Gran Canaria is well known for its amazing beaches, but what if you want to venture beyond the obvious tourist magnets? The more adventurous visitor will be rewarded with wonderful flora and fauna, and a chance to discover the island’s secrets – all just a short hike away.
Here are five fairytale locations you can find in Europe’s paradise if you venture off the beaten path:
One: La Selva de Doramas
Your expedition through Gran Canaria’s jungle (but without snappy snakes or other creatures) starts in the north of the island, near Moya’s Centro de Interpretación de los Tilos.
Carve your way through a thicket of up to 20-meter-high tilo trees, laurel, and lots of species you can find only in the Canary Islands.
Kids will love this fairytale forest with lots of little spaces with stones to sit on and have a picnic — all while surrounded by nothing but trees and singing birds.
Two: El Barranco de los Cernícalos
Start your 12-km route through this unique gallery forest from Lomo Magullo near Telde. Follow the watercourse on its left side until you reach a couple of little ponds with fresh spring water.
From here, search for the most comfortable way up to the wellspring through the brushy canyon.
Don’t forget good hiking boots and your camera. Some water and food wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
If you’re a newbie wanderer, hire an experienced hiker who can guide you through the Barranco de los Cernícalos.
Three: El Charco Azul
To enjoy this piece of natural beauty close to Agaete in the northwest of Gran Canaria, you should visit during the rainy season from October to January. (This is the time you’ll have a greater chance of seeing many waterfalls.)
An easy and small hiking path will guide you through a lonesome wilderness with high grass and extraordinary valleys until you reach this little pond with its idyllic waterfall.
Can you imagine anything better than taking a refreshing bath in crystal-clear, ice-cold water and just relaxing in this movie-like environment far away from civilization?
Four: El Pinar de Tamadaba
The Gran Canarian pine forest is a place of absolute silence and peace.
Close to the Roque Nublo, you can start your walk up to the forests’ highest point from the beautifully located picnic spots.
Once you’ve reached the top at 1,440 meters, Mother Nature provides you a heavenly view of the island and the endless Atlantic Ocean.
And with a bit of luck, you’ll experience the “Ocean of Clouds” when the complete island below your feet is hidden by clouds until the horizon.
Five: La Playa de Güi-Güi
The adventurous sun-seeker has only two ways to reach this treasure. First, by boat starting from Mogan, known as Little Venice. Second, a short walk from the village of Tasartico of more or less one and a half hours through breathtaking volcanic landscapes and green valleys with hills up to 600 meters.
La Playa de Güi-Güi (pronounced Wiwi) is truly one of the most spectacular and untouched paradises in Gran Canaria. You will feel like Robinson Crusoe in an undiscovered place on earth.
It will be just you (and whoever is with you), nature, the gentle winds blowing eastward from the Atlantic Ocean, and sometimes the sound of a dog barking from far, far away.
Now you know five very special island treasures most visitors never even hear of. So get off the beach, tie on your boots, and turn your holiday in Gran Canaria into an unforgettable adventure!
About the author: Sven von Scheidemann is a writer, living in the Canary Islands since 2004. He fell deeply in love with Gran Canaria and wants to share his passion for this paradise with travelers on his blog adventuregrancanaria.com. Download his latest Free Travel Guide “Triana y Vegueta in one day.”