With moon-like volcanic landscapes, testing mountain hikes and lush flora thriving in a tropical climate, Tenerife offers keen walkers a world of new experiences.
The island’s network of trails through stunning scenery has inspired an annual walking festival, attracting ramblers from around the world each May to share mountainous, coastal and forest routes.
Teide National Park, Spain’s most popular, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (read about other heritage sites), has more than 20 marked trails and retains a sense of tranquillity through its 19,000 hectares despite nearly three million visitors each year.
At its centre is the majestic, 3,718-metre peak of Mount Teide, to which guided tours are available. You can even take a night away from your resort to stay in hostel-style accommodation at the summit, with fully-equipped dormitories, a kitchen to heat your own food, drinks for sale, toilets and washbasins, but no showers!
Booking for the refuge is essential, and permits are needed to cross the crater, so it’s worth researching and planning your visit.
If you have children, or don’t want to walk all the way, there is a cable car travelling close to the summit – and do carry extra clothes as the temperature can drop dramatically.
Alternatives include the Anaga Mountains in north-east Tenerife which offer another upward trek revealing breathtaking scenery, unusual rock formations and hidden villages. The spectacular path to Barranco de Las Huertas leads to an amazing panorama of the craggy coastline – it is really worth the walk.
The north of Tenerife is particularly renowned for abundant plant life, there’s 350 miles of coastline, plus forests and protected parkland, while night-time walks are blessed with clear, star-lit skies.
"I am leaving almost with tears in my eyes. I would like to settle here."
For an attractive town stroll try UNESCO-recognised La Laguna, where the 15th century streets inspired the grid-style layout of many cities in the Americas, or La Orotava, in a lovely valley, with cobbled streets, striking architecture and a beautiful botanic garden.
There is also a wonderful lookout point in La Orotava, named after German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt who wrote in a letter to his brother in the late 18th century: "I am leaving almost with tears in my eyes. I would like to settle here.”
The walking festival features a week of around 12 professionally-guided hikes, typically ranging from a challenging seven hours on Mount Teide with a night in the refuge, to a steadier 9km, four-hour ramble, through northern forests and past vineyards, from Cruz del Carmen to Tegueste.
Talk to your Olympic Holidays rep for more ideas, tours or book a walking guide to see of this surprisingly island where temperatures are warm all year round.
- Be sure to stay on signposted footpaths
- Take any rubbish with you, including organic waste
- Do not removing plants from the area
- Be aware that Tenerife’s countryside is as special as it is unpredictable
- Pay attention to signs
- Check the weather forecastto make sure the conditions are suitable
- Wear comfortable hiking gear and don't forget to take your mobile phone, sun cream, hat, jacket, raincoat and enough food and water in your bag
- Let your family or friends know which route you will be taking and bear in mind the number of daylight hours you will need to complete your trip