Walking in Spain
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Spain walking guides
Walking in Canary Islands & Madeira - Guide Books & Maps

El Hierro - Fuerteventura - Gran Canaria
La Gomera La Palma Lanzarote
Madeira - Teide - Tenerife
See also:-
Canary Islands food
Getting about in the Canaries
Walking, Peninsula and Balearics 
Spanish language
General purpose Spanish guide books

A section from Discovery map of Soller areaSpanish maps can often be obtained from specialist suppliers such as Stanfords in Long Acre, London and Corn Street Bristol. (email Stanfordsmail order) 
Spanish O.S. maps: Servicio Geografico Del Ejercito produce Cartografia Militarde España - series L maps 1:50,000, C at 1:100,000 and 2C 1:200,000
The I.G.N.(Istituto Geografico Nacional) produce folded sheets of areas of interestat 1:50,000.
I am afraid few of these maps are quite up to O.S. standard, perhaps we get a little spoilt in Britain. 
The Canaries are covered by Freytag & Berndt maps at 1:35000-1:75000. These maps show hiking trails in red which can be expected to exist on the ground and be waymarked. They also show black dotted footpaths of a less certain nature. Roads are graded to differentiate tarmac and jeep tracks. Although in National Parks jeep tracks may have been closed to vehicle access and are now used as footpaths.The AA now also do island maps which are quite good and detailed although they may have inaccuracies concerning what is a track and what is a path.1:30000 to 1:50000 of the islands and my choice when a Discovery guide is not available.
Discovery Walking Guides and maps  (small section reproduced here- above right) are setting the standard for Canary island mapping.
Regional guidebooks with general information and typically 34 route descriptions + short walks backed up by map excerpts at 1:25000 and 1:40000 and photos.
Tour and Trail maps at 1:40000 complement the guides, showing routes and printed on durable or indestructible material. Walkers’ maps are of 1:25000 scale, again to match with the guides but at a scale ideal for individual walks. 
Drive! touring maps with city street plans are ideal for the motorist. All the maps are GPS1 ready and are far more accurate and up to date than typical Spanish mapping.
GPS navigator files can be downloaded from the web, see guide books for details. 

1] If GPS is a mystery to you try “GPS the easy way”.Best selling introduction to GPS guide

Guide books
Cicerone publish a number of walking/climbing guides while the Sunflower Landscapes series caters for more relaxed walking and each book also includes car tours and picnic sites. Cicerone guides are usually about 12x18cm200p in bw (some have a few colour pages) sometimes with a showerproof cover. Sunflower Landscapes are 10x21cm 130p with fold out map, colour. Collomb are usually 12x18cm 150p bw. Discovery Walking guides (above) do a series of guide books with walk details and map extracts (bars, restaurantes, buses etc. listed) linking in to their maps.

The exact specification of maps and guides may change without warning, I will try to keep this site up to date but am not responsible for changes made by publishers.

Jeep tracks and "Forestals"
If you hire a 4x4 and decide to follow jeep tracks to get to the start of walks or as an end in themselves, do bear in mind the possibility of breakdown, always carry clothing, food and water in the vehicle. As 4x4s kick up a lot of dust (especially in the dry Canary Islands) I stop or drive at walking pace when passing walkers or riders. Don't risk getting stuck by tackling routes that look excessively steep or rough. Do respect any signs restricting use of tracks to walkers. Many tracks are sufficiently exposed for a mistake to result in very serious consequences indeed. In any case the degree of insurance cover may be ambiguous when operating off tarmac, even in patently off road vehicles. Ordinary cars are not suitable for forest roads due to the lack of robust tyres and lack of ground clearance, although you will often see the locals using them to get to barbecue sites.

Canary Islands (General)
The Canary Islands are situated off the west coast of Africa but as Spanish colonies enjoy infrastructure to European standards. The climate is heavily influenced by their situation in the NE trade winds which often cause a bank of windward cloud between 1500 and 1800 metres below an inversion. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote however, being nearer the African coast and lower in altitude are generally less effected and may experience a hot dry "Leste" wind blowing off the coast of Africa. Fuerteventura is virtually a desert and hardly ever enjoys rain It also has strong winds and has been described as North Africa without the snakes.
Walking in the Canary Islands (west) Dillon Cicerone
Walking in the Canary Islands (east) Dillon Cicerone
Eyewitness general tourist guide

Getting about in the Canaries
The islands are connected by car ferries and aircraft. Most scheduled British direct flights go to Tenerife South (Reina Sofia) airport, charters go direct to some other islands. Check British Midland, BA and Monarch for scheduled flights to Tenerife. Most inter island flights connect with Tenerife North. Most Spanish airlines connect UK and the Canaries via Madrid. Ferry companies are Fred Olsen <website>, Trasmediterranea <website> and Armas <website>. Inter island flights are by Binter's <website> fleet of medium sized planes.
Car hire companies generally do not allow cars to be moved between islands. Cicar <website>is the main Canary Island Car hire company. Autos Bamir <website> on El Hierro.
If stopping over in Tenerife, the charming capital Santa Cruz is near the north airport (Los Rodeos) and Hotel Mencey<email> is excellent if quite expensive. The other major town of the Canaries is Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. Hotel Santa Catalina is centrally situated. 
Each island has a Parador except Gran Canaria (proposed to open 2007), Lanzarote and Fuerteventura (sold off).

I cannot fully recommend Fuerte' as a walking destination. It has lots of mountains, with a fine range in the far south and dune systems, (most of the island is desert or lava). However I find it a bit too dry, dusty, hot and windy for walking ("Fuerteventura" either means strong fortune or strong wind, on one day in 1999 in Jandia I experienced wind blowing down off the mountains to "knock down" force at sea level). I  have been there many times to explore the jeep tracks by 4x41, looking for deserted beaches  I have hardly ever seen anybody doing a serious walk in summer, perhaps winter would be best, windsurfing is a very popular activity on the island. 
1] Don't drive on the beaches, which incidentally are all naturist away from the resorts. 
Jandia & Herr Winter

Accounts are varied, but it seems that the extreme south of Fuerte' was connected with the mysterious Herr Winter from some time in the 1930s . His deserted house is easy to spot from Barlavento beach and it is possible to trace the remains of the airstrip he built near the lighthouse. The large Villa Winter was bulit at the end of WW2. Why a German might need an isolated house and an airstrip half way between Europe and South America in 1945 has resulted in some speculation. The family are said to have claimed it was an agricultural project, which seems improbable. 

You can check the accuracy of tourist maps by seeing how they treat Cofete. I know one that ignores the huge Moro Jable tourist development and shows Cofete as having a main road to it, also showing the airstrip remains as an airport!

Near CofeteMost of the tourist accommodation is in big purpose built resorts dotted down the east coast by major beaches. Also at rapidly growing Corralejo in the far north (many English people here). The west coast is almost deserted with just a few small fishing villages, and the far south west (Cofete) can only be reached by an unsurfaced mountain pass (4x4 best). Cofete looks down on to Barlavento, a largely deserted beach backed by mountains, (unsafe for swimming).(photo, right)
The capital is the headquarters of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and has little to offer the visitor. If I haven't put you off yet you must be made of Fuerte - stuff so get a copy of Landscapes of Fuerteventura.See you there!
AA Island map Fuerteventura
Gran Canaria
Photos with notes on Gran Canaria walks, resorts, mountains and hotels 
Volcanic island typical of the Canaries. Mountain ridges rise from the sea to the high central point at Pico de las Nieves 1949m (5941ft) 50 summits of 1000m.

Mountain Walks in Gran Canaria García20 selected graded mountain walks (700-1100 metres of ascent each) from his Spanish volume of 50 walks translated into English, nice colour route sketch maps, no photographs or general maps (designed to be used with a map). 13x2070p colour sketch maps unillustrated.
Discovery Walking guides:
South and mountains
Gran Canaria Mountains, tour and trail map 1:40000 +35 walks with GPS waypoints
Plant and Flower guide
Booklet form in plastic wallet, cultivated and wild plants with photo and description
Landscapes of Gran Canaria Rochford20 walks less focused on the mountains than the Garcia book. Illustrated.
AA Island map Gran Canaria

La Gomera
La Gomera's highest mountains are rounded hills covered in laurel forest watered by the clouds of the NE trade winds. On a day when the summit of Guarajonay (1487m) is just above the clouds they make atmospheric walking through forest tracks of misty sunbeams. Climbing Guarajoney from the nearest road can be enlivened by extending the walk to the "Bar Sonia" in Chipude for lunch. Or for a more interesting mountain try Forteleza 1243m. just to the west. A drive from the capital San Sebastian to Valle Gran Rey will give views of all the dramatic summits of the island.
San Sebastian, largely unspoilt by tourism, pleasant capital with ferry terminal and beach.
Playa de Santiago, fairly pleasant resort with beaches to east of town and with terrifying small airstrip.
Vueltas, La Playa - Valle Gran Rey, two resorts occupied by German package tourists, some pretending to be hippies, and dropouts along with a quasi religious meditation centre ("Keep out" signs in German) in place of beach bar. Avoid.

Discovery Walking Guides:
Tour and Trail map La Gomera 1:40000 (with GPS waypoints) (Super durable)
Walk! La Gomera
35 walks in the usual Discovery format, with extract map sections and small photos adorning the route descriptions. I would echo the authors comment that some of the Gomera ascents can be disappointing to those wishing for a sense of escape from the realms of man as some of the higher summits have, of necessity on this corrugated island, roads over them. 
Walks in four sections corresponding to the compass points, including Valle Gran Rey in the west, Garajoney in the north and barrancos everywhere.

Drive! La Gomera touring map, I wouldn't tour without a Discovery map if one is available 
Plant and flower guide
Booklet form in plastic wallet, cultivated and wild plants with photo and description

Landscapes of Southern Tenerife and Gomera
AA Island map La Gomera
Can be combined with Tenerife

  La Palma & El Hierro
Photos of La Palma walks and drives 
La Palma is one of the better choices for a walking holiday in the Canaries. It's volcanic mountains form the shape of a frying pan with the south oriented "handle" formed by the ridges of the Cumbre Vieja and the Cumbre Nueva and the pan by the huge collapsed crater of the Caldera de Taburiente. The principal walks, for fit, surefooted walkers with a head for heights, take in these summit ridges. As mountain roads and forest tracks also access the ridges at several points and provide opportunity for easier, shorter walks, all levels of ability are easily catered for.
Walks are well signposted where they meet roads. I recommend the Discovery map.Books
El Hierro
The quietest of the Canary Islands with a tiny capital, Valverde. There are plenty of opportunities for walks and drives. Jeep tracks reach right to the summits of the island and dramatic metalled roads wind up steep slopes without crash barriers, which might be disconcerting for the more timid driver or passenger. Maps are often unreliable and conflicting, as Discovery only covers the Valverde area we found the AA map a good starting point as it detailed most routes, but sometimes with incorrrect status.<details> The island now (2008) has a fingerposted and waymarked walking network using paths, tracks and roads. The ancient engineered paths from Mirador de lsora to the coast and down from Mirador de la Peña are probably the best walks, along with the path crossing the summit at Malpaso. The best map now seems to be Juan Jose Santos's 1:60,000 map ISBN 84-932390-2-X published by Eddavid SCP in Barcelona. We found a copy at the restaurant at Mirador de la Peña. The best accomodation is probably at the parador.
Photos of El Hierro

Walk! La Palma
34 walks with background information and GPS waypoints
La Palma Discovery Tour and Trail map 1:40000 
Landscapes of La Palma & El Hierro
Discovery Walking guide El Hierro north
Rother Walking Guide - La Palma valley and mountain walks (50 walks) Cordee
AA Island Map - El Hierro 1:30000
AA Island map La Palma
Rother Walking Guide - El Hierro Cordee
Freytag & Berndt La Palma map 1:50000
Freytag & Berndt El Hierro map 1:50000
The few tourists here are almost all German, however a "habla ingles?" although usually resulting in a "no" will probably get a warm response from the friendly Canarians and avoid linguistic confusion as some locals in the tourist trade may be quite fluent in German.


  New indestructible mapLanzarote
Fuerteventura with more volcanoes and less wind, more 'civilised' and developed. A little hot for walking, most of the time. 

Discovery guides:
The usual Discovery high standard mapping
Lanzarote super durable map 1:40,000
Indestructible Map 1:75000 + 1:10000 of Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca 
typical Discovery guide pageWalk! Lanzarote (right)
Guide to 32 walks all over the island with map extracts and photos, GPS ready
Plant and Flower guide
Booklet form in plastic wallet, cultivated and wild plants with photo and description

See also:-
Landscapes of Lanzarote
Freytag & Berndt map 1:75000
AA Island map Lanzarote

Tenerife is dominated by Teide, Spain's highest mountain, and the national park has some of the most dramatic mountain scenery to be found in Spain, in the centre of the island high above the clouds . Somehow, the humid cloudy coast without natural beaches has been made popular as a holiday destination! (Note - don't think you will be able to go off and find that deserted little cove on Tenerife, the few that exist have long ago been discovered and are packed, and I mean packed, with locals, naturists and hippies). The mountains are a much better bet - Can be combined with La Gomera two and a half hours away by car ferry (From 2000 ferry replaced by Gomera Jetfast ferry [30 minutes] and flights from Tenerife to new frighteningly small airport). Apart from Teide itself there are a good number of walks in the Las Cañadas area, from easy to hard. Winter weather is usually good for walking but storms, rain and snow are possible.

Photos of Tenerife walks and drives
Climbing Teide
Canarian food

Discovery Walking Guides :
Super durable walkers maps 1:25,000 Ties in with 35 Tenerife walks
Walkers map 1:25,000
Walk! Tenerife south guidebook
35 Tenerife walks guidebook

Tenerife Indestructible map: 1:100,000 island map + large scale street plans + large scale town plans and place name gazeteer, very useful as are all Discovery maps 
Plant and Flower guide
Booklet form in plastic wallet, cultivated and wild plants with photo and description

Landscapes of Tenerife
Freytag & Berndt Tenerife 1:75000
AA Island map Tenerife

 If you read Spanish" El Parque Nacional del Teide, Geo Planeta, Maximiniguias verdes" ISBN 412106-0is a good general & walking guide- Stanfords will order.

see also:-
A Birdwatchers Guide to the Canary Islands Clarke & Collins Bird Watchers guides ISBN 1 871104 06 8
Histroia Natural del las Canarias Guia Basica (spanish) Bramwell  ISBN 84 7207 048 4

Tenerife Blue Chaffinch
This sometimes elusive bird can be easily seen at the "Mirador de la Cumbre" above marker 26K on the TF24 road or at The Las Lajas zona recreational at the south edge of the park. 


Madeira is not strictly part of the Canaries, being Portugese, but is in the same geographical area. Some spectacular high level walks on made up paths and many walks following the levadas (irrigation channels). 
June is known as the "dark month" when cloud covers most of the island.

Discovery  Guides:-
Discovery Tour & Trail map (Super durable)
Discovery 35 Madeira Walks avoiding the excessively underground or vertiginous
Discovery Drive! Madeira

Walking in Madeira Cicerone
Landscapes of  Madeira
Rother Walking guide Madiera
AA Island map Madeira

Walking in Spain (mainland)

Ever considered Flight Simulation?-Canary Islands scenery


FuerteventuraTenerifeGran CanariaLa GomeraEl HierroLanzaroteLa Palma