Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Gran Canaria: Island of Contrasts Self Guided Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • The volcanic landscape of the 80 metre tall monolith of El Roque Nublo
  • Explore the charming whitewashed Mediterranean villages brimming with bougainvillea
  • The Caminos Reales - an extensive network of paths and classic routes
  • Lush tropical valleys, rolling sand dunes and dense woodlands
  • Gran Canaria’s white sandy beaches and rugged coastline

Often referred to as a continent in miniature, the Canary Island of Gran Canaria offers a unique walking experience, from the rugged coastline broken up with sandy beaches and whitewashed villages, to lush forests, tropical plantations and arid volcanic mountain ranges. Your journey starts in the whitewashed fishing village of Agaete on the Northwest coast, with its winding narrow streets. Sample the local goats cheese or fresh seafood paella. From here you will follow walking routes through valleys where bananas, mangoes, papayas and citrus trees grow in abundance. Walk the ancient Camino Reales along mountain ridges and deep ravines offering panoramic views of the valleys below.

Your base for the next few days is the village of Tejeda in the centre of the island, set in the protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. On a clear day you will enjoy views across the mountains and out to Tenerife in the distance. Visit the village market and try some traditional sweets and marzipan made with locally grown almonds and honey. See the volcanic landscape of Roque Nublo and Gran Canaria’s highest peak Pico de las Nieves. Your tour comes to an end in the tiny rural village of La Lechuza. Enjoy a loop walk or take a day trip to the capital city of Las Palmas where you can soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying some tapas in one of the café filled side streets.

Popular travel resource Rough Guides featured our Island of Contrasts walking tour in a recent article. Their writer said "At the end of our week...we will look back at the peaks up which we have walked and smile at the memories of our discovery – that the Canary Islands are so much more than beaches and bars."

Indispensable travel resource Rough Guides featured an article on Gran Canaria "Beyond the Beaches" which featured our Islands of Contrast walking itinerary, which was also described in UK newspaper the Daily Express's article on Gran Canaria's mountains, volcanoes, and tropical valleys

DAY 1:
Arrive Gran Canaria/Overnight Agaete

Arrive at Gran Canaria Las Palmas Airport where a driver will be waiting to take you to your accommodation just outside Agaete (1 hour). Take some time to explore the charming fishing village of Agaete or relax by the swimming pool for the afternoon.


Dinner & Overnight: Finca Las Longueras, Agaete


Your accommodation for the next two nights is a colonial mansion, located in a tranquil valley outside Agaete. With a backdrop of craggy mountains, a pool surrounded in palm trees and a tropical garden filled with oranges, lemons, papayas and avocadoes this is a great base for you to explore from.


DAY 2:
Walking on the Camino Real

Enjoy a breakfast of freshly squeezed juice and warm homemade bread on the terrace before starting your first walk. Leaving the hotel you will walk up a path along a ravine to the village of San Pedro. From here you will start your ascent along the Camino Real to Montana Bibique (645m), a rugged outcropping at the top of the steep cliffs, with views over the lush Agaete Valley.


Walk further on to the Mirador Vuelta de la Paloma (850m) which looks out over several valleys. The descent from Puerto de las Nieves follows a narrow gravel path along the ridge and is not for the faint hearted. Once at the bottom take a bus or taxi back to Agaete. If you are afraid of heights you are best to retrace your steps from the Mirador back to the hotel instead of following this path.


Walk: 10.5km , 4.5 hrs, 525m ascent/650m descent


Overnight: Finca Las Longueras, Agaete



DAY 3:
Walk to Tejeda


Today you will enjoy views of the impressive summit of la Cumbre on your way to your next hotel situated in the mountain village of Tejeda, where you’ll spend the next three nights.


After a short taxi transfer (10 min), you will start a challenging walk today taking on two steep ascents to reach an elevation of 1715m.



Following the ancient Camino Real to the village of Fagajesto, you will then walk a tarmac section along a high ridge surrounded by pastures. Stop for a rest before beginning your second steep ascent of the day, following paths through pine forests near Galdar. After descending to the crossroads at Cruz de Tejeda stop for a cool refreshment before descending down the ridge to Tejeda. Enroute you will pass the south side of an extinct volcanic crater, with views to the sea.


Walk: 11/16km, 7.5hrs, 1300/700m ascent, 700m descent


Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Fonda de la Tea, Tejeda


This rustic 19th century guesthouse is warm and comfortable and provides a great base for the next few days. Relax with a book in the courtyard or enjoy the spectacular views over the Gran Canaria Biosphere Reserve while soaking up the sun on the rooftop terrace.


DAY 4:
Walk around Roque Nublo

Today you will traverse the steep volcanic terrain around the famous landmark of Roque Nublo. This may not be the highest peak on Gran Canaria but it is the most identifiable, as it is visible from almost anywhere on the island. Follow steep paths zigzagging up toward Roque Nublo. As you get higher, gaze hundreds of meters down steeply eroded ravines. On the descent follow a different route through a peaceful pine forest before catching a bus back to Tejeda.


Walk: 12/20km, 5.5-7.5 hrs, 800m ascent, 400/800m descent


Overnight: Hotel Fonda de la Tea, Tejeda



DAY 5:
Walk from Tejeda via Altavista

Today you will do one of the loveliest walks of the trip over the Altavista ridge, at the edge of Tamadaba Natural Park on a huge extinct crater (caldera).



After taking a transfer to the start of the walk in the morning, you will walk all day with the clouds below you and enjoy sweeping views all the way to Tenerife. This afternoon you will be transferred from Artenara back to Tejeda, where you will have time to visit the spice garden and sample different spices. Enjoy the sunset from the hotel’s roof top terrace this evening, with the silhouette of Bentayga Peak in the background.


Walk: 9.5/14km, 3-4.5 hrs, 300/500m ascent, 300/450m descent


Overnight: Hotel Fonda de la Tea, Tejeda



DAY 6:
Walk to La Lechuza

After a short transfer to La Culata you begin a walking route which takes you up over La Cumbre toward the green north of the island. Ascending up to Roque Nublo, you will follow the ridge enjoying views to Gran Canaria’s highest peak, Pico de las Nieves (1951m). Descend along footpaths, rural tracks and tarmac to your accommodation where you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool.


Walk: 12.5/19km, 5-7.5 hrs, 500/785m ascent, 325/410m descent


Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Rural Las Calas, La Lechuza


Your accommodation for the next two nights is a century old manor house, in a fertile valley set amongst an orchard filled with fruit, almond and palm trees. Make use of the swimming pool in this small rustic hotel.


DAY 7:
Walking route or visit to Las Palmas

Today you have the choice of another day of walking or a day trip to Las Palmas. The walking route offers stunning views alongside gullies and valleys brimming with a huge variety of tropical vegetation.
If you decide to visit Las Palmas today, you start off with a walk to San Mateo where you will catch a bus to Las Palmas. Explore the historic town centre taking in the Castillan-style colonial architecture, the Santa Ana Cathedral. Soak up the atmosphere before returning to the hotel for your final night.


Walk (Optional): 15.5/14km, 5/6.5 hrs, 400/715m ascent, 615/715m descent


Overnight: Hotel Rural Las Calas, La Lechuza



DAY 8:
Departure Gran Canaria / Onward travel

Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point during the trip or before or after the holiday.


Tailor Made Holidays

We are always more than happy to tailor our standard itineraries to suit your holiday plans. Just let us know what you would like and we will be happy to arrange tailor made walking holiday.


Alternate accommodation

During high season, you might be booked into a different accommodation which is not listed in the description, and the start or end of some of your walking routes may be slightly altered. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. Three dinners are included, but lunch and other dinners are not included. Most hotels are happy to provide a packed lunch, this should be requested on arrival, or you can pick up lunch from a local deli or along the trail. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby bars, cafes and restaurants.

Availability & Time of Year

You can start this holiday on any date during the year. High season runs from 1st November to 30th April & Low Season from 1st May - 31st October. Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


High temperatures can be experienced during the peak summer months of July and August and extra water should be carried at this time to ensure you stay hydrated.


Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point during the trip or before or after the holiday.


Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo walkers (at a supplement) but we do recommend that you are an experienced walker who is comfortable and confident with walking and navigating alone as some of the trails can be quiet. 


Grade & Terrain

This walking tour is graded Moderate to Strenuous. Walks of 4.5 to 7.5 hrs a day, some long ascents and descents (max of 1300m in ascent, 715m in descent). The walks follow rural tracks, both surfaced and un-surfaced, footpaths and animal trails. You may encounter some loose rock, or muddy / slippery sections in wet weather. There are also some steep drop offs on the ridges. Ascents and descents can be steep and footpaths rough. The higher areas may experience occasional snow during early spring and weather conditions up high may be totally different from those experienced in the valleys, so always take extra warm clothing with you. From June till September you should protect yourself against sun and heat and ensure you have plenty of drinking water. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this holiday. We also recommend taking walking poles for the steep descents.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The routes on this trip are generally way marked but you will need to follow the route notes and maps supplied.


Getting Around

Transfers are included on days 3,5 and 6, according to the programme.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, appropriate clothes and a day pack.


Further Reading

You can read about our Gran Canaria: Island of Contrasts walking trip on indispensable travel resource Rough Guides' website, or, Britain's Daily Express newspaper website published and article on escaping to Gran Canaria on a trekking holiday, featuring our trip.


Weather

Gran Canaria has the perfect climate for all year walking. Average maximums range from mid teens in the winter to mid twenties in the summer. For more details view climate guide.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to/from Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Las Palmas airport is served by numerous low cost and charter flights from throughout the UK. These include Easyjet, Ryanair, Thomson, and Air Europa. Flying time is just over 4 hours.
Other airlines fly from throughout Europe and connect from further afield.



Travel Insurance


It is a condition of booking with us that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover illness, injury, cancellation or curtailment of your holiday.

Included

  • 7 Nights hotel accommodation
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • A detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • Full information pack on local history, culture & traditions as well as advice on restaurants, bars and local attractions
  • 24 hour emergency telephone support and assistance
  • Return airport transfers
  • Luggage transfers between accommodation on days 3 and 6
  • Transfers for days 3, 5, and 6 according to the programme

Excluded

  • Lunches, dinners not specified, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any transfers not specified
  • Flights
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, drinks, extra transport etc
  • Optional extras
  • Extra nights during, before or after the tour
  • Single room supplement

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

How fit do I need to be?

The walking is graded moderate to strenuous so you should enjoy a good level of walking fitness. The paths are rough and exposed in places so a head for height is an advantage.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

Gran Canaria Las Palmas, which is served by low cost, charter and scheduled airlines.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this holiday is extremely popular especially in the Winter months. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.  

When is the best time of year?

The best months for walking are October to April as the summer can be very hot.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

A holiday I can thoroughly recommend

4

The holiday title, "Island of contrasts" is well chosen as the walks take you through a variety of landscapes - rocky gorges, pine forests, grassy meadows and the moon-like surface of Roque El Nublo. There is a good amount of ascent and descent and overall the grade of moderate to strenuous seems about right. We often did the optional extra sections (just to show that we could) The paths were all in reasonable to good condition and we were lucky to have dry, warm and still weather conditions. The 3 hotels we stayed at were all fine - not luxurious but had everything we needed. Following the walk instructions was generally fine with a few glitches. On the second day's walk, the short cut from the top of the gorge up to Fagajesto village is not passable (we really tried!). On a few other occasions the distances were inaccurate. But the final day was the worst. We opted for the long walk, which admittedly is not the one recommended. But the interval distance was way out on at least one occasion, and the directions for the last part of the descent are hard to follow - a case of too many paths on the ground. It would have helped (though only in good visibility) to have highlighted the place we were aiming for because in fact most of the paths would have taken us there. That said, we rarely went wrong so it wasn't so very bad. And we learnt not to trust the taxi driver's directions after one of them sent us off on the wrong track!

Clare

North east England

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Great Walking Holiday

5

Our holiday with MacAdventure was great from start to finish. Accommodation was excellent - friendly staff and good food. All Taxi pick-ups and transfers to accommodation and start/finish of walks ran smoothly. The scenery on the walks was amazing and varied. Loved the walking, was quite demanding at times but worth it for the views.

Scottish Walker's

Edinburgh

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Stunning scenery

5

3rd time with Macs Adventure, well organised, route directions good (except for La Lechuza long walk when we got lost several times, needs up dating). We were lucky with the weather in early November (a few misty mornings but mainly sunny, cool first thing, perfect for walking). Many long steep ascents and descents but nothing frightening (La Gomera more exciting/vertigo inducing!).

Mountain Goat

SW England

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Thoroughly Enjoyed Every Day!!

5

We decided to go with Macs Adventure having considered a few different companies offering similar trips. From the start I was impressed by their professionalism and customer service. This trip was graded moderate to strenuous. We were behind the book times for the walks (considerably so on Day 3), but had made time to stop eat, and fully absorb the wonderful views. At the end of the day times were not important to us. It was still quite hot when we arrived at the end of September, but this meant we also got the really good weather on all but the last half of the final day when we were walking back down the hill in low visibility. We really enjoyed walking through the high pine forests, which provided much needed respite from the heat of the midday sun. The scent from the pine and views were absolutely beautiful. We also loved staying in the rural hotels, which offered a totally different experience from the sterile tower block hotels on the coast. I have no complaints about any of the hotels used on this trip. All scored highly for me on accommodation, food and service. Macs Adventure provide a guide book and maps for each days route, I also made use of their GPS way-points, which proved very useful. The Guidebooks are well set out and clear, though there were times that I felt more detail would have been useful. That said, we rarely found ourselves off route and when it did happen we only had to back track a short distance. All in all we both agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed this adventure. Gran Canaria is truly an island of contrasts, and we loved every day (even when the going was tough :) )

Ian and Tanja

Lisburn, Northern Ireland

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Lovely walk, a bit hard for solo traveler

4

First of all, the Canary Islands are incredibly interesting and there are many layers of history, culture, and landscape to discover. The accommodations were unique, well maintained, spacious and historically fascinating. I especially loved the Red House in Agaete with its lush trees and birdsong, and breakfast buffet. The walking route follows mostly well traveled routes and the overall descriptions were very helpful and interesting. The S-cape produced directions for the walk were extremely detailed and MOSTLY accurate but occasionally described turning points, buildings to watch for, or signage inaccurately, which meant I had to double back or triple check my maps. GPS or compass highly recommended .I traveled solo for the week, which I enjoyed very much, but it made for long days. I would frequently have to consult the guidebook, and the large maps were not clearly printed. This meant I needed several extra hours each day to complete the longer walk (though to be fair part of that time saw taking hundreds of pictures - the landscape and plant life are spectacular!) The taxi drivers providing transfers were mostly very professional and enjoyable to talk to - as I speak Spanish I was able to get a local perspective. It is very helpful if you speak Spanish and/or German, as most locals outside of tourist areas don't speak English, and many of the hotel guests and hikers are German or Swiss or Dutch . There was no problem with the main hotel staff, but if you are walking or in a taxi you sometimes need to get some help or just ask about something interesting you see. And in one case the trail just disappeared completely (we had been warned about the effects of a wildfire, but it was even worse that anticipated). Arranging for a taxi in a sparsely populated area is not the easiest thing to do, and my Spanish definitely came in handy.

MariannaT

Redwood City CA

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Island of Contrasts? - certainly!!

4

Day 1-Lovely walk in sunshine. Very windy. Enjoyed fish restaurants and gift shop in Puerto de las Nieves. Day 2- Forecast storm arrived. Wild weather in mountains and at sea. Schools shut. Roads closed. Hotel room flooded. Locals delighted that reservoirs nearly full. We accompanied bags in taxi to Tjeda - spent afternoon enjoying local cheese and wine in flooded restaurant. Day 3-Brighter day but designated route impassable with flooding so rerouted and reached 1500m on Roque Nublo before returning to hotel as getting later and no visibility higher up. Day 4-Walked route but wet and cloudy with no views. Day 5-Rain even heavier and low cloud base so accompanied bags in taxi to La Lechuza. Better here so walked to San Mateo and enjoyed Saturday market and Old Town. Day 6-At last-sun shone! Walked to Pico de las Nieves from hotel - fantastic day - time to sit in sun in hotel gardens on return. Day 7-Sun shining - time to go home! We enjoyed holiday but be prepared with Kompass map and GPS to change plans. Gran Canaria has had a few storms this year and weather varies tremendously around such a small island. The mountains are frequently "cloudy"! We enjoyed a sunny weekend in Las Palmas before starting walking holiday.

Anne and Phil

Scotland

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Mostly great, but ....

4

Mostly, this was a fabulous walking holiday. The days were full and the scenery was varied and spectacular. The first 4½ (out of 6) days walking were fabulous, but the last 1½ days walking were disappointing and a real anticlimax. The anticlimax began once we left the (spectacular) Tejeda crater area and moved into the Cumbre - here the walking and scenery is less interesting, and the Cumbre's reputation for holding cloud/sea-mist means it is very often foggy and cold (while the rest of the island bathes in sunshine). We walked into this fog and quite frankly did not enjoy that afternoon's walking in the cold with no views. We had seen this fog lingering in this area all week so we'd seen it all coming ! The next day's walk in the Cumbre was long, unspectacular, difficult route finding and was just a long long slog, in quite overcast Cumbre weather. Such a let-down following previous days glorious scenery and weather. Personally, I thought the Cumbre area was a poor choice given it's reputation for poor weather. I would avoid this region in future and I would suggest that the itinerary is changed to a different part of the island where the weather is more reliable and the scenery is better. That would make a fabulous week's walking. The hotel we stayed at in the Cumbre is very nice, but lovely outside gardens and swimming pool is no use when it's foggy and cold ! Maybe ok in summer, not December! Another point of note - the normal accommodation on nights 1 & 2 was full so we stayed in Puerto de la Nieves - this turned out to be a charming little place by the sea, with small shops and great fish restaurants and seaside promenades. I would not hesitate to recommend staying here rather than the standard hotel, which may be higher quality, but is stuck up a valley in the middle of nowhere and is very isolated. We met others who stayed there and I can't understand why this holiday put people there rather than the charming, and authentic little port we stayed.

CrispyDee

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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Stunning views around Tejeda

5

This is the first time we have used Macs Adventures and we're pleased to say that everything went very smoothly. The hotels were lovely rural hotels with extremely friendly and helpful staff. The transfers were on time with friendly drivers eager to point out features and where our walks started. We loved the walking, especially around Tejeda. The mountains and rock formations are fantastic. It's tough but rewarding walking .

Shaz

Wales

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Great week walking in Gran Canaria

5

Really well organised from start to finish. Easy to follow route guides. Great scenery and selection of routes.

JS

Derbyshire

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Overall a great trip

4

Overall very well organised trip - occasional minor issues with directions - some of them could be a little out of date but mainly very good. Pre-trip information states that Hotel Fonda de la Tea in Tejeda has an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel does not have a swimming pool either indoor or outdoor. Hotel Rural las Calas was very nice. However we were not asked either in advance or when we arrived about dietary requirements. There was only one (meat based) option for dinner which was no good for my husband who does not eat meat. The hotel information also promised that we would be offered a dinner menu for the next night at breakfast, and the option to purchase a packed lunch. However neither of these things happened. This was disappointing as there are no shops in La Lechuza, nor did we encounter any on our 14km walk the next day. There is also only one place to eat in the evening which was fortunately open the night we were there but may not be open on other nights.

Marianne

Bournville

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Gran Canaria: Island of Contrasts

4.4 21

100.0

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