The Canary Islands are a part of Spain and are located to the northwest of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are not only popular sun and beach holiday destinations; they are also an important cycling destination. Many professional cyclists come to cycle in the Canary Islands in the winter.
The climate on all islands is mild and temperate with temperatures that are around 20 degrees during most of the year. The rainfall is low, especially on the eastern islands. The temperature changes little during the year, although in the summer it can still get very hot, with a few days of more than 30 degrees. You can cycle virtually every day of the year. In addition, there is usually a refreshing sea breeze. All islands are rather windy.
The Canary Islands are occasionally affected by sandstorms. This phenomenon is known as ‘La Calima’ and is caused by very fine sand blown from the Sahara into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Canary Islands: A challenge on the bike
The Canary Islands consist of 5 larger islands: La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and 2 smaller ones: La Gomera and El Hierro. Every island has largely its own character.
Tenerife and La Palma are very mountainous: there are hardly any flat roads to be found here. These islands are rainy on the north side, because the mountains block the clouds and cause precipitation. The southern parts are dry. The mountains are less high on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
The Canary Islands therefore offer an enormous variety of cycle routes, both for mountain bikers on unpaved paths, and for race cyclists on paved roads. However, the strong wind, combined with high mountains, can make cycling a real challenge. View here the overview of bike rental companies in the Canary Islands.
Tenerife on the bike
Tenerife is an island with two faces. In the south you will find tourist resorts such as Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje. In the other parts of the island you will find the more authentic Tenerife. Tenerife is a diverse island: it has cosmopolitan cities with historic centers, bustling towns, small rural villages, and the vast National Park. Here is the highest mountain in Spain, the impressive volcano El Teide (3.718m). El Teide dominates the landscape of Tenerife. This mountain makes cycling on Tenerife so special.
Cycling to El Teide
Cyclists from all over the world come to Tenerife to climb El Teide. Over the road you reach a maximum altitude of 2,300 m. Perhaps that is not as high as some of the Alpine Cols or other mountain passes elsewhere on the European mainland. However, you are already starting to climb at sea level. Cycling to the Teide is therefore not an easy task. The climb is almost 40 km against 6%. Even experienced cyclists struggle to do this challenge in less than 2.5 hours.
Climate on Tenerife good for cycling
Tenerife offers great weather throughout the year. That is why the island is also called “Island of eternal spring”. The winters are very pleasant and during the summer it is not as hot as for example on the mainland of Spain.
The Teide not only dominates the landscape; it also influences the climate of Tenerife. There is, as on almost every Canary Island, a difference between north and south. This is something to take into account when planning your bike ride. The north is slightly cooler, which can be a plus in the summer, and it rains more. As a result, it is also greener, and the landscape is more pleasant. The south is sunnier and much busier. Here are the much visited beaches and tourist resorts.
In addition to the Teide, the Teno Massif in the Northwest, and the Anaga Massif in the Northeast also offer spectacular cycling opportunities. To really enjoy cycling and the challenging climbs on Tenerife, it is necessary to be reasonably fit. Plan only routes that you are sure will not be too demanding. Also keep in mind the weather and the need to drink. View here the bike rental companies in Tenerife.
Gran Canaria has more or less the same image as Tenerife. It is known as a sun and beach holiday destination. Gran Canaria also has busy resorts for tourists, and busy beaches. But, like Tenerife, Gran Canaria is a popular cycling destination, especially in winter. Outside the resorts and stands, the island offers a whole range of routes for cyclists. The capital Las Palmas has attractive historic districts, and has a fantastic city beach in Las Canteras.
Bike and beach on Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is a good option if you want to combine cycling with a beach holiday. Cycling on Gran Canaria can be pretty intensive. Like Tenerife, it will involve a lot of climbing. The Pico de las Nieves reaches up to 1,949 meters. The climb from Maspalonas (0m) is 44 km long. Gran Canaria offers plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself on the bike. The mountainous center of the island is also a paradise for mountain bikers, with spectacular landscapes. There are endless alternatives for cyclists. From green landscapes in the interior to the spectacular coastal areas. View the bike rental companies in Gran Canaria here.
Bike Island Lanzarote
Lanzarote is one of the most authentic islands of the Canarias. The local hero César Manrique was an environmentally friendly visionary who prevented local politicians from ruining the landscape with high-rise buildings in the seaside resorts. The low population density caused by the poor agricultural land ensures that Canarian culture is not as strong on Lanzarote as on other islands. Lanzarote is on the east side of the archipelago, and has little green. In recent years, the island has increasingly attracted athletes, including cyclists. Like other eastern islands, Lanzarote has many beaches, which is something that the western islands can only be jealous of.
The landscape on Lanzarote is rather arid, with black sandy beaches. The landscape looks a bit like a windy lunar landscape and is dotted with characteristic white villages.
On Lanzarote many cycling routes are possible, with climbs that will take you through the mysterious, volcanic landscape.
Lanzarote on the road bike
Different routes are possible on the road bike.
The Tabayesco climb is the longest climb on Lanzarote: just over 10 km long. The average slope of 5.5% remains very consistent throughout the climb with occasional slopes up to 8%.
The steepest cycling climb on the island; the Femés climb starts from the southernmost resort of the island, Playa Blanca. The real climbing starts after the Papagayo roundabout. In the last kilometers there are some hairpin bends with more than 15% percentage increase.
Mirador Del Rio
This is the most beautiful climb known from the Ironman Lanzarote. It is a short climb of 3km to a height of about 475m. It is a rugged but beautiful climb, with beautiful views of La Isla Graciosa. This climb can be combined with the de Orzola climb, which is mentioned below.
From Teguise to the highest point on Lanzarote. The climb itself begins a few kilometers after Teguise along the road LZ 10. The road winds up through the picturesque village of Los Valles, facing the north. The highest point of the island is on the Penas del Chache (670m). The Los Valles climb is not exceptionally steep or difficult.
From the most northerly point on the island at Orzola. In the north of Lanzarote lies the small port city of Orzola. The road south of Orzola has a really beautiful climb, one of the best on the island. The climb from Orzola is only about 5 kilometers long, but it can be combined with the Mirador De Rio to make an almost 10 km long climb.
Through the volcanic vineyards, this is one of the best cycling routes of Lanzarote. In the rugged landscape of La Geria there are fertile soils that, together with the mild climate, ensure an excellent wine culture. The landscape is characterized by black soils and the vines are almost buried in protective round holes. The landscape looks like a lunar landscape.
View here the bike rentals on Lanzarote.
Fuerteventura is the windiest island. It is a paradise for beach lovers with its golden sand and turquoise seas. Although Fuerteventura is close to Lanzarote, the landscape is very different. Here you will find a desert-like landscape with bizarre lava domes, sparse, scattered villages, and a few lively holiday resorts. The dunes of Corralejo form a kind of mini Sahara. Because of the wind, the hills have assumed soft and round shapes. The landscape also looks African, partly because of the goats that roam freely through the orange colored hills.
Cycling on Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura may not be as well known for cycling, but that is precisely the charm. It is the second largest island of the Canary archipelago, and at the same time the least populated island. It is therefore a very interesting destination for cyclists, since the well-constructed roads are very quiet. The bike is a perfect way to get to know the island. You see more and more cyclists on Fuerteventura, alone or in groups, who enjoy their training or just for fun.
Since Fuerteventura is very close to the African continent, the climate on the island can be considered the best of all Canary Islands. Because of the mild, summery climate you can cycle all year round on Fuerteventura. The best time is from February to May and October / November.
Bike rides on Fuerteventura
The quiet, well-built roads on Fuerteventura offer good training conditions. They are ideal for mountain bikers and racing cyclists.
In the north of the island you will find easy and medium-weight bike rides, especially near La Oliva and Corralejo. In the south, for example at La Pared, it is possible to make some more sunny trips. For trips over El Cardon or the mountains around Pajara you have to be physically fit because there are much longer climbs with relatively steep sections. In the center of the island (Tuineje and Antigua) you can make comparatively easy cycle tours.
Almost always there is a strong, not to be underestimated wind, especially in the summer months.
Mountain bike enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to step outside the paved roads. However, If you fall, the sharp volcano rocks can be dangerous.
View here the bike rentals on Fuerteventura.
La Palma, also called “La Isla Bonita”, is perhaps the most beautiful island of the Canary archipelago. It has beautiful landscapes, which you will not find on other Canary Islands. The island offers all its visitors a huge natural wealth, which you can enjoy during your bike rides. The Caldera de Taburiente and the water tunnels at Marcos y Cordero are unique landscapes. The larger cities of La Palma are very lively and the atmosphere is South American.
Cycling on Palma
Cyclists will have fun cycling on La Palma, although you have to be in good shape, since there are almost no flat roads. Both the main roads and the smaller roads are in good condition. There are several popular cycling routes, and there is usually little traffic on the roads. A bike ride to the highest point of the island, the Roque de los Muchachos (2,423 m) is a trip that you will not forget. The climb is 28 km long (from Garafía), with an average gradient of 7.3%. The highest point is reached at 2.400m.
Mountain biking on La Palma
Cycling over the volcanic rocks can be a real pleasure for mountain bike fans. A large number of roads and paths lead you through pine trees, laurel forests, volcanoes and along the coast of La Palma. The variety is enormous: From lush mountains to the dry volcanic landscapes in the south, which house the youngest volcanoes in Spain. Cycling along forest paths of the Cumbre Vieja is an unforgettable experience. This is a fairly easy route along the lava flows from former volcanic eruptions. From there you can cycle towards the vineyards of Fuencaliente, up to the Teneguía volcano.
View the bike rentals on La Palma here.
La Gomera by bike
The most striking landscape of the Canary Islands is undoubtedly on La Gomera. The wild landscape consists of a mix of small terraces, palm trees, lush rainforest and mountains that resemble the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.
The island is characterized by deep ravines. There are few roads, but many paths.
There are some tourist resorts on La Gomera, Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey. But tourism is small-scale. Even the capital San Sebastian, is not much more than a quiet town. La Gomera is an island to escape the crowds and to embrace nature.
La Gomera on mountain bike
Mountain bikers will enjoy the trails along the rugged ravines and through the misty woods of La Gomera. Temperatures are soft and comfortable throughout the year. You can explore unique routes here, which lead you through fantastic landscapes with bizarre stone formations and unmatched vistas
A unique landscape
The green north, with beautiful valleys, is the perfect area for cyclists. But the central and southern part of the island also offer beautiful cycling routes through an almost dreamlike mountainous landscape. There are routes for both beginners and trained cyclists.
The whole island is dotted with paths that connect villages, which are excellent for mountain bikers.
Cycling to the highest point of La Gomera
A challenge is to climb the highest peak of the island at 1,340 meters, in the National Park of Garajonay. The mountain can be climbed via different roads.
From Valle Gran Rey the ascent is 27.4 km long with a difference in altitude of 1450 m. The average percentage is therefore 5.2%. The descent to San Sebastián is a long continuous descent with curves and impressive views of the fascinating Roque Agando. This huge rock is the symbol of the island.
El Hierro is without a doubt the most magical and mysterious island of the Canary Islands. Once this island was seen as the edge of the world. The island is known for the giant lizards. The hills with their herds of sheep do not suggest that we are actually here close to Africa. Because of the remote location, El Hierro is less visited than the other Canary Islands. It is therefore also the most pristine island of the archipelago.
El Hierro is suitable for cycling because the road network offers many possibilities. In view of the low population density, there is also little traffic.
There are several bike rides possible, including to the viewpoint at La Peña, which is a work of César Manrique. The road to Frontera leads over one of the most difficult mountain passes on the island. After the 1300-meter altitude is reached, you cycle to the vantage point in La Peña. You can return to Valverde through the beautiful villages of Guarazoca, Erese and El Mocanal.
We have tried to give a good informative overview of cycling opportunities in the Canary Islands. Do you have comments or do you want to add something? Then let us know via a message below.