Where can you experience most of the world’s climate zones in one day?
On Tenerife. The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands and home to some of the most stunning scenery in Europe.
Like Mallorca, Tenerife has a reputation for being nothing more than a party island. The infamous Playa De Las Americas conjures up images of British themed pubs, hoards of drunken party-animals, fish and chip suppers, black sand beaches and the thudding bass of techno dance music.
If that’s what you want then you can’t go wrong with Tenerife.
But drive two kilometres inland from any point on the coast and you find unspoilt Tenerife. Sleepy villages, orange groves, hidden treasures. You’ll also climb steeply up twisty turns and before long will be able to gaze back at the coast thousands of feet below you.
At the centre of Tenerife is Mount Tiede. At over 12,000ft, it is Spain’s highest peak. Ascend by cable car for amazing views of the island and the curvature of the earth. A hiker’s paradise, in winter, Tiede gets buried in white snow and ice.
The crater from which the mountain juts is called the Las Cañadas Caldera. A stark landscape of impossible rock formations resembling the desert in Arizona. You’ll notice the deafening silence here as there is no vegetation and no birds to create a background melody.
If you twist and turn your way around the rest of the island you’ll see pine forests, grasslands, green valleys and other magnificent peaks; some shrouded in cloud and fog. Explore the lovely village of Santiago Del Tiede in the shadow of the mountains.
Back on the coast you can find many smaller resorts offering a more relaxing atmosphere than the bustle of Las Americas. Los Gigantes offers a compact town nestled beneath sheer cliffs. From the harbour you can take boat trips or hire a jet ski or simply sit in one of the many restaurants and eat a plate of Tenerife’s signature dish – the “wrinkled” salty potato with hot pepper sauce.
Learn to suba dive from Los Gigantes or if you are a seasoned diver go with the learners as they swim with turtles in the crystal clear blue sea.
Candelaria to the east offers a long sweeping coastline lined by statues, bars, restaurants and low-rise hotels.
For more luxurious surroundings check out the Hotel Abama – part of the US Ritz Carlton chain – with its own man-made white sandy beach and several Michelin starred restaurants. Whilst it is expensive, consider tagging a few days on your stay and take a room here. They know how to pamper and the resort is sprawling and immaculately maintained.
For thrills go to Siam Park. A water slide paradise with rides such as the ProSide Tornado as big and scary as some steel rollercoasters. Authentic theming transports you to the Far East with accurate and detailed temples and statues. It’s so real you really could be in old Siam.
At only 4 hours flight time from the UK Tenerife offers a perfect combination of vibrant nightlife, picturesque scenery, stomach churning thrills and chill out luxury.
Now it’s your turn: Have you been to Tenerife recently? Where did you stay? What were your favourite parts of the island to visit. Please leave a comment or share a link to your own article.
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Have you flown on the A380? Here’s what I thought about my first flight on this gigantic aircraft. I’ve included a short video of the experience as well.
For over a year now I’ve blogged about British Airway’s A380s as they have emerged from the construction hangar, going to the paint shop, and other events such as the first flight. I didn’t think I would have a chance to fly on one of these birds so soon and for that I must thank BBC News.
In July I was watching a BBC report about British Airways taking delivery of their first A380 at London Heathrow. They showed a video of the plane, registration number G-XLEA, landing. Then the reporter mentioned that although the inaugural passenger flight was originally planned in as 18 October, British Airways had just announced that they were bringing that first flight forward to 24 September.
My ears pricked up. I immediately thought, “That’s three weeks of redemption seats that they must have just released.”
I dived for my iPad and surfed to ba.com. Sure enough within minutes I had bagged three seats in Club World on the upper deck of the A380 for 26 September to LAX. It’s great snapping some business class seats on such a busy route. I’m so pleased that I was watching that news report.
We were very excited as we boarded from the C Gates at Heathrow Terminal 5. Even though the British Airways A380 is a giant plane that carries 469 passengers, they’ve split the two decks into smaller zones. This means the interior feels quite intimate. For example there is a small economy section of only 4 rows right at the back of the plane. They’ve separated each section with bulkheads and curtains so the overall feeling is that you are on a smaller plane.
The crew welcomed us with a glass of champagne and we settled down into our comfortable seats.
Before long we were airborne. The A380 is quiet. The take off roar is almost a whimper. Throughout the flight the sound of the engines was a subtle hum in the background. You can hear people’s conversations across the cabin.
Once above clouds the crew began the service. This is where video and pictures tell a better story. Please watch this short (it’s only 4 minutes) of the services across the Atlantic – British Airways Club World LHR-LAX on the A380.
Whilst the service was slightly slow (the crew are still getting used to the equipment) I was very impressed with the food. The A380 has new steam ovens and this ensures that the food isn’t burned to a crisp.
After eleven hours of good food, wine and entertainment we arrived at LAX to spend a very enjoyable few days on the beaches of Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica before our return to the UK on the same amazing and gigantic aircraft.
Now it’s your turn: Have you flown on the British Airways A380? What did you think? What was the experience like in the other cabins, FIRST, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller. Please leave a comment or a link to your own stories.
Now it’s your turn: What did you think of this video tour of the British Airways A380 Super Jumbo? Have you flown on the BA A380? I would love to hear your stories. Please post a comment below or share a link to your own reviews. And look out my video trip report coming very soon.