13 Best Canary Island Hiking Trails if you’re up for a challenge

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The Canary Islands are the southernmost point of Europe, but this rugged archipelago feels like another world. Off the northwest coast of Africa, the Canaries is unlike any other destination on the European continent. Since the islands are part of Spain, they’ve been a desirable vacation spot for European holidaymakers for decades. 

But seasoned trekkers aren’t interested in chilling on the beach, sipping cocktails, or hit the nightlife scene. Hikers in the know rave about the Canaries for its jaw-dropping scenery and challenging trails. And after traveling to the Canaries ourselves, we can say it has some of the best hiking trails in Europe

Hiking in the Canary Islands is for adventurous travelers seeking dramatic scenery that takes your breath away. With mammoth volcanoes, black-sand beaches, laurel forests, craggy sea cliffs, and Mars-like landscapes, the Canaries compete with any destination for scenic diversity. If you’re up for a serious challenge, we’ve found the best 13 Canary Islands hiking trails for your expedition.

What to expect of hiking in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands offer an exciting world of diverse terrain that dramatically transforms from one island to the next. The archipelago has everything from snowy mountains and volcanic landscapes to white-sand beaches and verdant rainforests. And with its stable climate, the weather is rarely too hot or cold for a hiking expedition. However, if you wish to trek into the high-altitude mountains, expect more seasonal changes and the occasional snowfall. 

The Canaries are among Spain’s top hiking destinations and heavily featured in our Spain Hiking Guide. For a brief intro to each Canary Island, here’s a breakdown of every island and what to expect when you go hiking there. 

Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and highlighted by awe-inspiring views of Mt. Teide dominating the landscape. At 3,715 m, Teide is Spain’s highest peak and among the highest volcanoes in the world. Tenerife boasts some of the best Canary Islands hiking for its otherworldly terrain and rugged trails.

Teide National Park features the imposing peak and lets you hike around craters, petrified lava, and other lunar landscapes. Head towards the coastline, and the sheer cliffs and fertile gardens of Masca await you. And beach lovers can traverse volcanic beaches capped by craggy cliffs, high peaks, and turquoise waters. 

Also check out these incredible Get Your Guide tours and day trips to do when in Tenerife.

Gran Canaria

Similar to Tenerife hiking, Gran Canaria boasts remarkable diversity in its landscapes. Golden and black-sand beaches adorn the coastline, and sun-kissed mountains soar above the horizon. While the trails aren’t as clearly marked as Tenerife, Gran Canaria rivals its neighbour with fierce climbs and heart-racing views. 

Hiking around Gran Canaria can have you trudging through sand dunes, taking shad beneath pine forests, or walking alongside sharp cliffs. When you reach the mountaintops of the island’s interior, your head will be in the clouds overlooking the volcanic terrain.

Don’t forget Gran Canaria has much more to offer than incredible hiking trails. Check out some of the greatest tours for an adventurous day out.

Fuerteventura 

As the second-largest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura has one of Spain’s most desired coastlines. But venture beyond its sparkling waters to discover a world of rocky sea cliffs, sand dunes, and beautiful flora. Jandía Nature Reserve transports you from the beaches to the sloping hillsides that overlook the sea. Fuerteventura doesn’t receive as much rainfall as other Canary Islands and offers the rare chance for desert hiking in Europe.

The diverse landscape of Fuerteventura offers lots of opportunities for other amazing things to do as well. So, when visiting this beautiful island, don’t forget to check out these incredible Get Your Guide tours to discover the island in another way than on foot!

Lanzarote

Lanzarote might be the best Canary Island to visit to feel like you’re trekking on another planet. Its lunar landscapes formed from recent volcanic eruptions that dramatically transformed the island 200-300 years ago. The aftermath decorated Lanzarote with deep craters, piercing-red mountains, and ash-covered gardens. Timanfaya National Park showcases the wildest landscapes as you hike across volcanic soil, colorful cones, and craggy rock formations.

Did you know this lunar landscape provides plenty of opportunities for different activities as well? Think of quad riding, exploring caves, parasailing and much more! Check here everything else this island has to offer.

La Palma

For intrepid hiking expeditions, the smaller La Palma packs insane versatility for its size. Volcanoes and sheer cliffs overlook lush forests, and the Canary Islands hiking trails on this beautiful island meander through woodlands toward waterfalls. Caldera de Taburiente National Park has epic vistas of rocky cliffs towering over an immense crater, while black-sand beaches dot the coastline. 

La Palma is also the most famous island for sailing. Did you know for example that lots of sailing boats depart from here to cross the Atlantic ocean all the way to the Caribbean? Want to experience sailing yourself? Check out these incredible sailing adventures on Get Your Guide.

La Gomera

Hiking around La Gomera adds the surreal beauty of laurel forests to its jagged cliffs and volcanic mountains. The misty Garajonay National Park takes you deep into the forest as you hike around moss-covered trees, green ravines, and cascading waterfalls. Valle Gran Rey sits along the coast and boasts sea cliffs, black-sand beaches, and fertile terraces.

As one of the greenest islands, La Gomera provides plenty of opportunities to explore nature. Check out these guided tours to explore this island to the fullest.

El Hierro

El Hierro is geared towards hikers searching for off-the-beaten-path adventures and total isolation. For the trekkers who venture here, a biosphere reserve of ancient craters, sea cliffs, volcanic beaches, evergreen forests, and tropical flora awaits. And the remote nature of El Hierro ensures you’ll hardly spot a soul wandering its impressive volcanic landscapes.

La Graciosa (the secret 8th island)

Just a couple of miles from Lanzarote, La Graciosa is a car-free, road-free, smoke-free and pollution-free island. It offers secluded hiking trails and golden beaches for intrepid travelers. Volcanic cinder cones dot the sunbaked island, and sand dunes give it a desert environment. Hiking from coast to coast on La Graciosa helps you find hidden crystal-clear coves for a refreshing dip.

Without roads, the only option to discover this island seems to be on foot. But, there is another way as well! Check out these guided boat tours to discover this island from another perspective.

What is the best Canary Island for hiking?

In our opinion, Tenerife is without question the best Canary Island for hiking. It’s the largest island of the archipelago, and the geographic diversity is off the charts. From snowy peaks and lunar landscapes to epic sea cliffs, hiking in Tenerife is the best way to capture the astonishing beauty of the Canary Islands. You could go from summiting a volcano to trekking through lush forests on one island. 

Tenerife hiking trails have better infrastructure and markings compared to other islands. If you’re a first-timer to the Canaries or searching for easier paths, Tenerife won’t disappoint. But for the avid trekkers up for a big challenge filled with unimaginable scenery, you can’t beat hiking in Tenerife.

Hikes on the other Canary Islands

Tenerife might be the most diverse Canary Island with the most famous trails of the archipelago, but the other islands have lots to offer. Gran Canaria is a hiking jewel with its rocky outcrops and soaring mountains, while Lanzarote and Fuerteventura boast otherworldly volcanic landscapes. 

La Palma doesn’t get the foot traffic of the bigger islands but enchants hikers with images of rugged cliffs rising above pine forests and black-sand beaches. La Gomera takes you to cloud forests fit for a fairytale, and the remoteness of El Hierro makes you feel like the island is all yours.

Our top Canary Islands hikes

To get your Canary Island hiking trip started, we’ve gathered 13 of our favorite hikes on the archipelago. With this list, you’ll hit all the islands and get the best experience hiking in the Canaries. 

1. Peak of Mount Teide (Pico del Teide) – Tenerife

  • Starting Point: Montaña Blanca
  • Distance: 16.3 km (10.1 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard  
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Climbing to the summit of Mount Teide is the highlight for any hiking trip in the Canary Islands. You’ll need a permit for this hike, and we recommend securing one well in advance due to high demand. As you trudge across the rocky terrain, the temperature drops as you get closer to Spain’s highest peak. 

When you reach the summit, you’ll have spectacular views of an immense crater and across the Canary Islands. If you want to catch a surreal sunrise over the volcano, you can spend the night at the Altavista Refuge.

2. Punta del Hidalgo a Chinamada – Tenerife

  • Starting Point: TF-13 Roundabout in Punta del Hidalgo 
  • Distance: 9.0 km (5.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Head towards the Anaga Mountains to hike along rugged sea cliffs and through ancient forests. Wildflowers and other interesting plant species dot the cliffside as the trail lets you admire the ocean directly beneath you. The village of Chinamada has interesting cave houses built into the rocks that overlook the countryside. 

3. The Canal Walk – Tenerife

  • Starting Point: TF-13 Roundabout in Punta del Hidalgo 
  • Distance: 12.6 km (7.8 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard  
  • Route Type: Loop

Instead of hiking along the coast, this path takes you farther inland and lets you explore more of the Anaga highlands. The trail provides stunning views of laurel forests, lush vegetation, and craggy rock formations. Part of the route traverses through water canals that present breathtaking vistas of sharp valleys and rural hamlets on the mountainside. 

4. Ruta de la Anaga – Tenerife (2 days)

  • Starting Point: Cruz del Carmen 
  • Distance: 47.5 km (29.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Route Type: Loop

For the full taste of Anaga Rural Park, this multi-day trek ventures to the northeastern tip of Tenerife. Parts of the path follow the rocky cliffs, and sea stacks rise from the ocean just offshore. As you go farther inland, you’ll find yourself engulfed by laurel trees and dense vegetation. But make sure you don’t miss the mind-blowing cliffside vistas overlooking the wild coastline. 

5. Ventanas de Güímar – Tenerife 

  • Starting Point: Aviso – Ventanas de Güímar
  • Distance: 11.3 km (7.0 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 

Although this route is wicked steep, it offers one of the more fascinating sights of any Tenerife hiking trail. Tenerife’s diversity comes to life as you trek along pine forests, misty cloud forests, and rocky cliffs. The main highlight is coursing through the tunnels dug into the cliffside that mimics windows overlooking the mountains.

6. Los Silos – Cuevas Negras – Erjos – Tenerife

  • Starting Point: Calle las Cruces in Erjos 
  • Distance: 15.8 km (9.8 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Route Type: Loop

Brace yourself for serious elevation change while trekking between the Teno Mountains and dramatic cliffs. The trail has diverse flora, and higher altitudes weave through cloud forests. Once you’re near Los Silos, you’ll have breathtaking views of the coastline and lush vegetation dotting the landscape. The trail also wanders to the black caves, the site of ancient settlements along the mountainside.

7. Barranco de la Angustias – La Palma

  • Starting Point: LP-214 beside Noche 05
  • Distance: 14.4 km (8.9 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Follow the Barranco de las Angustias to gaze at sheer cliffs rising above you and venture into rocky ravines. Pine forests dot the cliffside as the peaceful flow of the river is a calming sound on your descent. The trail eventually offers views of the Roque Idafe, a peculiar rock pillar towering above the forests.

8. La Goleta – Roque Nublo – Gran Canaria

  • Starting Point: La Goleta 
  • Distance: 4.7 km (2.9 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Route Type: Loop

The slight climb starting from La Goleta offers stunning panoramas of pine forests and sea cliffs in the distance. But the star attraction is the rock monolith that sits on the hilltop. When we hiked this trail, it was misty and clouds shrouded the Roque Nublo for a while. Eventually, the clouds faded, and it was magic seeing the rocky outcrops towering above the landscape.

9. Garajonay National Park – La Gomera

  • Starting Point: GM-2 parking lot beside Ruta 7
  • Distance: 12.1 km (7.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route Type: Loop

If you love trekking in the forest, then this hike through the laurel trees of Garajonay National Park is right up your alley. There’s thick vegetation in the forest, and it’s often misty around the twisted branches of the trees. You’ll wander past waterfalls and poking your head through the ancient forests reveals breathtaking views of sharp valleys and terraces.

10. Ruta del Litoral – Lanzarote

  • Starting Point: Parking lot beside Küste las Malvas
  • Distance: 27.5 km (17.1 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Route Type: Out & Back

This relatively flat trail follows the craggy, volcanic coastline of Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park. As the waves crash against the rocky outcrops, you’ll walk amongst the otherworldly landscapes of the park. Rest on black-sand beaches, gaze at cinder cones in the distance, and feel like you’re hiking on Mars.

11. Barranco de Pecenescal – Fuerteventura 

  • Starting Point: GR 131 / SL FV11 Barranco de Pecenescal parking lot beside FV-2
  • Distance: 10.1 km (6.3 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Follow the waterways winding through the semi-arid desert region of Fuerteventura. As you trek closer to the coastline, you’ll spot desert flora, volcanic hills, and dunes near the path. After hiking down the sloping hillside, the trail opens up to spectacular views of sandy beaches. 

12. La Dehesa Circuit – El Hierro

  • Starting Point: Sabinosa town square beside the sports field
  • Distance: 5.0 km (3.1 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Starting in the peaceful town of Sabinosa, the path follows a sloping hillside of grasslands and verdant forests. The most bizarre sight is twisted and bent over junipers whose shape is from fierce winds over the years.

13. GR131 – Covers all the islands (multi day hike)

  • Starting Point: Órzola (Lanzarote)
  • Distance: 651 km (404.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Route Type: Point to Point 

Although this epic long-distancing hiking trail isn’t quite complete, trekkers couldn’t wait to explore the island-hopping route. With weeks to spare, you can traverse the volcanic terrain, sandy beaches, and sharp cliffs of this magical destination. While we haven’t hiked the entire journey, we checked off the Gran Canaria section, and it’s one of our best Spain hikes. 

For a map of the route, please click on one of the islands below to find the GR131 trail for that particular island:

What to bring when hiking in the Canary Islands?

If you hit the Canary Islands hiking trails, it’s best to pack for all types of weather conditions. Hiking here will feel like you’re exploring an entire continent on one island due to the insane number of micro-climates. The sun can be intense, so don’t forget your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. But packing layers is also critical due to the high altitudes you could face. 

Even if you’re only planning day hikes around the Canaries, we recommend referring to our multi-day hike packing list for more packing options. The Canaries have several amazing multi-day hikes, and you’ll need to pack your camping gear and cooking essentials before you hit the trail. 

When to go hiking in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands have a mild, subtropical climate and comfortable temperatures for year-round hiking trips. With warm winters and moderate summers, there’s really no bad time to hike in the Canary Islands. But in general, October to April have the most pleasant conditions for hikers. Temperatures stay around 20℃ (68°F) and most days are sunny. 

Although November to January are the rainiest months, rainfall on the Canary Islands varies by your exact location. But if you’re hoping to dodge the crowds, spring and fall are more suitable. September-November and March-May would be the best months to hike for comfortable temperatures, less rainfall, and fewer tourists.

What else to do on the Canary Islands?

As the Canary Islands are famous for their sunny climate year round, this destination is perfect for any water sports and activities. But if you prefer to keep your feet dry, there’s plenty of opportunities to do on the mainland as well. Think of cycling, cultural day trips, shopping and sunbathing.

For a complete overview of tours and guided day trips on the Canary Islands, please check out Get Your Guide.


These were our picks for the best Canary Islands hiking trails. If you have questions or if you have a great tip, please leave a comment below.

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