Fancy a subtropical hiking trip with hot beaches, volcanic summits and excellent food? Gran Canaria’s walks will take you up mountains, across sand dunes and through extraordinary forests. In the middle of the Canary Island archipelago and just 90 miles (145 km) off the coast of Africa, Gran Canaria has fantastic walking trails to suit every ability.
This beautiful, circular island is also home to the incredible Pico de las Nieves. This central peak is a twin to Teide, the giant volcano on neighbouring Tenerife and you can stand on one and look across to the other.
Hikes in Gran Canaria will have you on gentle beachside trails too, punctuated with pretty bays and glistening beaches. This island rarely gets cold at sea level, even in winter, although if you hike high up into the mountains, you might get the chance to play around in snow.
Trails in Gran Canaria vary dramatically and you can walk in a different landscape every day of the week. At the end of the day, you can kick off your hiking boots and tuck into the delicious local cuisine.
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Part of Gran Canaria’s appeal for adventurers is its mountainous nature. The only flat parts of the island are its beaches and the capital, Las Palmas, which lies on a peninsula on the northeastern corner. Las Palmas is not just the capital of Gran Canaria, but the joint capital of the Canaries, holding the title with Santa Cruz on Tenerife.
Hikes on Gran Canaria are mostly of the hilly variety and you’re almost guaranteed phenomenal views wherever you go. Pico de la Nieves (peak of the snow) is the most famous peak on the island and broadly referred to as Gran Canaria’s summit. Its neighbouring mountain, Morro de la Agujereada, is actually fractionally higher. There are stunning trails in the vicinity of both peaks and the nearby Nublo Park has some of the best hiking trails in Gran Canaria, complete with views across to Teide.
Tamadaba Natural Park is a rugged, mountainous area on the northwestern coastline of the island with even more breathtaking views and trails to die for. Set in sprawling pine forests, the routes here will make the legs ache and the hands reach for the camera.
The beauty of planning walks in Gran Canaria, or any of the Canary Islands, is that you can go all year round and expect wonderful weather. If you have the flexibility to travel in the off-season (outside of school holidays), you’ll find trails quiet and beaches serene.
In the summer holidays, Gran Canaria is a tourist hotspot but with innumerable hiking trails up in the mountains, it’s easy to escape any semblance of a crowd. The sun can be fierce over the hottest months of July and August, making hiking at sea level a sweaty affair. The sea is always there for a refreshing dip though and the island is never short of ice cream shops.
In the depths of winter, this subtropical island only dips down to around 16 ℃ (61 ℉) during the day making it long-sleeve weather at worst. Don’t be fooled by sea level temperature though and drive up to begin a trek at altitude wearing only shorts and a t-shirt, no matter the time of year. The temperature at altitude is significantly colder and snow sometimes falls on the highest peaks in winter. In summer, it’s still chilly at the top so always take layers you can add or shed as required.
Explore more of Canary Islands: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.