Everyone knows Gran Canaria as the host island for the The Transgrancanaria, one of the most popular trail races in the world which is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour and the Spain Ultra Cup. But maybe not everybody knows that almost half of the island has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, an entity that this year declared the cultural landscape of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria World Heritage, and that the natural richness and landscape of Gran Canaria is complemented by a diverse offer of Outdoor Tourism activities involving sport and outdoor leisure that guarantee to enjoy the experience in a safe and sustainable way.

More than trail running, you can fly to Gran Canaria to enjoy the full island






Gran Canaria, an island of volcanic origin, is the third of the Canary archipelago in extension and altitude. In all its 1500 km² of surface there are some of the best known places like the Special Natural Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas, habitat of numerous protected species, Las Canteras beach, one of the most important urban beaches in Spain, or The rural park of the Nublo, a natural monument which constitutes one of the most emblematic symbols of the Island.

Known as the continent in miniature, its peculiar relief and orography allow the appearance of microclimates and very diverse habitats; spaces dominated by Canarian pines, by palm groves, tabaibas and cardones or by vestiges of laurisilva that, next to Fayal-Brezal, composes the so-called Monteverde. When you arrive in Gran Canaria you have to visualize it little by little, discovering its culture, its history, its gastronomy and its heritage.

Gran Canaria holds in its land volcanic crater, spectacular dunes, curious rock formations, land-scapes of vineyards and terraces or hidden black sand beaches, such as Güi-Güi or Guayedra, which can be found along its 236 kilometers coast. The richness of its flora and fauna and its biodiversity has meant that half of the island was declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve in 2005.

A route in to the island
Gran Canaria, with its network of trails, is an island that never disappoints. The roads have been impregnated with the history of the ancient inhabitants of the island, their uses and customs; a tour where we can find some of the best known archaeological sites such as the Cenobio of Valerón, the set element of “Cuatro Puertas”, the engravings of “Balos” or the ravine of “Guayadeque”.

One of the most exciting routes to discover the interior of the island is the Camino de Santiago. It was in 1965 when John XXIII granted a papal bull, granting the city of Gáldar the honor of celebrating the Jacobeo Holy Year with the same privileges as Santiago of Compostela. Today we can tour the center of Gran Canaria, from Tunte to Gáldar, pilgrimaging between ravines, mountains and volcanoes on a path of almost 40 kilometers, suitable for the more adventurous, which ascends to 1,200 meters in its first stage and descends almost to 2,000 meters in its second stage.

Gran Canaria also has a great cultural and historical wealth that delights those who seek contact with the culture of the destination by approaching the customs, gastronomy and traditions of the local population. Through the ethnographic routes it’s possible to know the deepest Gran Canaria, to meet its people who are the ones who can transfer these values to those who visit them by sharing their lifestyle and how they elaborate their products in an artisanal way, and contribute in some way to the development of the economy of the least connected areas, spreading values of respect, social commitment and protecting the nature.



Mountain and sea destination

In addition to its trails and beaches, Gran Canaria is known for its seabed and marine fauna. Its rich biodiversity attracts thousands of diving lovers who seek to immerse themselves along the coast in some of the most spectacular areas of the island such as the marine reserve of “El Cabrón”, “Sardina del Norte” or the reef of Las Canteras itself, located in the capital city.

The constancy of winds and waves, together with good temperatures, have made it the ideal setting for the development of professional championships, positioning the island as an international benchmark. Gran Canaria has numerous spots for surfing, windsurfing or kitesurfing such as Vargas beach, El Burrero, Jinámar or Playa del Inglés.

Thanks to its extraordinary climate and its wide variety of landscapes, here in Gran Canaria you can enjoy Outdoor Tourism activities 365 days a year, from sports adventure, such as canyoning, kayaking, orienteering or mountain races, to leisure and outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, yoga, segway or environmental education. A good way to get to know Gran Canaria is through companies and professionals of Outdoor Tourism that are part of the Canary Islands Active Tourism Association, ACTIVA CANARIAS, which seeks to strengthen the quality of services and environmental respect.



Look at the stars

Do not forget to look up on this trip through Gran Canaria because you could miss one of the best skies in the archipelago. The island is declared by the Starlight Foundation as a Starlight Tourist Destination for the quality and sharpness to contemplate the stars and has astrotourism activities that allow diversifying tourism and enhancing the conservation of the dark sky as a natural resource.






Info by Abel de Frutos for Trailrunningspain