Hiking on the Canary Islands – find the right island

Wanderweg unterhalb der Cañadas

Hiking, but where on the Canary Islands?

Today it is all about hiking in the seven Canary Islands. Which island offers the most beautiful and best hiking experiences for you personally? Because also the question, which island it should be for hiking, reaches me from time to time. All seven Canary Islands are volcanic islands and lie in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean not far from the coast of Africa. So much for the common ground. But each one of them convinces with its very own charm and offers incomparable hiking experiences.

hiking crossroad

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Thus, before the holiday and the hiking, the very important question arises: Which island is actually the right one for me for hiking? What kind of landscapes would I like to experience during my hike? Should it be long sandy beaches or challenging high peaks? To make your decision a little easier, here is some information about the characteristics of each of the seven islands.

Hiking - Paisaje Lunar Tenerife

Hiking on Tenerife

Versatile hiking paradise

Tenerife is not only the largest of the Canary Islands, but also the one with the greatest variety and therefore a varied hiking paradise. From the coastline with its beautiful hiking areas, you can climb the island up to just over 3,700 metres above sea level to the summit of the Teide volcano. Tenerife combines numerous landscapes. The south is rather barren. And the fertile north is extremely green. In the height then the bizarre volcanic landscape around the national park Teide.

Hiking Tenerife Anaga

Hiking in the Anaga Mountains

The Anaga Mountains in the north are ideal for hiking. Here you can hike through old laurel forests in the Mercedes forest. There are hiking tours over rugged mountain ridges and gorges with breathtaking views over the mountains to the magnificent blue Atlantic Ocean. Examples are the round tour on the Chinamada mountain ranges and the round tour in Chamorga.

shadow of Teide in the morning

Hiking on the Teide and in the Teide National Park

If you are looking for a very special challenge, Tenerife is also the right place for you. In the middle of the island is the highest mountain of Spain, the volcano Teide with its 3.718 meters of altitude. In a strenuous hike you can climb the top of this giant and experience the longest shadow of Europe from above at sunrise.

But also the Pico Viejo with its 3.135 m altitude and the third highest peak of the island, the Guajara with 2.718 m altitude invite you to hike. And then the national park around the Teide, attracts with many different varied hikes, such as the pretty circular path through the Caldera over the sanatorium path. Skurille rock formations, endless expanses and cooled lava boulders offer a very special experience. Especially popular is the Paisaje Lunar, the so-called “moon hike” through white rock.

Teno mountains - treshing circle

Hiking in the Teno Mountains

The third large hiking area in Tenerife is the Teno Mountains, in which the Masca Gorge also lies. The landscape convinces the visitors from the cliffs of Los Gigantes to the Risco Steig with a wonderful natural diversity. My favourite hike there is to the rock gate El Bujero.

Whoever visits the Canary Islands for the first time is certainly enthusiastic about Tenerife and its diversity. Hikers are offered a lot from challenging high-altitude hikes under the snow-covered Teide to lonely bathing bays.

Hiking Gran Canaria - Güi Güi

Hiking on Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, too, offers a volcano and diverse nature. There are large white dune fields, barrancos, reservoirs and subtropical valleys. This is why the island of Gran Canaria is also called the miniature continent. On Gran Canaria, the interior of the island is characterized by the highest volcano of the island, the Pico de las Nieves, which however “only” has 1,949 meters. Nearby is also the landmark of Gran Canaria, the 1813 meters high Roque Nublo. Not only hikers, but also climbers have their joy here. The small circular hike around the so-called “cloud rock” is right at the top of the programme for most hikers on the island.

But there are wonderful hiking trails of every length around the whole island. And for those who love solitude, there is for example an impressive hike through overwhelming gorges to the lonely beach of Güi Güi. A further example is the hike through the Inagua nature reserve, which attracts visitors with its rugged rock faces and unique flora and fauna. Gran Canaria really offers more than just the tourist strongholds in the south.

La Gomera - Mirador Abrante

Hiking on La Gomera

The second smallest Canarian island La Gomera is often called the wildest island. This is due to the fact that on the small island with the 1.500 metres high peak Garajonay, approximately 50 steep canyons drop down to the sea. At really every corner, La Gomera offers some impressive hiking experiences. Tourist castles still do not exist. Even though the famous Valle Gran Rey is no longer a hippie slave, individual tourism still prevails there.

Hiking is possible on La Gomera up to the island tip of the Garajonay on 1.500 height meters. Otherwise the island at the north slopes offers the same vegetation as Tenerife, Gran Canaria and la Palma. You can walk through fog and laurel forests. But not only in the north, hiking is really possible around the small island La Gomera. A special attraction is the steep face of Agulo. There you can hike up to the glass Skywalk of Agulo. But also a big tour over the mountain ranges in the green Valle Gran Rey is a unique experience – even if it is not quite unstraining. One of my favourite hikes on La Gomera is the big round tour over rugged mountain ranges down to Playa El Cabrito and on the other side of the Barranco back over abandoned villages to Degollada de Peraza.

La Gomera - Hiking El Cabrito

As on most other islands, there are long-distance hiking trails on La Gomera that cover the whole island. You can hike on La Gomera on the GR-131 (the mountain ranges) and GR-132 (the island circuit).

Hiking La Palma Ruta de los Volcanes

Hiking on La Palma

La Palma is the fifth largest Canary Island. The northwestern island is called Isla Bonita, the Beautiful Island or Isla Verde, the Green Island. And in fact, it differs from the other Canary Islands by its lush green vegetation, which makes the landscape appear particularly wild in parts. Hiking in La Palma, declared a Biosphere Reserve, is an original experience.

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La Palma - Hiking - view to the coastline

There are no tourist strongholds like Tenerife and Gran Canaria. But because of the clean air there is a well-known observatory near the Roque de los Muchachos. It is also the highest elevation of the island with its 2.426 height metres. On La Palma you can hike quite high up to the rocks and volcanic edges. Also on La Palma there are pine and laurel forests, as for example in the north around the nature reserve Caldera de Taburiente.

In strong contrast to this are the huge dark volcanic landscapes and the ash fields of the south. The parade tour on La Palma is the Ruta de los Volcanes. On this route the famous Ultra Marathon Transvulcania takes place every year. On La Palma the last volcano erupted in the 70s of the last century. So, in terms of earth history, it is still a very fresh volcano activity. On a tour to the southern tip of La Palma you can combine high peaks, volcanoes and the beautiful coast.

Hiking El Hierro - San André - Isora

Hiking on El Hierro

Hiking on El Hierro is still regarded as a real insider tip for holidaymakers. Here on the smallest and westernmost island of the Canary Islands you won’t find any masses of tourists, but almost untouched nature. Perhaps this is also due to the fact that there are almost no beaches. But as on the neighbouring islands, there are dense laurel forests on the northern slopes. It goes up to El Hierro up to 1.500 metres in altitude. The interior of the island reminds a little of Ireland with its green plateaus that are surrounded by typical stone walls.

El Hierro - plateau with green meadows

El Hierro has also been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Here, off the coast, volcanoes were still active recently. On El Hierro you can really switch off and leave the grey everyday life behind you. Many marked hiking trails make the small volcanic island a pure hiking paradise. If you are looking for an adventure holiday, this is the right place for you. I have already done some tours on El Hierro myself. So you can make a wonderful two summit tour to Malpaso on the roof of the island. The impressive circular hike along the edge to the El Golfo valley to the famous Mirador de La Peña is also wonderful.

Fuerteventura - Pico de la Zarza

Hiking on Fuerteventura

Those who like the vastness and relaxing beach walks will love Fuerteventura with its white sand dunes. Like all Canary Islands, it is a volcanic island and offers a surreal, barren volcanic landscape. Walking through this scenery is a welcome change from a beach holiday. But on Fuerteventura, both can be ideally combined. A bathing and surfing paradise on long white dream beaches. Of course, an extensive hike along the white sand beach or through the high sand dunes is an absolute must.

Fuerteventura - coastline - view from the top

If you have enough time, you can hike all over the island. Hiking on the Camino Natural de Fuerteventura (GR-131) with a total length of 155 km is possible for long distance enthusiasts. This path leads past the famous dunes of Corralejo. But there are also small mountains on Fuerteventura. In the north and on the west side of the island it can go up to 800 meters. Here you will find the hiking tour to the highest peak of the island, the Pico de la Zarza.

Lanzarote Montaña Blanca

Hiking on Lanzarote

Lanzarote is the oldest of the Canary Islands and has 213 kilometres of coastline that can be seen from almost every point of the island. There are not too high mountain ranges. Nevertheless, there are some hikes up to a height of 600 metres up to the volcanoes. Lanzarote convinces rather with flat country and gentle hills. The contrast between the black ground and the light blue water is a special highlight during every coastal hike.

In the middle of the island, around the Timanfaya National Park, there are various hiking routes that all lead through the spectacular volcanic landscape. Another highlight for every hiker and culture lover is a hike through the largest wine-growing area of the Canary Islands La Geria. The vines are cultivated in round hollows amidst extensive volcanic ash.

An impressive hiking tour leads you on the edge of the highest volcano of the island, the Montaña Blanca.

Lanzarote - Foto: Wolfgang Kiekbusch

And finally:

With this short information about the peculiarities of the Canary Islands some basics for hiking are named. But each of the Canary Islands offers so much that they simply cannot be described in a few words. Of course, you have to decide for yourself which of the islands is the right one for your needs. And maybe just try it out. I live in Tenerife and therefore know this island best. But I spend two weeks a year hiking on the neighbouring islands. And there is always something new to discover. And of course there are a lot of beautiful tours that I still have to write down.

In my opinion, all the Canary Islands have a lot to offer. And there are probably few places in the world where there is so much diversity in such a small space. All hiking areas lure with a lot of nature and relaxation. Whichever island you choose, I wish you wonderful hiking days,

Dagmar von Siebeninseln

Summary information about the article and a large selection of GPS hiking tracks are availableRegister now for my newsletter and get exclusive access to my collected GPS tracks as well as all short information about my articles.


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