Original post 6 July: My husband is a keen walker and was recently asked to review a walking guide. It is such a good book that I thought I should reproduce the review here too because I know some readers are themselves keen walkers. The review speaks for itself, so here it is, and I’ve put just a few photos from the book at the end as well to give an idea of how excellently illustrated the guide is.
Hiking guide for Tenerife by Marion Helbig
Those who come to Tenerife for the sun, sand and sangria may well be content with what they find, but are probably unaware that Tenerife has far more to offer the tourist with its stunning scenery and opportunitites for walking and hiking. Until recently, this aspect of Tenerife was hardly exploited by the tourist authorities, and only hardy local inhabitants were able to risk the hazards of badly maintained and unmapped paths through hostile landscapes. Lately, as part of major campaigns to promote green tourism, efforts have been made to provide hikers with networks of marked and improved pathways enabling them to enjoy walking in safety. None the less, as with so much in Tenerife, good intentions are frequently not followed through completely, because with a fixed budget to improve the hiking infrastructure, there is often no continuity budget, to maintain the pathways, for example, or to clear encroaching undergrowth and keep the signs and maps legible. For this reason, it is vital not to rely solely on the external maps provided at strategic points on the island, usually at village centres, but to be armed with precise information of a specific hike, about the distance and level of difficulty, and detailed pointers to avoid getting lost.
This hiking guide by Marion Helbig provides exactly what is needed as a general guide to the whole of the island. It provides details of 35 hikes ranging from very easy to difficult, so that all hikers will find a useful selection appropriate for their demands. There is a good mix of circular walks, popular with those with a hire car, and linear walks whose practical arrangements are more complicated logistically. This pocket-sized book has 208 pages crammed with detailed information about each specific walk, and peripheral data such as bus timetables and restaurants and general weather details. Each walk is described in terms of difficulty, duration, markings, food and drink required, public transport needed and height variations. For safe walking in a terrain which can at times be difficult and even dangerous, the book is supported by downloadable GPS information which would compensate for any lack of markings on the routes.
A particularly commendable feature is the selection of walks from different regions of Tenerife. Clearly a book of this size can only offer a small selection of the walks available, and the choice is going to be subjective. The book is divided into geographical regions: North (7 walks); North-East (9); South (4); West (9); Teide (6). This selection is a fair representation of the whole of the island, without a noticeable bias to any one region, and thus an excellent introduction to anyone interested in gaining a balanced impression of the amazing variety of landscapes.
The only annoying aspect of the book is that I can’t find anything to criticize. It is an excellent translation from the original German, and they have even gone to the trouble of giving height information in feet as well as metres, which nobody deserves.