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Trekking in the Canary Islands

AuthorPaddy Dillon
PublisherCicerone Press
ISBNISBN-13: 978 1 85284 765 4
Black ash landscape at La Geria on Lanzarote

Black ash landscape at La Geria on Lanzarote

An optional ascent includes El Teide on Tenerife

An optional ascent includes El Teide on Tenerife

Roque Chico is one of the highest mountains on La Palma

Roque Chico is one of the highest mountains on La Palma

The GR131 is a long-distance trekking route that crosses all seven of the Canary Islands. On all the islands except Tenerife it offers coast-to-coast traverses, generally favouring the high mountains. The trail includes national parks and other important protected areas, and a variety of landscapes that include sandy deserts, rugged lava flows, awesome mountains, pine forests and intriguing laurisilva cloud forests. Towns and villages feature at intervals, but there is a need to plan ahead wherever services and facilities are sparse.

The trail starts with an easy five-day traverse of Lanzarote, generally following quiet roads and dirt tracks, with only a few rugged paths. After a ferry to Fuerteventura and a brief visit to the Islote de Lobos, the trail encounters higher hills, more remote terrain and a few more rugged paths. After another ferry to Gran Canaria, it is important to note that the GR131 hasn't yet been completed, so the guidebook offers a splendid, high-level coast-to-coast route, passing though mountainous terrain and extensive pine forests.

The trail through Tenerife starts high and passes through an extensive area of forest, eventually reaching an impressive national park. There is an option to climb El Teide, the highest mountain on Spanish territory, otherwise the GR131 takes a rather gentler route, though it still includes some rugged mountain terrain. After a long descent and a bus ride to a ferryport, it is important to look carefully at timetables in order to continue across the last three small islands.

La Gomera is small and it can be crossed in one or two days. There are some steep and rugged slopes, but also some gentle walking through high-level 'cloud forest'. After taking a ferry to La Palma, trekkers need to be pretty self-sufficient as the trail takes an arduous high-level route along the crest of the island, where facilities are notably absent. Getting ferry connections between La Palma and El Hierro involves returning to Tenerife, otherwise flights can be taken which reduce the time spent travelling. Two days is all that's needed to cross El Hierro, and the GR131 ends at a point that was once considered to be the end of the world!

GPX tracks are available for this route. They can be downloaded from the Cicerone website.

Walk Contents


Stage 1 Órzola to Haria
Stage 2 Haría to Teguise
Stage 3 Teguise to Montaña Blanca
Stage 4 Montaña Blanca to Yaiza
Stage 5 Yaiza to Playa Blanca


Stage 6 Islote de Lobos
Stage 7 Corralejo to La Oliva
Stage 8 La Oliva to Tefía
Stage 9 Tefía to Betancuria
Stage 10 Betancuria to Pájara
Stage 11 Pájara to La Pared
Stage 12 La Pared to Barranco de Pecenescal
Stage 13 Barranco de Pecenescal to Morro Jable
Stage 14 Morro Jable to Faro de Jandía

Gran Canaria

Stage 15 Faro de Maspalomas to Ayagaures
Stage 16 Ayagaures to Tunte
Stage 17 Tunte to Cruz de Tejeda
Stage 18 Cruz de Tejeda to Tamadaba
Stage 19 Tamadaba to Puerto de las Nieves


Stage 20 La Esperanza to La Caldera
Stage 21 La Caldera to El Portillo
Optional Ascent of El Teide
Stage 22 El Portillo to Parador
Stage 23 Parador to Vilaflor
Stage 24 Vilaflor to Arona

La Gomera

Stage 25 San Sebastián to Chipude
Stage 26 Chipude to Playa de Vallehermoso

La Palma

Stage 27 Faro de Fuencaliente to Fuencaliente
Stage 28 Fuencaliente to Refugio El Pilar
Stage 29 El Pilar to Roque de los Muchachos
Stage 30 Roque de los Muchachos to Puerto de Tazacorte

El Hierro

Stage 31 Puerto de la Estaca or Tamaduste to Fuente de La Llanía
Stage 32 Fuente de La Llanía to Embarcadero de Orchilla