Half of the fun of adventure travel is soaking in the great outdoors. That’s why we do it, right? The glistening ice fields, shrouded mountains and sprawling skies that we don’t always get to see from the kitchen window.
Heading to Gran Canaria is the perfect way to experience the best of Mother Nature. Everything you do on the island, from the adventures you have, to the food you eat and the places you stay, is bathed in natural beauty. Explore volcanoes, gorges, and rainforests by day and by night return to serene rural hotels that invite the natural world in. Being immersed in nature from dawn to dusk is just the way of life on Gran Canaria.
Natural and Active
There really isn’t enough time in the day to experience all of the island’s nature-based adventures. From climbing to canyoning, rainforest trekking to cliff jumping, and volcano tours to via ferratas, the volcanic landscape serves up thrills on a platter.
Whether you head out on your own, or with an active tourism company like Climbo, you will never tire of things to do. Hike through the Doramas Forest to the mystical Azuaje Ravine. These hidden trails will delight the senses and reveal the ancient histories of the island. Or, for a more adrenaline-pumping experience, launch yourself off of the Barranco de Los Azulejos into the crystalline waters below at one of the many great cliff jumping spots across Gran Canaria. (Make sure you go to a popular and safe spot for cliff jumping with an accredited guide who knows the area well).
Explore the Caldera de Bandama for a taste of the island’s volcanic origins and climb the 1,956m Pico de las Nieves to reach its highest point. There is nothing quite like a sunset from up there to end your day.
So much of Gran Canaria can only be discovered on foot. The yearly Gran Canaria Walking Festival (which will take place in October of this year, with exact dates to be confirmed) allows you to discover four specially selected trails that reveal the truly hidden natural gems of the island. If you’re after a walking holiday this year, I’d start looking at flights to Gran Canaria in October…
Here’s a taste of the festival in 2023:
For a better understanding of the history of the island, a trip to the Red Canyon is undebatable. The grand red rock cliffs are a spectacle, but get up close to their twists and turns and you’ll discover marvels like La Fortaleza’s aboriginal caves. They constitute one of the best preserved fortified settlements of the indigenous societies on Gran Canaria and unlock the secrets of the past. You can also pay a visit to the Museum of La Fortaleza to understand the settlement more deeply. End the day by continuing down to Tufia or Arinaga beach for some solace by the stunning Atlantic.
Travel Through Time
Gran Canaria erupted out of the Atlantic Ocean around 14 million years ago. Ever since it has been inhabited and shaped by many peoples and cultures from the Canarii to the Spanish and even a few pirates. Archaeological hikes are the best way to reveal this storied history. Learn from the experts at Turinka in archaeology, culture, geography, geology and gastronomy whilst marvelling at the changing scenery. Visit ancient granaries, donkey centres, a coffee plantation, vineyards, temples and volcanic remains on your educational and active day in the sun. These tours uncover the lives of the aboriginal people, European frontiers, and pirates and you will get a better understanding of the Canarian way of life.
A great way to sample the past and the present of the island is at Bodega Las Tirajanas. The Canarians have been producing wine since the medieval period, and wineries like this one keep the tradition alive. Their wines are little glimpses across time and space to all corners of Gran Canaria. The vineyards in the volcanic south grow in basaltic soils where the vineyards of the Medianías grow in loose soils more than 1000m above sea level. The wines produced from each region transport you to them through their unique and complex palettes that win international awards year on year.
Equally as transportive is the farm and winery at Bodega Los Berrazales. They host one of very few coffee plantations in Europe and the resulting coffee is suitably unique. The Typica coffee is grown in small quantities under the shade of mango, guava, orange and papaya trees and bursts with floral, fruity and citrusy notes that perfectly mirror the beauty that it was grown in.
If you’re after adventure and nature and nothing else, a trip to Vivac Aventura is essential in Gran Canaria. It is a training ground for all things adventure set in the forests of the Llanos de la Pez. Their beautiful surrounds make for amazing mountain biking, hiking, ball sports and even water sports in their pool. With cabins and dining rooms you can get all your thrills and spills from one convenient base. Even if you decide not to stay there you can still take part in their organised training or tours around the grounds and get to know the local lizards which are different in Llanos de la Pez than anywhere else on the island.
Let Nature In
Gran Canaria‘s rural accommodations are the perfect way to bring the great outdoors in. After coming home from a day of adventuring you can continue soaking in the island’s beauty from the comfort of your hotel room or holiday rental. Below are some of the most spectacular rural accommodations with the best views in the Atlantic.
Plan Your Trip
It’s clear that there is no shortage of things to do in Gran Canaria. From the adventures, to the food and the scenery it is a treat for the senses to stay on this little island. Head to Gran Canaria Natural and Active to see everything on offer and start planning your 2024 trip.