Your Hiking Guide to Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is an avid hiker’s dream location. Known as the small great continent, this Canary Island is packed full of walking paths that intersect its intriguing and diverse terrain.
From raw-looking mountains and dramatic ravines to gorgeous stretches of coastline and lush forests, there’s a hiking route here to suit everyone.
The island is fast becoming a hikers hotspot and before long the remarkable trails here will cease to be as little-known as they are now. Discover Gran Canaria’s walking culture before the secret is out.
Planning your routes
Before you go, it is wise to purchase a guidebook detailing the different hikes that are available in Gran Canaria. Most good guides should include a decent map, but if they don’t you can purchase one separately. Don’t leave this until you get there as you may struggle to find one in English.
Alternatively, you book yourself onto a full tour which includes food, accommodation and a guide. This can be rather costly, but as the Gran Canaria is fast becoming a hiking hot spot, there are plenty of agencies that offer such services.
In terms of areas to hike, here are a few places you may want to consider researching:
Coastal walks in Maspalomas
No one should visit Gran Canaria without paying a visit to the sweeping sand dunes of Maspalomas, and there’s no better way to experience them than to trek through them.
There are no clear paths, due to the constantly moving sand, but if you begin at the Playa del Ingles beach, you can walk through the 400 hectare of dunes with ease. Walking on the sand can be hard work, but you are rewarded with incredible views from the peaks and a feeling of wonderful isolation from the troughs.
The coastal views here are second to none so even if you just walk around a part of the dunes, you are in for a real treat.
Parque Natural de Tamadaba
In the north-west of the island, you will find the surprisingly lush Parque Natural de Tamadaba. Given the arid sand dunes of Gran Canaria’s south, this expanse of green forest makes for quite the contrast, and it’s ideal for hiking.
To see the most of the park, try the signposted trail that takes you from the village of Agaete to Artenara. This hike cuts straight through the heart of the park, giving you stunning views of the coast and a close look at the Canary pines which grow here.
San Bartolomé de Tirajana
So varied is the landscape in this part of the island that you could easily spend a whole week just hiking around here. By basing yourself in the village of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, you are right in the heart of rural Gran Canaria.
This central part of the island is ideal for gentle walking or strenuous hiking; it just depends on the type of trekker you are.
The huge black mountains that loom in the region make for a stunning backdrop as you explore the dramatic outdoors of Tirajana. Throughout the area, you will find many old tracks that were originally used by the island’s natives centuries ago. Today, these routes have been restored so that walkers can retrace the ancient steps of the past while carving out their own new adventures.
Parque Natural de Pilancones
Another option, also in the island’s southern area, is the Parque Natural de Pilancones which offers a real bounty of stunning views. At points, you could be forgiven that you are somewhere in the Old West, so dramatic and rugged is the countryside here.
Some of the best walks begin at the Embalse de Gambusia lake which you will find near Ayagaures. From here, you can walk in a circuit that, at its peak, gives you some of the best panoramic views of on the island – picture perfect!
So before you head off on a walking adventure in Gran Canaria, here’s a couple of things you’ll need to pack in your suitcase…
Firstly, a wide-brimmed hat or cap is essential to keep the sun’s rays at bay. Likewise, you may want to consider some high-quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.
Last but not least, you will need a pair of sturdy hiking boots. If you are intending to buy a new pair for your trip, make sure that you break them in at home first!
Before you set out on any hike, make sure you have enough water to last the duration of the trek. If you are sticking to pre-planned routes – you should know exactly how long a walk is, and how much bottled water you will need. You’ll also need plenty of suncream, food for the day and a good camera.
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