Oh the Canary Islands, what better place to test your cycling with altitude training, and explore spectacular volcanic landscapes? Once you get a taste of the pristine roads on one island, you’ll be saddling up for the next island in no time. Believe us, trying out all the three main islands, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote, is not something to hesitate about. Below, we’ve outlined the differences you’ll find in each, along with the best routes in the Canary Islands. Winter sun, here we come!
Cycling through Gran Canaria, you’ll notice the diverse geography layering up every switchback bend. 50% of Gran Canaria is a UNESCO site, which makes it one of the best islands if you like feeling immersed in scenic nature. The island also offers the whitest beaches of the three, and is perfect if you want to combine cycling with relaxing on the soft sand.
Valley of Tears
Just like the name suggests, the Valley of Tears is a very difficult climb. The gruelling ascent goes on for 12.4km at an average gradient of 11.1%. If you’re going to have tears of your own, it’ll be on the steepest 100m, which is 25%. Not very welcoming, but if you’re a hardcore road cyclist, then very tempting! An extra challenge is the scorching heat…however, the landscape will take your breath away (if the climb hasn’t already!). Fortunately, there are great photo opportunities everywhere, which are great excuses for stopping and having a quick break. Santa Lucia-Fataga
With epic climbs, thrilling descents, technicality and a tail wind home, this route will have you craving more. After leaving your hotel in Playa del Ingles, a beautiful coastal ride takes you east toward the mountains. If you’re a switchback fanatic, you’ll be in heaven throughout the 40km climb up to Santa Lucia! An extra 6km ascent loops you into the descent via Fataga. You’ll know you’re home when the urban sprawl of Playa del Ingles makes an appearance below. Puerto de Mogan
Get to know the Atlantic Ocean as you wind your way to Puerto de Mogan and back. A truly coastal ride, the undulating road overlooks sparkling waters, tempting you in for a dip. Luckily for you, there are many beaches perfect for observing from afar in a layby, or strolling down to the sand itself. In particular, Taurito is gorgeous, even if it is a tourist hotspot. If you want a long ride that doesn’t involve getting above 150m (perhaps to stretch out the legs after climbing the Valley of Tears!), this ride is perfect for you.
Although all of the islands provide top quality training camps, Tenerife is the favourite. The pro’s love it here, and it’s no surprise seeing as most of the routes involve some serious climbing. Most notable, is Mount Teide, a volcano that you can cycle to the top of. Like cycling the Canary Islands all over, the landscapes are incredible, giving you great motivation whilst pushing up to the summits.
The most popular route to climb Mount Teide is from the South side, starting in Costa Adeje. Mount Teide can be broken into two sections. The ascent to and through Vilaflor, which is dotted with plants and even a forest. After that, the landscape becomes much more barren and volcanic. In total, you’ll climb a whopping 2831m in nearly 50km. Don’t let this put you off though, as cycling up a volcano doesn’t get much better than this! And of course, the climb wouldn’t be truly epic if the pro’s, such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome hadn’t risen to the challenge. Masca Valley
Mount Teide not hard enough for you? How about giving Masca Valley a go. With a total of 3166m of ascent over 120km to San Bernardo from Adeje and back, be prepared for a serious challenge! However, this route boasts some of the best views in the Canary Islands, so is definitely worth a bit of burning in the thighs. Scenery throughout features seaside views from above, towering jagged mountains and luscious green palm trees lining the switchbacks.
Lanzarote is well known by triathletes for cycling in the Canary Islands, compared to the other two. It doesn’t have the Valley of Tears or Mount Teide, yet it does take you on an adventure through fascinating areas and up epic ascents that are certainly less spoilt. The roads are just as smooth, and there are a lot less high rise hotels. All in all, cycling in Lanzarote is a much more rural experience.
Tabayesco Valley – Lanzarote
An essential route for cycling in Lanzarote is the 10km climb to Tabayesco Valley, which is the longest unbroken ascent in Tenerife. The route starts in Puerto del Carmen, then heads through Tias, Masdache and Teguise, which used to be the capital. You’ll have the chance to roam through coastal villages, aloe vera fields and gardens filled with cacti.
Mirador Del Rio – Lanzarote
There are multiple routes for cycling to Mirador Del Rio, a mountain 440m high in the North West of Lanzarote. However, we recommend the 103km route starting in Puerto del Carmen, then making your way up to the summit via Tias and Montana Blanca. Once at the summit, admire the awesome views of La Graciosa, a nearby island. The descent back home is also very picturesque, as you leisurely ride through the Valley of a Thousand Palm Trees and the historic village of Haria.
If you’ve got an itch to venture into the Canary Islands, or return to a different island, contact our cyclist specialists. Your trip to the Canary Islands is fully flexible with Love Velo, and your itinerary can be tailored to you. We offer top quality road bikes to ensure your experience is unbeatable. Choose between training camps, guided riding or using our GPX files for self-guided cycling.