Along with the health benefits of getting out into the great outdoors, hiking is simply one of the best ways to get to know a destination's natural landscape and its unique flora and fauna.
Anyone who's discovered the myriad delights of hiking is always on the lookout for new opportunities and, if you've never considered exploring the Canary Islands on foot, you've just found one!
Two Diverse Destinations
Of the seven main islands in the archipelago, two particularly stand out for their diverse landscapes: La Palma and La Gom
Hiking Highlights of La Gomera Holidays
This tiny island – the second smallest of the main islands in the archipelago – is an absolute joy to explore on foot. For avid hikers, it's pretty close to the perfect destination: its picturesque landscape provides an incredibly diverse mix of features and terrains, including volcanic peaks, quaint hamlets, sub-tropical banana plantations and lush, cool rainforests. The ancient bridle trails that criss-cross the island form the basis of a network of well-maintained walking paths, opening up opportunities for those of even modest abilities.
If you enjoy the tranquillity of forest walks, the Garajonay National Park encompasses one of the most ancient forests in Europe. The humid environment is home to a proliferation of flora and fauna, supporting more than 1,000 invertebrate species and countless species of plants. For something a little more challenging, hiking the 2,348 feet to the summit of Mirador de Abrante offers a very different kind of experience. You'll certainly need to be confident in your athletic abilities to attempt this one, but for those who press on, the views from the spectacular glass viewing platform at the top are nothing short of spectacular.
Off the Beaten Path on La Palma
The island of La Palma also benefits from the striking differences that comprise its landscape. For walking enthusiasts, it appears almost tailor-made. A major part of its appeal lies in the fact that – aside from the capital of Santa Cruz La Palma – it remains very much unaffected by tourism. So if you're prepared to don your boots and head "off the beaten path", the rewards are innumerable.
Just as La Gomera, holidays to capitalise on the hiking opportunities of La Palma can take you through several different terrains within a few hours. The walking trails that trace the coastline of the island provide jaw-dropping views over the archipelago, while the tropical vegetation and volcanic backdrop of the interiors provide a dramatically different setting through which to walk.
The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park is facilitated with numerous signposted trails, which meander gently past deep ravines and through groves of whispering Canarian pines. In contrast, the ancient laurisilva forests of Los Tilos offer a unique opportunity to encounter the dramatic biodiversity of the island in a truly tranquil environment. After the quiet, restful surrounds of the forests, the 1,000m climb to reach the natural springs of Cordero and Marcos is an entirely different (and very invigorating) experience.
La Palma and La Gomera Holidays for Hikers
These two beautiful Canary Islands are both ideal for the keen walker to get their boots into. With a range of terrains, breathtaking views and superb year-round weather – you really have ask: what more could one want for a hiking holiday?