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Written by
George Hudson
George Hudson

5 Places to go Walking or Cycling in...November

Let's all agree: November is a pretty awful time of the year in the northern hemisphere. Summer has officially ended, xmas day is still the best part of 4 weeks away and its generally a dark, wet, and cold time of the year. What are the best places to go on a self-guided walking or cycling holiday in November?

1. Japan

November is a great time to visit Japan as it is around this time of the year that the maple trees begin to change, bursting into life in marvellous fashion revealing a range of colours from gold and ochre to auburn and red. The Nakasendo Trail or 'road through the mountain' has been used as a thoroughfare connecting Tokyo with Kyoto for centuries and is a great opportunity to experience rural Japan. Aside from the full Nakasendo Trail, we offer a number of other variations on the trip including a walk only variant and a number of trip extensions. Japan is a country steeped in tradition and history, and it is one of the best examples of a country that has been able to modernise whilst holding onto their cultural traditions and relics. Kyoto, for example, is Japan's ancient capital and has over 400 shrines and 1600 temples all of which have been preserved or maintained to high standards. The warmth of the colours in November is matched only by the warmth of the Japanese people whose kindness and polite & gentle nature is uplifting and infectious. High 15°C/59°F | Low 9°C/48°F

The Nakasendo Trail

2. Spain (The Canary Islands)

An archipelago of islands off the North-West coast of Africa, the assumptions that many people hold of the Canary Islands as a beautiful place ruined by a wave of unattractive beach-side development in the 60's is misplaced. The largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is in fact a walkers' paradise on the edge of Europe. The weather is the biggest pull factor drawing visitors to the islands in November, but how many of those visitors get away from the beach to explore the volcanic mountain ranges of Gran Canaria, or the botanical paradise that is La Gomera, or the lunar like landscape on Tenerife, or the deep gorges and laurel forests teeming with wildlife that led to La Palma being designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? The Canary Islands have much to offer for those in the know. High 24°C/75°F | Low 17°C/63°F

Palma - Caldera Taburiente

3. India

The clouds begin to break as the monsoons give way to pleasant weather as the anticipated month of November rolls in - warmer days and cooler nights mark the end of the unpredictable and muggy monsoon period. Furthermore being a shoulder month (between low and high season) means the attractions and roads are quieter (hectic rather than insane) in November making it an ideal time to visit this fascinating country. First-time visitors can find India a little overwhelming at first, for a start, the size of the country makes deciding upon which states to visit difficult, south or north, east coast or west coast? We currently offer two trips in India, but are working on expanding our offering to include more of the south. Our current trips centre around India's Golden Triangle which comprises of New Delhi , Agra, and Jaipur. The Best of Northern India tour packs in additional sights including the energetic Varanasi where one can view floating oil-lamps on the mighty Ganges. The Taj, Temples & Tigers tour is a slightly shorter tour that takes in the highlights of the Golden Triangle but also the Ranthambhore National Park, a huge reserve (~400km²) known for its tigers which can be spotted even during the daytime during November. If you are looking for a truly exhilarating trip that will provide stories and memories for years to come, India is more than worth considering. (New Delhi) High 27°C/81°F | Low 13°C/55°F

The Taj Mahal

4. Portugal

Portugal's seafaring and colonial past is most notable in the food. Seafood is a staple and one quickly notices the number of spices used in cooking however the quality and variety of the seafood used is not the defining factor. What stands-out is the simplicity. Good cheeses, fresh caldo verde, seafood stews and rich sauces developed from a red wine base - the Portuguese are masters of uncomplicated hearty food that showcases their fantastic homegrown/caught produce. There is no better way to build a healthy appetite than a cycling tour, ideally a cycling tour that takes in incredible natural beauty as to take your mind off the hunger or anticipation of the next meal! The Cycling Portugal's Atlantic Coast tour was introduced this year and has already garnered a lot of attention. This laid back cycling tour in north central Portugal starts in Porto where traditional dishes can be found at reasonable prices at every turn. There is time to explore Portugal's commercial hub and top of the list should be the art galleries, cathedral, and the bairro of Ribierro - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cycling south along the Atlantic Way travellers will pass through areas of exquisite natural beauty such as the São Jascinto Dunes Natural Reserve, the vast lagoon of the Ria de Aveiro (Aveiro is known as 'Little Venice'), and immense pine forests. As well as the sights one will have ample opportunity to enjoy the wide variety and quality of the wines produced in Portugal. From the Port produced in and around the Duoro valley to the east of Porto, to the Madeira, and the Vinho Verde - wine connoisseurs & lovers who have not visited Portugal are in for a treat! High 17°C/63°F | Low 9°C/48°F

The Atlantic Coast

 5. Africa

Not only do visitors to Morocco's 'oasis city' of Marrakech enjoy pleasant weather but they also receive excellent value for money in November. Morocco's second largest city has always been a bustling marketplace where all areas of society, rich or poor, tribesman or Berber come to sell their wares or treat themselves. The sights, smells and sounds that one can happen upon in the Jemaa el Fna draw great crowds of people who can be broadly split into two groups; those who know their way around the souks and those who do not - one can easily spend a whole day wandering the labyrinth of strangely enchanting alleys and lanes. Marrakech is also home to some fantastic examples of Islamic architecture including the grand El Babi Palace, the beautiful symmetry of the Saadian Tombs, and the Koutoubia Minaret - perhaps the finest example of Moroccan architecture. A trip to Morocco would not be complete without a trip to The Atlas mountains where one will experience traditional elements of the culture such as staying in a Riad, meeting members of a Berber community and drinking the sickly sweet mint tea - a welcome refreshment as you take in the stunning scenery and sheer remoteness of these communities. Those with a few weeks to spare may be interested in the Magical Morocco Grand Tour where local expert guides will give colour to the experience through sharing their intimate knowledge over the course of 2 weeks.  Those looking for a shorter break will likely find the Marrakech & The Atlas Short Break is more suited to their needs - something we are sure about is that Marrakech is gaining in popularity, why not visit in November when the queues will be shorter and the restaurants quieter! High 23°C/73°F | Low 17°C/62.6°F

The Atlas Mountains  

If you would like to speak to a destination specialist about any of the countries, or specific trips, mentioned in this piece please do not hesitate to get in contact with us on info@macsadventure.com

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