The massive shock of Gran Canaria is how unspoilt it truly is however you’ll want to rent automotive to discover correctly. Most vacationer improvement is concentrated within the south and the inside is sort of empty, populated by extinct volcanoes, rugged peaks rising nearly 2000m, deep ravines and indigenous pine and laurel forests.
It’s been designated a World Biosphere Reserve due to its unusually wealthy ecosystems containing greater than 100 distinctive species of vegetation. The various topography hosts a collection of micro-climates, like a “continent in miniature”.
The island’s mountainous inside, La Cumbre or summit, was crafted by hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic eruptions and erosions. One significantly violent explosion created the Caldera de Tejeda, a crater 18km broad, when the centre of the volcano sank. It’s now a paradise for cyclists and walkers, with Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga, two freestanding volcanic pillars, dominating the horizon.
In every single place you’ll discover proof of the unique inhabitants, the Guanches who failed to withstand the Spanish conquest. Close to Santa Lucia, within the south-east of the island, is Fortaleza Grande, an enormous craggy outcrop, the location of their final battle, in 1493. It’s stated they threw themselves off the highest, reasonably than be captured and the wonderful customer centre tells the unlucky story.
DNA proof suggests they had been Berbers from North Africa, who arrived round 100AD and lived peacefully till the arrival of the Spanish in 1483. There’s no proof of boats or navigation expertise and a few theories counsel they had been introduced right here by the Romans, deported as a difficult neighborhood. The Spaniards discovered a race of blonde, blue-eyed individuals and, though many had been killed, present-day Canarians nonetheless have a big share of their DNA of their blood.
Stroll 1: Cruz de La Laguna Round 12km/7½ miles – four hours
I begin at Cruz de La Laguna, at nearly 900m, and observe the Valleseco street turning proper onto the SL-02 for the Barranco de La Virgen. After a slight descent, the trail climbs steeply to Zamora and passes via Carpinteras, only a cluster of homes earlier than descending once more.
At El Cercado a map board tells me that I’m on the Barranco de La Virgen and I observe the monitor via groves of lemons and oranges dotted with conventional farmhouses, the edges of the canyon getting steeper.
At one other map board, a path leads upwards to the proper, following a cluster of roads, again to La Laguna. It is a nice stroll in lush fertile environment.
Stroll 2: Acusa Seca Round 7km/4½ miles – 2hr 30min
I’m going down a stone-paved path which winds previous a number of cave homes in Acusa Seca. Enormous cliffs to my proper are honeycombed with extra caves, occupied since 400AD by the Guanches.
The trail winds spherical to Cruz de la Esquina, drops barely and reaches a street, passing extra cave homes. It’s a steep climb up via hairpin bends however luckily, there’s little site visitors.
I attain Vega de Acusa and its engaging church of La Candelaria earlier than persevering with down the street again to the automotive park close to Acusa Seca. It’s fascinating to see the cave homes, however there’s lots of street strolling.
Stroll three: Degollada Becerra, Pico de las Nieves, Roque Nublo 24km/15 miles – eight hours
The mist continues to be hovering across the mountains after I begin at Degollada Becerra but it surely quickly clears as I climb as much as Pico de las Nieves, Gran Canaria’s highest peak at 1949m.
A radar station prevents me reaching the very high however I proceed on a nice roughly stage path to succeed in La Goleta.
Above me is the distinctive Roque Nublo and I climb up and circuit its base earlier than dropping right down to the Presa de los Hornos reservoir. I cross the dam earlier than one other climb again to my place to begin at Degollada Becerra. I’m simply in time to see the sundown over Roque Nublo, after this demanding but distinctive hike.
Throughout three days of strolling, I’ve been impressed by the well-signed community of trails that criss-cross the island. The paths are nicely maintained and at each flip there are gorgeous vistas of the coast and mountains, to say nothing of the technicolour flora. Even higher, each village appears to have a great restaurant, serving Canarian dishes, primarily to native individuals and shelling out carafes of fantastic wine. Though there are some buses, you’ll want a automotive, or take taxis, if you happen to’re going to completely discover these trails.
FLY: Ryanair, EasyJet and BA all fly direct from the UK to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Lodge & Spa Cordial Roca Negra in Puerto de Las Nieves has sea views.
Finca Las Longueras is a pleasant boutique resort, within the valley above Puerto de Las Nieves.
Lodge Rural La Hacienda del Buen Suceso is positioned in a stupendous colonial constructing simply outdoors Arehucas.
Gran Canaria Energetic for outside actions and Gran Canaria for information concerning the island
Guides: Turinka Canarias runs archaeological excursions.
Climbo gives guided journey actions.
Cicerone’s Strolling on Gran Canaria has 45 self-guided day walks.