Headwater - Self-Guided Walking on Gran Canaria

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8 days
from
2,285 CAD
incl. taxes
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Trip code: 
W07GC
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
12

Less than 100 miles off the north west coast of Africa, in the centre of the Canary Islands archipelago, sits the volcanic island of Gran Canaria - often referred to as 'a miniature continent' with its extraordinarily varied landscapes ranging from the north's lush green forests and valleys, to the towering mountainous interior, to the desert-like dunes and beautiful white beaches of its southern shores.

On this twin-centre walking holiday, you'll mainly follow well-marked, ancient Caminos Reales - centuries-old royal trading paths lined with broom, heather and Canarian Pine - as they criss-cross the island linking the mountains to the sea. Highlights this week include: the iconic blood-red rock of Nublo, the shimmering Chira Dam and the 'magic' volcanic cauldron of Bandama whose eruption, over 2,000 years ago, influenced the entire geography of the island. You'll also pass troglodyte villages built by the religious Guanche (the Canaries' first inhabitants) 4,000 years ago, and have the chance to step back in time in the old part of the island's colourful capital, Las Palmas.

Highlights

  • Dramatic walking, spell-binding scenery, beautiful ocean views
  • Dazzling ochre cliffs, sunny fertile valleys, sweeping plateaux and plunging gorges
  • Masses of archaeological, botanical and geological interest
  • Tiny white villages, forgotten farming hamlets, fascinating cave dwellings
  • Cosmopolitan capital Las Palmas: gorgeous beaches, fascinating museums, UNESCO-listed historic centre
  • Extensive walking options available including two level 3 walks

Key information

  • 7 nights twin-centre accommodation
  • All buffet breakfasts and evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Freedom to decide which walk you do on each day

What's included

  • All accomodation
  • All buffet breakfasts and evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Freedom to decide which walk you do on each day

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
  • Bikes available on rest days. Please call for details and prices.
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes, farm tracks and rural paths. Walking boots are essential. Walking poles are recommended. As the walks do not start directly from the hotels, a hire car is included in your holiday price.

Day by day breakdown
Day 213.0km/8.0miles
Day 317.0km/11.0miles
Day 414.0km/9.0miles
Day 616.0km/10.0miles
Day 712.0km/8.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

San Bartolome de Tirajana
to
San Bartolome de Tirajana
  • Day 1

    Arrive in San Bortolome de Tirajana

    Collect your hire car at Las Palmas airport and drive (50 mins) to the Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, set just outside San Bartolome de Tirajana and offering stunning panoramic views of the valley and close by mountains. The hotel has a part-covered pool and sun terraces - ideal places to relax after a day's walking. (Staying at Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, Half Board)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Valleys and Villages walk

    It's just a short walk into the white 'sugar cube' village of San Bartolome whose unique volcanic landscape combines rugged agricultural scenery, rich vegetation and a diverse historic architecture. From here, it's a relaxed, easy going walk through the fertile Tirajana Valley and up through extensive palm groves to the pretty village of Santa Lucia for lunch. The museum here displays an impressive range of archaeological finds including Guanche artefacts, farming tools, leather goods - even the odd skeleton! In the afternoon, a panoramic cistus-lined mountain ridge offers continuous views of the yawning Tirajana gorge as you cross the ravine floor and head back via Fataga (stopping for a chilled beer perhaps) to your hotel. (Staying at Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cruz Grande Circular Walk

    A 10-minute drive brings you to Cruz Grande. Your route takes you first south through pine forest then out along an undulating mountain ridge where massive valleys slice through the wooded hillsides to reveal your first glimpse of the magical Chira Dam - a stunning deep blue lake-like reservoir, home to a large habitat of bird, fish and wildlife. You'd be hard-pushed to find a better picnic spot! After lunch, an enchanting tangle of aloes, almonds, figs and prickly pear cacti pave your path as you climb steadily up out of a ravine on one of the ancient Camino Reales. (Staying at Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    El Roque Nublo

    Balanced on an 1,800m-high rock plateau, the volcanic monolith of Roque Nublo dates to the Pleistocene Era and is a must-visit. Enjoy stunning views from the top - including Tenerife's snowcapped Mount Teide on the horizon - before a gentle, pine-scented descent into the Tejeda Valley and the tiny farming hamlet of La Culata. This is the 'real' Spain - herds of goats and donkeys still tend the fields here and the Bar Roque Nublo doubles up as the village cafe-cum-bar-cum-local shop! After a light lunch, the almond-scented path leads you up to the Mirador de Degollada Becerra viewpoint (arguably the most renowned skyline on the island) and back through pines to your car. (Staying at Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Las Palmas and the Caldera de Bandama

    Today you have the option to give your boots a rest and explore by car! Driving north east, we strongly recommend stopping at the island's capital, Las Palmas. The historic colonial district of Vegueta - today a UNESCO World Heritage Site - boasts beautiful buildings, quiet squares, pretty churches, soaring cathedrals and narrow cobbled streets that were walked by Columbus 500 years ago! Lunch perhaps on one of the beautiful twin bays, before a short drive east to the fascinating Caldera de Bandama. If you're feeling fit, the steep hike to the bottom takes about 30 minutes (a bit longer coming back up!) - there's a good chance of spotting flocks of linnets, trumpeter finches and the indigenous Berthelot's Pipit. Your final drive takes you past vineyards, sugar cane and lush banana plantations on the approach to 4-star Hotel Melva Suite, home for your last three nights. (Staying at Hotel Melva Suite, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Azuaje Nature Reserve

    Today's walk starts from the 'sparkling' white village of Firgas where more than 200,000 bottles of sparkling mineral water are produced every day! Take a stroll around the historic village (C16 church, waterfall, stepped fountains) - and, on a clear day, soak up beautiful views out across northern Gran Canaria towards Tenerife and Fuerteventura. A circular route from here takes you through the lush green vegetation of the Azuaje Nature Reserve, famous for both its endemic and medicinal plants - don't be surprised to see locals foraging for natural remedies! You'll gradually ascend a narrow ravine before a final winding descent through eucalyptus forest loops you back to Firgas. (Staying at Hotel Melva Suite, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cave towns and Villages

    The longest drive of the week (1hr) but we think well worth it! The walk starts in Artenara - at 1,270m it's the highest village on the island with an important cave heritage: nearly 400 cave houses, most dating back to C15, can be found here and in the pretty neighbouring hamlets of the Tamadaba Natural Park. The distinctive black outline of the northern face of Roque Nublo provides a stunning backdrop as you descend towards Lugarejos, an old troglodyte village famous for its kiln-free pottery. Bordered by steeply terraced hillsides, you head gently up through dappled, pine-scented forest to a shady poppy-carpeted ridge where you are rewarded with great views down to the Lugarejos Reservoir and out across the north western coast and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. (Staying at Hotel Melva Suite, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Leave Gran Canaria

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

The basis of Gran Canarian cuisine is a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. Meat usually features as part of a stew, and steaks are mostly imported from mainland Spain or South America. Gofio still forms an essential part of the island diet. It is a sort of flour made from ground and toasted barley, maize and wheat. It is used in many ways, for example, to thicken soups and sauces or perhaps stirred into children’s milk. It is also made into ice cream and a kind of bread, not unlike polenta, then mixed with oil, salt and sugar.
A traditional accompaniment to many meals are mojos (sauces), based on olive oil - mojo picón (spicy sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce). Not to be missed is the local goat cheese (from Guía), which is very tasty.

Is this trip for you?

Walking Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 14.4km (9.1miles).
No. of days walking: 5
Terrain and route: Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes, farm tracks and rural paths.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You spend your first four nights at the Hotel Rural Las Tirajanas, a mountain lodge style hotel with fabulous views of the valley below. For your final three nights, you'll head north to **** Melva Suite, a luxury 8-suite hotel set in a lovely estate of tranquil grounds, just 10 minutes' drive from the postcard-pretty white town of Firgas.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

Call us on 1 800 267 3347