As you may have seen from my ‘About me’ page I’m so lucky to be working in the travel industry, a sector that I love, as a Senior Product Executive creating specialist holidays. In February I was in the Canaries researching a new walking holiday in Tenerife and La Gomera. Here are some of my favourite walks – do you agree?
– Garajonay the Cloud Forest of La Gomera.
One of the lesser known Canary Islands La Gomera is like the land that time forgot – and my personal favourite island. Only 25 kilometres in diameter everywhere you looked offered breathtaking views and stunning scenery. I felt like I could be an extra in Jurassic Park as everywhere was so lush and unspoilt. I walked for several hours through the UNESCO protected lichen covered forest in the centre of the island, there a multitude of walks to do in the area all really clearly sign posted and there are plenty of maps available locally.
Another thing I found really interesting was because of the really mild climate, no winter and lack of frost, plants that usually die away in the winter (like they do in the UK) just keep growing. I found whole forests made from heather and huge dandelion ‘trees’. The terrain was challenging with lots of steep ascents and descents but the paths were well marked and with good steps and clear of obstructions. When I went in February, it was comfortably warm (low 20s) but walking in the forest meant that I was protected by the sun for most of the walk.
– Masca Gorge, Tenerife.
This is a really well trodden walk in Tenerife but no less spectacular, you can do this independently or you can go on an organised excursion with a reputable walking company.
The drive to get to the gorge is a real experience the drive is stunning (albeit a little hair raising) as the minibus had to negotiate some very sharp hair pin bends that are carved into the hillside (bear this in mind if you’re taking your own car!)
We started at the tiny village of Masca, and the walk itself is a 4 to 5 hour downhill hike through the gorge until you reach the sea. It’s almost impossible to get lost as there is a clear path and that channels you through the gorge, it is well sign posted and you basically just have to follow the stream until you get to the sea.
The path itself is well trodden, but there are some tricky sections such as boulders to negotiate, and small streams to cross and I found the constant descent really tiring so good walking shoes are a must and poles would be good to have. There are plenty of photo opportunities and if you’re into your geology then you will love it as some of the rock formations are really interesting.
Towards the end of the walk you will find that the gorge opens up to a delightful rocky beach, there was a man selling beers and soft drinks at the end which was so good to sit and enjoy in the sunshine. From there you can get the water taxi at certain times of day (these should be booked in advance) and this takes you past the huge cliffs to the village of Los Gigantes. Or alternatively (if you fancy a real challenge) you can walk back up the path all the way to the village of Masca!
Some important things to note is that during the summer months (June/July/August) the sun is overhead and therefore there is very little shade to protect you which can make the walk quite uncomfortable, I found February to be perfect comfortable ‘T-shirt’ walking weather. Also, after heavy rain fall the small stream which runs along the gorge can turn into a raging torrent and the path shouldn’t be attempted.
– Mount Teide, Tenerife.
Arguably one of the most iconic walks in Tenerife, I climbed from the cable car station, and it was very hard going (but you can get the cable car from around 3500metres and walk 800m to the top at 3718m). The views from the crater where absolutely incredible, apparently on a clear day you can see the coast of Africa but I spotted La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma from the top.
The path is good, albeit challenging it is obviously very steep with lots of steps and due to the altitude the air is thin, and I became tired much quicker. It is also cold at the top (it’s not that unusual for there to be snow!), so make sure you wrap up warmly. It’s important that you must pre-book tickets to walk to the top, and provide things like your passport details as the government only allows a limited number of people to reach it daily, this can be done independently or through a walking company.
The landscape surrounding Teide is also interesting and well worth exploring, Teide is sat in what was effectively a huge ‘super’ volcano crater and because of that the landscape is very lunar. It reminded me a little of Monument Valley in Utah, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that film companies had shot Westerns in Tenerife.
So that rounds up my 3 favourite walks in Tenerife and La Gomera – which are your favourites?