After a couple of years of being locked down in our homes, most of us are itching to get out into the big outdoors and stretch our legs with a good walk. If you are like me you need to get out of your local area and head off hiking in the hills – preferably somewhere far away from home! Somewhere that offers reliable weather, good sunshine, delicious food, fascinating culture, great hiking and most of all, a change of scenery.
It might surprise you as most people think of the Canary Islands as just a beach destination but I highly recommend the Canaries for a really good hiking holiday. Not only does it offer fabulous weather and long days of sunshine and warm evenings but it also offers the most superb scenery.
You will have a hard time choosing an island as they all offer something a bit different from each other. Tenerife is perhaps the best known island and offers beach resorts and buzzing coastal towns and well as amazing beaches. La Palma is very pretty and offers a spectacular giant volcanic caldera which is truly breathtaking. La Gomera is a sub tropical island and offers incredible views over to Tenerife, but my favourite is Gran Canaria.
Gran Canaria offers the visitor pretty white-washed villages filled with pots of red geraniums, a diverse natural landscape of lush green forests, volcanic mountains with unbelievable views and stunning white sandy beaches – truly something for everyone and especially walkers and hikers.
It also offers a lovely range of accommdation from the upmarket Paradores of Spain, to quaint little hostales. There is also a fantastic range of self catering villas and holiday rentals on Gran Canaria to suit every budget and every need.
I would start in the main city of Las Palmas, with its delightful old quarter, for a couple of days of visiting museums, restaurants and bars to soak up the history and atmosphere of this lovely island. Then lace up your boots, grab your camera, pack your rucksack, slap on your sunscreen, fill up your water bottle and head out into the island where you can follow the well marked hiking trails or book a guided trek. Here are some hiking routes recommended by VillaGranCanaria
The summer months can be very hot as the Canaries lie off the coast of west Africa so autumn and spring are cooler and perfect weather for hiking. Even in winter the weather is usually pretty decent and many people come for a break from the colder climates of northern Europe.
You will encounter deep rocky gorges to rival the American canyons, lush and fertile farm land, cool green forests, beautiful wildflowers and plenty of wildlife. Don’t forget to visit the Roque Nublo, a towering rocky outcrop which offers unforgettable 360 degree views of the whole island on a clear day! Another must see is the Bandama Caldera is a spectacular volcanic cauldron and also should not be missed. Pico de las Nieves (the Peak of the Snows) is Gran Canaria’s highest peak. Much of the island is protected as UNESCO wilderness reserves and this makes Gran Canaria one of the best wilderness areas in Europe for hiking.