Whether travelling on foot, by bicycle or even in a small 4X4, the Canary Islands is a great place to get lost in nature. It is the perfect spot to unwind and rediscover yourself.
“When you hike in the Canary Islands, your mind slows down and your attention is drawn to its beautiful natural surroundings. You see everything. You smell everything. You hear everything,” says Jesús Rodríguez Matos, a serviceperson in the UME. “It’s an outlet for the mind, the body, and all the senses. I always say that it adds years to your life, because you aren’t disturbed by any pollution or noise…You’re fully immersed in nature. I love it.”
The great 131 route
The beauty of nature has no end in the Canary Islands. There is an excellent and varied network of trails to enjoy. Many of them are signposted and approved as part of the GR 131.
The trails cross the islands along routes that begin on the coast and journey into the mountains. The GR 131 connects the whole Canary Islands. It’s part of Europe’s 5,000-kilometre-long E7 path. This cross-border route, promoted by the European Association of Hikers, starts in Hungary and goes through Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, France and the Spanish mainland, before reaching the Canary Islands via the GR 131.
Thanks to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, there are currently four well-signed nature trails on the islands of Fuerteventura, Tenerife, El Hierro and La Palma. Good trail signage also exists on the islands of La Gomera, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
In the Canary Islands, the nature is untouched, wild and unique. Five of the islands have been declared as biosphere reserves by UNESCO, four of them in their entirety: La Palma, Lanzarote, El Hierro and Fuerteventura. In Gran Canaria, 46% of the surface is a Biosphere Reserve.
Hiking in the Canary Islands is good for the mind, body and soul
Jean Guy Le Roux, a Canary Islands hiking guide says: “If you pay attention to the details of the path, you’ll see the environment a different way. Little by little you’ll feel more at one with the planet. Both physically and psychologically, it creates peace and an improvement in your state of mind. You can’t see it at the time, but it’s making changes inside you.”
Dr. María Dolores Gallego Segovia says something similar, “In addition to the physical benefits, hiking can also have many psychological advantages.” It’s good for memory, planning and the ability to react to unexpected situations. In addition, it reduces stress, anxiety and depression, generating a feeling of satisfaction. It promotes social relationships and a connection with nature. María Dolores continues, “away from the noise of the city, the stress of traffic and the pressure of daily work can produce an inner peace that calms the mind.”
When you hike in the Canary Islands, you produce more endorphins. This reduces stress, heightens your moon and gives you more energy. A walker’s body relaxes. Close to nature, we get new life into our system.
For more information on the Canary Islands, please visit www.hellocanaryislands.com