Walking and Hiking in the Canary Islands
A chain of volcanic islands known for their unfaltering sunshine, busy beaches and warm waters, the Canary Islands have a bit of a “Brits Abroad” reputation about them, brimming with all inclusive family friendly resorts and party holidays for groups of friends. As such, outdoors enthusiasts would probably never give a holiday here the time of day but in actual fact, there’s plenty more to these volcanic remnants than meets the eye.
Walking and hiking among the varied landscapes with rich flora and fauna to discover is a real joy in the Canary Islands so read on to find out more.
The largest island, Tenerife, is actually comprised of Mount Teide one of the world’s largest volcanoes and certainly the highest mountain in Spain making for excellent walking and climbing. Towering at an elevation of 12,200ft, scaling the grand heights of Teide is no mean feat taking an estimated 4 hours to hike up and around 3.5 hours back down, although the cable car proves a great short cut back down. To reach the summit, you must obtain a permit before doing so. It’s not just Teide that offers fantastic walking and hiking in Tenerife however; there are number of other peaks you can scale from Guajara to Montana Blanca and many more in between. There is also dramatic scenery from lush green forests clinging bravely to the ascending hills and luna like lava fields to uncover. Pick up a hire car at Tenerife Airport and venture inland on winding roads, away from the bustling coastal resorts, passing small traditional villages and gaping valleys which offer a snapshot of the sea you are leaving behind. With empty coastal tracks and craggy ravines to traverse across the island too, Tenerife has a different side to its personality that is kept well under wraps.
In contrast to its neighbours, La Gomera is much smaller, quieter and lesser visited which are three reasons it is so popular for walking and hiking. When you add the delights of Garajonay National Park, historic donkey trails, dense green terrain and craggy paths into the mix, you really can’t go wrong. Realistically, you can start walking nearly anywhere on the island but the south west is often considered the best area to begin from, particularly Valle Gran Rey. In the north of the island, choose Vallehermoso and Hermigua as your base point. If you are new to walking and hiking or are travelling on your own, there are a number of guided and group tours you can join so you can enjoy the scenery and learn about the flora and fauna with a little company. From tropical forests to vineyards and mountains you won’t tire of uncovering lovely La Gomera.
Similarly to Tenerife, great beaches and a wide selection of water sports prevail on Gran Canaria but this diverse landscape offers so much more to a traveller who enjoys variety. Much of the inner expanse of the island lies untouched by visitors making for genuine natural beauty to uncover and a myriad of historic trails to hike, not to mention many mini climates to contend with. There are fantastic opportunities for all abilities whether you are just getting started or a seasoned professional. Some of the best ones to tackle range from Roque Nublo, a fairly short and easy walk taking you up into the mountains to the likes of Firgas where you’ll need to dedicate a solid four hours of walking to uncover valleys, farm land and picturesque scenery. Tamadaba delivers dense pine forests with views across to Tenerife nearby and the volcanic crater Babdama offers walks around the top as well as the option to hike down into the depths. Walking and hiking here allows for plenty of surprises and will leave you with stunning views and even better memories.
With 7 islands to choose from, don’t write the Canary Islands off without considering a walking or hiking here. Diverse landscapes are a true haven for exploration and you can soon leave the crowded beaches far behind you.
This post was written by Kerri from EconomyCarHire.com, who offer greats deals on car hire in the Canary Islands, across Europe and beyond. Follow us on Twitter @economycarhire.