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.
If you want to find out more about Tenerife check out:
- Berlitz Tenerife Pocket Guide
- Tenerife Marco Polo Guide
- The Real Tenerife eBook
- The Rough Guide to Tenerife