Gran Canaria contains mysteries that can only be discovered on foot or by bicycle. Getting in touch with its purest nature through the trails and paths is an excellent opportunity to discover it and be captivated by the beauty of its impressive landscapes.
One of the most interesting routes is the Camino de Santiago de Gran Canaria, the only non-continental one, officially recognized by the Vatican since 1993. It consists of 67 kilometers of route in which as many as four ecosystems with landscapes so diverse that they justify why Gran Canaria is known as the “Continent in Miniature.” The itinerary is proposed as a journey into the interior of the island, highlighting the landscape, food and wine, historical and ethnographic heritage and the rich island network of trails, through which the true essence of Gran Canaria can be experienced.
The Trail begins in the south of the island, in the dunes of Maspalomas, and reaches the center through the Caldera of Tirajana, meandering its walls until it reaches the caldera of Tejeda and descends through the agro-pastoral landscapes of the north from Gran Canaria, alongside the island’s newest volcanoes. Another volcanic cone emerges as a reference for the destination of the route, the Montaña de Gáldar, visible from the center of the island and from the entire northern coast of the continent in miniature, so in addition to the Camino itself, it is possible to consider the stages as an authentic “Pathway between Volcanoes“.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI signed a papal bull granting the pilgrims of Gáldar the same privileges as those of Santiago de Compostela. The bull was renewed in 1971 and in 1976 and 1982. Pope John Paul II, in 1992, granted jubilee graces “In Perpetuum” to Gáldar since the Jacobean Holy Year of 1993. Those who walk the Camino are entitled to receive the Pilgrim’s Credential, which is stamped at the end of each stage. Those who have completed and sealed all routes will be able to obtain the official Camino de Santiago de Gran Canaria certificate.
The four paths constitute a unique experience. A journey that is sometimes strenuous, but whose natural beauty will not leave those who embark on this wonderful adventure indifferent.
The island’s mountains and particularly steep morphological conformation favor the existence of a multitude of different microclimates and habitats, especially in the western part of Gran Canaria, which has still maintained its natural landscape for centuries.
MASPALOMAS LIGHTHOUSE – ARTEARA – TUNTE
The first stage of the Camino de Santiago begins at the emblematic Maspalomas Lighthouse located on the southern coast of the island, in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. We continue to the Charca de Maspalomas, a small coastal lagoon and protected natural space, from where we can observe the impressive Maspalomas Dunes. After skirting the Charca, continue for 5 km along the canal-side promenade through the interior of this southern enclave
Reaching the end of the channel, we enter the Fataga canyon, known as the “Valley of a Thousand Palms“, beginning an uphill stretch toward Arteara via a forest track that drives through the vegetation and arid landscapes characteristic of the southern part of the island.
Continuing on, we arrive in Arteara through its necropolis, one of the largest in Gran Canaria, thus ending, after 17 km, the first hamlet in the Palmeral de Arteara.
In the shadow of the “Palmeral de Arteara” begins the second part along this route, which concludes the first stage of the Camino de Santiago de Gran Canaria. A small climb that leads from this small village to Fataga, via a path that offers views of the imposing Amurga massif and the cliffs of Tirajana. We pass through the center of the village along a small stretch of asphalt that allows us to get to know this charming village with its traditional architecture. Past the enclave of Fataga, a steep climb reaches the lookout, and from there it continues until it reaches the town of Tunte. The Church of Tunte is, along with the Church of Gáldar, one of two places in Gran Canaria where Santiago the Apostle is worshipped.
During the tour one appreciates the change in vegetation that begins to become evident as one leaves the southern side of the island behind, where the Arteara Palm Grove gives way to the majesty of the Canary Island pines and Mediterranean scrub..
TUNTE – CRUZ DE TEJEDA
We begin the walk with a small climb accompanied by the characteristic pine forest of the caldera until we enter the traditional and famous “silver climb,” which shares beauty and harshness in equal measure. This third route corresponds entirely to the second stage of the Camino de Santiago, in which the hiker is invited to enjoy the island’s peaks and, more specifically, the Cultural Landscape of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria., a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once past this emblematic pass, we continue along a more comfortable and easy path that guides us to the Cruz de Tejeda for 8 km.
Before reaching the Cruz de Tejeda, we visit the Ventana del Nublo, located just after the Pargana plane, from where we can admire the western part of the island, as well as a new perspective of the symbol of this paradise, the Roque Nublo, a volcanic monolith about seventy meters high, worshipped by the pre-Hispanic population and considered the geostatic center of Gran Canaria.
CRUZ DE TEJEDA – GÁLDAR
From Cruz de Tejeda we enter the pine forest of the Caldera of Los Pinos de Gáldar, in a landscape of green and volcanic contrasts, until reaching several localities that precede the arrival in Gáldar, the final stage of the Camino de Santiago.
The route starts at Cruz de Tejeda, for a short but very intense climb to the highest area of Los Moriscos. From there begins a descent of more than 18 kilometers through the pine forest of the Caldera of Los Pinos de Gáldar, the El Montañón Negro Natural Monument area, descending through Lomo del Palo and the area known as “Little Ireland,” which owes its name to the striking green hills that characterize the place.
After a stop at the Monte Pavón Recreation Area, we continue the walk along a path that changes completely, covering many kilometers along the road that connects the Saucillo area with Hoya de Pineda. Here we pick up a small section of trail about 2.5 km until we reach the bottom of the Barranco de Anzo.
Once there, the paved road leads through the streets of Gáldar to end at the church of Santiago de Los Caballeros de Gáldar. This third itinerary concludes the Camino de Santiago de Gran Canaria.
Now all that’s left is to get your bike or hiking shoes and poles ready!
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