Bikepacking Canary Islands II — from Tenerife to La Palma

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On the arrival of the ferry in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, you’ll notice that the second part of your bikepacking adventure through the Canary Islands is about to get a little higher. On Tenerife and La Palma you will cross the 6,500 feet (2,000 meter) mark twice.

From north to south, the ferry port of Los Cristianos will be the central hub for exploring the three western Canary Islands of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. Following the established ferry routes, you can begin and end each stage directly after one another—and if you want to shorten the trip, you can simply skip one of the islands and come back later. The trips to La Gomera and El Hierro are planned as roundtrips and can be combined easily with rest days.

If you want to travel by plane, however, the primary concern is always how best to transport your bicycle. On a trip where your start and end point differs, this can be particularly difficult as you don’t want to have to tow your bike box with you the whole way. Therefore, in this instance, we recommend storing your bike in cardboard boxes. This comes with the useful advantage that you can also store your remaining luggage in the carton so that you don’t need to book additional luggage. And before you wonder about weight limits, just remember: You’re going to want to pack light in any case as you’re going to have to carry your luggage with you on the bike.

Once you arrive at your destination, you simply disassemble the cardboard neatly and cleanly after reassembling your bike and drop it in the recycling bin. Then, for your return flight, it’s normally quite simple to source a suitable box at a bike shop—and they’re normally more than happy to have you take one off their hands.

In the Canary Islands, there are numerous bicycle shops that have already cottoned on to this approach and actively collect boxes. Therefore, it shouldn’t be an issue to source a box, although we recommend contacting your shop of choice while planning your trip so they can reserve a box for you. If this doesn't work, the Spanish Post Office is a little insider tip: In larger branches, bicycle boxes are sold for 3 euros each.

This is the second part of our bikepacking adventure on the Canary Islands. The first part, from Lanzarote to Gran Canaria, you can find here:

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    31.5 mi
    7.1 mph
    5,450 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You arrived in Tenerife, the largest and highest Canary Island. The towering Teide is at 3718 meters the highest mountain in Spain.But before you conquer the great mountain tomorrow, you will explore the Anaga Mountains. Here it is quite green, because the clouds like to catch themselves on the laurel-covered mountain ridge.From the ferry dock in Santa Cruz de Tenerife you drive north along the coast to the village of San Andres. This has retained much of its originality, since since 1984 a building ban applies. Nevertheless, behind the village a huge sand beach has been heaped up. From here it goes on newly tarred road into the Anaga Mountains. It is getting greener and arrived at the latest on the crest of the mountains in El Bailadero you will want to take a short break to enjoy the view.On the ridge, it goes through the cloud forest, always a mirador waiting with a great view of you. At the Cruz de Taborno the road becomes particularly spectacular, here it is simply milled in the mountain.From here you will cross San Cristobal de La Laguna to your destination, La Esperanza. The lies at about 900 meters, so you have made for tomorrow's ride on the Teide ever a few meters.

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  • Difficult
    52.8 mi
    8.2 mph
    7,200 ft
    8,125 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today, the highest mountain in Spain is defeated, at least as far as you are allowed to ride a bike, get up early and eat enough. You approach the volcano on the northern crest road and the first 30 kilometers it goes uphill. The nice thing is, the slope percentages remain in the moderate range and so you always have enough breath to let your gaze wander into the spectacular surroundings, often you are over a sea of ​​clouds.Arrived at the Observatorio del Teide you have reached the plateau of Cañadas del Teide. The Canãdas are the remnants of a huge volcano, which collapsed after it extinguished and formed the steep walls on the sides of the caldera. At the edge of the caldera some restaurants and accommodation have settled on the street side. Here you can take a well deserved break.The volcanic activity is easy to spot in the caldera and there are exciting rock formations everywhere. In the 30 kilometers, there is not a single tree that could give you shade, so it can get very hot.Did you climb the flanks of the caldera in the south, it goes the remaining 25 kilometers to the stage destination, the small town of San Miguel, on great roads only downhill. Here you can let it roll properly.Especially in the winter months it can snow on the Teide and sometimes it comes to road closures. Check best before your crossing, if the roads are free.

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  • Intermediate
    12.4 mi
    11.9 mph
    500 ft
    2,475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Have stood during the last days neat altitude on the program, you have today a rest day. Sleep well and explore the small town of San Miguel after a relaxing breakfast.Now you saddle your bike and roll down the hill to Los Cristianos, you will hardly have to pedal on much of the track and have a wonderful view of your daily goal.Los Cristianos itself is through and through a set on mass tourism resort. If you forget to pack something important, here you can find it. If you feel like it, sit in one of the countless beach bars or on the beach and watch the action. If not, you can quickly take one of the ferries to El Hierro, La Gomera or La Palma. Since it basically does not matter which of the islands you visit first, you can decide the timetable for you and just take the one that suits you best. Here it continues with La Palma.

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  • Difficult
    27.2 mi
    7.5 mph
    4,200 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    La Plama is also called La Isla Bonita. It is the greenest of the Canary Islands and as a whole island is a Unesco biosphere reserve. In its center is a huge crater in which lies mostly the National Park Caldera de Taburiente.You reach the island at the ferry dock of Santa Cruz de la Palma. Stroll a bit through the streets of the old town, there are many beautifully renovated houses, some dating back to the 16th century. Recently, the city has a large beach promenade, because in front of the city, a large beach was heaped up. Have you looked around enough, you are leaving the city to the south.On your way in the southern part of the island, you will cycle around the volcanic chains Cumbre Vieja and Cumbre Nuevo, which rise in their midst. On about half of your way you have arrived at the southern tip of the island. There is a large field of extinct volcanoes here. That they have not died out too long, you can tell by the sparse woodland of the entire south, and of course by the many craters. At the crater of the San Antonio Volcano, there is a visitor center where you can find out about the island's geological past.From here, head north again on the western side of the volcanic chain. In one of the small villages on the western slope, you can relax and watch the sun sink into the sea.

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  • Difficult
    21.7 mi
    7.4 mph
    3,850 ft
    3,475 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the second day you continue along the west coast to the north of the island. The first few kilometers you roll towards the beach of Tazacorte. In the north of the beach, you immediately see the wall that gets in your way. So jump into the water and drink at least one espresso at one of the beach bars, the slope really has it all.At the Mirador del Time you have not managed all the vertical meters, but you can still breathe and when you have air, enjoy the view over the west coast of La Palma. There is a refreshment stop at the lookout, where you can get water again.The further north you go, the greener it gets. Around the villages of Puntagorda and Tijarafe you will find today's accommodation.

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  • Difficult
    44.9 mi
    7.8 mph
    6,975 ft
    9,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Although the Teide in Tenerife is the much higher mountain, but you can drive right up to the summit at Roque de los Muchachos. So, during the first half of the day, you'll push yourself up on a beautiful and winding road. If you can spot the summit telescopes, you're almost done.Someone came up with the idea to turn the summit into a parking lot, well, so it's worth it to walk a few meters to the Mirador. Here you are right on the edge of the caldera and have a truly incredible view of the national park. On good days, you can also see all the way to the neighboring islands.Have you seen enough, it goes on the rapid 40 kilometer descent to Santa Cruz de La Palma. Make sure your brakes do not overheat, so take a short break every now and then. Since there are always beautiful views, this should not be difficult. The first few kilometers lead you just below the caldera. Here you can stop again and again and scramble up the few meters.Once in Santa Cruz you jump on the ferry that will take you to the neighboring islands.

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  • Difficult
    44.5 mi
    7.0 mph
    7,475 ft
    7,475 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    La Gomera is actually known as a hiker's paradise. But even as an upward-affirming cyclist you have a lot of fun here. If you get closer to the island by ferry from Tenerife, you will quickly recognize the steep slopes of the island. She is very ragged and to get from one valley to the other you always have to drive over the Garajonay inside the island. He is up to 1500 meters high. This means steeply rising, constantly winding roads that could hardly be more beautiful. The cloud forest Garajonay is almost always covered in clouds and densely overgrown, everywhere birds are chirping and you hear the wind rushing around the peaks. As the clouds clear, they provide breathtaking views of the green valleys of the island.The trip is planned as a day trip, leaving your luggage best in the starting point of San Sebastian de La Gomera, so your bike is easier and you can master the sometimes demanding climbs better. If a ferry arrives or is about to arrive, postpone your start for a few minutes to give the convoy of coaches that the tourists on the island a good head start. So you will not be overtaken and the roads of the island are mostly quiet.

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  • Difficult
    52.2 mi
    7.1 mph
    7,950 ft
    7,950 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    El Hierro, the end of the world. At least the island was long regarded as this. Even today, the island still feels very secluded and only a few tourists are on their way to explore the island. So you will find peace and quiet next to a beautiful landscape. El Hierro is the youngest of the Canary Islands and still very active, with many small earthquakes measured here. Over the millennia, several strong earthquakes haunted the island and formed the steep valleys of the island. In the north, a third of the island sank in the Atlantic Ocean and created the spectacular valley of El Golfo, from the high end you have always unique views.On your tour you will encounter different landscapes. When it gets foggy due to the clouds, you think you are partly in Scotland. You drive through a pine forest and see bizarre deformed trees.The tour is designed as a round trip, it is best to open your camp in the dreamy island capital of Valverde and stashes there also your luggage.Now you have explored all the Canary Islands by bike. To get home, the airport is located in the south of Tenerife. On the ferry ride back to Tenerife you can review your adventure and prepare the best stories for those who stayed at home.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    287 mi
  • Duration
    37:55 h
  • Elevation
    43,575 ft

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