It all started in the 15th century, when legend tells us of a ship carrying Galician sailors was caught in a violent storm. Fearful for their lives, the crew pleaded with the Apostle Santiago to spare them, and in return, promised to take the Saint to the ‘highest place on earth’. When they arrived safe and sound on Gran Canaria, they kept their promise and carried a statue of the Apostle to the top of the island’s mountain. There they built the Shrine to Santiago and the Camino de Gran Canaria was born!
Fast forward to 1965 and the Camino de Gran Canaria becomes an official route when Pope XXIII granted the same privileges to celebrate the Camino Holy Years as Santiago de Compostela, making it the only officially recognized Camino de Santiago route that is not on continental Europe.
Where is Gran Canaria?
Gran Canaria is one of the seven volcanic islands that make up the Canary Islands, which are found just off the western African coast.These islands have been part of the Spanish Crown since the 14th century and played a critical role in Spain’s exploration of the Americas. The islands are a short 2-hour flight from mainland Spain and boast a year-round temperate climate, lots of sunshine and a unique culture that has rubbed off on the people and their food.
The current Camino on the island of Gran Canaria
The Camino crosses the island from the drier south to the lusher north, following the trail of the faithful sailors. Starting at the Maspalomas dunes, it makes it way up and across the stunning central mountains of the island, ending in the Church of Santiago de los Caballeros in Gáldar. The total walking distance is 66 kilometers, which, because of the elevation gains and losses, takes between four and five days to hike.
The trail is well groomed and clearly marked with yellow arrows, there is an official pilgrim credential to stamp, and each stage presents places to stop, rest and snack.
We are extremely excited to be adding the Camino de Gran Canaria to our family of products. As usual, we offer the full standard all-inclusive Fresco Tours package including limited group sizes, two guides, check points along the route, fabulous accommodations (all 4 star in this case), and our world-famous gourmet picnics.
Buen Camino, Chacho (as they say on the island!)