How to prepare a Google maps offline map

How to prepare a Google Maps offline map and save data volume.

In this short article, I will show you how to prepare a Google Maps offline maps for an offline use while travelling. With this “how to.. ” you save a lot of data volume, which is of course very helpful when travelling to areas with expensive roaming charges. When travelling within the EU (with an EU sim card) you will at least save data volume.

If you have a rental car on site, you can also save the extra charge for a separate navigation system (if cars without navigation systems are rented at all). In combination with a simple mobile phone holder your mobile phone becomes a navigation system for you.

You can simply delete the offline map(s) from your mobile phone after your trip. Speaking of storage space: depending on the size of the region, you may need some storage space on your phone. For our trip to Lanzarote (read more here) the memory requirement was about 26 MB.

How the Google Maps offline maps are created works as follows:

The first step is to start the Google Maps App. Then type the region or city you want to download an offline map for in the search function.

Let’s take our last trip to Lanzarote with Arrecife as an example.

In the next step, simply tap twice on the search result in the lower part of the screen – as you can see in the picture on the right, using Arrecife as an example: first tap: selection to Arrecife on Lanzarote, second tap: extended selection.

In the upper right area of the screen there is now a button with three small dots on which you have to tap once.

In the lower part of the screen further options appear, among others the function “download offline map”.

Please tap once.

Final spurt for the Google offline map… take another look at the section selected by Google.

You may have to adjust the map a little bit (move it with one finger, zoom in / out with two fingers).

Depending on the size of the offline map, you will be shown the approximate amount of memory required.

Last step after the cutout is suitable for you:

“DOWNLOAD”

Done!

Unfortunately, at some point the most beautiful vacation or journey is over. Every offline map is provided by Google with an expiry date after which the data is automatically deleted.

You can also delete the data from your mobile phone beforehand: simply call up your account in the Google Maps App in the top right-hand corner. In the next selection window you will see the item “Offline maps”. Select the map you want to delete and confirm the deletion.

Done!

Lanzarote in January

Lanzarote in January

Lanzarote in January – a great volcanic island

Lanzarote – the barren volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean with its incredibly exciting landscape. Our destination in January 2020 and a great recommendation for all sun lovers, who would like to take a few warm days in winter. Lanzarote in January is a really beautiful holiday destination. The island belongs to the Canary Islands and is the fourth largest island in the archipelago after Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. In total, we had one week on the spot in order to get to know Lanzarote in January. By the way, did you know that the whole island was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993?

​Is one week enough to explore the island?

We have seen quite a lot of Lanzarote. One week simply passes much too fast and Lanzarote offers a lot for such a “small” island. With two or three days more, surely one or two more relaxing beach days would have been added. Bathing in Lanzarote in January is really possible with some effort, whereby you should always pay attention to the local advice for your own safety. The currents at the coast are partly very dangerous and from time to time there are reports of serious accidents. By considering these tips, you can spend some very nice days on the beach. The sun is warm in the midday hours. A small tip: buy sun cream before you go to Lanzarote (even in January). As it is the case in many other holiday regions, when buying it during the holiday, you feel like “robbed”.

How big is big?

Lanzarote is relatively small with a length of approximately 58 km (north-south) and a width of approximately 34 km (east-west). Nevertheless we decided to book a rental car for the whole week. The really low price of about EUR 75,- made our decision very easy. By the way, we made the booking in advance via internet in Germany, which was the right decision according to the local prices of the rental car companies on the island. Important for us: because of only small price differences, we chose the fully comprehensive insurance without excess as a criterion.

Where to in Lanzarote in January?

In principle there are three bigger touristic places, which also offer good possibilities in the evenings with promenades, bars and restaurants. The biggest place is Playa Blanca at the south, then Puerto del Carmen at the south of Arrecife and Costa Teguise slightly at the north of the island capital. By the way, the only airport of the island is located relatively centrally at Arrecife. Of course, there are much more places that offer rather small accommodations.

Driving on Lanzarote

Those who get along well in small villagesl and also have no problems in cities like Hamburg or Berlin will not find a challenge in Lanzarote. It might be advisable to save an offline map of the island on your mobile phone at Google Maps before your holiday (check here my article, which I wrote for you: how to create Google maps offline maps). With offline maps you save your data volume. The Canary Islands belong to Spain and therefore to the European Union. For you (with an EU sim card) it means that you will have no problems with data roaming.

What to do on Lanzarote?

Even though Lanzarote is not a very big island, it can be felt to do many things. If you are sporty and like surfing, you will surely find great waves in many places. In the air you can paraglide. You like nature and you are interested in volcanoes? Then you are in good hands on Lanzarote. The Timanfaya National Park will surely be one of your highlights. You love art and culture? Then you will have a few places to go on Lanzarote with the many architectural treasures and works of art of the artist César Manrique. The good Mr. Manrique has shaped the island during his lifetime and has achieved, for example, that a moderate tourism is consistently implemented and that the development may only be in the traditional style.

The north of Lanzarote

In January on Lanzarote the focus will certainly be more on culture than on beach. In the north of the island you will find some interesting places – mainly buildings by the same Cesar Manrique, which really fit into the landscape very well.

Only half an hour north of Teguise you will find the cactus park “Jardin del Cactus”. Here you will find a very, very big cactus park. This is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea but for “on the way” it is a nice stopover. A small tip: there is a kind of combi-ticket in different versions, with which you can see up to six attractions.

Save a little money – buy a combo ticket

If you are interested in all attractions, you can save some money and time with the ticket. Especially in the morning there can be (short) queues at some points. The bonus cardholders were then usually preferred to be let in, because you only had to “stamp” the ticket.

From the Jardin del Cactus you go to the “Jameos del Agua”. Here an easy descent into a lava tunnel awaits you. In the depression a lake has formed in which albino crabs live. Nice to look at, but also very quickly beautiful to look at. The cafe on the other side of the tunnel with a view to the lava tube was a bigger attraction for us. The highlight for us after the cafe was the incredibly great pool in the huge lava bubble (swimming not possible!) and the concert hall, which was built into another lava tunnel. The contrast of the dark lava and the white pool with the almost unnatural blue water was surely one of the most outstanding impressions.

Going to the centre of the earth. At least under Lanzarote.

At nearly the same height to the Jameos del Agua there is the “Cuvea de los Verdes”. If you come from the south, you can visit almost all of these destinations comfortably in one day. The Cueva de los Verdes is a public section of a several kilometres long lava tunnel and cave system. The cave can only be visited with a guided tour. We strongly recommend a visit – especially because of the great surprise effect at the end of the tour! There are also regular concerts in the cave. Maybe also an exciting location.

From earth to sky

The three locations are in the north of the island, as well as the “Mirador del Rio”, which is a panoramic viewpoint over the offshore island of La Graciosa. As if by a miracle, the Mirador del Rio was also created by a famous artist of the island. You may guess who it was. As a tip in the truest sense of the word “on the edge”: while returning from the Mirador del Rio, drive back from the parking place at the upper end via the LZ-202. The small road, enclosed in stone walls, leads more or less directly at the steep slopes back to the inland. The view is definitely very nice.

Big view for little money?

For those who want to save money, it is also possible to look over from the road directly to La Graciosa without paying any entrance fee for the panorama point. Alternatively, but much less beautiful: the Mirador de Guinate, free of charge and six kilometres west of the Mirador del Rio. Via the LZ-202 you will pass this point almost automatically.

Loneley bays and helpful stone circles – it is pretty windy on Lanzarote in January

By the way, you will drive northwards through a great volcanic landscape directly along the coast. On the way you will also see a few beautiful bays. Interesting and really helpful at the beaches of the bays are the small stone circles, which are a good wind protection with the permanent wind. Contrary to the tourist beaches in the south you can find really lonely bays here. Insider tip for sunbathing – Caleta del Mojon on the LZ-1 direction Órzola. There is a very small parking lot for about 15 cars on the left side of the road. When full it is full! Swimming will not work because of the lava rocks and current.

From Órzola, a more or less dozy fishing village with a few rustic (fish) restaurants in the north, there is also the only regular ferry connection to La Graciosa. According to other travellers, La Graciosa is a place where you really have to love solitude. There is not much to see on the island.

There is much more to see in the little village Haria. The place in the valley of the “1000 palms” looks amazingly green in contrast to the many other places. Here you will also find the first house of Cesar Manrique and above all a great handicraft market, which really lives up to its name. The market is always on Saturday mornings.

Arrecife and Teguise – the centre of the island

Almost in the middle of the island Arrecife is located on the east coast. The islands capital has almost 50.000 inhabitants and is also the destination port for the big cruise ships. We found Arrecife rather unspectacular. There is a small pedestrian zone where you can get a coffee in one of the street cafés. At the end of the pedestrian zone, one can walk over to the old fortification “Castillo de San Gabriel”, which today accommodates the local history / island museum. (entrance fee 3 Euro). The view from the museum towards the city is beautiful. In the museum all descriptions are only in Spanish – this is just for information.

From the fortress you can walk along the promenade to the small fishing port, where there is also a lot of activity in the evening. There are a lot of bars where you can enjoy the evening in a nice atmosphere. A few metres further away but still within walking distance is the new marina of Arrecife. Architecturally interesting but less visited, this corner of the city seems very sterile.

By the way, modern art also has a centre in Arrecife – the “Castillo de San Jose”. The museum visit is also included in the “Bonoticket”. With the car, you can also park relatively central in Arrecife at the marina or the bigger parking place in front of it. From Arrecife you can drive perfectly to Teguise, where the biggest market on the island is (Saturdays).

Even without the market, Teguise is an exciting place where you can find an “old town” and several small shops. From Arrecife you drive only 20 minutes to Teguise. On the way there in Tahiche you will also find the Cesar Manrique Foundation, which is certainly one of the architectural highlights of the island. The building was one of the artist’s residences, which was so perfectly integrated into nature. You walk through lava bubbles that have been transformed into living rooms. Note: the building complex has to be paid separately (adults 8 Euro) and is not included in the “Bonoticket”. In January on Lanzarote as in the rest of the year nevertheless a clear recommendation!

South of Lanzarote

The south of Lanzarote is fully developed for tourism. Playa Blanca is the centre here, from where you can also take the ferry to Fuerteventura. There is a promenade with many restaurants, bars, etc. Beautiful is the Marina Rubicon, where also regularly a big market takes place. At the marina you can also enjoy an ice cream in January.

Our destination in the south was after a short visit of Playa Blanca then the Costa de Pagagayo with a total of seven beaches. All bays are relatively easy to reach. By car, you drive on a gravel road through the national park (toll 3 euros) to the beaches that are so wide that you will definitely find a place in January. We spent one day here (Playa Blanca and beaches).

The west of Lanzarote and the highlight of the island – the Timanfaya (volcano) National Park

For the real highlight of the island you should plan at least half a day. Before our visit to Timanfaya National Park we visited the (free) cliffs of “Los Hervideros”. If the weather is good or the sea is calm it is rather less spectacular there. Really impressive is this point with strong sea waves, when the surf of the Atlantic Ocean hits the coast of Lanzarote with full power. Independent from the waves, by looking to the north-east, you can already see the national park. At this point you still have the possibility to take the LZ-703 a few kilometers further north to the village “El Golfo”, where you can also visit the green lagoon “El lago Verde”. We have left out these places. If you should go there, write us what we missed! Our focus that day was clearly on the national park, which is also only 20 minutes away from Los Hervideros.

The Timanfaya National Park and the volcano chicken

The visit of the national park is divided into at least two parts. Right next to the parking lot and below the restaurant, employees of the national park demonstrate again and again which kind of energy is still in the ground today. After the demonstrations you will experience the real highlight. With a bus (starting right in front of the souvenir shop), you will be driven on a nearly 14 kilometres long way through the national park. There are repeatedely some stops where you can get a lot of information about the origin and the last volcanic eruptions. Fortunately, the last eruption from the year 1824 is already a blink of an eye in the history of the earth time. The explanations are in Spanish, French, English and German.

Volcano – bbq – chicken

After the tour you have time to enjoy the breathtaking landscape around the restaurant. You can also eat a chicken grilled by volcanic heat in the restaurant. You can see how it looks like at the entrance of the restaurant. The taste is ok, but nothing special. The way of preparation is the interesting thing about this dish. Insider tip: below the restaurant on the right side is a small (public?) grill. On our next visit we will simply take our own sausages with us. It is worth to try it. Do not forget mustard! 😉

Side note: at the exit of the national park you could take a camel tour into the park. We spared ourselves and the camels this tour.

You can complement your visit to Timanfaya National Park with a visit to the Timanfaya Visitor Centre, where you will learn many more interesting details about volcanism in Lanzarote. Fortunately, the descriptions are in several languages. Unfortunately the outdoor area was closed during our time. For our next holiday on Lanzarote we will definitely go for a hike in a volcano – park here and start walking. The visit of the national park was really the highlight for us. Somehow we seem to have a tendency to volcanoes – after Etna in Sicily and Teide in Tenerife.

 

Finally….

On the way back from Timanfaya National Park back towards Costa Teguise there is (with a small detour) the tiny place La Geria. On the surrounding slopes of the village wine is grown, which you can also buy in the wineries of the village. Due to the wind, the vines are placed in stone walls in basins. Extremely elaborate!

We would be pleased if the article has given you a first small insight and impression of Lanzarote. We were very positively impressed by the great, unique nature and landscape. Sometime we will surely visit this really extraordinary place again, just to relax for a few days.

One week Lanzarote – not only in January – we can really recommend it!

The following travel guides have also been very helpful offline. If you buy through the following affiliate links you support our hobby. The price at Amazon is not affected by this.

 

And this was one of our offline tour guides that we can recommend with a good conscience:

Roasted Almonds Like On A Fair

Roasted Almonds Like On A Fair

Roasted Almonds Like On A Fair - Delicious And Simple To Prepare At Home

Do you also love roasted almonds? On the Bremer Freimarkt and the Bremer Weihnachtsmarkt there are so many stalls where you can buy roasted almonds and that's why I decided to write down a simple recipe here. For me, the roasted almonds are a classic and are definitely part of a visit to any fair. Of course, almonds are especially tasty when they are still very fresh!

This year I didn't want to wait as long for the next fair and so I thought about making my own roasted almonds at home. What should I say? It is very simple and you will surely succeed. The list of ingredients for the simple portion is short:

  • Almonds (200 gr)
  • Sugar (120 gr)
  • Water (40 ml = 2 small shot glasses)
  • You should consider about 20-30 minutes for the production of 200 grams of almonds. Perfect for in between!

What else do you need to get started? A large pan, a wooden spoon, a board or baking tray with baking paper and two forks. A kitchen thermometer is also helpful to measure the temperature of the sugar.

You don't need any more and you're ready to go.

First round: Bring sugar and almonds together.

In the first step the sugar is brought to the boil in the pan with the water. Use the kitchen thermometer to check the temperature of the sugar water. At about 120 degrees the almonds have their first big appearance. Stir the almonds into the sugar water. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the almond mixture is cold. The sugar then turns white and a sugar crust forms on the almonds.

Half time.

Now it's round two with the almost burnt almonds. Put the pan back on the stove. At medium heat, heat the almonds slowly, stirring constantly. This will take a while until it really starts. You will see that the sugar slowly begins to caramelise. Do not forget to stir. You should stir the almonds at least until the sugar is completely caramelized and the almonds "shine".

You can also determine the "roasting" over time. In any case, you have done most of the way but a short final spurt is waiting:

Tilt the mass onto the prepared baking tray, put the pan aside and spread the mass quickly with the forks on the tray. Here you have to be really fast, because the almonds solidify very fast and otherwise you only have a lump of burnt almonds in front of you.

Congratulations! You look at the finished sheet with the burned almonds! Wait a short moment, because the almonds are very hot. I can only recommend you from my own experience to produce larger quantities directly. Homemade roasted almonds are really very tasty and taste even better than the almonds from the fair. 200 grams can disappear very quickly...

Tip: homemade roasted almonds are also suitable as a great souvenir or small gift. Of course, you can also simply change the recipe and replace the almonds with other nuts.

I wish you all the best! Have you ever tried to make your favourite food from the fair yourself at home?

German Weser Cycle Path Experience by Pedelec

German Weser Cycle Path Experience by Pedelec

Experiences on the German Weser River Cycle Path by Pedelec

[Article contains advertising – all self-tested and approved]

In recent years we have always smiled at the pedelec or simply the colloquial e-bike and joined the chorus of the most common preconceptions:

  • we are still too young for e-bikes
  • E-bikes are only for unathletic people
  • Riding e-bikes without pedaling
  • E-bikes are not fast enough
  • much too expensive for a bicycle

After almost 2000 km we have ridden so far, we change sides and ask ourselves why we have not bought an e-bike (pedelec) earlier. We have made our first rides on the Weser cycle path. Before the actual report about our pedelec experiences on the Weser river cycle path, we would like to answer general questions that we also asked ourselves before we bought our great pedelecs.

Why did we buy a pedelec?

Lack of sport, frequent traffic jams on the way to work at a relatively short distance and the possibility to commute by bike without sweating were the biggest arguments for the purchase of a pedelec. The decision took some time. After a test drive with a pedelec, the purchase was quickly decided. Maybe this article is also helpful for you when deciding to buy an e-bike or pedelec.

Let’s start with the most common questions we’ve asked ourselves:

What is the difference between an e-bike and a pedelec or S-Pedelec?

All wheels are motorized. The difference lies in the type of support. With a pedelec the motor support stops at 25 km/h and with the faster S-Pedelec at speeds of 45 km/h. The S-Pedelec must therefore be insured like a moped in Germany and may not be used on cycle paths (cost insurance approx. 70 euros /year). The supposed speed advantage is also to the biggest disadvantage of the S-Pedelec: You have to ride with it on the road and cycle paths are usually taboo. With Pedelec and S-Pedelec you have to pedal constantly to get the motor support. The actual e-bike rides like a moped without pedal support. Also here you need an insurance plate and you are not allowed to ride on bike paths any more. In addition, it is compulsory to wear a helmet on an e-bike. The term e-bike is generally used for all three types.

How fast does a pedelec go?

The pedelec is basically as fast as you pedal. The engine support stops at 25 km/h. If you drive faster, you kick “alone”. With Yamaha and Bosch engines, you have minimal friction from the engine at higher speeds. After the first 2000 km we can say that the normal support is enough for us.

The cycle paths are often not so great, so a speed of almost 25 km/h is completely sufficient. If you are thinking about changing from car to bike, a self-test on the way to work will give you the best insight. You will probably find that you will not be riding your normal bike at an average of 25 km/h (unless you are a racing cyclist or come to work with a tongue hanging and panting). Depending on support and route we are also on the next question:

Fahrradstraße - auf dem Weser-Radweg die Autobahn der Radfahrer

How far can I get with a pedelec?

The question about the range of the pedelec we asked ourselves again and again before the purchase. There is no clear answer to this question, as too many parameters can simply affect the range. In general, of course, the performance of the battery has a significant influence at first. The most common versions have 300, 400 or 500 Wh. Simply said: the higher the battery power, the longer the range and less often the battery needs to be charged. We therefore focussed directly for bicycles with a 500 Wh battery. Range is still determined by your driving style and comfort. In the lowest support levels (Eco + mode of the Yamaha PW motor) the range is indicated with up to 200 km. The stronger the motor, the higher the power consumption of the battery.

After our previous tours we usually use the standard support (Yamaha range 100 km) or Sport (Bosch CX engine: 90 km). Honestly, our motivation determines more the range of the bike tour and less the battery performance.

Just ask yourself how often you drive tours with a distance of 70 to 80 km or more? As normal riders we can reach relatively long distances with the pedelecs without much effort, which we would never have ridden with a normal bike. Incidentally, headwind and hilly roads are pulling hard on the battery power… You should pay attention to properly inflated tires, otherwise the “consumption” will also increase. Which brings us to the next question:

How often do I need to charge the battery of my pedelec?

The displays of the pedelecs show you relatively exactly how full the “tank” still is. Loading your pedelec is a simple procedure. Usually you can charge the battery directly at the bicycle or even directly, when removed from your bicycle. The chargers from Yamaha and Bosch are relatively compact (smaller would of course be even nicer), so you can take them with you on tours lasting several days. The charging time for our pedelec batteries is approx. 4 hours. You can recharge the battery overnight and would be 100% ready to start again in the morning (at least your bike).

The manufacturers guarantee 500 charging cycles with constant performance. After about 1000 cycles the battery should no longer function properly, according to the dealer. If the dealer’s information is more or less correct, then we should be able to achieve approx. 60 – 70,000 km mileage with one battery. That’s a lot of time you spend on the saddle. By the way, the electricity costs for one charge amount to approx. 15 cents. Just for fun, compare how far you can get with your car when you fill up 15 cents…

Insurance for pedelec or e-bike?

Especially since a pedelec, S-Pedelec or e-bike is more expensive than a “normal” bicycle, we recommend that you check the conditions of your household insurance again. It may well be that your household insurance does not necessarily cover the value of the pedelec.

There are now some insurance companies that offer special (and affordable) e-bike full cover insurance. It may make sense to take out supplementary insurance. Be sure to read the terms and conditions. Some insurance companies specify the type of bicycle lock. For us, Abus folding locks are sufficient, which are compactly mounted on the bicycle and should provide good protection.

Which pedelec is the right one for me?

For the right choice of pedelec you have to do many test rides. Take your time to compare different bicycles and motors. For example, we ride trekking bikes with the Bosch CX motor and the Yamaha PW motor. Both motors have their advantages and disadvantages: The Bosch motor has a power of 75 Nm and the Yamaha motor “only” 70 Nm.  During acceleration, the Bosch motor also gets off to a quick start with the control system. You only pedal a little and the motor accelerates. The acceleration also begins very directly.

Yamaha or Bosch motor or something completely different?

With the Yamaha motor, acceleration is slightly slower. In comparison, it looks as if the Yahama motor reacts a little more comfortably. Once you are travelling at cruising speed (and it’s really very fast) the motors don’t really differ anymore. Both manufacturers also offer simpler motors that are less powerful. We were not really pleased with the weak motors, as the price differences were small. Other manufacturers are Shimano or Brose, which we have not tested any more.

If you buy two pedelecs you should consider carefully whether you choose the same motor manufacturer for your pedelec. It can make sense, for example, to exchange batteries with each other for different remaining running times or to take only one charger with you on the tour. The batteries and chargers from Bosch and Yamaha are not compatible to each other, which has already proved to be a disadvantage on one or the other track.

Do I need a bicycle helmet for a pedelec?

At the beginning we were very sceptical about the helmet. Impractical and just “why” was our attitude to the “eggshell”, which we have never worn on the normal bike. After a few kilometres it quickly became clear that such a helmet could be relatively practical and that the purchase would be disproportionate to a head injury and its possible effects. Meanwhile, we can no longer imagine normal cycling without a helmet. We strongly recommend that you wear a helmet to protect your head. That you’ll never need it!

What does a pedelec cost?

You can buy pedelecs everywhere. Discounters and DIY stores offer bikes for less than 1000 euros. The prices for pedelecs are, of course, higher than those of conventional bicycles. In our experience, you should think carefully about the purpose for which you want to use your bike. If you save here on the wrong end, you will probably not enjoy your new pedelec.

The very cheap bicycles usually only have weak batteries and even weaker motors and components (brakes, gear shift, etc.). Spend a little more so that you can ride a good bike and have a lot of fun with it.

Also take a close look at the equipment of the pedelec. We have further “optimized” the pedelec after the purchase by exchanging parts.

Ride on the Weser cycle path – well-equipped you can go on the track

After so many thoughtful considerations, we plunged into the adventure of “Pedelec” and chose the German Weser river cycle path as our first tour destination. According to its own statements, the Weser river Cycle Path is a “four-star” cycle path and easy to cycle on. You can ride it on a distance of just over 520 km from Hann.Münden along the Weser river downstream and almost always with a slight descent to the North Sea to Cuxhaven.

Theoretically, you can also double the distance, as the Weser river cycle path is signposted on both sides of the river. In addition to the actual route, there is the “alternative route”, which will certainly not be less beautiful. On the way you only have to look for the small signs, which are usually more than often to be seen. We really didn’t have to search in most places.

The route is grouped into 15 sections according to the official service booklet. There are plenty of hotels and hostels, restaurants, beer gardens and cafés described on all sections.

For the start we have chosen our own sections with a length of approx. 60 km. By the way, you have great possibilities to reach the larger starting points of your sections directly by train. More about train & bike in Germany in the further article.

We rode the path in a the wild north – south – change from Cuxhaven (Nort Sea coast) to Bremerhaven, from Bremerhaven via Brake to Lemwerder, from Porta Westfalica via Nienburg to Achim, from Achim to Vegesack and from Hameln to Porta Westfalica. The first sections from Hann.Münden to Hameln are still pending, which we will certainly deal with soon.

Schild Weser-Radweg - mit dem Pedelec auf dem Weser-Radweg

Pedelec and train riding

As absolute newbies to the topic bicycle journeys and train ride we were nevertheless positively surprised, how comfortably the combination of bicycle & train can be. The  German “country (state) tickets” and the additional bicycle day tickets for the pedelec or e-bike take you to the starting point of the tours for relatively little money. The “Lower-Saxony”-Ticket + 2 x bicycle tickets cost 27 + 2 x 5 €, which you can use for all rides in the regional trains for a full day (check details, there might be exceptions)

During our tours we never had problems to take the bikes on the train. You also get to know the railway and its stations in a new manner. A real highlight, however, are the elevators at the stations, which all have different widths and depths and, above all, different speeds. So take some time for a track change, which you won’t do as fast as on foot despite (or because of the bicycle). Regardless of this, the train ride is relaxing. The pedelecs stand securely in bicycle holders and cannot fall over. It is nevertheless recommended to lock the bikes, as the seats are often on the floor above the bicycles.

The current sections in a quick overview:

Cuxhaven – Bremerhaven – length approx. 56 km – final spurt on the German Weser cycle path

In Cuxhaven you should actually arrive on the last section, if you start from the south. For us it was the starting point for a passionate hobby. Arrived by train at the “main station” Cuxhaven, which is also the final station or the last station before the North Sea, we passed the harbour area and the beach areas in Duhnen and Döse, which improved more and more over the last few years. in terms of infrastructure for tourism. Depending on the tide you can see the North Sea or the endless Wadden Sea. Actually, it’s almost too bad to just ride by here. You ride once on the dike and then again under the dike top until it will go behind Saalenburg through the nature reserve along the dike road and the many small farmhouses to Dorum and the small fishing harbour in Dorum.

Take time for a break at the harbour and the snack bars. If you don’t have much time you should at least have a delicious fish sandwich. It couldn’t be fresher.

Well strengthened we continue towards Bremerhaven along the dikes. The tracks on the last sections are really well constructed and the flat country allows every cyclist to make good progress. From Dorum it is going to Wremen and the kilometres just fly there.

Shortly after Wremen you can already see the first harbour cranes of Bremerhaven. Here the Weser river cycle path, which otherwise leads almost only through the middle of nature, has a very industrial character and leads through the imposing harbour facilities of Bremerhaven. Lots of new cars wherever you look, container gantry cranes, large ships and, for some time now, cruise ships of all kinds, which have moored on one of the longest sea quays in the world.

In the harbour there is a central lookout tower, which was built in the original style from containers. From the tower you can see the “skyline” of Bremerhaven, which is only a stone’s throw or a few pedal steps away. If you have more time, we highly recommend a visit to the science museum Klimahaus or the “Deusches Auswandererhaus”  (Emigrant Museum). Both houses are incredibly exciting. In the Klimahaus you experience a world tour on the 8 degree of longitude once around the globe including the climate zones and in the Emigrant House you can authentically comprehend the emigration of the predominantly German migrants in the 18th century. Perhaps a topic that is more of interest than ever before… For us Bremerhaven was the end of the first pedelec tour that brought us to the following conclusion:

  • It is not the battery, but the saddle that determines the range
  • Driving a pedelec is a relaxed thing and a lot of fun
  • Without pedelec we would not have driven this route
  • The world gets bigger with the pedelec – you can see corners that you would otherwise only pass by car or never reach in the first place.

E-Bike and Pedelec Tuning

Fixed by the first stage of our pedelec career, we immediately thought about how we could make our bikes even better. When searching for “E-Bike or Pedelec Tuning”, numerous search results lead to alleged chip tunings with which you can set the speeds of the motors to seemingly infinite for little money. Apart from the risks and the loss of insurance cover, the narrow and sometimes bad cycle paths were not an option for us. We have therefore decided on a “comfort tuning” to increase the comfort.

With a few changes you can also “pimp up” your pedelec. First official action was the exchange of the grips for grips with mini bar ends. The exchange was extremely easy, because on one of the bicycles the grips were only secured by a screw with clamping (Haibike). With the second pedelec from Pegasus, the rubber grips could be easily removed after rinsing some water between the grips and the handlebars. The grips are available with mini bar ends in different lengths, which allow a change in the handlebar position. We use the lengths 2 and 3, which still look relatively elegant and are comfortable to drive.

The next optimization was to retrofit a saddle spring support to cushion unevenness and potholes on the bike path. As everywhere you can plunge into high costs. We have bought relatively simple saddle spring supports which fulfill their purpose of suspension well for us. Tip: there are many different diameters of saddle tubes. Just pull your saddle and tube out of the bracket. As a rule, the diameter is hammered onto the pipe. The most common pipe diameters are 27.2 and 31.6 mm.

At the same time we have exchanged the standard saddle of the pedelec for a cross-country version. The saddle is simply fixed with screws and can be changed very quickly. Here the added value of your pedelec can be significantly increased with relatively little effort.

In this context, the purchase of a small multi-purpose tool is recommended, which you should have with you on your tours. Why? More about this later. Back on the track…

Section Bremerhaven – Brake – Lemwerder – approx. 60 km. Between Sheep herds and super yachts

” Rail-bicycle-experienced” we started in Bremerhaven. After 2-3 kilometres through the town you will reach the ferry to Nordenham on the western side of the Weser. Even for us, who are from the region, it is exciting. From the ferry you can see the skyline of Bremerhaven and the endlessly long quay with its many container gantry cranes. What a picture when the weather is good!

Arrived in Nordenham, after passing through the city, you take the actual Weser river cycling path along the dike towards Brake and past the Unterweser nuclear power plant. Along the way you will see many herds of sheep, which are used for the care of the dyke. During a short break on the dike in Absen we sat on the park bench in the middle of a herd of sheep. Fortunately, sheep are relatively peaceful animals, unless they are challenged on their park bench! Back on the Weser cycling trail, you quickly head towards Brake at many small, tranquil villages and in Lienen over the Huntebrücke bridge towards Lemwerder.

Places like Ranzenbüttel, Motzen or Ritzenbüttel follow before you can see Abeking & Rasmussen and Lürssen, two of the world’s most famous yacht builders, all in one place in the city of Lemwerder next to the Weser river. Our section was finished in Lemwerder. A look-out tower with a beautiful view over Lemwerder and the Weser is located behind the Weser ferry to Vegesack (one of the northernmost districts of Bremen). For a break we recommend the crossing with the Weser ferry.

With a bit of luck you can see the insane and unaffordable super yachts at the equipment quays before they are delivered to their often anonymous buyers. Directly on the right side behind the ferry terminal you will find some rustic and cosy restaurants and beer gardens (all affordable again). A few meters further on is the rail station.

After these daily sections and the decision for the correct pedelecs we came then to the taste of the bicycle journeys. The Weser Cycle Path is the perfect starting route – easygoing and with a very beautiful landscape.

Section Porta Westfalica – Nienburg – Achim approx. 110 km – downstream to the north

We could not wait for the new weekend and the plans for the tour were quickly set. The distances should become longer and also have an overnight stay. No spoken, done. Riding the train and bike was no problem for us. We had installed the railway app on our mobile phone for a long time and the app for the Weser Cycle Path also helped us with many questions. We had not considered the number of accommodations in the “big” cities in our planning. If the price for the overnight stay does not matter to you, then you should book your overnight stay destinations in advance. We were very surprised how “popular” e. g. the accommodations in Nienburg on the Weser could be. Finally we found a nice place in the hotel “Zur Sonne”, where also the bikes had a safe shelter.

Zurück zum Ausgangspunkt, der schon eines der Highlights des ersten Tages werden sollte. In Porta Westfalica gibt es das Wilhelms-Denkmal auf dem Hausberg, was Ihr Euch unbedingt ansehen solltet. Mit dem Pedelec ist man schnell den Berg hinauf gefahren. Achtung: das zieht schon ein paar Kilometer aus dem Akku… Unabhängig davon hat man von dem Denkmal eine grandiose Aussicht über das Weser-Bergland, die einen vielversprechenden Tag erhoffen ließen. Nach einer schnellen Abfahrt (Spitze 45 km/h auf den Serpentinen) konnten wir auch direkt die Funktion der Bremsen unserer Pedelecs testen. Schade, dass Pedelecs in solchen Momenten nicht eigenständig wieder laden. Motiviert haben wir nach den ersten Schildern des Weser-Radwegs gesucht, die uns dann schnell auf den Weg Richtung Minden geführt haben.

Ausblick vom Wilhelmsdenkmal - mit dem Pedelec auf dem Weser-Radweg

On this part of the way you ride as close as on only a few other sections directly along the Weser, which is still a relatively small river here. We left Minden and Petershagen to the left to reach our destination Nienburg. Through Schlüsselburg (see Scheunenviertel) we passed Stolzenau and crossed the Weser to Nienburg. One of the experiences of the pedelec tours is a completely different perception of the surroundings for us. Where we drove simply along on other holidays by car, we probably saw many other great (and small) things just because of the “deceleration”. To be honest (sorry Nienburg), Nienburg would never have been on our holiday plan if the Weser cycle path hadn’t led through the city now. Thus we got to know Nienburg as a small lively town with a charming old town centre, which we will keep in good memory.

After a relaxing night we continued north with recharged batteries (pedelec & human). We made a short stopover in the beautiful city centre of Hoya, before we reached our goal of the section by crossing Verden (on the river Aller) back to the Weser with Achim. The sections between Porta Westfalica and Achim lead in most cases completely through nature, so that there is hardly any traffic. Hard to imagine, considering how densely populated Germany actually is.

The conclusion of the ride: our shaky bike bags are not nice anymore. As a summary: better bike bags are needed.

Pedelec equipment

The said bike bags were from a discount store and fulfilled their actual purpose of transport. They were not rainproof. An additional protective cover should ensure this function. So why buy new bike bags? We would not have bought new bike bags for easy tours. If you travel longer distances you will have to take off your bags more or less often (train journeys, elevators etc.). Again, the question of comfort moved us to buy more reasonable bike bags.

Bike bags – the pedelec as a packhorse

At the end, we decided on the popular Classic Backroller from Ortlieb. The big advantages are the little details: components can also be purchased separately in the case of a defect. The bags are really rock-solid and can be released with one pull. So far after the perfect summer we had no chance to test how waterproof the bags, which are closed by a roll down closure, really are.

Nach ein paar Durchgängen öffnen / schließen die Taschen in kürzester Zeit. Die LKW Plane wird schon vor Wind und Wetter schützen. Tipp: schaut Euch genau Euren Gepäckträger und die Schrauben an. Das Haibike markiert durch die hervorstehenden Schrauben leider sehr genau an den Gepäcktaschen, wo sie anliegen. Schade, dass die Fahrrad- Konstrukteure an dieser Stelle keine flachen Schrauben eingesetzt haben. So bleibt Euch nur die Schrauben selbst zu tauschen oder die Taschen mit einem entsprechenden Schutz selbst zu versehen (z. B. schwarzes Isolierband). Kleiner Tipp mit großer Wirkung: schaut Euch auch an, wo die Klemmen der Packtaschen am Gepäckträger „greifen“. Diesen Bereich solltet Ihr ggf. auch mit etwas Isolierband schützen. Das Isolierband schützt die Lackierung vom Gepäckträger und kann leicht ausgetauscht werden.

Handlebar bags with click-fix

For little things we bought a handlebar bag with the click-fix system. The handlebar bag is extremely easy to attach to and detach from the wheel thanks to the “click system”. It does not affect the steering and water bottles, money etc. are quickly reachable. The selection of compatible bags for the system is almost endless and limited only by the own taste.

Frame bag for mobile phone or money

As a smaller alternative to the handlebar bag, a frame bag is recommended, in which at least a mobile phone and money can be stored. The frame pockets are usually quickly attached to the frame using touch-and-close fasteners and fixed to the handlebars.

From Achim via Bremen to Vegesack – about 50 km – where the Weser becomes big

We could not have completed our actual plan to drive from Nienburg along the Weser to Bremen because of the empty battery. So it was obvious to drive down this supposedly small section “just as quickly” again to close the gap on our map. From the small train station in Achim you are quickly back on the Weser cycle path, which is now leading somewhat remotely parallel to the Weser river. After a few easy kilometres you reach Bremen and see the first harbour areas. It becomes more urban without leaving the paths in the countryside. In Bremen the signs to the cycle path became a bit confusing. So it was all the better that we rode the pedelec down places in the city that we had never seen before, even though we lived here for a long time. In Bremen you have the comfortable choice on which side of the Weser you want to cycle.

Westliches oder östliches Weser-Ufer in Bremen?

Von der westlichen Seite siehst Du mehr die “Skyline” der Stadt. Auf der östlichen Seite bist Du näher an der Innenstadt mit den weltberühmten Bremer Stadtmusikanten und der Schlachte mit ihren vielen einladenden Biergärten. Wir haben uns entschieden die westliche Strecke zu fahren und sind am Weserwehr auf die andere Seite des Flusses gefahren. Neben dem Weserwehr ist übrigens auch die letzte der 12 Weserschleusen, mit dem der Fluss für die Binnenschifffahrt befahrbar gemacht wird. Wie schleusen funktionieren, kannst Du Dir direkt ansehen oder auch auf den vorherigen Teilstücken des Weser-Radwegs erleben.

Weser Stadion Bremen - mit dem Pedelec auf dem Weser-Radweg

Our highlights on the ride through Bremen were the free view of the Weser Stadium, the famous sailing ship Alexander von Humboldt and the city beaches on the Weser, which we will certainly visit when the weather will be fine. It would go well beyond the report to write more about Bremen. Just stay longer in Bremen and take your time for a city tour. In winter we recommend the beautiful Christmas market or before that in autumn the well-known Bremer FreimarktBy this link you can look with a 25 Euro credit (new customers) at AirBnB for beautiful accommodations. (Affiliate Link AirBnB). If you prefer to stay in hotels, you can search directly at Booking.com by this link (Affiliate Booking.com)

It was a new experience for us to cycle through quarters that we had previously only passed by car. Cycling seems to broaden the horizon and no cycling without pedelec…

Behind Woltmershausen the trail is heading north along the river Weser

The wind gets stormier and you have to pedal more. On the way to Lemwerder you drive directly along the Weser. Here you can already see the first big ships that feel like “arm length” passing by you. Not only the mountainous routes reduce the power of the pedelec battery, but also the “stiff breeze”, which blows from the front into your face. You will notice it on this apparently short section. After you left Bremen with the view of the steelworks industrial area on the other side of the river, you head down the river towards Lemwerder.

On the final part of the section of the Weser Cycle Path in Lemwerder you will have the opportunity to see many great street art pictures on the embankment wall. There are really great graffiti! If you want to finish the day here, as we did, you can simply take the Weser ferry to Vegesack and from there you can take the train back. The station in Vegesack is in direct near to the ferry terminal.

Second last section – from Hameln to Porta Westfalica via Rinteln – almost 60 km – a chapter of a steep learning curve

We approached the section from Hameln to Porta Westfalica with good plans. After a relaxing night in the city of the famous Pied Piper of Hameln (hotel suggestions on Booking.com via this link -Affiliate) we started highly motivated. On these sections you will ride through the Weser Mountains and the foothills. The area is really beautiful and the bike path is easy to ride. Passing the small village Fischbeck you come to Grossenwieden, where the day should take a completely different direction. Our way led with a small detour there. On our swerve we then helped another cyclist, who had fallen in a sloping curve. First decision of the tour: we should at least have a small first aid kit (affiliate link to Amazon) with us. After the short interruption and help we continued.

The yaw-rope ferry in Grossenwieden and a nice place for an unwanted pedelec break

When you arrive in Grossenwieden, you have the option to take a yaw rope ferry across the Weser. Yaw-rope ferries use the current and generally have no motorisation of their own. The ferry is held by a cable. At the ferry pier we were then allowed to deal even more with technology, as a flat tire at the rear wheel abruptly ended the ride. Fortunately the breakdown was in a very busy place on the Weser cycle path.

You’ll notice how helpful cyclists are. We were totally surprised and very grateful for the offered help.

Breakdown at the pedelec – what now? Time to consider an emergency set.

It may have been the absolute naivety that made us happily pedal without tools or spare tubes. The previous tours were so unproblematic! So we were sitting with our luck or just bad luck in a huge life belt on the ground and were stuck. Unfortunately, even the helpful ” riders ” had no suitable equipment with them. The learning curve for the next tours was very steep at this point: spare bike tube (affiliate link to Amazon) and tools belong in the panniers – that we never need it of course!

The Schlauch-o-mat – a gift from heaven

Our rescue was a Schlauch-o-mat, which was “only” 12 km away. On a Sunday at over 30 °C, a “cigarette machine for bicycle tubes” seems like a gift from heaven! (Attention only takes coins! :-)). After this intermediate lap we changed the tube at the rear tire to do the final kilometres. We would have loved to have a look at the old town of Rinteln with the Old Town Festival. Our motivation and also the time pressure to take the right train took away our enthusiasm – maybe next year again with a lot of air on the tires!

Hochseilfähre in Grossenwieden - mit dem Pedelec auf dem Weser-Radweg - da ist erstmal die Luft raus.

Apps for pedelecs

We recommend that you download common apps to your mobile phone that can help you navigate. Google Maps, for example, helped us a lot with the setting for cyclists. Also the app of the German Railway is very helpful to check connections and to book tickets (how we can still book the bike tickets remains a secret). Through Booking.com or AirBnB you can usually also book accommodation for the night at short notice.

A good cell phone battery is required with every app that uses GPS. Strangely enough, the pedelecs do not have a USB port to use the existing battery. This means that an additional power bank is needed to extend the range of the mobile phone battery.

Last but not least, a universal mobile phone holder is recommended: either in a frame bag or directly on the handlebar. When purchasing, make sure that the holder is designed to hold future mobile phone models securely.

In-between conclusion – Weser river cycle path by pedelec

Since the purchase of our pedelecs we have cycled as much as probably not our entire life before the “pedelec age”. The start of this kind of vacation gave us a lot of pleasure and also the learning curves were sometimes involuntarily steep. With the right amount of humour and calmness you can also get over these curves.

The Weser Cycle Path can certainly also be done wonderfully with the “normal” bike. Real uphill sections or other surprises do not cross your path. Already today we can say that the remaining section from Hann.Münden to Hameln will certainly be a great destination for another short holiday.

If you are considering buying an e-bike or pedelec, don’t let yourself be influenced by the prejudices. We see the pedelec more as a bicycle 2.0 – technology finally is developing. If first “bikes” would be so fantastic, then pedals with chain and gears would never have made it to today’s bike.

Do you ride pedelec or e-bike? What are your experiences?

Sardinia vacation, the Caribbean of Europe. Endless beaches

Sardinia vacation, the Caribbean of Europe. Endless beaches

Sardinia Vacation in the Caribbean of Europe

Sardinia Vacation in the north or better in the south of the island? We could not decide on this question either and have therefore decided to make a direct comparison. So we split our holiday into a week “Sardinia’s South” and a week “Sardinia’s North”. After two weeks we can successfully say that both regions have their great charms. The south of the island (especially the southwest) is much quieter than the north. If you are looking for a region that is more developed and offers more opportunities, the north of the island is the better destination for you.

Sardinia vacation – the north rocks!

A little south of Olbia lies the small village of Budoni, which became our starting point. Of course, you can also spend the night in a much more sophisticated way. In Porto Cervo on the world-famous Costa Smeralda you are in the jet set and can pop the corks or take your yacht for a few cruises.

From Budoni you can also reach all the important points on the north coast by car. When planning your trip you should keep in mind that the routes on Sardinia take a bit more time than comparable routes in Germany. Vacation on Sardinia means in any case also in the north much beaches and still more sea!

Our “house beach” during our vacation in Sardinia

There are a large number of holiday apartments, houses and camping sites in Budoni and its surroundings. Through the usual online portals you will surely find a great accommodation according to your requirements. Our house was only 100 meters away from the beach – what a luxury. By the way, in September you travel already in the low season, so that you will have a lot of space on the beach. Also at the Cala di Budoni it goes fortunately very gently into the water.

Surroundings of Budoni

Just twenty minutes from Budoni is the town of Ottili, where you will also find a small harbour. In the ice cream parlour directly at the harbour you can also sit and enjoy a delicious gelato.

In the evening you should definitely go to St. Teodoro again. In the small village the city centre is closed for cars. You can walk through the streets of the city and look at the many small shops and boutiques or dine in one of the many restaurants. At the end of the evening we recommend a nightcap on the terrace of the bar directly at the market. By the way, you can also find the tourist information of the region at the market. The staff are very helpful and will certainly give you good tips for your Sardinia holiday.

The North of Sardinia

On your Sardinia vacation, the chances of bad weather are really low. What is great for the tourists brings many problems for the locals. One day we had also just rain. What do you do on your Sardinia vacation in bad weather? It remains Olbia in the north, where you can move through the shopping centres. Alternatively, and especially if you also have a rental car, we recommend you to go to Alghero. The journey time of almost two hours is definitely worthwhile and the chance of better weather on the west coast is high.

Alghero in the north-west of Sardinia

After our “escape” from the rain we experienced Alghero and were very impressed. You’ll probably have to do a few turns for the parking lot. Italian city centres are not exactly designed for larger quantities of cars. Tip: Take the coastal road out of town, where it is quicker to find a parking space. You can enjoy the sea on the way along the protection wall towards the old town of Alghero and take some great photos of the old town including the defence tower. After the first snapshots we go directly behind the tower into the old town of Alghero with its many small alleys and squares. If you are a fan of Italian old towns, then you will love Alghero. Let yourself be enchanted by the life on site or enjoy the bustle with a delicious espresso in one of the cafes in Alghero’s squares. If you have had enough of the old town, you can also simply walk on the city wall, which separates the old town from the sea and on which you have a wonderful view of the sea, the harbour and also the old town. On the city wall can also take a wonderful break and recover again.

Alghero and surroundings – the Grotta di Nettuno

There is still a sporty challenge for you on the west coast just north of Alghero with the Grotta di Nettuno. A stalactite cave awaits you, to which the access leads over a path with many stairs along the steep coast. The views are spectacular! If you prefer the comfortable way, you can also take a boat directly to the cave. The way over the stairs is definitely interesting. At the bottom of the cave you can buy a ticket for a guided tour. The cave is relatively large and has stalactite columns, some 12 metres high. You learn how fast stalactites and stalagmites grow and especially in which direction they have to grow. Make sure you take something to drink with you when the sun shines. You can only buy tickets at the cave but no drinks 😉 ! A visit to the cave is a good combination for a day trip in connection with a visit to Alghero!

Sardinia vacation means beach vacation

You will find many great beaches in Budoni and its surroundings. As a special recommendation we recommend you to visit the beaches in the National Park Oasi Biderosa. In the high season it makes sense to reserve one of the few tickets in advance, in fact only a limited number of cars and visitors are admitted. In the low season your chances are higher to get a ticket spontaneously on the spot. The guide at the park’s entrance will be happy to recommend a suitable section for the weather. You will have a great day on an almost lonely beach where time will certainly pass far too quickly.

Bay of Orosei

A little further south is the Gulf of Orosei, of which you will have already seen fantastic pictures on the Internet. You can even rent inflatable boats at the harbours and see the coast from the sea. Unfortunately, the weather has skipped our plans, so we have saved this point for our next visit. Our alternative program was at least as attractive:

La Maddalena – the Caribbean of Europe in front of Sardinia

In the north of Sardinia you will find many small islands with beautiful bays, crystal clear waters and beaches “just like in the movies” with the archipelago around La Maddalena. In the port of Palau there are a really large number of providers who make trips to the island world every day. Have a look at some reviews on the popular portals. Most tours start at about 10.00 am. We recommend you to be in Palau in time. The route to the village is not very far, as with the other tours, but it can take some time due to the route. If you are there in time, you can also get a personal impression of the providers. You are spoilt for choice and can choose from a variety of ships depending on your budget. Our choice was due to our late arrival a sailboat. At the end of the day we were unknowingly lucky because the skipper was much more flexible with his boat than the big excursion boats. Like everything in life, it had its price. On the big boats you can go for about 40 €; with the sailors you will be there with about 80 €. For the price you will be driven through the incredibly beautiful island world and can refresh yourself on the many bathing stops in the Mediterranean. In any case we were glad at the end of the day that we didn’t go on the big boats. Our skipper and his wife showed us great beaches and also took care of our physical well-being with pasta and vino during the day. A completely successful day with an excursion, which we really like to recommend!

The hinterland of Sardinia – Monti, Budduso, Bitti

In September you may not always get a direct hit with the weather. One of the less sunny days we still used to look at the mountainous hinterland of Sardinia. Our tour took us from Budoni to Monti, where we can recommend a stopover at the “Cantina Sociale del Vermentino” – provided you like white wine. The Cantina is a winegrowers’ cooperative, from which you can also purchase directly. Interestingly, the term fuel station has a completely new character there. In the far hinterland you drive through forests of cork oaks and can also take pictures of the plain around Olbia.

You should make a stopover on the way through the mountainous route in any case also in Buddusò at one of the nuraghi temples or places of worship. Nuragic culture was a culture that developed in Sardinia around 1600 B.C. (and which even then built very durable buildings). The tour continues to Orune, where you can see the mystical fountain Su Tempiesu. When you set off on this tour you should definitely be interested in archaeological sites! In the south direction Nuoro we used the connection to the motorway direction Budoni again, in order to drive after the round trip again to our beautiful holiday house.

Conclusion of the Sardinia vacation

We can definitely recommend a vacation on Sardinia. The island is not as crowded as other islands (Balearic Islands, Gran Canaria, Tenerife). Depending on your interests you have to consider whether you want to have more hustle and bustle around you or whether the much quieter south suits you better. We will definitely go back to Sardinia again!

Vacation on Tenerife in January

Vacation on Tenerife in January

Vacation on Tenerife in January!

A volcano, black beaches and great canyons. And all this on one island? Our first holiday destination in 2018 should take us back to the Canary Islands. After Gran Canaria last April and Fuerteventura three years ago, Tenerife was our goal in January! Due to the winter in Germany we have been very excited about our vacation on Tenerife in January. We were curious about the island, which is said to be island of eternal spring. This time we went directly from Bremen to Tenerife with a low-cost airline. After almost 5 hours in a felt sardine box we were also happy when we could get off at Reina Sofía airport in the south of Tenerife. The welcome was very sunny and promised a great start to a wonderful vacation on Tenerife. If you are planning a vacation on Tenerife in January, you should consider whether you would like to stay in the south or north of the island. We have experienced both parts and will tell you about it.

Highlights on Tenerife

  • Visit of the volcano Teide 
  • Hike through the Masca canyon
  • Sunbathing on the black beach of Puerto de la Cruz
  • Visit of a very large aquapark “Siam-Park” and the zoo “Loro-Parque”.

Holidays in the north or south of Tenerife?

Our hotel was in the north of the island in the city of Puerto de la Cruz. If you want to go on holiday in Tenerife in January, you should keep in mind that the north is the rainy part of the island. The main destinations of the island are located in the south in Los Cristianos or Las Americas. Unfortunately, the hotels in both areas have been raised rather ruthlessly, so that one sees quite a lot of very functional but ugly buildings.

During a visit to Las Americas we were able to get our own impression. Finally, I was happy that our hotel was in Puerto de la Cruz. The north is also much greener than the south. Tenerife is “divided” by the volcano Teide, which with its 3718 metres is also the highest mountain in Spain. You can either go very sporty with a hike on a volcano or simply and comfortably take the cable car.  More about this later and back to the actual question.

Gaby would prefer the south with a future visit because of the better weather. I’d go back up north again. In any case, however, we would take a rental car directly at the airport for another holiday and we would do without the transfer. Why? We sat in the bus for about 2.5 – 3 hours until all guests were distributed and collected on the way back. I’m sure it depends on the hotel, but it’s already taken a lot of nerves. On Google Maps we saw in Puerto de la Cruz how we were driven around the hotel in big loops….

If you drive by car, you will be in the north in less than an hour from the south, regardless of whether you drive on the motorway in the east or on the mountain road in the west. Tenerife is not a very big island: in less than 2.5 hours you have driven once around the whole island. All roads are in very good condition.

If you like to swim in the sea, please note that when you go on holiday in Tenerife in January, the surf is usually too strong to swim in the north. In the south, on the other hand, the sea is also so calm in January that you can go swimming. Point for the south!

 

Tenerife – Transport and Traffic

We have experienced Tenerife with the rental car as a very compact island. The price for a rental car for one week (Polo, 2nd driver) was acceptable at € 125 and of course gave us the flexibility we might not have gotten with a bus. Refueling is with 0.91 € / litre for E10 pleasingly favorable. We’d like to have drained ourselves of a few liters for home.

If you don’t want to use the car, you can also take the buses from titsa (the public bus company) to get to the island easily and cheaply. We have met many pensioners who have been raving about the good connections. Most of them had a so-called bonus card, similar to a prepaid card, with which they could travel at even better rates. Even the Teide seems to have good connections.

In the villages themselves you can also take a cheap taxi. Especially in Puerto de la Cruz we used it several times and drove from the centre to our hotel (just under 1.5 km uphill) for just 3.50 €.

What to do on your vacation on Tenerife in January?

Even in winter you can do a lot of things on Tenerife. The weather is very mild and ideal for almost any kind of activity. Most things you can decide spontaneously for yourself. Many of the tours offered by the hotel’s tour operators were later considered more amused than money-cutting. In the ten days we have made a lot of great excursions, which we also recommend to you.

 

Teide – Spain’s highest mountain and an absolute must for a vaacation on Tenerife

As the world’s third largest island volcano (just under 7500 metres from the seabed) the Teide is already the defining landmark of the island. In good weather you can actually see the peak of Teide from almost every free place in Tenerife. Through many reports of other tourists we were full of energy to go to the Teide. For us it was one of the highlights on the island. The last eruption of the volcano occurred in November 1908.

If you want to go / drive on the Teide, you should consider in good time whether you want to go all the way to the summit. If you are planning to do this (which we recommend), then you must obtain a permit from the national park administration in good time (link to the webpage of the national park). Don’t panic; approval is fortunately free of charge. Just a limited number of tourists are allowed to reach the top of the mountain every day. We took this option too late and missed the last 160 meters to the summit due to the lack of permission. A good reason to come back to Tenerife!

Thin air and great views on the Teide

The view from the top station of the cable car is also impressive and literally breathtaking. The air at an altitude of 3555 meters is already relatively thin and an experience in itself. At the top you have one hour time to breathe the thin air and take great photos. You will probably need to acclimatize a little bit after leaving the cable car. We also needed a moment to get used to the air. It’s not the North German Plain you walk through! In any case, we had good luck with the weather and were able to see a great volcanic landscape and Tenerife in general with a clear view towards the south and lots of sunshine.

 

The mountain is calling.

Have a good look at a weather forecast before visiting Teide. There is always the risk that in case of bad weather, the cable car will be stopped and you will drive to the mountain for nothing. During our visit we had about 20 degrees Celsius at the hotel and on top of the mountain it was only 6 degrees Celsius. You should definitely wear suitable clothes. It may also be possible that roads are completely closed due to the weather.

What we also recommend to you is the online reservation or purchase of the cable car ticket in advance. Due to our spontaneous visit in the late morning we could only get tickets (per person up and down 27 € total) for the trip in the late afternoon. As one of the main attractions, many tourists visit Teide. The cable car runs from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm (departure). Click here to visit the website of the Teide cable car. The parking space situation at the valley station is limited. Early arrival secures a place.

Waiting times for the cable car can also be easily used  with a hike in the volcanic area of Teide, as we have done. From the Parador station, there are a wide variety of different and varyingly demanding and long tours through the spectacular volcanic landscape of the Teide. You can get an overview of the different tours here: Hiking map of the Teide National Park

Plan a whole day for your visit to Teide. We were glad that we didn’t take a guided tour and recommend you to organize the visit yourself. During our next visit we will surely visit Teide in the evening hours to see the night sky of Tenerife.

By the way, after your visit you can put a check mark on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites you have visited. The Teide National Park has been one of them since 2007!

 

Hike through the Masca Canyon

Another great activity on Tenerife is the walk through the Masca canyon. This hike on Tenerife is certainly one of the most spectacular walks on the Canary Islands. We did the tour on our last days in Tenerife and had a great day.

On the way you walk a distance of just under five kilometres and over 600 metres in altitude through a very impressive canyon. On the way, the rock faces are up to 600 metres high and the canyon is less than 30 metres wide at the narrowest points. As a special challenge you have to climb a bit in some places (not much). You will be shown 54 landmarks to the sea. The typical option starts in the village of Masca and leads you along the path to the Atlantic Ocean, where you can take a boat trip to the village of Los Gigantes or take the direct way back. You can buy a boat ticket in the village or directly by the sea (January 2018 € 10, – / person). From Los Gigantes taxis will take you back to Masca for about 26-28 €.

Before the hike we recommend you to have a cup of coffee before the hike. In the restaurant behind the entrance you can also buy your boat tickets and can get tips about the hike. Be sure to be there early. Masca is an incredibly small village with very few parking spaces. We were there at 9:00 a. m. and we still had the free choice of parking space. If you arrive later or don’t want to drive to Santiago del Teide on some of the narrow serpentines, you better park your car in Santiago del Teide and drive to the village for relatively little money.

It depends on the equipment.

The hike itself is classified as difficult to very difficult on various websites. We then approached the matter with due respect. It is not a “Sunday walk”, but it is also not infinitely difficult. In any case, you must be sure-footed and (somehow) athletic. On some passages the path is narrow and on others you have to climb a little bit. You should definitely wear the right shoes. High heels and flip-flops are the worst possible choice. Have a look at the weather forecast here.

You can organize the tour through the canyon without any worries for yourself, even if there are providers at every corner for this tour. In principle, the canyon itself dictates the path. If you start in time enough, you will have the canyon or the path almost to yourself. On our way to the sea we hardly met more than 20 other hikers. In addition to the rush hour, the situation should look completely different according to the reports of other holidaymakers, which surely clouds the joy.

In any case, take enough water and if necessary some food for the way. We arrived with a relaxed walk (and many photo stops) after about 3 hours (and two liters of water and three bananas) happy and satisfied at the sea. The onion tactics in the choice of clothing certainly helped us. At the beginning we started off with a light drizzle and a rain jacket. At the end of the day it was as warm and sunny as you would imagine a nice day on holiday. If the weather is fine and you have your swimsuit with you, you can jump into the Atlantic Ocean from the jetty. In addition to the many great impressions, you may also take a nice sore muscle as a souvenir from the hike, which will remind you of your experiences the next day.

 

Waterparks – also ideal for a holiday on Tenerife in January

There are two larger theme parks on Tenerife for all water rats and water slide junkies. We visited the Siam Park, the world’s best rated water park according to TripAdvisor. If you are planning your holiday on Tenerife in January, it is certainly a good time for the Aquapark. If possible, visit the park on a Saturday (“bed change day”) and you will hardly have any waiting time at the many great slides. Read more in our separate report about the Siam Park. It was definitely a great visit!

Zoos in Tenerife

You can visit two zoos in Tenerife. During our holiday in Tenerife in January we visited the Loro-Parque, which is advertised all over the island. You have to decide for yourself how you like zoos and especially animal shows in zoos. We visited the Loro-Parque to get our own impression. The park is very spacious. There are shows with orcas, dolphins, sea lions and a bird show that are repeated several times a day. If you visit the park, we recommend you to be there early. If you go the regular way, it will soon fill up. We recommend that you turn left immediately after the entrance and go against the main stream. If you walk in a clockwise direction, you will experience the park relatively “alone” during an early visit. More about our visit to Loro-Parque in the following article.

 

Santa Cruz

Tenerife’s capital and hub of the island. We visited Santa Cruz twice. You can go shopping downtown. We recommend that you park your car at the “Nuestra Señora de Africa” market in the multi-storey car park and then go directly to the “Nuestra Señora de Africa” market hall. During your visit you should definitely visit the lower part of the market with the fish market. From the market it’s only a five minute walk to the pedestrian zone, where you can shop until your credit card (or wallet) glows. If you are interested in architecture, then the Auditorio de Tenerife is definitely a good destination for you.

Shopping in Tenerife

You’re Shopaholic? Tenerife has a large number of shopping centres. In the south you can shop directly in Las Americas and Siam Mall. If you are like us in the north, then the shopping mall La Villa is a great alternative to the bingo evening in the hotel. The shopping centre is open until 1.30 am (shops until 10 pm).

Puerto de la Cruz

The tourist centre in the north is the town of Puerto de la Cruz, built on the slopes of the Atlantic Ocean. Our hotel was near the Park Parque de La Sortija. In Puerto Cruz we recommend a walk through the old town. As a special highlight in the old town of Puerto de la Cruz there are 13 large streetart murals! Here you will find an overview of all 13 murals, which you can view on a detailed tour through the city centre. Link to the flyer of Puerto Streetart

Beaches in and around Puerto de la Cruz

If you are more of a beach fan, then you should definitely visit the city beach Playa Jardin. The beach has black sand, which you won’t find everywhere. In January on Tenerife it is still only quite crowded, so you should not have any problems finding a beach chair. By the way, the beach chair costs you only 3 €/day, which is a bargain compared to many other holiday destinations.

As an alternative to the city beach we recommend the natural beach Playa de Bollullo, which is just outside of Puerto de la Cruz and is one of the most beautiful natural beaches in the north of Tenerife. The beach is also popular with locals, so it is better to plan your visit during the week. Above the beach there are very few parking spaces.

 

 

As with Playa Jardin, you should take the flagging on the beaches seriously. The currents at the beaches should not be underestimated.

By the way, you can swim more quietly in the seawater in the waterscape Lago Martianez. This pool landscape was designed by the artist and architect César Manrique and shapes the promenade of Puerto de la Cruz. Admission is relatively cheap with 5,50 €.

What else we can recommend for your vacation on Tenerife in January.

For a visit to the north of the island, we recommend a visit to the Sunset290 Bar near Puerto de la Cruz. From the bar you can enjoy a delicious cocktail in your hand over the bay of Puerto de la Cruz and watch the sunset on the coastline.

Speaking of sunset – here we recommend the pass and viewpoint Mirador De Cherfe on the way to Masca canyon, which is one of the highest and most westerly points of the island. The sunset is great to watch from up there. We would be happy to give you the recommendation of a taxi driver who has pointed out to us that it is better to lock the rental car even with short photo stops.

Traumhafter Sonnenuntergang vom Mirador de Cherfe auf Teneriffa

Wonderful sunset from the Mirador de Cherfe on Tenerife

It is also interesting to note that there is a relatively short period of twilight after sunset. After less than 20 minutes it is already very dark. You will surely notice this during your holiday on Tenerife.

January is otherwise an ideal time for a vacation on Tenerife. There aren’t that many tourists on the island yet. With little effort you can plan your holiday on Tenerife so individually that you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. Although the island is relatively small, it offers many possibilities for a great vacation. Our original plan with a day trip to Gomera was quickly rejected by our first vacation on Tenerife. We will certainly return to Tenerife at some point. We liked it very much!

If you want to read more about the Canary Islands, we recommend our report about Gran Canaria, which you can also experience outside of mass tourism. If you prefer safe swimming conditions, we recommend a holiday in Sardinia south west or Sardinias north or Sicily.

Update March 2020: we visited also Lanzarote, which is the Canarian island with a complete and most absctract vulcanic landscape. Just follow this link.

Have you ever been to Tenerife in January or at another time of the year? What were your experiences?

The following travel guides have also done a good job offline. We also recommend you to think about a USB adapter, which helped us very well in our hotel (with only one single socket in the room!).

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