What to expect when hiking Gran Canaria

Discover vistas and varied landscapes when hiking Gran Canaria – from pine forests to green valleys to semi-desert, rocky crags, and mesa-style mountains.

Browsing some cool travel hiking photos online, I came across one of a mountainous landscape that was reminiscent of the American South-West.

Curiosity peaked by my “love of large landscapes” nature, I pointed my mouse and click-clicked away.

Those images were of Gran Canaria. I duly company with the princely sum of £90 (€114 / $141) for the four-hour return flight from the UK.

It turned out to be a good choice.

What to expect when hiking Gran Canaria

Vistas and varied landscapes ranging from the pine forests of Parque Natural Tamadaba to green valleys to semi-desert, rocky crags, and mesa-style mountains north of Mogán, that reminded me of Mesa Verde in South-West Colorado.

Super-helpful signposts marking the trails.

Hikes ranging in length from hundreds of metres to around 25 km. I did four walks ranging between 7 and 14km.

Whitewashed villages with local bars/cafes for good value post-hiking nourishment on soups, pork dishes and more. Don’t miss the papas arrugadas con mojo – “wrinkly” potatoes in a spicy sauce.

Trails with plenty of ascents and descents. The highest point of the island, Roque Nublo, sits at more than 1800 metres above sea-level.

hiking Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo

At Roque Nublo. It was a tad breezy. And chilly.

Winding (very winding) and narrow roads. There are buses, but with car hire being so affordable it can make life a lot easier to hire some wheels for a few days.

Four days car hire cost me only £27 (€34 / $42) plus fuel through Holiday Autos. A car also gives you the freedom to stop at the numerous view-points round the island for those all-important photo-opportunities.

Changeable weather and some cloud, especially on the north side of the island. I was hiking in early December, and at altitude I needed a sweater, and even gloves and a hat on occasion. If the weather’s looking naff in the north, head for the trails in the south, for example around San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

hiking Gran Canaria San Bartolome

This is San Bartolome. Not bad, eh?

Where to stay when hiking Gran Canaria

If you’re using public transport for hiking Gran Canaria then you’re not restricted to circular walks. Yay!

The best hubs for bus connections are the capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the north (cultural but not as warm), or the resort of Maspalomas (a lot less cultural, but warmer) in the south.

hiking Gran Canaria Tejeda

The village of Tejeda – a handy base for walking

If you have your own wheels, then a central village such as Tejeda is a good bet. Before moving to an AirBnB place in Las Palmas for my last couple of nights on the island, I went up a grade from my usual flash-packing style and stayed at the Hotel Fonda de la Tea in Tejeda. Fina the owner is a fab host, as is Armando at the Casa del Caminero, which is both an authentic dining choice and a gallery for his Esher meets Miro meets Picasso-style paintings.

Resources for hiking Gran Canaria

As well as decent footwear, warm layers, sun cream, food and drink; a map and walking guidebook will prove invaluable for all but the shortest “picnic stop” walks.

I used the Gran Canaria Car Tours and Walks book (which includes bus route information), and the Gran Canaria Tour & Trail map. Help the site by buying through these Amazon links, at no extra cost to you.

Gran Canaria surprised me. In a good way. My view of what the resorts would be like had overshadowed everything else that I found the island had to offer.

Me and my hiking boots will no doubt return.

Have you been to Gran Canaria? Where in the world has surprised you, either in a good way, or not so good?

Mentioned in this post
  1. Parque Natural Tamadaba
    Attraction in Las Palmas Spain

    Las Palmas Spain
  2. Mogán
    City in Spain

    Las Palmas Spain
  3. Roque Nublo
    Attraction in Tejeda, Gran Canaria Spain
  4. San Bartolomé de Tirajana
    Region in Las Palmas Spain

    Las Palmas Spain
  5. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
    City in Spain

    Las Palmas Spain
  6. Maspalomas
    City in Spain

    Las Palmas Spain
  7. Tejeda
    City in Spain

    Las Palmas Spain

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  1. Neutrogena - 7 February 2015

    Cool article, It was practical.

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