cliffs

Masca is a tiny and remote village in the Northwest of Tenerife. When I say tiny, I really mean it – Masca is home to merely 80 habitants. Its access is an adventure of its own. Well, for visitors, that is. – Us locals are used to the twisting and turning of narrow roads that go down the sheer side of not one, but several mountains.

It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)The view over Masca and its ravine

The village itself has charm and a rural taste of Tenerife. It’s the starting point of one of the most popular hiking trails on the island – the Barranco de Masca (Masca Ravine). Once you start the descent into the valley, you quickly get a chance to test your fitness.

The hiking path sinks quickly into a deep gorge, following the twist and turns of the hills around it. It goes over streams, through tunnels of reeds, over large rocks and even through a small cave. Soon, you find yourself in a Lost World.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

To be honest, my pictures don’t make justice to the spectacular landscape in Masca. It’s quite simply breathtaking.

The barranco walls grow taller the deeper you move into the gorge. After 2.5 hours, we emerged onto Masca beach – on time for our well-deserved picnic.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

From here, we took a cooling plunge in the Atlantic Ocean and allowed our skin to soak up the warmth of the sun until our water taxi arrived.

Well yes, we took a water taxi. I was wearing new hiking boots which weren’t ideal for this terroir, as I discovered on my challenging way down.

Note to self: high boots give better support on uneven surfaces. And Masca is completely uneven.

In my defense: most of the casual hikers that venture their way down the gorge book a water taxi to take them to the next village, Los Gigantes. This short ride for 10 EUR per person allows you to not only see the entire ravine from the sea, but also takes you along the Acantilados (cliffs) de los Gigantes – one of my favourite views of Tenerife and a great place to go whale watching.

Los Gigantes (Tenerife)Acantilados de los Gigantes – One of my favorite shots, ever.

From there, it’s a mere 23 EUR cab ride back to Masca, which in turn is about a 20 minute car drive from Mesón del Norte (one of those traditional restaurants that is really worth the drive!).

Practical Information

Route: Descenso del Barranco de Masca (descending the Masca gorge)
Elevation gain uphill: hardly any, unless you walk the same way up again
Elevation gain downhill: 625m
Length: 6.8 km
Duration: 2.5 hrs
Difficulty: Easy (Moderate, if walking uphill again!)
Wikiloc:Barranco de Masca

I checked the weather forecast as usual. Just a few days before my long-planned excursion, the odds were in my favor: Saturday would be sunny with zero chance of rain. I should have known better. One and a half years in England have proven that weather forecasts can’t be relied on – specially when it’s more than a few hours ahead.

I was determined, though. No heavy clouds and mist were going to stop me from keeping to my plan: I was finally going to hike the Seven Sisters!

Hiking Seven Sisters, UK

The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are one of the finest and unspoiled coastlines in Britain. These white cliffs form part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between Seaford and Eastbourne in the south of England.

A simple commute from Victoria Station took us to Seaford, where the famous hike begins. Or, at least, the longer version of it. If you’re not an eager hiker or are running short in time, I recommend you take a bus from Seaford to the Seven Sisters Country Park – you’ll save about 1.5 hours hike (then again, you won’t have the chance to walk through an open golf course fearing for your life – which is an absolute thrill).

During this first part of the walk, we had the path for ourselves – with the sea on our right and sheep on our left. After an hour, we arrived at a beautiful little beach. Unfortunately, we hadn’t realized that between us and the beach was a river that led us away from the coast for probably 1.5 km. That wasn’t the major problem, though. It was the path next to the river: filled with deep mud!

As we reached the bridge to cross over, we realized that this was the actual beginning – the Seven Sisters Country Park. We felt relief to see that there were many other leisure walkers and avid hikers on this way towards the coastline!

Seven Sisters, UK

Seven Sisters, UK

Seven Sisters, UK

It was a pleasant walk (despite the wet weather), with surprisingly varied backgrounds: hills, sea-side, sheep, cows, rivers and even an old lighthouse! My tip: if it had been raining before or during your hike – take the bus to the Seven Sisters Country Park (unless, of course, you’re wearing your wellies!)

Practical Information

Route: From Seaford to Eastbourne (along the Seven Sisters)
Elevation gain uphill: 565m
Elevation gain downhill: 522m
Length: 20 km
Duration: 4:30 – 5:15 hrs
Difficulty: Easy
Wikiloc: Seven Sisters

Have you been to the Seven Sisters?