Mountain destinations 10 Iconic Day Hikes for your Inner Mountaineer
From the Canaries to the Caribbean to Morocco, here are the iconic landmarks to check off your list
Conquering the most beautiful landscapes and summits in the world can seem a daunting task, but some of the world’s iconic mountains and hiking preserves need not be reserved for die-hard climbers and professional mountaineers. In each of these highlighted Iberostar destinations, famed natural landmarks wait to be explored just outside the hotel door—from the Dominican Republic’s Costa Dorada to the Club Palmeraie Marrakech to the Playa Gaviotas in the Canary Islands. All that’s required is a daypack, a walking stick and a sense of adventure. So, pack your provisions and strap on the trekking boots, and explore this Top 10 bucket list of trekking goals for the novice rambler.
Spain’s tallest mountain, El Teide is a dormant volcano in the heart of the Canary Islands. Served by a web of trail networks, both the experienced mountaineer and the novice day packer can find the perfect route up the slope. The peak, which rises to almost 12,200 feet, is a true eagle’s eye view of surrounding Tenerife island and beyond. The modern cable car carries passengers to the top in 8 minutes, for a panoramic sight of the Teide National Park and the surrounding beaches.
MONTAÑA DE LA CALDERA (ISLA DE LOBOS, FUERTEVENTURA)
The Canary Island of Fuerteventura boasts hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails, some reaching to the top of the Montaña de la Caldera on the island of Los Lobos. From the top of this sleeping volcano, hikers are rewarded with views of the surrounding natural reserve and the adjacent island of Lanzarote. Follow the well-maintained trail past the crystal-clear waters of Playa de la Concha, through a moon-like landscape and to the top, where lies the edge of a giant crater that was once spewing with lava.
ISABEL DE TORRES MOUNTAIN
In the Isabel de Torres National Park, just west of Puerto Plata, an adventurous trail weaves its way 2,700 feet up Mount Isabel de Torres. Here, hikers and trekkers usually take advantage of a guide, as the trial requires some local knowledge and a fair amount of jungle bushwhacking. A world attraction for exotic flora and fauna, nature lovers flock to this protected nature reserve, and take in the view at the top, with a wide view of the silvery Dominican clouds that give Puerto Plata is name. Exhausted after the day´s climb? Take the cable car back down the mountain. It’s ok, you’ve earned it.
TOPE DE COLLANTES
Deep in the Escambray mountains, the thick jungle, network of waterfalls, and the slightly cooler climate attract hikers looking to explore the natural side of Cuba. A trek up Tope de Collantes, best when done with the expertise of a local guide, leads through the natural backdrop of revolutions and rebellions that have been so prevalent in the history of Cuba. Less than a half-hour drive from Iberostar Heritage Grand Trinidad, take advantage of the four-wheel transportation to get there, and then let the guide show you some of the best hiking and panoramic sights on the island, or in all of the Caribbean, for that matter.
As Cuba increasingly opens its arms to the hiker, so grows the appeal of the vast green jungle peppered with the jagged mogotes in the Sierra de los Organos. The Viñales Valley looks like a scene from the film Avatar. This exotic and wild UNESCO Heritage Site is a window into the agricultural past of Cuba, with traditional farming of tobacco and livestock still widespread. The trails that wind through here cut through alluvial vegetation and hug the vast karst mountains that characterize this paradise.
PUIG DE MASSANELLA
At nearly 4,500 feet in elevation, this Majorcan gem has several starting points, like Font des Prat and Coll de Sa Batalla, where rock cairns lead the way to the top. Once a site for collectors of ice, these peaks even get snow in the winter, a rarity in the Balearic Islands, and hold fresh water channels for much-needed provisioning for the climber. Massanella is Majorca´s highest hikeable mountain, and the approach from Lluc Monastery is particularly spectacular. After your day’s excursion, take in the spa treatments in nearby hotel Iberostar Albufera Playa to soothe those well-worked trekker’s muscles.
Although Toubkal is emblematic in the Atlas Mountain climbing community, this Moroccan summit is considered more of a steep hike rather than a climb. Best done in the warmer months, no crampons or ice climbing skills are required, but don’t underestimate the mountain. At 13,600 feet, it’s no wonder Toubkal is on the life list of many active mountaineers. Insider’s advice: with such a vast array of trails and landscape to cover, local guides help you maximize your time so the mountain can be conquered in a weekend.
This famous sawtooth mountain is a treasure in Barcelona. Starting with a single-track dirt trail leading out of Monistrol de Montserrat, the towering jagged rocks at the top beckon the ambitious climber with views beyond compare. The 5-kilometer trail takes 2 hours—3 if you want a leisurely pace—and leads up a pilgrimage pathway to a monastery. Hikers can visit the Santa Cova Chapel, a beautiful stony church built in 1695, which clings to the steep rock cliff.
The rugged landscape of Montenegro is marked by white stony promontories flanked by thick coniferous forests that push up against the Adriatic coast. The most rewarding way up to Bobotov Kuk, which begins in Žabljak, winds through grasslands and trees, alongside lakes, and carves its way through the rocky high areas. At the top of the well-earned summit lies a metal box which holds a hiker’s guest book for climbers to leave their own messages of success.
So close to the bustling city, yet so pleasantly isolated and sirene, La Pedriza is a top spot for savvy hikers in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. Just an hour’s drive outside of Madrid, the Guadarrama Mountains are a springtime paradise of wild flowers and streams, with eagles gliding above and deer treading delicately among the trees. Hikers begin their journey at the village of Manzanares El Real, then on to Canto Cochino, where a gorgeous 3-hour trail winds up the smooth, rocky face to the top of El Yelmo, where the views of the Sierra spread out below. While in these high areas of the Guadarramas, be on the lookout for the skyscrapers of Madrid in the distance.