The 7 best hiking routes in Tenerife

Discover Tenerife's top seven walking trails, renowned as some of the island's best hiking routes.

Tenerife boasts an eclectic mix of hiking trails suitable for all preferences, reflecting its volcanic roots through distinct geological formations, as well as a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Whether you’re seeking a quick stroll or a challenging trek, the island offers something for everyone. What unites these various routes is their stunning scenic beauty, sure to captivate anyone who walks them.

Handpicked selection of unmissable hiking routes in Tenerife

Experiencing the varying terrains and captivating sights of Tenerife is an unparalleled way to spend a day immersed in nature. Below, we elaborate on some of the most unforgettable hiking trails the island has to offer.

1. Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo

The 7 best hiking routes in Tenerife.
  • Distance: 10.4 km
  • Duration: Approximately 4 hours

The Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo trail offers an enriching hiking experience, perfectly balancing natural beauty and moderate challenge. Clocking in at around 10 kilometres in length, this medium-difficulty route takes about 4 hours to complete.

The adventure starts at Cruz del Carmen, from where you traverse through the lush Monteverde. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll pass through the quaint village of Las Carboneras, and move on towards Chinamada. Each segment of the trail offers its own unique charms, from the verdant foliage to the charming rustic dwellings in the villages.

Given the trail’s mixed terrain, consisting of both sandy and rocky surfaces, it’s crucial to don appropriate footwear for stability and comfort. Walking poles can also offer added balance and support during the descent.

As you progress along this route, opportunities for stunning photography abound. The landscapes of Tenerife unfold in their full glory, featuring awe-inspiring cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Adding to the scenic value is the local vegetation, enriching the vistas and enhancing the experience.

With its balance of natural scenery, moderate challenge, and opportunities for photography, the Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo trail firmly places itself among the best hiking routes Tenerife has to offer.

2. Montaña Blanca to Teide Peak

  • Distance: 8.3 km
  • Duration: Roughly 5 hours

Comprising three distinct stages, this trail offers a comprehensive hiking experience that demands a reasonable level of fitness. It rightfully earns its place among the best hiking routes in Tenerife for those who seek a more challenging adventure.

The journey commences at Montaña Blanca, easily accessible by car or bus, and stretches up to the Refugio de Altavista. This initial stage traverses a landscape shaped by explosive volcanism, featuring ground covered in pumice stone. After covering approximately 4.5 kilometres and passing the summit of Montaña Blanca, the trail transitions to a path characterised by recent lava flows. It then undergoes a significant incline, leading you to a monumental rock formation known as the Estancia de los Ingleses, before culminating at the Altavista Refuge.

The second leg of the expedition runs from the Altavista Refuge to La Rambleta. This segment offers a more gentle slope, allowing you to enjoy the striking barren lands, commonly referred to as the Teide badlands, in a more leisurely manner.

The final stage takes you from La Rambleta to the peak of El Teide. To embark on this part of the hike, you’ll need to follow the Telesforo Bravo path, and a permit is required for this section, albeit without any fee. The path will lead you right up to the apex of the towering El Teide, where you can revel in the spectacular vistas and the sense of accomplishment.

When it’s time to descend, you have the option of retracing your steps on foot, or for a more relaxed return, taking the cable car down to the base station located at the foot of Mount Teide.

Each of the three stages offers its own set of wonders and challenges, ensuring that this trail offers a well-rounded and rewarding hiking experience.

3. Vilaflor – Lunar Landscape – Vilaflor

  • Distance: 12.9 km
  • Duration: 4-5 hours

In the southern expanses of Tenerife lies an otherworldly attraction known as the Lunar Landscape. While it is most conveniently accessed on foot from Vilaflor de Chasna, several other starting points like Granadilla de Abona and the Parador de las Cañadas del Teide offer alternative routes for intrepid explorers.

However, if you choose to focus on the circular trail that has its inception and culmination at Vilaflor, you will be treated to an awe-inspiring odyssey. After departing from the charming village of Vilaflor de Chasna, your path will intertwine with the Camino del Atajo, a segment of the historical Camino Real de Chasna, a royal trail that once served as a vital thoroughfare.

As you ascend along the pathway, you will be enveloped by the pine-scented air emanating from the dense forests of the Corona Forestal del Teide Natural Park. This park is a sanctuary for endemic flora and fauna, offering a snapshot of the island’s rich biodiversity. The ascent is not merely a physical climb but also a visual elevation, as the trail gifts panoramic vistas of Vilaflor below, framed by a tantalising sliver of the Atlantic Ocean in the backdrop.

The apex of this hiking experience occurs during the descent, as you stumble upon the astonishing Lunar Landscape. Characterised by its unique geological formations that closely resemble the moon’s craggy surface, this extraordinary locale is like stepping into a surreal painting. The ethereal quality of the landscape will captivate your senses, making you ponder the sheer variety and spectacle of nature’s artistry.

Once you’ve had your fill of this otherworldly spectacle, you’ll retrace your steps back to the starting point, completing a full loop of one of Tenerife’s most memorable hiking trails. As you make your way back to the road leading to Vilaflor, you can reflect on the day’s adventures, certain in the knowledge that you have experienced one of the island’s most unique and inspiring trails.

4. Afur – Taganana – Afur

  • Distance: 14.3 km
  • Duration: 7 hours

Embarking on a circular trek that originates and concludes at Las Casas de Afur, this hiking trail is a feast for the senses. The journey, spanning approximately 14 kilometres, begins with a descent through a ravine that serves as a natural gateway to the Anaga massif. As you navigate through this geological wonder, you can’t help but marvel at the forces that sculpted these landscapes.

Your next point of interest is Tamadite Beach, one of Tenerife’s many untamed beaches that epitomise the island’s raw beauty. Largely untouched by human activity, the beach offers a tranquil interlude before you circle around to the enchanting village of Taganana.

The name ‘Afur’ itself is steeped in history and culture, derived from a Guanche word that translates to ‘oven’ or ‘coal bunker.’ This etymology offers a glimpse into the past, recalling a time when the indigenous Guanche people found resourceful ways to thrive in these landscapes. Even today, the name serves as a tribute to the harmonious relationship between human civilisation and the natural world in this region.

As you make your way through the heart of the Anaga massif, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, you’ll experience the full spectrum of Tenerife’s breathtaking natural assets—from its craggy ravines and untamed beaches to its charming villages and verdant forests. The diversity and contrasts encountered on the Afur-Taganana-Afur route encapsulate the island’s manifold beauty, making it one of the most highly recommended and exquisite hiking trails in Tenerife.

5. Seven Cañades

  • Distance: 16.6 km
  • Duration: 4-5 hours

Beginning at the well-equipped Portillo Visitor Centre and culminating at the Cañada Blanca Visitor Centre, this particular trail is steeped in historical significance. It forms part of the ancient Camino de Chasna, a pathway that was historically utilised for traversing from the northern to the southern reaches of Tenerife.

As you embark on this captivating hike, you’ll be treading along the periphery of the dramatic Caldera de Las Cañadas. The scenery that unfolds is nothing short of geological poetry: stark contrasts between the earthen walls of the caldera and the intricate patterns of black basaltic lava flows that have solidified over millennia. These arresting features provide an insightful window into the island’s volcanic origins, narrating a tale that dates back thousands of years.

But the geological splendours are only half of the trail’s allure. As you progress along the route, you’ll also be treated to an array of endemic flora specific to the Teide region. Among the most iconic is the red tajinaste, a vibrant plant that adds a splash of colour to the monochrome volcanic landscape. The sight of these indigenous species thriving in an environment so seemingly inhospitable is genuinely inspiring, serving as a testament to the resilience of nature.

Whether you’re an enthusiast keen to delve into Tenerife’s rich geology, or a casual hiker interested in basking in the island’s unique flora, this trail offers an enriching experience that captures the essence of Tenerife’s diverse landscapes.

6. Forest of the Enigmas

  • Distance: 5 km
  • Duration: 4 hours

Nestled within the verdant embrace of the Anaga Rural Park, a region honoured with the prestigious designation of a Biosphere Reserve in 2015, the Bosque de los Enigmas trail undoubtedly ranks among the finest hiking routes in Tenerife. This route offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s lush natural splendour, all the while presenting a family-friendly experience.

The trail commences at the Mirador de Zapata, a viewpoint that provides captivating vistas and serves as an inspiring starting point for your journey. From here, the trail winds its way through a maze of ancient laurel forests, enveloping hikers in an almost ethereal atmosphere. Spanning approximately 5 kilometres in length, the route is exceedingly well-marked, ensuring that even those less experienced in hiking can navigate it with ease.

One of the notable aspects of the Bosque de los Enigmas trail is its gentle gradient, making it accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, don’t let the trail’s relative ease fool you into underestimating the local climate. The area is known for its elevated levels of humidity, which can be deceptive and result in rapid cooling. As such, it’s strongly advised that you pack warm clothing, regardless of how the weather appears at the outset of your journey.

In summary, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a family looking for an easy, yet enriching outing, the Bosque de los Enigmas trail in the heart of Anaga Rural Park offers an exceptional opportunity to engage with Tenerife’s stunning natural landscape.

7. Masca Ravine

  • Distance: 5 km (10 km round-trip)
  • Duration: 3 hours (downhill) / 4 hours (uphill)

Set amidst the dramatic terrains of the Teno Massif, the Barranco de Masca trail offers a hiking experience that’s nothing short of spectacular. The area’s awe-inspiring geology—a vivid tapestry of basaltic lava formations—has rendered it one of the most sought-after and frequented hiking trails not just in Tenerife, but also among the most admired natural attractions on the island.

As you traverse this mesmerising pathway, you’ll eventually find yourself greeted by a secluded, wild beach. Under usual circumstances, this would be the spot where hikers could board a boat for a scenic ride to the port of Los Gigantes. However, due to the current unavailability of the Masca jetty, those looking to exit must ascend the trail along the same route they descended, making the experience all the more challenging and rewarding.

One of the noteworthy aspects of visiting the Masca ravine is its limited access. Given its popularity and the need to maintain the area’s delicate ecological balance, the number of daily visitors is restricted. It is highly advisable to plan your visit well in advance to secure a spot. Additionally, a visit to the Visitor Centre is mandatory before starting your trek. This serves multiple purposes: not only is your reservation validated, but a quick check is also conducted to ensure that you are wearing appropriate footwear and clothing for the trek. In the interest of safety, helmets are provided to offer added protection during the hike.

If you’re keen on diving even deeper into Tenerife’s wealth of hiking trails, consider exploring the island through the eyes of Luis Espinosa García. As one of the early pioneers of mountaineering in the Canary Islands, his insights provide an invaluable perspective on the remarkable landscapes that define this captivating island.

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