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Trails of Gran Canaria

Trails of Gran Canaria

Overview

Put on your walking shoes and let us take you to a walker’s paradise: Gran Canaria. Often referred to as a “miniature continent” because of its diverse microclimates and a wide variety of landscapes – from white sandy beaches to dark green ravines – this extraordinary island is one of the places with the greatest biodiversity in the world. Its volcanic origins with mountains and valleys turn it into a home for unique laurel forests, full of indigenous species that can only be found here. For all this, UNESCO has recognized the island as a Biosphere Reserve.

The round island provides walks taking in fishing villages, high plateaus, volcano craters, ridges, green hills. They are all connected by caminos reales (royal paths). They were used historically by farmers using donkeys or pilgrims progressing on foot to a holy place (rather than by kings and queens).

Start your journey in the Agaete Valley with its oases of banana, orange and avocado plantations. The north side of the island is lush and green, while the south is arid. Vertical landscapes drop down into the Atlantic, with deeply carved ravines, high plateaus with pastures, bay laurel woods, fir forests and terraced farms with almond orchards and prickly pear cacti. Gran Canaria’s volcanic and sculpted terrain plummets from the heart of the island – la Cumbre – straight down into the sea. At the centre of the island, two peaks stand out: Roque Nublo and Bentayga, towering high above deep ravines.

  • Valleys with oases of banana, orange and avocado plantations
  • Tiny white-washed villages, exotic palms and colourful bougainvillaea
  • Impressive contrasts between the lush North and the arid South
  • Gran Canaria’s volcanic and sculpted terrain
  • The Caminos Reales: an extensive network of historic footpaths

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Canary Islands

Your journey begins with a complimentary transfer from Gran Canaria Airport to Agaete, on the island’s rugged north coast. Agaete is surrounded by beautiful orchards, mountains, and sea, so perhaps take a scenic walk before dinner, or relax by the pool.

  • Overnight in hotel Rural Las Longeras (or similar; this hotel is closed in August and you will stay at an alternative hotel)

Day 2: Mirador Vuelta de la Paloma | 12.5 km

After a delicious breakfast, you start your first walk. All over the Canary Islands, the shortest route is by way of the nearest barranco (river gorge). You walk up among fronds of bamboo with a chance to select a lightweight yet very strong walking stick to use throughout the trip. In the village of San Pedro, you start your ascent along the Camino real to Montaña Bibique (645 m), a rugged outcropping with fabulous views over Agaete Valley. Then you walk further on to the vista point at Mirador Vuelta de la Paloma (850 m), where you look out over several valleys. The descent from Puerto de las Nieves follows a narrow gravel path along the ridge. Take a bus or taxi back to Agaete.

  • Overnight in hotel Rural Las Longeras (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 4.5 hours, 12.5 km, ↑525 m ↓650 m

Day 3: Fagajesto to Tejeda | 11-13.5 km

A technically easy walk, which starts along a quiet tarmac lane with splendid views (first 2 km), but then follows historic footpaths up into the evergreen forest Pinos de Galdar and then down via Cruz de Tejeda to the highest village of the entire island: Tejeda, beautifully located on a terraced slope with both Roque Nublo and Bentayga in view. The ascents are long and steep at times, especially the section through the pinewoods, on vertical paths with lava grit. The descent is more gradual, along a stony footpath that zigzags along slopes and through some orchards and kitchen gardens. You can shorten the route by asking a taxi to drive you 2 km further uphill at the start. The only pit-stop along the way is in Cruz de Tejeda where there are 2 restaurants and a chique Parador.

  • Overnight in hotel Fonda de La Tea (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 11-13.5km, ↑­­­­700/825 m ↓700 m 

Day 4: Roque Nublo Circular walk | 12-20 km

The walk starts directly from your front door and traverses beautiful terrain on steep slopes around Roque Nublo, a rocky outcropping teetering on the edge of a plateau. Shortly the tarmac gives way to steep paths which zig-zag up toward Roque Nublo. The peak’s volcanic origins become evident higher up, and you gaze hundreds of meters down steeply eroded ravines. On the descent, you follow a different route – through peaceful fir forest – to reach the col where you can hop on a bus back to Tejeda.

If you want to walk a bit more, just take the historical road that leads back to Tejeda, with occasional stretches of asphalt (+2 hours, 8 km and ↓400 m).

  • Overnight in hotel Fonda de La Tea (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 5.5 hours, 12 km, ↑­­­­800 m  ↓400 m 

Day 5: Degollada del Sargento to Artenara via Altavista | 9-13 km

The ascent to the Altavista peak (1378 m) on the edge of the Nature Park Tamadaba is easy but interesting as it allows for some great views across Gran Canaria, Tenerife and El Teide, the highest peak of Spain. You will be taken in the morning to the pass Degollada del Sargento and picked up at the end of the walk in Artenara, where you can wait for the taxi while enjoying a drink or lunch on a terrace. If you want to shorten the walk, you should ask the driver to pick you up at the starting point and pay for this on the spot.

  • Overnight in hotel Fonda de La Tea (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 4 hours, 9-13 km, ­ ↑­­­­300/500 m ↓300/450 m

Day 6: Tejeda to La Lechuza | 12.5 km

After a 10-minute transfer to La Culata (elevation 1225 m), you begin a walking route that takes you up over la Cumbre toward the green north sector of the island. The first part of the ascent (up to Roque Nublo, by way of yesterday’s route) gets you to 1620 m. Then you follow the ridge for about an hour, enjoying views to Gran Canaria’s highest peak, Pico de las Nieves (1951m). Your descent follows footpaths and rural tracks all the way to your hotel. Unfortunately, to reach La Lechuza, there’s no way to avoid doing the last 2,5km on the tarmac. But your reward is great: a swim in the pool awaits.

  • Overnight in hotel Rural Las Calas (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 5 hours,­ 12.5 km, ↑500 m ↓325 m 

Day 7: Teror, La Cumbre walk or Las Palmas | 14 km

Today can choose between the following options:

  • Option 1: Shorter walk near the historic town of Teror.
  • Option 2: Long and demanding walk through ravines north of La Cumbre.

Both walking routes will offer stunning views and you’ll see all sorts of fruits, vegetables and even chestnut trees growing in the barrancos.

  • Option 3: Taking a rest day to visit Las Palmas.

If you decide to visit Las Palmas today, you start off with a walk to San Mateo (45 min, 2.75 km, mostly downhill), where you catch a bus to Las Palmas. Hop off in the historic town centre known as La Vegueta, where Christopher Columbus was a lodger for a time before undertaking his long journey overseas. There’s also the Museo Canario, with the island’s best collection of archaeological artefacts. At the end of the day, bus back to San Mateo and walk / taxi back to your hotel.

  • Overnight in hotel Rural Las Calas (or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 5-6.5 hours,­ 14 km, ↑400/715 m ↓615/715 m 

Day 8: Departure or Extension

Complimentary airport transfer included.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in welcoming 3-star hotels. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.NB! Hotel Rural Las Longeras is closed in August, and you will stay in an alternative hotel.

Click to view default hotels

*Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel (from the ones pictured above) is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfasts and dinners on Days 1, 3 and 6 are included and served at the accommodation. Packed lunches are available at an extra cost from the accommodation (pack of five lunches available at an extra cost). Where no dinner is included, you will have plenty of options to dine in one of the many restaurants in the old town. Please, note that there is an obligatory supplement for Christmas (24 December) and New Year’s Eve (31 December) dinner. The supplement will be manually added to your booking.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is suitable for experienced walkers: If you are used to rough terrain and have a head for heights, you should be able to tackle all walks in the programme (especially the walk on Day 2). Good level of fitness is necessary. You should be able to walk for up to 6 hours a day in order to enjoy the walking to the maximum. Average walking time: 5-6 hours per walking day (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available throughout the year. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date.

Gran Canaria is warm year-round with almost no rain and long days of sunshine. The temperature in Gran Canaria is among the most consistent anywhere in Europe. Temperatures rarely drop below an average of 24 °C throughout the year and, despite being in the Atlantic Ocean, Gran Canaria sees only 148 mm of rainfall in total over 12 months. Most of this falls between October and February, while July and August are very dry.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

Our recommended airport for this tour is Gran Canaria (LPA). Private transfers from/to Gran Canaria Airport are included in your package.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnight stays in private en-suite rooms as listed above
  • 7 breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • Transfer from airport to the first accommodation
  • Transfer from last accommodation to airport
  • Luggage transport on Days 3 and 6 (when changing hotels)
  • Transfers to/from trailheads on Days 3, 5 and 6
  • Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site.
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and transfers not explicitly listed as included in the programme
  • Lunches, 4 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Supplement for Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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