My husband and I went to Tenerife mid-March and spent eight fabulous days there. This beautiful island, situated off the north west coast of Africa, has so much to offer. Despite the common view, it’s not just the ocean, always sunny beaches and holiday resorts worth coming for, but the most striking landscapes I’ve ever seen.
Tenerife is a land of wonders. The best thing is of course the spring like weather all year around and sunshine always guaranteed but there is also the stunning diversity of landscapes. This island has so many different faces that that it’s hard to believe they can all be crammed onto one little island. You will find manicured beaches, rocky mountains, arid deserts, lush forests, volcanic lava fields and so much more. In just a thirty minute drive from anywhere you can find yourself in a completely different setting, both environmental and cultural. From the glitzy modern hotels of Costa Adeje to late renaissance Spanish colonial towns such as la Laguna or Puerto de la Cruz; from the holiday resorts of Los Gigantes to the sleepy villages and vineyards of La Orotova Valley in the North; from flocks of tourists in the south and the night clubs, shops and bars to quiet walks through the Teide National Park, where for hours you will not meet another soul; from sailing boats and dolphin spotting to spectacular, nerve-wracking drives through the mountains! Tenerife has it all! No-one can be bored there.
Our journey started in the south east of Tenerife. It’s an arid landscape surrounded by desert with mini volcanos dotted around. The resort-town of El Medano is famous for its gorgeous natural black beaches, where the soft sand looks like black velvet sprinkled with diamonds, long shallow waters and the constant breeze of the trade winds. This has become a mecca for surfers in this part of the world. El Medano is the perfect place for water sports and to relax on the beach, and that was what we did for a couple of days: resting and recharging our batteries after long months of working.
After we relaxed and rested we went on exploring the Island. Tenerife, thanks to its diverse terrain, offers some of the most spectacular drives ever, especially driving though the mountains with a sea of clouds banking up alongside the road or boiling over the edges of the cliff walls as you make your way along the ravines. You will be driving through thick clouds where the shadowy silhouettes of trees emerge from the grey mists – it looks so spooky. Truly amazing! The best part is when you are emerging from the rainy valleys and break through the clouds into glorious sunshine! The views of the rugged mountains, lush green valleys and blue ocean by the coast are breathtaking.
One of the reasons we chose Tenerife for our holiday was our love of hiking. The Teide National Park is something else. The giant plateau on the top of the island, created by the eruption of the ancient super-volcano, looks like surface of Mars. Cut by massive lava rivers and colossal, sharp rocky tooth-like formations and multicolour pumice patches, it’s a landscape of incomparable beauty. The plateau is surrounded by huge mountains – the plumes of the original volcano – which hold the clouds at bay in a perfect circle around the dusty valley below. In the centre looms the highest mountain of Spain- the mighty Mount Teida, with its everlasting snow cap shining in the sun. It’s the second biggest volcano in the world! We took the cable car to the top. Climbing this monster on foot is only for very experienced walkers. We spent three days hiking in the National Park and I think they were the best of the whole trip. We walked, climbed and hiked, got sweaty and tired and burned by sun while still freezing! It was an incredible and rewarding experience.
Please don’t judge me for my attire on some of those photos. I’m wearing hiking gear and I walked over 13 kilometres up the mountain … but my, it was worth it!
During the breaks from hiking we went sightseeing in the towns in the north of the island where most of the native population lives and where one can see original Tenerifian architecture. It is also the coolest and lushest part of the island where La Orotova Valley lies. We had some lovely walks through the pine forests and dipped our toes in natural seawater pools.
Below are photos from La Orotova Valley; La Laguna, the island’s first capital, its a very beautiful old town with plenty of history to tell and great tapas to try; from Garachico oldest port in Tenerife; and from Icod de Vinos famous for wine production where I got the fabulous Malvasia and rum.
The last stop on our adventure was dolphin spotting near the Los Gigantes, the second biggest volcanic cliffs in the world after the Grand Canyon. The dolphins were fantastic, believe me, but much too fast tor me to take a picture so unfortunately I can show you only the giant black cliffs and the ironic pirate ship. The ship was really cheesy but the crew were fun and the experience of seeing sea mammals in their natural habitat and the wonderful views of the of Los Gigantes cliffas were worth the terrible rocking and bad paella.