Roque Bentayga is one of the unique geological formations of Gran Canaria and, together with the caves Cuevas del Rey and the Roque Camello necropolis, forms part of the three archaeological sites in the area. It’s located inside the volcanic caldera of Tejeda, in the heart of the island. Bentayga is within the Network of Protected Natural Spaces.
Roque Bentayga is considered an archaeological monument because it has an almogarén on its east face, that is, a sacred place where the aborigines carried out their ritual and religious practices. It’s also an interesting place for children.
The landscape that surrounds Roque Bentayga was defined as a "petrified tempest" by Miguel de Unamuno. If you're in Gran Canaria, and you're thinking of a trip to Tejeda, don't miss Roque Bentayga!
Route to Roque Bentayga
There are several hiking routes to the Roque Bentayga. For the shortest route, which leaves from the interpretation centre, you can leave your car in a car park at the foot of the Roque. The trail is well-marked out, so it’s not very difficult and is also accessible for children. It’s less than 2 kilometres long and can be reached in less than an hour. However, the path is quite steep. In less than half an hour you’ll reach one of the caves, and you can discover more about how the aborigines buried their dead or how they kept their food.
Roque Bentayga is one of the most symbolic natural monuments on the island. As for its characteristics, it has basaltic pitons typical of the island's geological structure. Its height reaches more than 1,400 metres above sea level. On the other hand, Bentayga is located within the Nublo Rural Park. In fact, the two Roques are often confused because of their similar appearance.
History of Roque Bentayga
The Roque served as a fortress for the aboriginal Canary Islanders until the end of the 15th century with the arrival of the Castilian troops. Nowadays, it serves as an equinoctial marker and is of great astronomical value.
What to see in Roque Bentayga
Roque Bentayga offers a unique spectacle from a scenic point of view, among them:
- Caves: we highlight the caves of El Rey and Roque Camello, which are an ancient aboriginal Canarian settlement with more than a hundred caves with rooms etc.
- Cave paintings, inscriptions, walls... such as the almogarén of Bentayga, located on the eastern side of the base. Other sources indicate that it was used as a defensive bastion. In addition, rock engravings have been found in the Libyco-Berber alphabet.
- The Tejeda Ravine (or Barranco Grande).
The Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria
The Montañas Sagradas of Gran Canaria have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019. From the top of Roque Bentayga you’ll have spectacular views.
Interpretation Centre and Viewpoint
Next to the car park is the Roque Bentayga Interpretation Centre and Viewpoint, where you can learn all the archaeological details of the Sierra de Bentayga. Entry is free. Here you’ll find several rooms with panels and interactive screens. Open from Monday to Sunday. We also recommend the free half-hour guided tour of the Roque offered by the Centre.
Tejeda is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain - discover it here! → Tejeda
We also recommend some of Tejeda's hiking trails that pass through the Charco de la Paloma (where, with luck, you can see a natural waterfall), the Cruz de Timagada and the Culata de Tejeda. They offer spectacular views of Roque Bentayga from afar.
Roque Nublo Natural Monument
Roque Nublo is often confused with Roque Bentayga. Roque Nublo is the highest rock on the island and is one of the largest natural rocks in the world.
The big basket
On the way to Roque Bentayga, passing Tejeda, you’ll see a huge basket (Gran Cesta). The basket is a spectacular photo opportunity where you can frame the Roque Bentayga in the background. Don't miss this souvenir of your trip!
How long does it take to climb Roque Bentayga?
It takes less than an hour to climb Roque Bentayga.
What does Bentayga mean?
There are different theories about the meaning of Bentayga, as the information gathered during the conquest is contradictory, as well as irregularities in the way the Roque was written and referred to.
- The most popular interpretation is that "ben-" means "place of", thus meaning "place that supports". This theory is in line with the religious and cosmological ideas of the Guanches, who considered the place an axis mundi.
- The second interpretation is that it’s a compound of the Numidian word "bent-", meaning "mountain", and the Mycenaean word "aiga", meaning "sacred".
- The third interpretation suggests that the prefix "ben-" has a meaning of belonging, while "(t)aiga" may refer to the Tenerife word Tigaiga or the Lanzarote word Taiga. It would mean, then, "the one from taiga".
How to get to Roque Bentayga?
You can get to Roque Bentayga via the GC-607 road and, at kilometre 10, turn off towards El Espinillo. Follow the road for half a kilometre, and you’ll come to the car park.
When to visit Roque Bentayga?
The best time to visit Roque Bentayga is between January and February, as it coincides with the almond blossom.
If you want to stay near Roque Bentayga or other important monuments in Gran Canaria, we offer you a wide range of holiday rentals: country houses in the middle of nature, majestic villas with private pools, apartments in the city and much more. Don't miss out!