Hiking from Hotel to Hotel on Gran Canaria

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April 27th 2015
Published: June 17th 2015
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Hiking across Gran Canaria, east to west

Barranco de Guayadeque IBarranco de Guayadeque IBarranco de Guayadeque I

View of the canyon from its upper end towards the coast and Aguimes.
When I returned to Hamburg from the Ayurveda cure in Kassel I had two days to get organised for my next trip: hiking from hotel to hotel on the island of Gran Canaria. I had booked the trip with Discovery Gran Canaria, an agency that offers guided and self-guided walks on Gran Canaria. It belongs to Franz Miltenburg, who has lived in and travelled various countries of the world before settling on Gran Canaria many years ago.

I left for my trip on Sunday morning (12th of April) and arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island’s capital, in the afternoon. Franz came to pick me up from the airport and took me to my hotel in Aguimes on the east coast of the island, about 20 minutes by car from the airport. There he gave me a folder he had put together with loads of information on the island and its history, explained how the tour would work, and gave me some advice as to what to do during the next three days. I had three days to accommodate to the climate and to do a few walks so that I would be ready for a six day tour that
Barranco de Guayadeque IIBarranco de Guayadeque IIBarranco de Guayadeque II

House built into the rocks.
would – step by step – take me across the island, from southeast to northwest. After he had left, I unpacked my suitcase, had a quick dinner in town, and went to bed early.

The next morning I caught a bus to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It took me about an hour to get to the bus station San Telmo, where I went onto a Hop on Hop off bus tour. I have to say that the capital is pretty ugly. There are giant hotels that are just huge blocks, not pretty at all. There are a few nice places, though. For example, the marina and Playa de las Canteras, the 3 km long flat, golden beach. However, along this beach there are ugly hotels as well. What is definitely the nicest part of the city is its old part, “Vegueta”. I got off the bus there and took a one hour guided tour. There are many old houses that were built between the 15th and 19th centuries. Also there is an old cathedral, the Catedral de Santa Ana. Right next to the cathedral there is a museum of religious art. In front of the cathedral there is
Valley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia IValley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia IValley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia I

On the plateau surrounding the valley of Guayadeque.
a beautiful square with some of the old official buildings to its left and right. Christopher Columbus made a stopover on the island before starting off for his journey in which he discovered America, and so in the one of the buildings, Casa de Colón, there is a Columbus museum. However, what I found more interesting was the Museo Canario where you learn something about the native inhabitants of the island. They were of Berber origin and up until the 15th century they still lived like in the stone-age. Against this backdrop I found it surprising that it took the Spanish a few attempts to finally conquer the island. Before catching the bus back to Aguimes I went for a walk along the Playa de las Canteras and had dinner once I was back in Aguimes.

The next day I wanted to start walking so that I would be prepared for the six day hike. I caught the bus to Las Palmas again and at San Telmo bus stop caught another bus that took me to Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo, the botanic garden. It is located on a gorge so that you can gradually make your way down and then back up again and it showcases around 500 plants from the island. I had lunch in the restaurant on top of the gorge, with a beautiful view of the Jardín Botánico and then wanted to catch a bus to Caldera de Bandama, a nearby volcano crater. However, busses do not run often, so I decided to walk. Getting there was a little adventure since there was no hiking path, but eventually I got there. First I walked up Pico de Bandama, the mountain next to the crater, from where I had a beautiful view of the surroundings. It was very windy and also started to rain a bit on my way down. Next I walked around the Caldera de Bandama on the crater rim. There is a farm in the caldera, and there is also a winery! I found it pretty impressive, particularly because the weather was kind of wild with the wind and drizzle. After my walk I caught the bus back to Aguimes and had dinner there.

The next day, Wednesday, I walked up Barranco de Guayadeque, the canyon on which Aguimes is situated. It was a sunny, but also very windy day. On
Valley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia IIIValley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia IIIValley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia III

In this spot in front of some caves I had my lunch on the day.
my way, I made a stopover at Centro de Interpretación de Guayadeque, a museum that showcases how Gran Canaria’s native inhabitants used to live. It is done up very nicely. Then I continued my walk up the canyon. It goes uphill steadily, all the way to a conical peak where the road ends, about 10 km up the canyon. On the way up you can see various caves where the natives used to live. Also on the conical peak there are flats that were built into the rock. Some of them are restaurants, hotel rooms, or shops nowadays. The view down the canyon from the peak was just stunning. On my way back a little dog decided that she wanted to walk with me, and she accompanied me during the last 4 kilometres until I arrived back in Agüimes. I felt sorry for her because dogs are treated in a horrible way in Spain and maybe I was the first person who did not yell or kick at her. She was a friendly little pup and I liked her although I am not too much into dogs, but of course I was not able to keep her.

The next morning my six day hike across the island started.

Day 1: Valley of Guayadeque to Santa Lucia

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘A taxi takes you on a short ride to a cave chapel in the beautiful valley of Guayadeque with its many cave houses. After about five hours of traversing a remote landscape with wonderful views and diversity of endemic plants you finish in the picturesque village of Santa Lucia. Transfer to the nearby mountain village of San Bartolomé de Tirajana where you are welcomed in the rural hotel Las Tirajanas with its spectacular views. (Walking time approx. 51/2h, distance approx. 15km, ascent/descent + 695m/-555m, grade 7)’

In fact, the walk took me past very diverse flora: First it was very dry, with only shrubs and dry bushes. Then vegetation became greener and greener and eventually there were also pine trees. As I made my way up from Barranco de Guayadeque and then climbed the plateau, I could see more and more of the coastline in the east and southeast of the island. Then, once on the other side of the ridge, I could see more towards the south and into the Caldera de
San Bartolomé circle walk ISan Bartolomé circle walk ISan Bartolomé circle walk I

View towards Santa Lucia.
Tirajana, one of the craters of the island that opens up towards the sea.

Franz came to pick me up in a restaurant in Santa Lucia, and he had bought some traditional almond biscuits (almendrados) for me. They were simply delicious, loved them! What a nice welcome! He dropped me off at my hotel in San Bartolomé de Tirajana., where I had dinner and an early night.

Day 2: San Bartolomé circle walk

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘Easy “warm up” walk with little difference in elevation and great views of the Pilancones mountains and the valley of San Bartolomé. (Walking time approx. 4 h, distance approx. 14km, ascent/descent +/- 330m, grade 4-5)’

In fact this was a very nice and easy walk that took me along two sides of a ridge. I could look down into the Caldera de Tirajana and enjoy the view of San Bartolomé and Santa Lucía, on the other side of the ridge I could look towards Tejeda and even the island of Tenerife. I walked in a luminous pine tree forest and, besides the beautiful views, really enjoyed the scent of the pine needles. In the evening I
San Bartolomé circle walk IISan Bartolomé circle walk IISan Bartolomé circle walk II

View into the valley on the other side of Cruz Grande.
gave myself a treat and enjoyed a hot stone massage in the hotel spa.

Day 3: Cruz Grande to Tejeda

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘After a ten minute drive by taxi you start on a “camino real” (Royal Path), a traditional stone path that leads to the centre of the island. Fantastic views, for example of the island of Tenerife with the volcano mountain Teide (highest mountain in Spain) accompany you on this walk to Tejeda, your destination today. Tejeda is another quaint village and known for the many almond trees in the area. Three nights in the cosy Hotel Fonda de la Tea. (Walking time approx. 5,15h, distance approx. 16km, ascent/descent +500m/-700m, grade 7)’

Again I could enjoy views of different valleys – back towards Santa Lucía, but then also towards Tejeda. There is one remarkable rock formation, called the “window”, where you look down into the valley through a rock that has a hole into it so that it looks like a picture frame. Later on, the trail goes along a ridge with the view of the Tejeda valley. Interestingly, this ridge also seems to be some sort of weather divide. North
San Bartolomé circle walk IIISan Bartolomé circle walk IIISan Bartolomé circle walk III

View towards the southwest.
East Passat often brings humid air from the northeast. The humid air ascends at the ridge and cools down, thus forming clouds. So the northeast side of the ridge is often covered in clouds, while there is sun and blue sky on its southwest side. On my walk, I once got to the northeast side of the ridge and walked through a forest that was all covered in lichen and moss. It was like entering another world when I emerged from the forest and got back into the sun on the other side of the ridge. From there I descended into Tejeda and have to say that I was a bit exhausted and happy to have a shower and rest.

Day 4: Tejeda to Artenara

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘This is one of the “classics” among the popular walks on Gran Canaria. From Tejeda you ascend on a nice path through colourful meadows to Cruz de Tejeda, the geographical centre of the island. You continue to Artenara, at 1270m the highest located village on the island. It is known for its many cave houses. On this traditional route across a beautiful ridge you shall enjoy
San Bartolomé circle walk IVSan Bartolomé circle walk IVSan Bartolomé circle walk IV

Back in the valley of Tirajana.
stunning views of the valley of Tejeda. From Artenara you return to Tejeda by taxi (about 20 minutes). (Walking time approx. 3h 45min., distance approx. 12km, ascent/descent +570m/-400m, grade 5- 6)’

At the start of the walk I had to climb all the way up to Cruz de Tejeda again, the road I had come down the previous day. In the instructions for the walk it said that one could also go up to Cruz de Tejeda by taxi, but of course this was not an option for Ms Ambitious. I was rewarded be one stunning view of the Tejeda valley after the other as I took a path that went along one of the ridges surrounding the valley. I walked through luminous pine tree forests again and past beautiful meadows with colourful flowers. In hindsight maybe this was the walk I enjoyed most – or even more than the other ones, since I did really enjoy them all!

Day 5: Roque Nublo circle walk

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘Sergio, the taxi driver you will be familiar with by now, takes you on a short ride to the picturesque village of Ayacata, the starting
Cruz de Tejeda to Tejeda ICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda ICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda I

The "Window", a rock formation.
point of your walk. After about 1.5 hours you reach “Roque Nublo” (Cloud Rock), a place of worship of the ancient natives and the most important landmark on Gran Canaria. Here you feel an almost mystic atmosphere. During a break at the base of this impressive monolith you will enjoy breath taking views. You descend through the lovely valley of “Lomo de Aserrador” and then continue the walk past the “Cross of Timadaba” and then back to Tejeda on another beautiful path. (Walking time approx. 5.15 h, distance approx. 15km, ascent/descent +440m/-690m, grade 6-7)’

The first part of the walk went along a scarcely used track that was partly overgrown, but once I got close to the Roque Nublo one could see that paths were used more often again. The Roque Nublo itself is just amazing, it is a huge monolith overlooking the surrounding valleys. Its surroundings resemble lunar landscape. I spent considerable time just sitting on one side of the monolith and enjoying the view. Again I was fascinated by the natural spectacle of the clouds rising on one side of the ridge in the northeast of the valley and disappearing on the other side. It is as
Cruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda II

View toward Tejeda, with the clouds crouching up from the northeastern side of the ridge.
if an evil wizard was sitting on the other side, trying to send his evil forces to the adjacent valley, but being fought by a good wizard who is sitting in the other valley. Sometimes the evil wizard seems to be at an advantage and clouds descend into the valley a bit further, but then the good wizard becomes stronger again, and clouds withdraw again towards the top of the ridge.

Day 6: Artenara to San Pedro (Valley of Agaete)

Description of the walk from the Discovery Gran Canaria Website: ‘A taxi gets you to Artenara, the start of today´s walk. From here the trail descends along the Tamadaba forest and two lakes. In San Pedro, a small village at the north end of the beautiful valley of Agaete, you will be transferred by taxi to hotel El Cabo in Puerto de las Nieves. (Walking time approx. 5.0h, distance approx. 15km, ascent/descent +200m/-1200m, grade 6-7)’

This was the first day that started in pretty bad weather. I walked straight into the clouds, drizzle, and wind when I started off in Artenara. But the weather improved quickly, and once I had reached the two lakes at the edge of Tamadaba forest
Cruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IIICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IIICruz de Tejeda to Tejeda III

View towards Roque Nublo.
the sky was blue again. After Tamadaba forest I entered a long descent towards Agaete, with beautiful views of the valley and the ocean. In San Pedro I had some nice fresh juice, then a taxi took me to my hotel in Puerto de las Nieves, an old fishing village.

The next day I had a super lazy day. I spent the morning reading on the roof top terrace of the hotel and the afternoon in the spa of one of the hotels in town, enjoying another massage and some time in the sauna.

For Thursday and Friday I rented a car. On Thursday I slowly drove down south on a road that runs along the cliffs of Parque Natural de Tamadaba in the west of the island, where there is one stunning view after the other. From there I continued down to the south coast of the island and drove along the coast towards Maspalomas. The south coast is the area of tourist ghettos, and there is one horrible hotel next to the other. I have to say I was glad that I had only gotten there to have a quick look and not stayed any longer.
Cruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IVCruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IVCruz de Tejeda to Tejeda IV

Clouds from the northeast crossing my way.
The worst place was probably the beach itself. I went to Playa del Inglés, the long beach in the east of Maspalomas. The beach itself is wonderful. It is golden, flat, and there are sand dunes that make you feel like you were in the desert, the Dunas de Maspalomas. However, the beach is crowded with people who lie there all day. And mind you, the water is not exactly warm and it is often very windy there. So it is not exactly a pleasant place to lie in. There are also quite a few areas of the beach where people swim naked. I would not call myself prudish, but seriously, there are some things I need not see.

I went for a two hour walk along the beach and into the dunes. When I returned to my car I got a shock. I wanted to put something back into my backpack, so I opened boot. Oh no. My backpack was gone! Of course I had not left anything valuable in it, but still, someone had broken into my car. The weird thing was that I could not see any signs of it being broken into and also it
Tejeda to Artenara ITejeda to Artenara ITejeda to Artenara I

View into the valley of Tejeda.
had been locked when I had returned to it. I walked around the car and suddenly saw my backpack at the bottom of the passenger seat. My bikini and towel were still in it. However, I was absolutely sure that I had put it into the boot before leaving the car. Also the zippers were in a different position than I had left them in. Those of you who know me know that in some respects I show clear signs of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This means before leaving the car I will always make sure that everything that needs to be out of sight is in the boot and that the car is locked. When I got back into the front seat I realised that the seat and the mirror had been moved. This was super scary and I tried to get out of this place as quickly as possible. Once I there were a few kilometres between me and the beach I double checked again whether anything was missing from my backpack (or whether there was anything that had not been there before), but there wasn’t. Anyway, I was glad to leave Maspalomas again.

I drove through
Tejeda to Artenara IITejeda to Artenara IITejeda to Artenara II

Interesting clouds on the way.
San Bartolomé, Tejeda, past Cruz de Tejeda, and then along the north ridge of the mountains. This time, fortunately, there were no clouds, so that I could enjoy a wonderful view of the north coast of the island, all the way to Las Palmas even.

The next day I still had the car, so I drove to Galdar, a nice village in the north of the island. There you can look at the Cueva Pintada, a cave with mural paintings from the indigenous people of Gran Canaria. When excavating the cave they also found a settlement around it, with round houses built into the slope of the hill. There is also a museum showcasing all kinds of artefacts. I had lunch in Galdar and then drove to Agaete to have a quick look at the Jardín Botánico there. There was not so much to learn here, but the atmosphere was just nice. From there I went to a coffee and wine plantation just outside San Pedro and tasted some local coffee. Gran Canaria is the only place in Europe where they grow coffee beans. In the evening I sat on the coast at Puerto de las Nieves for quite
Tejeda to Artenara IIITejeda to Artenara IIITejeda to Artenara III

View into the valley of Tejeda again.
some time. It is nice to watch the sunset there. And there is another magic thing about this island: depending on the weather you can sometimes see the island of Tenerife and sometimes not. But no matter what the weather has been like during the day, you will always see it when the sun sets behind Teide, the big volcano on the island.

On Saturday I had a really slow morning, spent considerable time just reading and resting before heading off for a short hike, up the cliff from Agaete towards the beach of Guayedra, a beach with black sand. It was only a one hour hike there, I sat by the water for quite some time, then hiked back.

On Sunday morning I packed my suitcase and then spent the morning at the beach in Puerto de las Nieves, listening to the water, watching the waves come in, and just enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Around noon I met Franz and his wife and we had coffee and super tasty ice-cream in one ice-cream shop in town. And they had brought a jar of cactus jam for me, so nice of them! After our coffee they drove me
Tejeda to Artenara IVTejeda to Artenara IVTejeda to Artenara IV

And the clouds on the other side of the ridge again. Yes, they DID fascinate me.
to the airport and I flew back home.

What an incredibly wonderful holiday! Each and every single hike was just wonderful, special, and different from the other ones. The hikes took me through different areas of Gran Canaria with different vegetation. There were so many stunning views that I can’t even count them. With the descriptions Franz had given me it was easy to find my way and I liked the fact that he also wanted his clients to learn something about the island and its history and culture. So he had put considerable effort into putting together a folder with information on every stop along the route and on Gran Canaria in general. All the hotels were super, even with a big breakfast (which is not common in Spain). Finally he put so much effort into making the trip as individual as possible, plus he and his wife are just super nice people. So if anyone of my readers should ever consider going hiking on Gran Canaria (which I can highly recommend), do contact him via Discovery Gran Canaria.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 30


Tejeda to Artenara VTejeda to Artenara V
Tejeda to Artenara V

View towards Pico de las Nieves, the highest mountain on the island.
Tejeda to Artenara VITejeda to Artenara VI
Tejeda to Artenara VI

On the plateau somewhere on the way between Cruz de Tejeda and Artenara.
Roque Nublo circle walk IRoque Nublo circle walk I
Roque Nublo circle walk I

The clouds - again!

23rd June 2015

Hut to Hut
I always wanted to do one of those hut to hut hikes in Austria but this hike sounds lovely. I may have to add this one to my list. Scenic stunning views.....and fantastic photos.
23rd June 2015

Re: Hut to Hut
I can definitely recommend this trip! What is really nice about it is that they deliver your luggage to the next hotel, so you only need to take what you need for the day and don't have to walk around with a heavy backpack all the time.

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