Renowned for its near perfect climate and proximity to Africa, Tenerife has a dynamic terrain that’s perfect for sightseers seeking a holiday with a view. Not only does the island boast the highest mountain in Spain, Mount Teide, there are also volcanic rock pools and black sand beaches, all thanks to its volcanic topography.
Though Tenerife is known for its beach resorts don’t let that stop you if you’re looking for a vacation where you can bring along your hiking boots and binoculars, sling them in a suitcase, and leave the beaches for another day. Book your holidays to Tenerife with the assurance that it will be your kind of adventure paradise.
Teide National Park
Mount Teide is Europe’s most visited National Park. Whether you choose to drive or hike through the landscape that surrounds the base of this long extinct volcano, you’ll be astonished by the strange lunar formations that characterize its reddened plain. It’s possible to hike to the top, but if you’re not feeling up to the challenge, there’s also the option of taking the cable car which glides up the mountainside in eight minutes, allowing enough time to appreciate the view. If you want to approach the volcano’s peak, you must apply for a permit in advance.
For the kind of drive you see in car commercials, you can strap in and drive up to Masca Valley. This very scenic route is nothing short of terrifying to drive, with narrow twisting roads, but the rewards are astounding. From the village, the views over the valley will take your breath away, and you can rest and recover your nerve for the return drive.
Alternatively, just take the bus. You won’t be distracted from the enchanting view, and it means you can ramble down the gorge back to Los Gigantes, (which will take around three hours), at a gentle pace with lots of time for taking photographs along the way.
The Cliffs of Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants) stretch for six miles, towering towards the sky 1,500 feet above sea level. This landscape is best enjoyed by boat trip, skirting the base of these colossal rock faces gives quite the sense of scale. If you’re lucky you’ll encounter one of the twenty-eight species of dolphins that are frequently sighted in the surrounding seas.
This pretty little village on the island’s northern coastline is one of the least developed in Tenerife, partly because of its lack of a beach. Even though there are no white sands to sun upon, there are natural rock pools, interconnected by paths of crazy paving, that have been turned into swimming pools. Bring your snorkeling gear to observe the fish and crabs. And be sure to have a drink in one of Garachico’s charming cafes on its elegant, tree-lined town square.
Cueva del Viento
This natural volcanic formation is the world’s largest lava tube, an underground cave with over 17 kilometers of tunnel resulting from an eruption that took place over 27,000 years ago. If this sounds exciting, you can visit with a guide, just be sure to arrange your trip at least one day in advance to avoid disappointment, and if you have claustrophobia, it might be best to steer clear!
Tenerife has a unique landscape, which will fascinate anyone interested in botany, geology, volcanology or zoology. Whether you’re planning a short break or an extended stay, don’t just settle for beaches and sunscreen. Instead, seek out the natural beauty of this paradise island.
Images by Paul Heneker, Lobo Estepario, Pedro Szekely, Frank Lindecke and Erik used under creative commons license.