“Tenerife? Isn’t that the place where thousands of British pensioners flock together to bake in the sun?” I am not going to spend a week eating fish and chips and listening to Brits moaning about the heat!” was my first, not so enthusiastic reaction, when my travel partner came up with the idea. It was safe to say I needed some convincing that there were actually things to do and places to visit in Tenerife.
After reading up on the destination however, it turns out there’s another Tenerife, an unspoilt Tenerife away from the crowds, with tranquil spots tucked away in the mountains. A Tenerife of snaky roads and banana plantations! So I decide to rent a house in the village of Garachico, situated in the northern part of the island, the green, lush side, far away from the tourist fleshpots of the south. It is known for its lovely old town and its natural rock lava pools.
Upon arrival, I am immediately sold: the house is surrounded by an untamed garden in the middle of banana plantations, not to mention the views across the Atlantic Ocean! The perfect spot for ever-lasting aperitifs!
As lovely as it is, I do wish to explore some other parts of the island too, so after a lovely breakfast with the most beautiful setting ever, I set off for the Teno mountain range. Massive coastal cliffs offer fantastic views over the island of La Gomera as I drive past rugged peaks and little hamlets. It soon turns out that the Teno mountain range is ideal walking territory as well!
Teno is not the only mountain range on the island. Another road trip brings me to the north-eastern part of Tenerife: the Macizo de Anaga. The panoramic Anaga mountains are known for their green ravines and forests and the whole area is a protected natural landscape. This is truly the unspoilt Tenerife I was hoping to discover!
But one of the best places to visit in Tenerife is of course the National park of El Teide. The volcanic crater is no less than 48 km in circumference and the Mount Teide itself rises at a staggering height of 3,718 metres! The landscape changes dramatically as I drive up higher and higher. Above the clouds the air gets chillier.
I don’t feel like going all the way to the summit and decide to discover the lower regions by walking across the Roque de Garcia, a unique rock formation. The landscape varies from dry and lunar to like something from a western movie. There are surprisingly enough few people around…
After a few days of mountains, it’s time to see a bit of the water, this is an island after all! Tenerife is supposed to be a great spot for whale watching, so I set off on a boat trip into the Atlantic Ocean. I am not expecting to see an awful lot, you know how these excursions usually go, but to my surprise I get really close to some of the pilot whales! Impressive to say the least!
After taking in so many beautiful sights, I feel the need to unwind and spend an afternoon on one of the nicest local beaches of the island: Las Teresitas, close to the capital of Santa Cruz. No baking Brits here, no huge apartment blocks, no ice cream vans: this is a beach where locals and tourists in-the-know come to spend a relaxing afternoon, listening to the sound of the waves!
As you would have guessed by now, nature is BIG in Tenerife, but you shouldn’t forget to pay a visit to one of its colonial towns. The streets of La Orotova are lined with architectural treasures, like the Casa de los Balcones, churches and convents. It is surrounded by numerous banana plantations and offers far away views of the Atlantic. Definitely worth a visit!
Tenerife has totally baffled me! I arrived with a sense of suspicion and left with a totally different opinion!
Do you know of any other things to do in Tenerife? Is there a country that totally surprised you?