Cycling in Gran Canaria
The cycling routes in Gran Canaria is not for the feint hearted. Dominated by a single volcano, and similar in its typography to its neighbour Tenerife, Gran Canaria offers just ascending or descending. it's very dissimilar in that respect to Lanzarote where no climb rises above 600m.
We recommend staying in the south where you can hit all these climbs.
The Valley of the Tears
The most revered cycling route in Gran Canaria is The Valley of the Tears. A difficult climb which conjures up some expressive imagery, the Valley of Tears is a gruelling 12.4km ascent. Its gradient averages over 11% with sections at a whopping 25%, all under constant sunshine beating down on you. You would be forgiven for having very real tears as you climb out of the valley, especially on the steepest 100m which features the 15% and is totally exposed to the elements.
The VOTT is tough from the start so make sure you pace yourself up the climb. You don't want to run out of energy on this climb as it's pretty remote and unforgiving. Whilst this sounds like a masochist's dream, what the VOTT provides in punishment, it also provides in breathtaking scenery. There are great photo opportunities everywhere, which are great excuses for stopping and having a quick break. Some spots in particular are on the section of road half way up which features drops either side, as the road snakes its way across the mountain.
Valley of the Tears GPX Route
Soria is know locally as Gran Canaria's "Alpe d'Huez". with 5.1 km of climbing at an average 8% to Soria, this climbs is the the island's most popular. it is also very accessible from Maspalomas and Meloneras where most cyclists choose to stay.
If you are climbing from the south, you will have a fairly easy warm-up for the first 26 kilometers out to Arguineguín on the rolling coastal road and then you'll climb gently up to Cercado de Espinos. Save your energy, because from here on it’s up into the heavens via a series of switchbacks. After the summit, there is a wonderful restaurant which serves mango juice, toast or wonderful cinnamon-laced bread. Return home the same way.
Soria GPX Route
Pico de Las Nieves
Pico de Las Nieves is the highest point in Gran Canaria and the best ride up to it is from the south. You can choose to ride via Arteara due north, or circumvent it from the east via Agiumes. The climb is a tough one and covers 47km with over 2,000m of vertical ascent, if ridden from Maspalomas. That's not too dissimilar to the ride up to Mt Teide in Tenerife so it's not a climb to be dismissed. It averages about 5% but it's dissimilar to Teide in some ways as there are the occasional breaks in the climb. Just prior to Arteaga, just after Fataga, and as you enter the Riscos de Tirajana national park, the road drops to offer slight relief from the ongoing climb.
The toughest point of the climb is still to come and that is when you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views. 11km to go the road steepens drastically and the Roque Nublo (rock in the clouds) will be in view to your left. Keep riding and you will reach the top with 360 degree views of the island.