If you are planning to visit the Canary Islands, hiking is a wonderful way to discover their diverse scenery, from volcanic lunar landscapes to lush subtropical vegetation. With over 1,800 trails, the Canary Islands are a hiker’s paradise, and each island is distinct in character.
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Hiking Canary Islands – What to Expect
Step away from the beaches and the main attraction is the Teide National Park, with forests and valleys, narrow ravines and trails to the summit, which is 3700 metres. Its Parque Natural de la Corona Forestral is home to a strange lunar landscape, created by centuries of falling volcanic ash. Visit the ancient village of Masca, first connected by road in 1993, before enjoying a swim at a black sand beach.
Expect diverse landscapes of mountains and arid plains, pine forests, steep ravines and rocky coastlines, with picturesque hill towns and sweeping views. Head to the Roque Nublo, an ancient worshipping site and one of the world’s largest free-standing rocks. For an easier walk, the La Plata trail follows an old shepherd’s path through a pine forest and lowland vegetation.
Although largely ignored for hiking, Canary Islands’ longest trail can be found here. At 160 km, the GR131 runs from north to south, past rolling hills of vibrant burnt orange, dry riverbeds, ravines and caves. Only accessible by boat, the Lobos trail takes hikers through pristine landscapes in a circular path between the jetty and the lighthouse.
In the mid-18th century Lanzarote experienced six years of volcanic eruptions, creating a lunar landscape and some twenty active volcanoes. Further south are the famous La Geria vineyards, which benefit from the fertile volcanic land. Over the Famara cliffs, the Los Gracioseros trail takes hikers past fascinating local flora and fauna.
A subtropical paradise, of all the Canary Islands, hiking here is the most popular, thanks to its mountainous terrain and trails through the rare ancient laurel tree forest of the Garajonay Nature Park.
There are many hiking trails to enjoy in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, through thick pine forests, freshwater springs and unusual rock formations. At its heart is the Caldera, a vast crater and former volcanic mountain that collapsed on itself. Be sure to see the Cascada de Colores, a waterfall made up of minerals, moss and algae that shimmers in hues of green, orange and yellow.
The smallest and least visited of the Canary islands, hiking islands is El Hierro which is enchanting, with diverse routes through atmospheric forests, sweeping valleys and farmlands. The Jinama trail descends from the highlands through rich plant life into the El Golfo bay.
For anyone who loves hiking, Canary Islands’ climate, reliable winter sun and exotic scenery are all you could wish for – just pack your boots and you’re ready to go!