Last updated on March 13, 2023 by Wandering our World
The Canary Islands are a hiker’s dream come true, with seven stunning main islands waiting to be explored on foot. Each island offers its own unique terrain and jaw-dropping vistas, from the lush forests of La Gomera to the lunar landscapes of Lanzarote.
With so much variety on offer, choosing the perfect hiking destination can be a daunting task. But fear not, as right here we’ll take you on a journey through the best hiking spots in the Canary Islands, showcasing the breathtaking natural wonders and hidden gems that each island has to offer.
The incredible thing is the Canaries have something for every hiker, from easy strolls along the coastline, to all-day hikes over elevations and rugged terrain.
So whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time hiker, you can discover the perfect island paradise for your next trekking escapade.
So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the stunning landscapes of the Canary Islands!
The Best Canary Islands For Hiking: Our Expert Ranking
1. Gran Canaria
With over 30 official hiking routes, Gran Canaria is a popular destination for hikers of all levels.
The island boasts a variety of terrains and landscapes, from mountains to sandy beaches, making it unique and even more desirable for hiking expeditions. So put on your hiking boots and get ready to explore!
Situated in the centre of the Canary Islands archipelago, Gran Canaria promises a warm climate all year round, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal holiday and hiking destination, any time of the year.
The island’s diverse landscapes offer stunning scenery that changes as you traverse different routes. As a hiker, you can explore the deep valleys, lush forests, and rocky peaks that provide unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding area.
The mountain town of Tejeda is a great place to start a hike. You can hike in a circle from Tejeda to the village of La Caluta, and then continue to Roque Nublo.
The Roque Nublo trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in Gran Canaria. A remnant of a volcanic eruption from many millions of years ago, the rock formation of Roque Nublo is an iconic symbol of the island.
It is also the second-highest peak on Gran Canaria, and one of the world’s largest free-standing rocks. Truly a spectacular sight!
Another popular trail is the Barranco de Guayadeque, which takes hikers through a beautiful canyon and to a cave village where you can sample local cuisine. These trails are worth doing because they allow you to explore Gran Canaria’s natural beauty on foot.
The flora and fauna in Gran Canaria are also impressive. The island is home to a wide variety of plant species, including the Canary Islands’ pine and many endemic species of flowers, which create a colourful and fragrant environment.
You will also spot native birds such as the blue chaffinch or the kestrel.
OUR RANKING: 7/10
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and is also known as the “island of eternal spring” because of its year round pleasant climate.
The island has a unique diversity in its landscapes, with a great variety of scenery. The island’s volcanic origins mean that the hiking trails are often rocky and steep, offering a challenging but rewarding experience.
And the scenery in Tenerife is simply breathtaking.
Hikers and campers can explore the lunar-like landscapes, ancient lava fields, and impressive craters.
The Teide National Park, for example, is a barren terrain lying in a gigantic volcanic crater in the heart of the Anaga Mountain chain. The contrasting landscapes of the lush green forests of the mountains and the rugged National Park make for some spectacular hikes.
The best of the trails is perhaps the one from Taganana to Playa de Tamadite, following one of the island’s wildest coasts. This trail is in the Anaga Mountains.
Another popular trail is the Masca Gorge, which takes hikers through a stunning natural canyon and down to a secluded beach. Yet another hike is the Rosques de Garcia trail, which is easier but offers more of a ‘wow’ factor.
The most challenging and truly rewarding, however, is the hike up to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. The top-of-the-beanstalk views from the crater are staggering, and you can see as far as the islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro below.
As with the other Canary Islands, Tenerife is also home to a wide variety of plant species, including the Canarian pine and laurel trees, and animals, including native birds, such as the blue chaffinch or the Tenerife gold crest.
OUR RANKING: 8/10
3. La Gomera
La Gomera is a hidden gem for hiking enthusiasts, offering a peaceful and unspoiled environment, with trails that take you through lush green forests and deep valleys.
Coupled with mountainous terrain, a stunning coastline, and often empty hiking trails, La Gomera is one of the most photogenic places you’ll ever visit. Keep your cameras fully charged and your hiking gear ready!
Situated opposite from south Tenerife, this small and remote island is best known for being a giant outdoor nature park.
The diverse range of landscapes gives it an otherworldly feel, from misty forests to rugged volcanic terrain, including in them many excellent hiking routes.
The best and obvious place to start is the Garajonay National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park is a densely forested area where you can explore the island’s rare laurel forests through many hiking trails.
Make sure to go hiking through the cloud forests. The moisture from the ocean winds is trapped here, sustaining the lush, moss-covered forests that look like they belong in a fairytale. It is a sight not to be missed!
Another popular trail is in the Valle Gran Rey, which takes hikers through a beautiful valley with stunning views of the ocean.
Hiking is a great way to immerse yourself in the island’s culture and history too, and the good thing about La Gomera is that you can discover the whole island on foot!
The wildlife here is no less than ordinary too. There are many plant and animal species that are endemic to the island.
You can spot native birds such as the laurel pigeon or the canary, as well as other animals, including the famous Giant La Gomera lizard. Among plant life, you can see unique species such as the Garajonay juniper and the Canarian bellflower.
OUR RANKING: 10/10
Lying off the coast of Africa, Lanzarote is one of the smallest Canary Islands. The island is better known for being a party or beach vacation, owing to its many beautiful beaches and perpetual sunshine. But with its incredible volcanic landscapes, the island is waiting to be explored!
Lanzarote is a unique destination for hiking, with its rugged terrain and beautiful volcanic landscapes that give the aura of a lunar environment.
The island’s topography sets it apart and offers a one-of-a-kind hiking experience. The terrain includes over 300 volcanic cones, craters, and lava fields, with trails that take hikers through a landscape of black and red rocks, dotted with cacti and other desert plants.
One of the most beautiful hikes in Lanzarote is Caldera Blanca: it is a must do and should not be missed! The Caldera Blanca is a giant crater that overlooks and is a part of the Timanfaya National Park.
The trail stands out from the others as you can go all the way around the top and enjoy panoramic views of the island.
There is plenty of sunshine on Lanzarote, and all the hiking trails (see our favourite trails here) are barren and have no shade at all. So be sure to be prepared and carry lots of water, sunblock and sun caps!
The Timanfaya National Park is the most popular attraction on the island and has many popular hiking trails. The park has is an incredible volcanic landscape, with craters and lava fields that make for unique and memorable hikes. You can also feel the natural heat of the new lava fields under your feet!
The wildlife in Lanzarote is fascinating too, with many species that have adapted to the island’s arid conditions.
Plant life such as the tabaiba dulce and the aloe vera are abundant, as are native birds such as the houbara bustard or the stone curlew.
OUR RANKING: 6/10
Fuerteventura is the second-largest of the Canary Islands, and although it is not known primarily for its hiking trails, Fuerteventura does have some hidden gems for hikers and adventure seekers.
What makes hiking in Fuerteventura unique is the island’s stark and barren landscapes, which provide a unique contrast to the lush greenery of other Canary Islands. The trails take hikers through a variety of terrains, from the desert-like interior to the rugged coastline with stunning sea views.
To start with a truly unique experience, the hike up to the volcano crater of Calderon Hondo is a must do, especially if you’re short on time.
The path takes you through contrasting landscapes of the blue sea and the red land. If you start the hike just before sunset, you’ll be rewarded with the most beautiful panoramic views of the island!
Another one of the most famous hiking areas in Fuerteventura is the Betancuria Rural Park. The trails there take you through the island’s rugged interior, passing through valleys, canyons, and volcanic terrain.
There is a quite easy trail there that also runs along a lake, making it ideal to those who wish to see beautiful landscapes of Fuerteventura.
Other interesting and challenging trails are those of Pico de la Zarza and the Corralejo Dunes Natural Park.
The former goes towards the highest peak, ending in spectacular views of the island. The latter is a long coastal area, with huge sand dunes along the beach contrasting with the turquoise waters of the sea. The views are stunning!
Fuerteventura is home to many endemic species of plant life too, such as the Euphorbia canariensis and the cardón de Jandía, a type of cactus. You will also see wildlife, such as hawks, kestrels, and hoopoes, as well as reptiles such as lizards and geckos.
OUR RANKING: 5/10
6. El Hierro
Despite being the smallest of the main Canary Islands, El Hierro is also one of the most amazing destinations for hiking.
It’s not the easiest to get to, as you have to take a ferry ride from Tenerife or Gran Canaria, but it is all worth the hassle.
El Hierro doesn’t have as many hiking trails as its sister islands, but the island is best if you’re looking for a specially diverse and rugged experience on an island barely visited by tourists.
The island’s volcanic origins have created a diversity of landscapes and wildlife, which include rugged terrain, dense forests and beautiful coastlines. Hiking on El Hierro will be a truly amazing and rewarding experience.
The island’s geological features, such as the famous “Roque de Bonanza,” are fascinating to explore on foot.
One of the popular hiking trails in El Hierro is the La Llania trail, which takes hikers through stunning mountain landscapes and deep forests.
There is an easy route and a hard route to cater to different levels of hikers. But whichever route you choose, be ready to encounter an enchanted forest with lush greenery and flowers. Don’t forget to wear a waterproof jacket as it gets very humid in the forest!
Another equally stunning hiking route is the Sabina Del Hierro, going through the Sabina forest. The unique and magical trees of the forest stand in the form of gentle curves, having been shaped by strong winds over hundreds of years.
Then there is the intense and challenging Camino de Jinama trail, which involves an upward hike of 1000 metres.
El Hierro is the first island in the world to be fully self-sufficient and 100% sustainable. It is a designated Biosphere Reserve, and hosts a number of impressive flora and fauna.
Many endemic species of animals live on the island, including native birds such as the El Hierro petrel or the Canary Island chiffchaff, as well as plant species like the El Hierro dragon tree and the Canarian bellflower.
OUR RANKING: 7/10
7. La Palma
Known as “Isla Bonita” or “beautiful island”, La Palma is a hiking paradise that attracts nature enthusiasts from all over the world.
The island’s well-marked trails amongst its stunning landscapes make it the perfect destination for hikers. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced hiker or just a regular tourist–there’s a trail for everyone to explore!
The breathtaking scenery in La Palma, of the ocean and the green mountains, adds much to your hiking experience.
The terrain on the island ranges from volcanic landscapes like craters and lava fields to mountains, hidden gorges, lush forests and black sand beaches
One absolute must-do hike in La Palma is the Roque de los Muchachos, which takes hikers to the highest peak in the island and offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
There you’ll also find the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, situated above the clouds, where they have set up telescopes to watch the clear, starry skies.
The Pico de La Nieve is another trail that takes you through pine forests to a mountaintop viewpoint. Sitting above the clouds, the viewpoint offers magnificent views of the island.
La Palma is not short on stunning hiking trails though. Yet another popular one can be found at the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, situated in the central crater of the same name. You can hike on or around the crater, along beautiful forests and waterfalls that surround the park.
La Palma is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Hikers can spot native birds such as the Canary Islands blue tit or the laurel pigeon. The island is also famous for its dragon trees, which are unique to the Canary Islands.
OUR RANKING: 6/10