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This was the itinerary for our 2020 Canary Islands hiking-focused vacation. We have two groups in 2023, each with different itineraries, so please view this as an approximation only. We're not visiting La Palma this year due to the volcanic eruption that ended in late 2021.
• 8 days on La Gomera— hiking 5 full days, 1 half day
• 4 days on La Palma— hiking 1 full day, 1 half day
• 3 days on Tenerife—hiking 2 days
It’s possible we’ll need to change our plans in response to rain or strong wind—perhaps hiking where the weather is more favorable, elsewhere on the island—but here’s our intended day-by-day itinerary:
Depart Tenerife North airport at 9:30 am. Arrive at La Gomera airport at 10 am. Pick up our rental cars. Drive one hour to Valle Gran Rey. Meet Skye and Craig at our hotel. Group gets acquainted over lunch at a nearby, fresh-fish restaurant. Depart for afternoon hike. From a trailhead high above Valle Gran Rey, descend an ancient, airy, switchbacking trail into a neighboring valley. Views of the North Atlantic and the Tegeleche Mountains will be constant. Rest beneath palm trees, then begin ascending. Loop back on another ancient, scenic trail. Hiking time: 3.5 hours. Distance: 6.5 km (4 mi). Elevation gain: 850 m (2788 ft). For dinner, we recommend the superb, Malaysian restaurant just around the corner from our hotel.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Go grocery shopping down the street. Drive five minutes up-valley. Hike a trail ascending a steep canyon wall to surmount the ridgecrest towering directly above Valle Gran Rey. Admire vast ocean and valley views before descending. Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours. Distance: 10.5 km (6.5 mi). Elevation gain: 770 m (2526 ft). Prepare dinner in your apartment, or eat at one of several nearby restaurants. Maybe... Stroll on the beach next to the hotel.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Drive 45 minutes to a picturesque hamlet cascading down a terraced hillside. Hike a dazzling loop over a ridge and through two, deeply-incised canyons. The trail spectacularly traverses the canyon walls. Hiking time: 6 to 8 hours. Distance: 9 km (5.5 mi). Elevation gain: 540 m (1772 ft). Prepare dinner in your apartment, or eat at one of several nearby restaurants. Maybe... Listen to musicians at waterfront cafes.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Indulge in a day of relaxation. Maybe... Enjoy our hotel’s rooftop swimming pool, or go swimming at one of Valle Gran Rey’s three beaches. Prepare lunch in your apartment, or eat at one of several nearby restaurants. For dinner, we recommend the excellent, East Indian restaurant just around the corner.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Depart early. Drive one hour to a trailhead. Begin a fascinating descent on an historic route into a dramatic canyon. Proceed down-canyon to an isolated, seaside resort. Stop for ice-cream. Loop back, first ascending a panoramic ridgecrest, then following a “balcony” canyon-wall trail that defies belief. En route, pass isolated stands of palm trees and the stone walls of a long-gone shepherds’ village. Hiking time: 7.5 to 8.5 hours. Distance 24 km (15 mi). Elevation loss/gain 660 m (2165 ft) / 960 m (3150 ft). Prepare dinner in your apartment, or eat at one of several nearby restaurants. Maybe... Sit on the beach next to the hotel and let the sound of the surf lull you into meditation.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. You’re now familiar with Valle Gran Rey and La Gomera, so you’ll appreciate a day to follow your bliss. You might want to go sightseeing, or do a short hike on your own. You can also simply relax as you please. The day is yours. Over breakfast, Skye and Craig can suggest options and help you plan.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Drive up-canyon about ten minutes from our hotel. Begin a “cliff-hanger” loop hike on a trail that, most of the way, clings to the soaring valley walls. Midway, we’ll reach a hamlet where we can rest at a cafe and order refreshments and snacks. Hiking time: 3.5 to 4 hours. Distance: 9.5 km (5.9 mi). Elevation gain: 710 m (2330 ft). Prepare dinner in your apartment, or join us at a nearby restaurant specializing in fresh seafood. Maybe... Laze on our hotels’ rooftop terrace, appreciate how dark the North Atlantic night sky is, and marvel at the brilliance of the stars.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Drive 45 minutes to the north side of the island. Arrange a vehicle shuttle. Begin switchbacking steeply up a canyon wall. Attain a ridgecrest vantage. Drop into a lonely gorge, then rise to a cliff-edge restaurant where a glass-bottomed viewing platform dares you to walk into “space.” An implausible but comfortably safe trail drops over the cliff to La Gomera’s loveliest village. Hiking time: 4.5 to 5 hours. Distance 9 km (5.5 mi). Elevation gain: 600 m (1970 ft). Elevation loss: 500 m (1640 ft). Reservations ensure our group can dine at a nearby restaurant whose quirkiness becomes lovable when you taste what comes out of their tiny kitchen.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Depart mid-morning for the La Gomera airport. Fly to La Palma via Tenerife. Taxi from the airport to our apartment-hotel perched above the port of Santa Cruz de la Palma. Walk into the historic city center for lunch, and again for dinner. Shop for two lunches to pack for the next two hiking days.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Depart on foot with our daypacks. Walk to the port and pick up our rental cars. Drive 45 minutes up the forested slopes of Caldera de Taburiente. Hike to the 2250-m (7380-ft) summit of Pico de la Nieve on the caldera rim for views into the great abyss. Hiking time: 2.5 to 3 hours. Distance: 6 km (3.7 mi). Elevation gain: 250 m (820 ft). If minimal cloud cover allows visibility, resume driving the caldera-rim highway. Overlook La Palma’s north skirt. Continue to the supreme, caldera viewpoint: Roque de los Muchachos. Drive back to Santa Cruz de la Palma. Stop for grocery shopping. Return to our hotel. Prepare dinner in your apartment or, if you prefer, walk to one of the many restaurants in the historic city center.
Rise early. Prepare breakfast in your apartment, or enjoy the hotel buffet. Drive to the island’s far side. Arrange a vehicle shuttle allowing our group to complete a long, one-way hike. The ancient trail traverses a ravine-incised coastline as scenic as any on our planet. We’ll pass through a couple villages, but mostly we’ll be plunging into verdant canyons and climbing over magnificent headlands. Hiking time: 9 hours. Distance 21 km (13 mi). Elevation gain: 1210 m (4167 ft). Elevation loss: 1210 m (3970 ft). If necessary, we can eliminate the final 420-m (1380-ft) ascent. But we’re hoping the group can push through, and experience all of this intriguing trail. We’ll celebrate our accomplishment at an excellent, atmospheric restaurant not far from where we complete the hike. Drive back to our hotel in Santa Cruz de la Palma.
Indulge in a full day of well-deserved relaxation. Maybe... Sleep late. Walk into the historic city center, stop at a bakery, then stroll the colorful, spirited, pedestrian-only boulevard. Prepare lunch in your apartment, or eat at one of several outdoor cafes. If you’re keen to explore beyond the city, you can drive to a black-sand beach, or the La Fajana natural pools. For dinner, we recommend the group join us at a splendid cellar-restaurant in an artfully renovated, traditional home.
Drive to the airport. Return our rental cars. Fly to Tenerife at 10:30 am. Arrive on Tenerife at 11 am. Pick up our rental cars. Drive to our elegant, city-center hotel in nearby San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Walk to one of several restaurants in the historic city center. Enjoy walking La Laguna’s historical center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the nucleus of social life for the University of La Laguna’s 30,000 students.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Drive into the densely vegetated, rough-hewn Anaga Mountains, on the northeast tip of Tenerife. Begin hiking in a remote village. Cross a forested pass, drop to the sea, then follow an undulating trail along a gorgeous, unsettled coastline. Loop back by ascending a ridgecrest that a affords expansive views of the peninsula. Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours. Distance 17 km (10.5 mi). Elevation gain: 930 m (3050 ft). Return to our hotel. Walk to one of the many restaurants in the historic city center.
Buffet breakfast at our hotel. Again drive into the Anaga Mountains. From yet another remote-village trailhead, hike an easy trail that winds down to the sea, then follows a different but equally exciting stretch of unsettled coast. The entire distance is so engaging that we’ll make this a round trip, so we can see it all twice. Hiking time: 4.5 hours. Distance 13 km (8 mi). Elevation gain & loss: 460-m (1510- ft). Return to our hotel. For dinner, we recommend the group join us at our favorite La Laguna restaurant.
After a buffet breakfast at our hotel, our group gathers in the lobby to say “goodbye” and wish each other a safe journey home. Everyone flies from Tenerife to mainland Spain.
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