Spain : The Canary Isles

Walking on Gran Canaria

Trip code: W07GC

Self-guided walking

7 nights,
twin centre

Level: 2
Moderate

SUMMARY

  • Dramatic walking, spell-binding scenery, beautiful ocean views
  • Dazzling ochre cliffs, sunny fertile valleys, sweeping plateaux and plunging gorges
  • Masses of archaeological, botanical and geological interest
  • Tiny white villages, forgotten farming hamlets, fascinating cave dwellings
  • Cosmopolitan capital Las Palmas: gorgeous beaches, fascinating museums, UNESCO-listed historic centre
  • Extensive walking options available including two level 3 walks

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All buffet breakfasts
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Comprehensive route directions
  • Freedom to decide which walk you do on each day

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Less than 100 miles off the north west coast of Africa, in the centre of the Canary Islands archipelago, sits the volcanic island of Gran Canaria - often referred to as 'a miniature continent' with its extraordinarily varied landscapes ranging from the north's lush green forests and valleys, to the towering mountainous interior, to the desert-like dunes and beautiful white beaches of its southern shores. For millennia, the elements have sculpted the most outstanding natural beauty: steep volcanic mountains punctuated by deep palm ravines; imposing rocks towering above high plateaux; vast fertile valleys of prickly pear, aloes, almonds and figs - it's little wonder that nearly half of the island is protected by UNESCO Nature Reserves and offers some of the finest hiking in Europe.

On this twin-centre walking holiday, you'll mainly follow well-marked, ancient Caminos Reales - centuries-old royal trading paths lined with broom, heather and Canarian Pine - as they criss-cross the island linking the mountains to the sea. Highlights this week include: the iconic blood-red rock of Nublo, the shimmering Chira Dam and the 'magic' volcanic cauldron of Bandama whose eruption, over 2,000 years ago, influenced the entire geography of the island. You'll also pass troglodyte villages built by the religious Guanche (the Canaries' first inhabitants) 4,000 years ago, and have the chance to step back in time in the old part of the island's colourful capital, Las Palmas.

You spend your first four nights at the Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, a mountain lodge style hotel with fabulous views of the valley below. For your final three nights, you'll head north to 4 star Melva Suite, a luxury 8-suite hotel set in a lovely estate of tranquil grounds, just 10 minutes' drive from the postcard-pretty white town of Firgas.

Terrain

Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes, farm tracks and rural paths. Walking boots are essential. Walking poles are recommended. As the walks do not start directly from the hotels, a hire car is required.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in San Bartolome de Tirajana

Collect your hire car at Las Palmas airport and drive (50 mins) to the Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, set just outside San Bartolome de Tirajana and offering stunning panoramic views of the valley and close by mountains. The hotel has a part-covered pool and sun terraces - ideal places to relax after a day's walking.

You stay at Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas.

hotel details

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Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, San Bartolome de Tirajana

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


The Hotel Rural las Tirajanas, is a mountain lodge style accommodation above the county town of San Bartolome de Tirajana, it offers stunning panoramic views of the valley and close by mountains.

It is a wonderful place to relax after a days walk, with part covered pool, sun terraces, bar and warm cozy lounge areas. Their Spa also offers a range of treatments and there is also a fitness room.

Breakfast and optional dinners are large buffets in the panoramic restaurant, each night meat and fish are cooked on traditional grill, the hotel offers through the week different workshops from wine tasting to the process of producing aloe vera.

Room upgrades: Junior Suite.
Junior Suites are more spacious.

Day 2: Valleys and Villages Walk 13km/8mi/4hr

It's just a short walk into the white 'sugar cube' village of San Bartolome whose unique volcanic landscape combines rugged agricultural scenery, rich vegetation and a diverse historic architecture. From here, it's a relaxed, easy going walk through the fertile Tirajana Valley and up through extensive palm groves to the pretty village of Santa Lucia for lunch. The museum here displays an impressive range of archaeological finds including Guanche artefacts, farming tools, leather goods - even the odd skeleton! In the afternoon, a panoramic cistus-lined mountain ridge offers continuous views of the yawning Tirajana gorge as you cross the ravine floor and head back via Fataga (stopping for a chilled beer perhaps) to your hotel.

Day 3: Cruz Grande Circular Walk 17km/11mi/5hr

A 10-minute drive brings you to Cruz Grande. Your route takes you first south through pine forest then out along an undulating mountain ridge where massive valleys slice through the wooded hillsides to reveal your first glimpse of the magical Chira Dam - a stunning deep blue lake-like reservoir, home to a large habitat of bird, fish and wildlife. You'd be hard-pushed to find a better picnic spot! After lunch, an enchanting tangle of aloes, almonds, figs and prickly pear cacti pave your path as you climb steadily up out of a ravine on one of the ancient Camino Reales.

Day 4: El Roque Nublo 14km/9mi/5.5hr

Balanced on an 1,800m-high rock plateau, the volcanic monolith of Roque Nublo dates to the Pleistocene Era and is a must-visit. Enjoy stunning views from the top - including Tenerife's snowcapped Mount Teide on the horizon - before a gentle, pine-scented descent into the Tejeda Valley and the tiny farming hamlet of La Culata. This is the 'real' Spain - herds of goats and donkeys still roam the fields here and the Bar Roque Nublo doubles up as the village cafe-cum-bar-cum-local shop! After a light lunch, the almond-scented path leads you up to the Mirador de Degollada Becerra viewpoint (arguably the most renowned skyline on the island) and back through pines to your car.

Day 5: Las Palmas and The Caldera de Bandama

Today you have the option to give your boots a rest and explore by car! Driving north east, we strongly recommend stopping at the island's capital, Las Palmas. The historic colonial district of Vegueta - today a UNESCO World Heritage Site - boasts beautiful buildings, quiet squares, pretty churches, soaring cathedrals and narrow cobbled streets that were walked by Columbus 500 years ago! Lunch perhaps on one of the beautiful twin bays, before a short drive east to the fascinating Caldera de Bandama. If you're feeling fit, the steep hike to the bottom takes about 30 minutes (a bit longer coming back up!) - there's a good chance of spotting flocks of linnets, trumpeter finches and the indigenous Berthelot's Pipit. Your final drive takes you past vineyards, sugar cane and lush banana plantations on the approach to 4-star Hotel Melva Suite, home for your last three nights.

You stay at Hotel Rural Melva Suite.

hotel details

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Hotel Rural Melva Suite, La Caldera

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Safe


This new, small hotel has been built to mirror a traditional Canarian house. The large grounds make way to great views of the mountains.

The well decorated rooms all of which are suites and are of a good size have separate living spaces and either balcony or terrace.

The hotel's restaurant offers superb traditional food with a modern touch.

Room upgrades: Grand Suite Deluxe.

Day 6: Azuaje Nature Reserve 16km/10mi/5hrs

Today's walk starts from the 'sparkling' white village of Firgas where more than 200,000 bottles of sparkling mineral water are produced every day! Take a stroll around the historic village (16th century church, waterfall, stepped fountains) - and, on a clear day, soak up beautiful views out across northern Gran Canaria towards Tenerife and Fuerteventura. A circular route from here takes you through the lush green vegetation of the Azuaje Nature Reserve, famous for both its endemic and medicinal plants - don't be surprised to see locals foraging for natural remedies! You'll gradually ascend a narrow ravine before a final winding descent through eucalyptus forest loops you back to Firgas.

Day 7: Cave Towns and Villages 12km/7.5mi/4.5hr

The longest drive of the week (1hr) but we think well worth it! The walk starts in Artenara - at 1,270m it's the highest village on the island with an important cave heritage: nearly 400 cave houses, most dating back to 15th century, can be found here and in the pretty neighbouring hamlets of the Tamadaba Natural Park. The distinctive black outline of the northern face of Roque Nublo provides a stunning backdrop as you descend towards Lugarejos, an old troglodyte village famous for its kiln-free pottery. Bordered by steeply terraced hillsides, you head gently up through dappled, pine-scented forest to a shady poppy-carpeted ridge where you are rewarded with great views down to the Lugarejos Reservoir and out across the north western coast and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.

Day 8: Leave Gran Canaria

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website.

Please contact our sales team on 01606 720199 to for further details or to discuss alternavie trip options.

REVIEWS

Very prompt, responsive and helpful throughout the booking process. I would highly recommend Headwater.

6 Feb 2024

Attentive to detail, clear and helpful, always a pleasure to deal with them.

3 Jan 2024

So far it’s been a great service, very helpful and accommodating

7 Nov 2023


Self-guided walking

7 nights,
twin centre

Level: 2
Moderate

This trip is currently unavailable, please call us for further details.

Call: 01606 720199

 

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