter-island sea traffic, so you’ve plenty of choice for where to hop to next from here.

 

Gran Canaria

This island is home to Las Palmas, the capital of the Canaries, which dates from 1478. It’s on the eastern part of the island, and has two bays with the popular beaches, Playa de las Canteras and Playa de las Caravaneras.

Gran Canaria is often described as a continent in miniature, because it consists of such varied geography and climates. Places of interest include the large bird sanctuary at Palmitos Park, and the Maspalomas Dunes and Maspalomas Lighthouse.

Also check out the village of Puerto de Mogán, known as Little Venice because of its many canals; and the archeologically significant Painted Cave of Galdar.

 

La Gomera

With its dense woodland, lush vegetation and deep ravines, La Gomera is an ideal destination for walkers and hikers.

These green slopes form the Garajonay National Park, and there are some 350 kilometres of walking trails. On La Gomera, there are streets made of sand, and the inhabitants still speak an ancient whistling language, Sibo, devised to help them communicate across the island’s landscape.

 

Lanzarote

Beyond the beaches and clubs, Lanzarote presents an eerie, alien vista of red and black volcanic rock and its famous lava tubes.

Some of these form the Green Caves, or Cueva de los Verdes, a large cave system which includes a concert hall carved into of it.

Lanzarote’s vineyards grow celebrated local Malvasia wines, which you can enjoy while experiencing the island’s long, sunny days.

There are daily ferries from this northernmost of the Canaries to Fuerteventura, and the journey takes around 25 minutes.

 

La Palma

Another of the Canaries with a varied geography, La Palma is known as the beautiful island for its beaches, its stunning greenery and dramatic volcanoes

The entire island is a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve. It has 1,000 kilometres of paths for walkers, through prehistoric forests, past waterfalls and up the island’s peaks.

And at night you discover another quality to La Palma, its incredibly clear skies, making it a great place for star gazing. Astronomers love the island for this reason, but you don’t have to be an expert to experience the beauty of the stars from high on La Palma.

Exploring Volcanic Fuerteventura’s Varied Coastline
Jun 12th, 2017 by Tom Kerswill

Whether it’s the beach, the exploration, the food or the nightlife, the island of Fuerteventura has plenty to keep you occupied, while giving you the space to relax as much as you want.

Less than 100km off the African coast, this is the oldest of the Canaries, and the largest. It boasts 152 beaches along its coastline, many of which are dazzling white sand, while others are a contrasting black, volcanic shingle. There’s barely any rainfall here and the temperature rarely falls below 18º centigrade, or rises above 32º.

In short, for many it’s the perfect island destination. And if you choose a holiday villa as your base, this gives you an open itinerary for exploring and experiencing Fuerteventura’s varied attractions and locations.

The island’s natural coastline is, itself, a big draw, offering beaches, landscapes and places to explore.

 

The Best Beaches

Obviously, with 152 beaches to choose from, there is a lot of choice. However, some of Fuerteventura’s beaches are so strikingly beautiful that they set a whole new standard.

Sotavento has 17 continuous miles of unspoiled, white sand. This lengthy beach stretches down the south east coast of the island, and while some parts of it are popular, and therefore get quite busy, others are deserted.

Swimming conditions are ideal, with the sea a comfortable 21º all year round.

Getting to Sotavento beach is very easy. There are places to park all along the coastline, if you’re driving, or there are plenty of buses leaving from all the major towns on the east coast.

At the north of Fuerteventura is Corralejo beach. This is six miles long, bordering a national park. With its palm trees and sand dunes, it’s another idyllic setting. You can reach it from the island’s highway, the FV-1.

From Corrlejo there are regular boat trips to Isla Lobos. You can explore this tiny island on foot in just a few hours, but it has some wonderfully secluded beaches, and it has great snorkelling – its protected status means there are plenty of fish in its waters. Lobos island also comes with its own volcano, so if you tire of beach life you can always hike to the top for some spectacular views.

 

The Protected Peninsula

The south westerly tip of Fuerteventura is another protected area. This is the Península de Jandía, a rugged landscape of cliffs and empty plains.

It provides a dramatic contrast to the beaches of the north and east, and is an opportunity to explore another side to the island.

If you’re feeling confident and adventurous enough, you can hire your own four-wheel drive to drive along the winding cliff roads, or alternatively, take the bus to experience the ride and views.

 

Caves and Coves

On the west coast is Ajuy, an area full of rocks, caves and coves. It’s a great area for walking and taking in the natural, dramatic atmosphere.

The footpath makes the caves more accessible from the top of the cliffs, and you can also reach them from the beach.

The beach at Ajuy is black, volcanic sand, contrasting with the crystal clear water. It rarely attracts many visitors, so provides a peaceful place to relax after exploring the caves and coves.

Ajuy town is small but welcoming, and it has plenty of seafront restaurants offering great local food.

This varied coastline is just one of the many aspects making Fuerteventura an ideal destination for a villa holiday.

Fascinating Betancuria at the Heart of Fuerteventura
Jun 5th, 2017 by Tom Kerswill

Much of the Canaries’ attraction comes down to them being the ideal holiday destination, with glorious weather and vast stretches of white, sandy beach.

However, if you’re going on a self-catering break to a holiday villa in Fuerteventura, you might just want to consider what else there is to do there, because, strange as it seems, you can have too much relaxing on a beach in the sun.

Luckily, there are plenty of other things to see and do in Fuerteventura when you want a break from the beach, due to the island’s history and heritage.

The Old Capital and Turbulent Times

Betancuria is the old capital of Fuerteventura, before the advent of tourism transformed the island so dramatically. Along its cobbled streets, you’ll experience a sense of a past that still resonates beneath the modern island, and is carried on through its culture.

Jean de Béthencourt founded Betancuria in 1404, hence the name, during the Castilian invasion of the island. Because Betancuria was some distance from the coast, many there believed it would be safe from invading pirates, and therefore the ideal spot for a settlement.

In fact, Moors and Berbers raided it several times during the early 15th century, and the British had a go at invading it in 1740, but were defeated at the Battle of Tamasite by the Spanish.

From the 19th century onwards, as the island’s power and economic centre shifted, Betancuria declined in importance until it was officially stripped of its capital status in 1834.

With the growth of tourism in the 1960s, more inhabitants migrated to the coast, leaving behind Betancuria and the island’s interior.

 

Historical Architecture

The Iglesia de Santa María was the first church built on the island, and is a combination of different baroque, renaissance and gothic architectural styles.

This is because it was rebuilt several times during the island’s more troubled history, with the Berbers burning it down in 1593.

The historic bell tower survives, however, as do other aspects of the church; and the interior has several elaborately decorated baroque altars.

On the outskirts of the town are the ruins of a late 15th century monastery, San Buenaventura. This convent was last used in 1937 and now stands as a ruin, alongside its small, disused companion church, which has undergone extensive restoration.

In the heart of the designated Betancuria Natural Park, is the Casa de Santa María, a house dating from the 17th century. It has been carefully renovated in the traditional Canarian style and is now home to a local museum and craft centre, along with a café and restaurant. It also has a 3D cinema showing spectacular underwater footage.

Also in Betancuria are the Museo de Arte Sacro (Musuem of Sacred Art), containing many historically important religious relics, and the Casa de Museo de Betancuria, displaying various architectural objects found at excavations in Fuerteventura.

 

Great Views

A little way out from the town centre are a couple of vantage points presenting spectacular views of the island.

The Mirador Corrales de Guize is located at an altitude of 600 metres and provides a panoramic view of the stunning local scenery. It’s hard to miss as it’s marked by two enormous bronze figures. On a clear day, you can see the El Rincón Valley, the mountain peaks of Morro Veloso, Morro de la Cruz and la Atalaya, and Betancuria itself.

The other vantage point is at Mirador Morro Veloso, north of Betancuria, towards Antigua. This has a café bar at the viewing point, and offers great views of the dramatic landscape.

Villa rentals in Cyprus – a new travel guide
Feb 22nd, 2013 by Tom Kerswill

Latchi Harbour in Cyprus - the ideal location for a villa rental

Cyprus – Latchi Harbour

We’d love to get some feedback from readers on our new guide to villa rentals in Cyprus. We’ve been doing loads of improvements on both the Villaseek main site, and this blog, over the last few weeks — and we’re looking forward to rolling out more and more of that over the next few months. We’ll also be pulling these into the main site, so it’s easier for people to find the ideal location for their holiday.

Villa rentals in Cyprus – a guide

One thing we’re really focusing on is our travel guides. These highlight the main areas where we list holiday villa rentals, and we will be adding more of these soon.

The latest addition is our guide to Cyprus villa rentals. Cyprus is the third-largest of the Mediterranean islands, and its warm, balmy weather make it the ideal location for a villa holiday. One thing that I did not know until reading Sam’s article, is that Mount Olympus actually has a small ski slope, with four pistes!

Northern Cyprus

We’ve also included a little bit about Northern Cyprus. If you are looking for a quieter break, then this area is really worth taking a look at. The Karpas Peninsula (the “pointy” bit at the North West of the island) is a fantastic spot for nature and is home to its own species of wild donkeys (the Karpass donkey).

We’d really love to know what you think about the Cyprus guide… And especially useful would be to have feedback from villa owners in Cyprus. One of the things we are passionate about is linking holidaymakers direct to the owners, and so harnessing local knowledge is key to that. So we’d love to hear any comments that you have.

Which holiday destination should we write about next? Let us know!

Tom

Updating the villa guides
Jan 14th, 2013 by Tom Kerswill

Villaseek regional guides

We’re going through and refreshing our villa destination guides over the coming weeks. First up is the Spain guide. We’d love to hear any comments you have on these guides. We’re aiming for a short-and-snappy overview, which makes it easy to click through and view holiday villa rentals in the region you’re interested in. Happy browsing!

A few minor updates to the management system
Dec 19th, 2012 by Tom Kerswill

Hi villa owners

We’ve made a few minor updates to your villa management interface and availability calendar today. Nothing major — mainly behind-the-scenes updates, ready for more new features and improvements in early 2013. If you have any problems or questions at all, just let us know.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2013!

Tom and the Villaseek team

List of accessible villas in the Canary Islands
Nov 28th, 2012 by Tom Kerswill

I just got a call from somebody looking for accessible villas in the Canary Islands. Each of the holiday villas on Villaseek has an accessible icon, which villa owners can switch to “on”, to indicate that their villa is wheelchair-accessible and suitable for disabled access. But it occurred to me that there’s actually no easy way to search for these at the moment on the site. I’ll begin work on fixing that: we’ll add a “search for accessible villas” tick box on the site. But for now, here is a list of the villas we have in the Canary islands which give disabled access.

Although this will give a good idea of which villas to look at first, it’s always important to contact the villa owner and double-check that the villa is accessible. Nearly all the people letting villas on Villaseek are individual owners, so they should be able to give you lots of info about the holiday property and the area before you travel:

In terms of individual villas we list, try:

We also list quite a few small agencies on Villaseek, and here are the ones which offer accessible villas:

Happy searching! We’ll update this as soon as we’ve added the facility to search for accessible villas directly on Villaseek…

Blog updates
Mar 13th, 2012 by Tom Kerswill

Dear villa owners,

If you ever have bits of news and info about the area your holiday villa is in, do let us know – we’re always interested in including stories and articles about your areas. Drop us a comment on this blog post, or get in touch with the site via the contact page.

Thanks!

Tom

Holiday Villas and Cottages magazine warn of an online phone scam
Feb 3rd, 2012 by Tom Kerswill

Warning – credit card losses from impersonation

We’ve received the following email from the editors of Holiday Villas and Cottages magazine, which is relevant to all people who advertise their property on villaseek.com and any other web site or magazine:

Please be aware that a number of advertisers in our publication Holiday Villas & Cottages have recently received calls from sales people improperly claiming to work for, or on behalf of, the magazine.

In a number of cases individuals have been persuaded to hand over credit card details after being offered renewal of their advertisement booking at a low price, subject to immediate acceptance of the offer and payment by credit card. Their card is then debited in that amount, often several times.

No written or email confirmation is supplied until after payment has been taken.

Any advertising supplied as a result appears to be in a freesheet style publication, not in a bona fide magazine.
These calls are not in any way connected with Holiday Villas & Cottages, Merricks Publishing Ltd, holidaycottages.cc.

Calls to our advertisers are almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone advertising in any publication or on any website could be called by these people.

If you receive an advertising sales call seeking a repeat booking in any publication/website and you have any doubts at all as to whether it is genuine, ask the caller for his/her name and the name of the company and publication, then call that publication (making sure you call the genuine number, not one that you are given on the pretext that ‘the switchboard is always busy.’) In our case, the number to call is 01458 274447.

Allegations of improper sales activity of this sort have been covered by the BBC and discussed online, for example:
here and here.

If this has already happened to you, call me, Hamish Watson-Grey, or e-mail info@merrickspublishing.com and we will advise what steps you can take to recover your funds.

With kind regards

Hamish Watson-Grey
Managing Director
Merricks Publishing Ltd

An easier way to login to your VillaSeek customer area to administer your Holiday Villa
Mar 13th, 2011 by Tom Kerswill

A few of you have been asking us for the ability to login to your admin area using your VillaSeek / Holiday Villas reference number, rather than having to type out your email address each time. We’ve now implemented this… it will save some of you a bit of typing!

Let us know if you have any feedback / issues with signing in to your VillaSeek customer area….

Tom
VillaSeek website team

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