Traverse pathways of remote National Parks amid the hidden beauty of the Canary Islands
Day 1- 4 Tenerife
In just over four hours from the UK, you will arrive in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, scattered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco, and bathed for most of the year in warm sunshine. Hiring a car, turn your sights towards northern Tenerife, away from the built-up tourism of the south, to discover Garachio, a charming fishing village made up of cobbled streets, old churches and an attractive main square. Lava from an explosion in the 18th century produced smooth volcanic rockpools by the sea, creating perfect natural pockets for swimming.
Stay here for three nights at colourful 18th century mansion Hotel San Roque and use this comfortable hotel with pool and lantern-lit al fresco dining as a base for exploring the unspoilt terrain by foot. The 14 km self-guided walk known as Valle de Ariba takes you across ridged lava fields where you can stop to examine local artisan pottery at rural village Argugayo before hiking across the Santiago Valley which has stunning views over to La Gomera. Another day might see you traversing La Orotava Valley which opens out onto jaw-dropping panoramas over the northwest coastline, framed by often snow-dusted Mount Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain.
Day 5 – 7 La Gomera
From the port of Los Cristianos, you will board the ferry to reach La Gomera in just under an hour. An island that tourism forgot, La Gomera rewards intrepid travellers with a rich variety of ecosystems including ancient rainforests, flora and fauna filled valleys, awe-inducing rocky clifftops, volcanic ravines and dramatic black beaches.
It’s this incredible scenery that makes La Gomera so thrilling to explore on foot and you will have three days to fill your hiking boots with a variety of different self-guided routes. Helpful staff at your accommodation La Parador de la Gomera, a clifftop colonial-style property clad in tropical gardens with wonderful sea views, can advise. One to consider is the Gran Ruta Circular Garanjonay which ascends to the island’s highest peak at 1487 metres before winding through misty forests cloaked in moss. We’d also recommend making time for a tapas-style lunch adjoining the stunning Mirador de Abante’s glass observation deck which has an uninterrupted panorama over the Atlantic.
Day 8 – 11 Tenerife
After a ferry ride back from La Gomera, you return to Tenerife, where your last three days will be spent at a sophisticated hillside resort located on a former banana plantation in south-west Tenerife. Away from the large hotels and tourist hubs, La Plantacion del Sur is a peaceful enclave where its spa, tennis courts and five swimming pools will keep you firmly in relaxation mode.
However, don’t hang up your hiking boots just yet. For one last self-guided trek, consider the nearby UNESCO-protected Tiede National Park home of Spain’s tallest peak. Start by taking the cable car, then choose a route, which vary between 8-10kms, up to Mount Tiede’s crater to see the awe-inspiring caldera, alongside volcanic rock formations such as ridges and caves some of which are located above the clouds. Breathe in the crisp fresh air and make the most of the mind-expanding views before you start your return home, armed with surprisingly adventurous memories from your trip to the Canaries.