Famous for its beaches and the great waves, hiking in Lanzarote is so good that it actually is a fantastic destination even for nature lovers. This is the easternmost of the main Canary Islands, and the third most populated in the archipelago. Arrecife is the capital and the main city.
Lanzarote is known as “the island of eternal spring.” The weather is very mild on the island, as it only gets 16 days of rain in a year (this means that it’s virtually always a good time to go hiking in Lanzarote!). What it does get, however, is wind: this blows regularly in Lanzarote.
Lanzarote is of volcanic origins (like the rest of the Canary Islands), which means the landscape is quite barren. Famara and Montañas del Fuego, two of the highest “mountains” on the island, are separated by El Jable desert separate. The highest peak is Peñas del Chache, which reaches 670 meters.
Most tourists who visit Lanzarote each year go there to enjoy its beautiful beaches. Papagayo, a series of small coves nestled between lava formations, is the most famous one. Diving is another popular activity on the island, as well as surfing, thanks to the excellent waves. Adding to these, there are some beautiful small cities and villages; fantastic locally produced wine; and the fabulous nature. Lanzarote is home to the Timanfaya Natural Park, and there are several volcanoes that call to be hiked.
Between the beaches, the diving and surfing, the villages and the volcanoes, there are many great excursions in Lanzarote. Some hiking trails link the gorgeous beaches to the nice villages (such as the hike from Femés to Papagayo); others like the one of Caldera Blanca go to the craters of volcanoes.
This post strictly focuses on hiking in Lanzarote, mentioning the best trails to enjoy nature and views, and providing a few tips on how to make the most of the island.
Interested in reading about hikes in mainland Spain? Check this post!For hikes in other Canary Islands, read my posts about Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
There are some surreal sights when hiking in Lanzarote
Ten Beautiful Places To Go Hiking In Lanzarote
Camino de los Glacioseros
One of the nicest places to go hiking in Lanzarote is in the area of La Graciosa, on a trail that its inhabitants used to take to walk to Lanzarote and back. It is a 4 km trail one way, and the difficulty depends on whether you walk it downhill or uphill. The first part of the trail, around Yé towards Guinate is along cobbled path, and it zig zags down. The trail then goes along the cliffs of Famara, and the volcanic rocks make it a bit slippery. The views of the coast during the hike are fantastic, and on the trail it is possible to admire several native species of fauna and flora.
In the south west of Lanzarote there is Los Ajaches. This is a large volcanic formation in what is thought to be the oldest part of the island. The trail isn’t long (around 6 km) but it is very steep, making it one of the most challenging places to go hiking in Lanzarote. The starting point is in Femés. From there, the trail goes along a pathway, a track, pedestrian ways as well as roads.
The vegetation along the hike is beautiful. Wildlife in this part of the island abounds, with species such as the steppe birds, birds of prey and sea birds that live on the coastal cliffs.
Make sure to take water (and food) with you as there’s none along the way.
One of the nicest excursions in Lanzarote is that of Guatiza. It’s not a hard hike, but the trail is rather long. It is a 27.5 km oval trail that goes through Tinguanton and Loz Valles. Going towards Haria, the views from the Mirador are breathtaking. Another places that can be visited along the way is the hermitage of Ermita de las Nieves.
Medium difficulty hikes
Femés to Papagayo
One of the nicest hikes in Lanzarote is the one that goes from Fémes to Papagayo. It offers the very best of the island: mountain views; coast views that span to the Altantic and Fuerteventura; and gorgeous beaches at the end. The starting point is in Fémes, a village where only 200 people live and which is a favorite for people who plan to go hiking in Lanzarote.
There is also longer trail that goes through Los Ajaches and that can be walked in around 4 hours.
El Golfo to Charco de los Clicos
This 10.6 km hike that starts in El Golfo, a small fishing village on the west coast of Lanzarote, makes up for one of the top excursions in Lanzarote as it affords incredible views of the volcanic landscape. The trail actually is on the lava flows and it is quite easy to follow – however, it’s to always stay on the track because there are bubbles in the lava.
The trail reaches Charco de los Clicos, a funky looking lagoon where the Rupia-Maritima algae turned the water bright green. It’s an incredible place, as the background is very dark because of the black volcanic sand.
Haria to El Bosquecillo
The area of Haria and El Bosquecillo is one of the nicest to go hiking in Lanzarote. The trail that links the two starts in Haria and is 8 km long. It goes to two beautiful viewpoints –the Mirador Montaña Ganda and El Bosquecillo (which is Lanzarote’s only forest). The view of Famara from the Mirador El Bosquecillo is fantastic.
Playa Quemada to Puerto del Carmen
Playa Quemada is the starting point of yet another beautiful hike in Lanzarote. The walk is fairly easy (though it is a 12 km walk there and back), on a trail that follows the cliffs. The trail goes through Puerto Calero, a lovely marina from where there are water taxis to Puerto del Carmen – especially great if you need a break from walking!
Incredible nature when hiking in Lanzarote
Caldera Blanca is one of the highest peaks on the island and it is one of the nicest places to go hiking in Lanzarote. The hike goes through a large volcanic area. The walk is on a lava surface which was formed through the 1730 and 1736 eruptions. The overall hike takes 4 hours. The starting point is the church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the saint patron of Lanzarote.
The trail follows a marked pathways, a track and even a tarred road in points. It is an easy walk, suitable for families with children. However, it’s not a very popular trail. There are incredible views of the Montañas del Fuego.
There is no shade or water throughout the hike, so make sure to carry enough water and to wear sunblock!
Cueva de los Verdes
Another lovely area to go hiking in Lanzarote is that of Cueva de los Verdes, near Haria. The trail is really easy, perfect for families with children. It’s a 2 km trail part of of a 6 km volcanic gallery. The name of the cave takes from its former owners, the Verdes. The cave was formed by an eruption from the nearby Monte Corona, which took place between 3000 and 5000 years ago.
There are guided tours of the cave every day between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.
Caleta de Sebo, capital of La Graciosa, can be reached by ferry from Orzola, located in the north of Lanzarote. Once there, there are several gorgeous tropical beaches and walks (as well as people who offer 4X4 rides). It’s one of the nicest excursions in Lanzarote. Mske sure not to miss Playa de las Conchas, the most beautiful beach.
When hiking in Lanzarote you may come across a gorgeous beach like Papagayo
The Best Time To Go Hiking In Lanzarote
Thanks to the spring-like weather and the lack of rain any time of the year is good to go hiking in Lanzarote. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the lack of shade on most of the trails: make sure to wear a hat, apply sunblock and carry and drink plenty of water.
The Unmissable Places To Visit In Lanzarote
Among the nicest places to visit in Lanzarote there is Arrecife, the capital of the island since 1852. It’s name is due to the reef (arrecife, in Spanish) that surrounds its most famous urban beach. It’s a small city, with a nice promenade and a beautiful beach (even though the buildings behind it are not nearly as beautiful); some nice shops; several unpretentious bars and restaurants.
In Arrecife, the Castillo de San José, is a must see. This is a fortress built in the 1770s under orders of Carlos III to protect Arrecife from pirates. The construction of the castle was also meant to create more work opportunities. The views from the Castle are beautiful. The castle was completely restored in the 1970s and currently hosts a great exhibitions of pieces of Antoni Tàpies and Joan Miró.
Another interesting place to visit is the César Manrique Foundation, which opened to visitors after Manrique’s death in 1992. What makes the place worth visiting is the fact that it’s been built on a lava flow and it follows the shape of the volcanic rock. Inside, there is an art gallery with works by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.
One of the prettiest places to visit in Lanzarote is Teguise, which used to be the capital of the island until 1852. At the moment, it is one of the main tourist and cultural centers of Lanzarote. The city is located right in the center of the island, 10 km from the coast and at 200 meters above sea level. It has a number of good museums, a nice flea market every Sunday morning, and the historic center has a fantastic medieval look – it’s been declared an Architectural Historic Site.
One of the perks of hiking in Lanzarote is enjoying a fantastic sunset
Where To Stay In Lanzarote
Lanzarote is one of the most famous tourist destination in Spain, though not nearly as developed as the rest of the big Canary Islands. However, it’s been recently upgrading its appeal so there are more accommodation options.
There are many incredible hikes in Tenerife, that it would be a real pity to miss out on them while on the island. Tenerife is the biggest and most populated of the Canary Islands. It’s capital is Santa Cruz the Tenerife, though San Cristobal de la Laguna, where the University of La Laguna was founded in 1792 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is probably the most popular city to visit.
There are many reasons why Tenerife is one Spain’s most visited islands. Blessed with a beautiful climate, it is a paradise for surfers, who find persistently good waves. The island is packed beautiful beaches such as La Caleta, real hidden gem thanks to the quiet environment and gorgeous setting (and where there is a fantastic fish restaurant!); or Playa del Bolullo, boasting dark volcanic sand and surrounded by high cliffs. Although remote, there is an easy trail that makes going one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife
Tenerife also has some lovely villages. And last but definitely not least, the hikes in Tenerife are among some of the best in Spain, thanks to Mount Teide (the highest volcano in Europe) and Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other than volcano hikes, there also are some nature hikes and coastal trails.
This post highlights 10 fantastic hikes in Tenerife, and includes some tips on other places to visit, where to stay on the island, and other useful information.
What are some of the nicest hikes in Tenerife?
10 Incredible Hikes In Tenerife
The most difficult hikes in Tenerife
The hike to Guajara, Tenerife’s 4th highest peak which is located on the south eastern edge of Las Cañadas ridge, in Las Cañadas National Park, isn’t long. It’s just about 9 km. The ascent isn’t much, really. But the altitude makes it challenging and altitude sickness may cause problems. What makes this one of the top hikes in Tenerife is the incredible view. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Las Cañadas, Mount Teide and the south coast of Tenerife.
The best time of the year to attempt this hike are May and June, when there’s beautiful flowers on the way; or September and October.
Make sure you are prepared for sudden weather changes, and keep in mind that the temperature on the summit may be 20 degrees colder than on the south coast. Dress appropriately and carry an extra layer.
Once at the summit you will find a small abandoned stone shelter which is a good place to keep out of the wind and have lunch. The descent follows the same path, or alternatively there is an old goat-herder trail following a ravine on the west side, which however is very hard to follow. You will get why I say that it’s one of the most difficult hikes in Tenerife!
Medium difficulty hikes in Tenerife
Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the 14 km coastal walk from Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas, right at the doorsteps of the biggest tourist resorts on the island. It goes through some beautiful nature reserves and offers incredible views of the south coast. The trail starts in Casa Carolina, an old villa on the sea front; it goes past the beach and towards Montaña Guaza – a protected natural area. There is a trail on the right which is less known and goes towards the cliffs.
Once there, the trail goes around the plateau through a rocky landscape surrounded by cactus. It eventually goes down through a steep slope towards Palm Mar, through the nature reserve of Malpais de la Rasca, where there’s the beautiful lighthouse. From there, the trail goes all the way to Las Galletas, a lovely fishing port, crossing some banana plantations and abandoned fields. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
When hiking in Tenerife, Teide is a must!
The easiest hikes in Tenerife
Las Montañas Negras
las Montañas Negras are located in the north-west of Tenerife and owe their name to the color of the volcanic ash that formed them. They include Volcan de Carachico, whose 1706 eruption caused the destruction of the port of Garachico.
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the one that starts in San Jose de los Llanos, just north of Santiago del Teide, and following a circular route goes to Montaña Bilma, then turns east to get to a forestry track that runs along Canal Vergara. On this part of the hike, the view spans so see the lava flaws of the 1909 eruption of Chinyero (the most recent eruption in Tenerife). On clear days, it’s possible to see all the way to the valley around Santiago del Teide, Mount Teide and Pico Viejo.
The last part of the trail is downhill, going to San Jose de Los Llanos.
The overall hike is 14 km but the ascent of just 200 meters makes it one of the nicest, easiest hikes in Tenerife.
Immediately east of Mount Teide there is Montaña Blanca, the third highest peak on the island. The hike there is one of the easiest yet most rewarding hikes of Tenerife among those in Teide National Park. It is a dirt track that for around 7 km zig zaps up the back of the mountain, going by the Huevos de Teide (giant boulders that were ejected during volcanic eruptions). Along the way it is also possible to see the lava flows on the side of Mount Teide.
Roque del Conde
Roque del Conde is one of the most famous landmarks of southern Tenerife. This mountain that looks over the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas. It’s possible to walk there (it takes around 3 hours) and from the peak there are gorgeous, 360 degree views of the south of Tenerife. This makes it one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
It is a 6 km hike on a paved path starting in Vento – there’s signs pointing to it from the main road in Arona. Here the altitude is around 600 meters above sea level, while at the peak it is around 1000. The trail goes through the Barranco del Rey, a deep gorge cutting through the southern side of the Tenerife, and then up the plateau.
One of the nice things about hiking in Tenerife is that the trails go through villages and beaches. The Masca Barranco hike goes from the picturesque Masca, thought to be Tenerife’s prettiest village, to the beach, through a prehistoric landscape. The walk to the beach takes roughly 3 hours, and once there it is possible to either take the boat to Los Gigantes or to walk all the way back.
The landscape is gorgeous when hiking in Tenerife
Arona to Ifonche
One of the most popular hikes in Tenerife is the one from Arona to Ifonche. It is a 9 km hike that goes along a well marked trail, and starts 1 km north of Arona, following an old goat herder track all the way to Ifonche. The way back is via Barranco del Rey gorge. It is the first leg of the longer walk to Adeje, Taucho and Vilaflor.
Las Lajas to Ifonche
One of the easiest excursions in Tenerife is the one that starts in Las Lajas, the barbecue area of Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal, at about 10 km from Vilaflor. The first part of the trail is quite easy, on a good dirt track where you will cross paths with many mountain bikers in the winter months. You will be crossing the Pasaije Natural Protegido (Protected Natural Space) of Ifonche, as well go by the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas.
After walking for about 2 hours, the view is obscured by the Alto de Chimoche, which reaches 1500 meters of elevation.
It takes around 4 hours to walk the roughly 12 km.
Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada
This 9.4 km walk is thought to be one of the top hikes of Tenerife. It goes through ancient forests and steep mountain ravines to then get to a hamlet where the locals still live in cave houses, much like it can be seen during the Tamadaba hike in Gran Canaria.
For more hikes in Gran Canaria, check my post “Hikes in Gran Canaria.”
The Fortaleza trail is a nice and easy one – the only thing that may cause a bit of difficulty is the altitude. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife to explore the north crater wall of Teide and Teide National Park.
When To Go Hiking In Tenerife
The best time to go hiking in Tenerife is towards the end of the spring or the beginning of autumn, when temperatures are milder. Throughout the winter, the temperatures are mild; whereas in the summer it’s really hot and it is not recommended to go hiking.
There are some lovely cities and villages in Tenerife
The Nicest Cities In Tenerife
Santa Cruz the capital of the island, is a great starting point when hiking in Tenerife. It is a nice place to visit, with a good selection of tourist attractions. The main one is Tenerife Auditorium, designed by famous architect Calatrava. Espacio de las Artes, the art museum, is another must. The city centre is packed with beautiful squares and lovely small streets.
San Cristobal de la Laguna is the second most important city on the island, home of the University of La Laguna, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It used to be the capital of the Canary Islands. The Old City boasts some beautiful churches (especially the Cathedral) and some nice squares.
Many villages can be seen when hiking in Tenerife. The nicest ones are Masca, which is perched on a rock: it is a series of narrow, cobbled alleys and overflowing gardens; Garachico, which is a tiny port that survived a volcano eruption; Tegueste, which is known for its farmers’ market; and Vilaflor, which is the highest village in Spain and is entirely surrounded by the forest. Last but not least, Granadilla is home to a beautiful baroque church dating back to the 18th century.
The Best Places To Stay In Tenerife
Tenerife is a popular tourist destinations. As such, there is a very good selection of accommodation options, for any kind of traveler and any budget and even for those who go hiking in Tenerife.
Wild camping is not allowed in Tenerife. Although there are meant to be a few campsites on the island, at the time of researching for this post it looks like most of them are closed for refurbishment. The online list seems rather outdated.
How To Get To Tenerife
Tenerife has two airports: Tenerife South Airport, and Tenerife North Airport. South Airport is connected to mainland Spain and the rest of Europe through regular and budget flights, though some of them are only seasonal. North Airport is not as well connected.
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 in Gran Canaria, 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.
So, without any further ado, let me finally highlight the top hikes in Gran Canaria.
There are some incredible hikes 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 that has to be included among the nicest long distance hikes in Gran Canaria. 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.
One of the nicest medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria is Tamadaba. 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. One of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria, 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. It’s one of the nicest easy hikes in Gran Canaria.
One of the easiest hikes in Gran Canaria is the one leading 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.
Some of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria are in the area of Maspalomas
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.
There’s more than hiking in Gran Canaria. Windsurfing is great there!
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.
Las Palmas is a great city and a nice starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria
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:
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.
A map of Gran Canaria can be found on Amazon here, and there also is a book summing up 50 walks around the island which you can get here.
This post on the best Canary Islands is the first one of a series on more detailed posts about the best hikes on the various islands of the archipelago. Here, I provide a short introduction on the various islands and explain their main characteristics.
The archipelago of the Canary Islands is an autonomous region of Spain, located at around 100 km off the coast of Morocco. It is composed of seven main islands – namely Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, El Hierro, Fuerte Ventura, La Palma and La Gomera; and multitude of much smaller ones. Of these, Lanzarote is often considered the best canary island for surfing.
In general, the Canary Islands are thought to be a fantastic holiday destination, to the point that each year they attract more than 12 million tourists looking to make the most of their beautiful beaches, the mild weather, the quaint villages and bigger cities, the good food and relaxed atmosphere. Each tourist has its own view on which ones are the best Canary Islands, but – needless to say – these views are completely subjective and based on their personal taste.
If we are to think about nature, determining which is the best Canary island becomes an even more daunting task. The archipelago is originally volcanic, and the nature is at its best. Suffice to know that a whopping four of thirteen national parks of Spain are located here, and that of these two have become UNESCO World Heritage sites and other two have been added to the list of World Biosphere Reserve.
I guess what makes the Canary Islands attractive to me is the volcanoes, of which a few are still active. In my travels, I have hiked several volcanoes, including Mount Bromo, in Indonesia; Etna, Vulcanoand Stromboli, in Sicily; Pacaya in Guatemala and Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. Teide, located in Tenerife, is the tallest volcano in Europe (as well as the highest mountain in Spain) – this would be enough to say that Tenerife is the best Canary island.
With their amazing nature and volcanoes, the Canary Islands are an incredible hiking destination. Here, I will provide some essential information on the best Canary islands, on the things to do and see there, and a brief selection of the best hiking trails. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the various islands.
Tenerife, with Mount Teide, is one of the best Canary islands
Which Are The Best Canary Islands?
Often considered the best Canary island, Tenerife is the biggest and most populated of the archipelago. The most important cities on the island are Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the capital) and San Cristobal de la Laguna, home of the University of La Laguna which was founded in 1792 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A top tourism destination in Spain, Tenerife is thought to be one of the best Canary islands for surfers thanks to the good, persistent waves.
What makes Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is also the beautiful beaches, quaint villages and lots of natural sites. One of the best beaches is La Caleta, a real hidden gem thanks to its beautiful setting and quiet environment. Completing the idyllic setting there’s a delicious fish restaurant.
Another fantastic beach is Playa del Bollullo. This is characterized by dark, volcanic sand (typical of Tenerife) and surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. It’s a fairly remote place, though there’s a trail that reaches it. It’s a popular beach among surfers thanks to the winds that bring in good waves.
One more reason to consider Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is the lovely villages. The unmissable ones are Masca, perched on a rock and with its narrow, cobbled alleys and overflowing gardens; Garachico, a small port that survived the forces of nature; Tegueste, located in the countryside, which has a nice square and buzzing farmers’ market. The highest village is Vilaflor, famous for being completely surrounded by the forest. Last but not least there’s Granadilla, where there is a beautiful 18th century baroque church.
Tenerife owes its reputation of best Canary island to the lovely climate and the beaches. However, adventures seekers go there to challenge Mount Teide and Teide National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Indeed, what makes Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is the multitude of hiking trails. There are many volcano hikes: Montaña Blanca trail goes to Teide summit. It is a challenging hike, but the views are breathtaking. Other fantastic trails are the Roques de García and the Dogollada de Guajara. The latter starts in Teide National Park and ends in Vilaflor.
There also are forest trails, perfect for those who want to get closer to nature. A bunch of trails are located in Anaga Rural Park. And there are also coastal trails, such as Malpaís de Güímar.
The gorgeous dunes are a famous attraction in Gran Canaria, one of the best Canary islands
Gran Canaria is the second most populous and the third largest of the Canary Islands. Thought to be one of the best Canary islands, its a lovely place to visit thanks to all that it has to offer. The capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, was founded in 1478. Its original name was Real de Las Palmas. Nowadays it is the most populous city of the archipelago, famous for its carnival. Located in the city there’s Las Canteras beach, a protected area and incredible diving spot.
Like the rest of the archipelago, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origins. The highest peak on the island are Pico de las Nieves, which reaches 1949 meters, and Roque Nublo, with its 1813 meters. Such mountains make Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands for hiking.
Gran Canaria is known as “Miniature Continent” because of its different climates and varied landscapes. The 4 million tourists that visit it each year consider it the best Canary island thanks to its long, white sandy beaches, the green ravines and the beautiful villages.
Famous attractions in Gran Canaria include the Maspalomas Dunes, located in the south of the island where the climate is warmer and sunnier. That’s the part of the island where most resorts are located, thus receiving most of the visitors.
Other attractions that make Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands are Agüimes, a beautifully restored small city located on the eastern part of the island. Not far from it, there’s the protected area of Guayadeque ravine. Here, a church has been built on the side of the mountain and tourists love the many cave restaurants. Also on the eastern side of the island there is the most famous diving spot, the marine reserve of Playa de El Cabron.
Half of Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Areas, and a third of the island is protected by UNESCO and a recognized Biosphere Reserve.
Another thing that makes Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands is the presence of some incredible hiking trails. The walk to reach Playas de GüiGüi, two gorgeous, off the beaten path beaches on the west coast of the island, is one of the best trails. The challenging walk to La Aldea de San Nicolás is perfect for experienced hikers. The one through Tasartico is a lighter walk. Another trail is that of Ruta de Las Presas: it goes from La Aldrea de San Nicolás to Artenara, Gran Canaria’s highest municipality.
Gorgeous beaches such as Papagayo make Lanzarote one of the best Canary islands
Lanzarote is thought to be the best Canary island for surfing, thanks to the beautiful beaches and the great waves. This is the easternmost of the archipelago, and the third most populated. The capital is Arrecife, and the main attraction is the Timanfaya National Park, in the centre west of the island.
Another reason Lanzarote is thought to be the best Canary island is the weather: it is called “the island of eternal spring,” thanks to its mild climate throughout the year. It receives just 16 days of rain, but it is regularly swept by strong winds.
Since it is of volcanic origins, the landscape in Lanzarote is quite desert-like. There are two mountain ranges crossing the island: Famara in the north and Ajaches in the south. El Jable desert separates Famara and Montañas del Fuego. The highest peak is Peñas del Chache, which reaches 670 meters above sea level.
Located in Lanzarote there is also the Tunnel of Atlantis, the largest underwater volcanic tunnel in the world.
Tourists are attracted to Lanzarote for its gorgeous beaches, such as Papagayo – a series of small coves of white sand nestled between lava rocks; its world class surfing and diving; the quaint city of Teguise; the local wine; Timanfaya Natural Park; and the many volcanoes (Volcan El Cuervo is just one of them). There are some fantastic hiking trails, too: Femés to Papagayo gives the best of both (hikes and beaches); Caldera Blanca goes to the crater of a volcano. With so much on offer, it’s easy to see why Lanzarote is thought to be one of the best Canary islands.
The unique landscape makes El Hierro one of the best Canary islands
The westernmost island of the archipelago is El Hierro. This is also the smallest of the largest ones, and the least populated. The entire island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2000 – easy to guess why many think of it as the best Canary island. The capital is Valverde. With no more than 21 days of rain per year, the island has a wonderful climate that makes it great to visit at any time of year.
El Hierro is home to an active volcano. The last intense activity was recorded in 2011. There also are several endemic animal species, some of which endangered such as El Hierro Giant Lizard.
El Hierro lack the major tourist infrastructure that other Canary islands have, so it is not nearly as busy as the rest, and that nature is still unspoiled there – this is why many consider it to be one of the best Canary islands.
El Hierro has some of the best beaches of the Canary islands. The most popular one is Playa de Tacoron, on the south coast. It is not a sandy beach, but the water is incredibly transparent and the surroundings beautiful. There’s a viewpoint for magnificent sunset views.
Another attraction on El Hierro is the shrine of Our Lady of the Kings, an hermitage erected in 1577 to home a statue of the patron was taken to the island in 1546.
More reasons to appreciate El Hierro as one of the best Canary islands is the beautiful small villages; the good museums (such as the vulcanology center, and the Parque Cultural de El Julan) and some incredible diving spots.
Hiking junkies will say El Hierro is the best Canary island thanks to the pleasant weather year round which makes it a fantastic hiking destination. There are trails that go all around the island. Las Dehesas is one of the top ones thanks breathtaking views and a peak into the island’s nature and wildlife.
The lovely sites around Fuerteventura make it one of the best Canary islands
Fuerteventura is the second biggest island of the archipelago, but is not nearly as populated as Gran Canaria or Tenerife. The capital is Puerto Rosario, and the highest point is Pico de la Zarza, which reaches 807 meters. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since May 2009.
Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands, and thought to be the best Canary island by many. Throughout history it has been eroded by wind and precipitations, and the landscape is often barren. Many tourists who visit the island fall in love with its beautiful beaches, the strong surf and the pleasant climate.
Contrary to the other Canary islands, Fuerteventura is not overdeveloped – though there still are fantastic hotels and restaurants. To many, this is what it makes one of the best Canary islands.
Fuerteventura has some beautiful historic villages such as Betancuria: here the pace of life is slow, the surroundings gorgeous. It used to be the capital of the island until 1834. Villa Winter is another attraction: this series of cellar, caves and watchtowers surrounded by the barren landscapes was built by a German engineer and by German prisoners of war from the Tefia concentration camp. It’s such an interesting place that to many it’s what makes Fuerteventura one of the best Canary islands.
The interior of Fuerteventura is all lavascapes and volcanic mountains. It is a protected area, but it can be visited. There are various hiking trails (making Fuerte Ventura one of the best Canary islands for adventure lovers), which include the one to Montana de Tindaya, the oldest mountain in the Canary Islands, located on the North-East of Fuerteventura. It is a sacred mountain to the Majorero people, who are indigenous to Fuerteventura.
The hike to the lava craters of Corralejo is a 4 hours walk, which can be rather strenuous due to the lack of shade.
It’s easy to see why La Palma is one of the best Canary islands
La Palma currently is the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands. The entire island is Biosphere Reserve – with such nature, it’s easy to see why it is considered one of the best Canary islands. The capital of La Palma is Santa Cruz de la Palma, a quiet, peaceful and pleasant place to visit.
Teneguia is the main volcano on La Palma; it last erupted in 1971. This is the second highest peak of the Canaries, with Roque de los Muchachos reaching 2423 meters. The views from there are breathtaking. There is located one of the best astronomical observatories in the world. Star gazing is thought to be a must when visiting La Palma.
Whale watching is another must when visiting La Palma (which thus becomes the best Canary island for wildlife lovers). The beaches never get too crowded.
The beautiful, untouched nature and the volcanoes make La Palma is a fantastic hiking destination – and one of the best Canary islands for hiking. La Cumbrecita is one of the best hikes. Here, it is possible to walk along the volcano’s caldera. The Ruta de la Cresteria goes around the crater of Taburiente and provides fantastic views of a collapsed volcano. The Route of the Volcanoes is an incredible trail that winds among the line of craters of La Palma southern-central spine.
Is La Gomera the best Canary island?
La Gomera is, geologically, the oldest of the Canary islands. It also is the second least populous. Since it is one of the most untouched and least commercial islands, it is thought to be one of the best Canary islands. The capital is San Sebastian de la Gomera.
What makes the island a favorite of tourists is the presence of beautiful, black sand beaches – though keep in mind that the currents can be quite strong. Playa Santiago offers the best sunset views; whereas Valle Gran Rey is a completely unspoiled beach. Hermigua Beach is splendid: the currents are quite strong but there’s a lovely natural pool on the beach.
Much like La Palma, La Gomera is a great place to admire marine life such as dolphins and whales. This makes it a favorite of wildlife watchers, who consider the best Canary island.
La Gomera is a lot less touristy compared to the rest of the archipelago. Those who go enjoy its wine, produced with grapes cultivated on the rich, volcanic soil. The most famous wines are white – either Foraster, or Forastera Gomera.
Another unique thing about La Gomera is the way of communicating that was created by the local shepherds. They would whistle down the valley to be heard up to 5 km away. It’s so special that in 2009 it has been declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
La Gomera is very mountainous. The highest peak, Alto de Garajonay, goes all the way to 1487 meters above sea level. Garajonay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Here, there are numerous species of plants, some of which under risk of extinction. Such nature makes La Gomera one of the best Canary islands.
La Gomera is a fantastic destination for hiking. There are many good trails. The path Circolare Costas de la Gomera is a multi-day hike of over 120 km that starts in San Sebastian and which can be divided in 5 different trails, of varying difficulty. It’s so great that it’s easy to see why hikers think of La Gomera as the best Canary island.
The best view of the island is that of Hasta la Vista – on clear days the views opens up to show Tenerife!
Have you ever been to the Canary Islands? Which do you think are the best Canary islands?
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