Much like in mainland Spain, there are many incredible hikes in Gran Canaria. This popular tourist destination famous for its beaches actually is a top adventure getaway, which makes it one of the best Canary Islands.
This post highlights the nicest hikes on the island, dividing them by length and difficulty level, and provides some useful tips to enjoy the island. Before I get to the core, let me however give some background information on this beautiful place.
Some Background Information On Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is largest of the Canary Islands and the second most populous of them. Its capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital, was founded in 1478 with the name Real de Las Palmas. It is the most populous city of the Canary Islands archipelago, home of a famous carnival where Las Canteras beach is located: this is a protected area and fantastic diving spot. Finally, but quite importantly so for hiking junkies, Las Palmas is a good base to go on more excursions in Gran Canaria.
Like the other Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origins. With its 1949 meters, Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak on the island, followed by Roque Nublo, which reaches 1813 meters. These are some of the nicest spots for hiking in Gran Canaria.
Known as “Miniature Continent,” Gran Canaria enjoys various different climates and varied landscapes. This is why tourists love it! More than 4 million people visit every year to enjoy the sandy beaches, explore the lovely villages, go to the green ravines, and needless to say to go walking in Gran Canaria.
The most famous attraction in Gran Canaria is the Maspalomas Dunes, in the south. Most tourists spend their time on that side of the island, which is where the climate is warmer and sunnier and most of the best resorts in Gran Canaria are located.
But Gran Canaria has yet more to offer. Some incredible places are located on the eastern side. Agüimes is a lovely restored small city. Not far from it there’s Guayadeque ravine, a protected area where a church has been built on the side of the mountain and which is the location of some incredible restaurants. Playa de El Cabron is a marine reserve and has some of the best diving in Gran Canaria.
The majority of the territory of Gran Canaria is protected by the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Area; and about a third of it is a recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is to say that nature is incredible there. Such incredible variety of landscapes makes Gran Canaria an incredible hiking destination.
These are some excellent tours of Gran Canaria to make the most of the island:
- 8-hour lazy Wednesdays tour from Las Palmas
- Gran Canaria guided buggy tour
- Las Canteras beach 3-hour snorkeling trip
So, without any further ado, let me finally highlight the top hiking trails in Gran Canaria.
11 Fantastic Hikes In Gran Canaria
The best long distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Camino de Santiago
Not to be confused with the official Camino de Santiago in mainland Spain, this is a good 3 day hike. It used to be a 55 km walk connecting connecting San Bartolomé de Tirajana (aka Tunte) to Gáldar (actually, the Obispado Diocesis de Canarias in the former’s Plaza de Santiago with the Iglesia Matriz de Santiago de los Caballeros).
Nowadays, the hike is 75 km long, and as far as walking in Gran Canaria, this is one of the best places as there are some incredible views. The starting point is in Maspalomas and the walk goes by the resorts of Playa del Inglés. So it is a coast to coast walk. As during the hike several microclimates are crossed, make sure to carry all the necessary layers and gear.
Medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Playas de GüiGüi
With such a beautiful coastline, it goes without saying that some of the top hiking in Gran Canaria is along the coast. Some of the beaches such as the Playas de GüiGüi (which are gorgeous and off the beaten path) can only be reached by boat or on a hike. The trail that starts in La Aldea de San Nicolás is on the challenging side, but there is a shorter, easier one leaving from Tasartico – from there, it is a nice 3-hours walk round trip.
This is a lovely, 22 km mountain walk starting in the hamlet San Pedro, home of several coffee plantations. The trail goes through a gorgeous pine forest (which actually is Gran Canaria’s largest nature reserve). Going up, the views of Agaete and the port of Puerto de Las Nieves are breathtaking.
The trail (a circular route) follows the signs to Camino El Valle-Tamadaba then reaches El Hornillo. Here, some locals live in cave houses according to a tradition that goes back to well before the Spanish conquered the island in the 15th century.
Ruta de Las Presas
This 32 km long trail takes its the name from “presas” (damn) that can be seen throughout the hike, such as Presa Caidero de La Niña, Presa del Parralillo (from where there’s a great view of Roque Nublo) and Presa del Candelaria. The trail starts in La Aldrea de San Nicolás, which is located on the west of the island, and goes all the way to Artenara, which is Gran Canaria’s highest municipality. It is part of the GC-210. It actually follows the road motorbikes passing by are quite common.
Venguerra is natural dark volcanic sand beach that can be accessed by the beach west of Puerto De Mogán. It’s thought to be one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria. In Puerto De Mogán, a road that is closed to cars takes all the way to Venguerra. The hike is quite long (overall 25 km round trip) but it’s fairly easy, so it takes around 5 hours to complete.
This hike leads to Moriscos, the highest peak in the north of the island. The trail is about 10 km and can be walked in around 4 hours. It follows in part the caldera of the Tejeda. During the initial bit, the hike goes through some beautiful chestnut groves. It then reaches a viewpoint from where it’s possible to see as far as Las Palmas. During the hike it’s also possible to visit the caves where the indigenous population used to live.
The nicest shorter hikes in Gran Canaria
Barranco de Los Cernícalos
One of the nicest, short hikes in Gran Canaria is that of Barranco de Los Cernícalos, which goes along the Kestrel Ravine. Locals living in the area of Telde and Valsequillo particularly love this trail, which can get quite busy during the weekend. Make sure to start nice and early to beat the crowds.
The starting point is the Lomo Magullo’s Los Arenales parking lot, which can be reached by bus Telde’s San Gregorio. The trail, which takes around 4 hours to complete, goes through the Reserva Especial de Los Marteles and all the way to the waterfalls. Most of the walk is in the shade.
This is one of the nicest, most popular short hikes of Gran Canaria, taking about two hours to complete. The starting point is La Goleta car park (which is on the road that connects Ayacata with Pozo de las Nieves). Here, there are several stalls selling cheese, nibbles and also water. The path goes all the way to the Roque Nublo. It’s not a good idea to walk it in the summer, as it can get really hot – opt to go between October and May instead, but make sure to layer up as it may get chilly because of the altitude.
Lighthouse at Puerto De Mogán
Though short, this is not the easiest among the hikes in Gran Canaria. The trail is quite steep! It’s a very short walk towards the cliff in Puerto de Mogán, and there is a sign to the Mirador (look-out point). The view from there is great, but it’s even better at the lighthouse and the sunset from there is splendid.
Los Tilos de Moya
One of the shortest hikes in Gran Canaria (taking just little over one hour) is the one that goes through the Barranco de Laurel. The area is beautiful, packed as it is with eucalyptus trees, and with many Alpispas birds. It’s a great, easy excursion in Gran Canaria for families with children, who will be easily entertained in the forest and by all the beautiful birds.
With regards to easy hiking in Gran Canaria, the Santa Lucia one, going around the various municipalities of Santa Lucia for about 10 km, is a lovely one. It goes through fields, orange groves, palm trees forests and the archaeological site of Montaña de los Huesos, before getting back to the village.
The Best Time To Go Hiking In Gran Canaria
The best time to go hiking in Gran Canaria is from October to May. Most European tourists visit in the winter, when the mountains can get really cold, but walking in Gran Canaria remains pleasant. Keep in mind that the weather can change dramatically within a few minutes, with sun often giving way to mist and occasionally even heavy rain. If going in the summer, remember that it gets very hot, so only plan short hikes and start as early in the say as possible to avoid the hottest hours.
The Nicest Cities In Gran Canaria
There is a handful of beautiful cities on the island, all providing a good starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria. Las Palmas, the capital is a nice, medium sized city with interesting attractions. The old city center, with the squares, markets and urban parks is beautiful. Make sure to also walk along Avenida Maritima and enjoy the gorgeous beaches, such as Las Cantera, and to gorge on food in one of the fantastic restaurants.
Another town is Maspalomas, which is more of a resort place famous for the sand dunes and the beautiful lighthouse built in the 19th century. The best resorts in Gran Canaria are located there.
26 km south of Las Palmas and 5 km from the coast there is Aguimes. After many years or neglect from tourists, the city saw a new life when the center was restored. It’s a nice example of a traditional Canarian hill town, where travelers can appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the island. And it is a good starting point for some nice hikes in Gran Canaria.
Other small cities worth visiting include Galdar, which is built on a dormant volcano; Teror, boasting beautiful cobbled streets; and Telde and its beautiful churches.
The Best Places To stay In Gran Canaria
The best resorts in Gran Canaria are in Maspalomas. However, as a major tourist destination, Gran Canaria has some excellent accommodation options in other locations too.
Here’s a selection of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria:
- Hotel Casa Mozart is ranked as one of the best hotels in Las Palmas.
- Penthouse Las Cantera’s Beach is right on Las Palmas most famous beach.
- HiTide House is a great hostel in Las Palmas.
- Ifa Faro Hotel is the best place to stay in Maspalomas.
- Club Vista Serena, in Maspalomas, are apartments with a lovely pool and excellent location.
- CIW Hostel is in Vecindario, at 18 km from Maspalomas.
- Casa Rural la Piedra Viva, in Aguimes, has cozy, comfortable rooms and even a family room.
- Hotel Rural Casa de los Camellos, in Aguimes, is a historical mansion.
With regards to camping sites, there aren’t many options. There’s one in Playa de Vargas, where guests can pitch a tent. Another one is Club de Camping y Caravaning, though the webpage is only in Spanish. It’s supposed to be a good, clean camping site, so perhaps it’s worth bypassing the language barriers. Camping El Pinillo has cabins places for caravans, but doesn’t have pitches.
How To Get To Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria’s only airport is that of Las Palmas, which is well connected to mainland Spain, Europe and some African countries via regular and budget airlines.
Other Useful Information
The main resources for hiking in Gran Canaria are Outdoor Active and Komoot. However, although the main pages have information in English, the rest is usually in German and the information is often approximate.
Various companies offer guided hikes of Gran Canaria. Walking Gran Canaria and Macs Adventures both have multi-days hiking itineraries.
Here’s some more information on Gran Canaria.
Make sure to read my posts
- Which Are The Best Canary Islands?
- Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain
- 10 Incredible Places To Go Hiking In Lanzarote
- 10 Great Hikes In Tenerife
- 11 Reasons Why Hiking Alone May Be A Bad Idea
Have you ever been to Gran Canaria? What are your favorite hikes in Gran Canaria?