Tenerife Guide of Things to See and Do From A-Z

Tenerife has so many attractions and activities that you may be overwhelmed by all the choices you have. To help you out, here is my Tenerife Guide from A-Z. I’ve chosen one attraction or place for each letter, and if you know somewhere or something which you think deserves the top spot more then let me know in the comments section below.


The Anaga Mountains are a place all of their own. The range sprawls across the northeastern part of the island, spewing green across the sandy landscape. The Anaga Mountains are for people who want a little variety in their beach vacation. Here, you’ll walk in the clouds, surrounded by lush, green trees and plants of all varieties.


The hike down the ravine from Masca to the beach is on one of the most spectacular trails in Tenerife. This is an amazing hike, where you will find yourself enjoying beautiful views, scrambling over rocks, paddling through crystal-clear streams, and watching out for local wildlife, such as lizards, colourful butterflies, and even osprey flying overhead.


Costa Martiánez is an amazing swimming pool complex designed by Cesar Manrique. The complex is made up of many huge seawater pools, and the whole area is clean, beautiful, and well maintained. The views of the sea and the surroundings, from inside Lago Martiánez are stunning.


Those who love sea life will enjoy a boat excursion off the coast of Tenerife. The waters are deep, yet warm and host thousands of species of microscopic life, perfect food for hungry whales, dolphins and other sea mammals. There are 28 cetacean species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise to see. How many can you find?

E is for EL MEDANO

El Médano is everything you imagine a beach paradise to be, plus a little more. While you have the sandy beaches and the sun-filled sky, you also have beachfront shops where you can catch a break from the water and grab a beer or ice cream cone. This area is perfect for kitesurfers, windsurfers, and kite-flyers.


Tenerife has great conditions for all year round freediving. No matter if you are a beginner and looking for somewhere to try freediving for the first time, or an experienced freediver wanting some training dives, then there is sure to be a company that suits your needs.


Garachico is a lovely place to stop for a while, about 25 kilometres west of Puerto de la Cruz. There is much to explore here, such as shady narrow streets, lovely cafes in hidden squares, and local craft shops. The best attraction is the lava pools. These are naturally formed and are great for a dip in the ocean. You can also enjoy walking along the paths between the pools and just enjoying the view.

H is for HIKING

If you have the chance to go hiking in Tenerife then be sure to take it. The nature is amazing and different all over the island from the dry south to the fertile north, to Teide National Park in the middle.


The Drago Milenario, the 59-foot tall Dragon tree of Icod in Tenerife is the largest of its kind and has become a symbol of the island. From a distance, it almost looks like two trees intertwined in a permanent hug; the gnarly trunk stands strong beneath branches that look like raised hands.


A fun way to explore Tenerife is to join a jeep safari. You can choose from different excursions such as a Teide Tour, a Masca Tour, an Around the Island Tour, and even a Stargazing Tour.


There are many different kayak companies in Tenerife. Some where you just rent a kayak and off you go by yourself, and others where you have a guide and a chance to see dolphins swimming close by.


Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz is a great zoo to visit and is loved by people of all ages. There are many animal shows to watch such as sea lions, dolphins, killer whales, and bird shows. Just remember to check the show timetables so you can fit them all in.


Monkey Park is a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours. You can actually feed some of the animals here, which children and adults love! It is lovely to have little monkeys come over to you, and take some of the food. The best part though is being in with the lemurs, and being able to stroke and feed them.


A great day out when in Tenerife is a visit to El Teide National Park. If you have rented a car then you can drive up through the park and come out at the other end of the island. It is fantastic to drive through lava fields, and see the old flows of lava on the volcano. The pine forests in this area are beautiful and very scenic too.

O is for OROTAVA

Orotava is a traditional Canarian historic town. It is situated in the middle of banana plantations, with amazing views over the Orotava Valley. Enjoy the pleasure of a stroll through the cobblestone streets, and admire the beautiful architecture of mansions, museums and churches. Take in the sights with a drink on a cafe terrace at a plaza, and smell the sweet scent of the many flowers.


Puerto de la Cruz has everything you could want from a holiday in Tenerife. You will feel like you have entered a paradise as you relax on the beach or take a walk through one of the many gardens. If you want to experience a bit of culture, you can take a walk through the cobbled lanes downtown or just sit on a cafe terrace outside one of the colonial style restaurants lining the streets.


This is along the same lines as the Jeep Safari, but even more fun as you get to drive your own quad bike. It is very exhilarating to ride a quad bike in Teide National Park or through the forests, and the views are stunning.


Los Roques de García are rock formations found in Teide National Park, which are thousands of years old. This is a great place for trekking with some amazing landscape and great hiking paths to follow. The views of the park and El Teide from here are spectacular so remember your camera.

S is for SIAM PARK

After a visit to Siam Park, you will understand why it is rated one of the best water parks in the world. It really is that good! You have a huge choice of superb waterslides, some relaxing, and some which will propel you down them at high speed. You can be surfing waves one minute, and watching deadly sharks the next.


Playa de Las Teresitas is said to be the most beautiful beach in Tenerife, and if you visit here you will see why. The soft golden sands, shipped in from the Sahara Desert, stretches across the whole beach. With the tropical palm trees and the turquoise sea, you could be forgiven for thinking you have arrived in paradise!

U is for UNIQUE

Tenerife is certainly a unique island. From its “Dragon Tree” to its “Lava Caves” there is something different to see and do here for all ages.

V is for VOLCANO

El Teide is an active volcano, but don’t worry, it hasn’t erupted since 1909. At 3718 meters, it is the highest mountain in Spain. The views in this area are breath-taking, and you won’t know which direction to look first. There are a couple of visitor centres, where you can pick up maps and souvenirs.

W is for WEATHER

Tenerife is described as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’, and after a visit here, you will understand why. While the south is a little warmer, there really isn’t that much difference and the north makes up for the slightly cooler weather with the green lush nature. The good thing about Tenerife is that if it’s raining where you are, jump in your car or on a bus and drive for a little while and you are sure to come across a place where the sun is shining.

X is for X FACTOR

With great weather, fantastic beaches, beautiful nature, and lots of top rated attractions for all different ages, I would say that Tenerife certainly has the X Factor!


A yacht trip in Tenerife is the luxury way to see the whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. With a free snack and drinks included, and also free snorkel equipment, the prices are actually quite reasonable and around €60 for an adult. Some companies will also arrange free pick up and drop off at your hotel. You can also book private tours, but then the price is much higher.


Jungle Park is Tenerife’s wildlife refuge and adventure park. Over 500 species call the park home, from pumas and tigers to penguins and primates. They are housed in a natural setting of more than 75,000 square meters.

Text and photos by Lynne Knightley

If you wish to read more about amazing things to do in Tenerife, then take a look at Lynne’s excellent guidebook.

Simply click here  > https://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Knightley/e/B00QNR2QGA to head to the download page.

You can also follow Lynne via her social media accounts:





See How to Uncover Tenerife’s Unique Beauty With The Italian Chica

Living in the Canary Islands is one of the greatest blessings that a person could desire: fabulous weather all year long, breathtaking landscapes worthy of the best covers of National Geographic, a sunny and always welcoming people and the ability to easily travel between the 7 islands thanks to efficient internal flights.

• Lanzarote: my currently home. I'm so glad to live in such a beautiful island…but I'm also happy to live close to other gorgeous islands and being able to travel and visit them! Soooo….let's start a new adventure!💪❤ #theitalianchicaporcanarias . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . ♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤ #theitalianchica #lanzarote #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ok_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #aeroplane #airport #master_shots #ig_europe #ig_worldclub #girlslovetravel #gltLOVE #femaletravelbloggers #amazing_shots #amazing_places

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Each island has its own unique and distinguishing features, and exploring them is an amazing experience that enriches the soul. Thanks to the “Influencer program” of Tenerife Magazine I had the chance to discover for the first time the island of Tenerife and it was an incredible experience!
My stay was at Pearly Grey, an extraordinary resort in the south of the island with every comfort: gym, massage room, two restaurants, a huge pool, Bali beds with spectacular ocean view and much more! From this lovely place, it’s possible to appreciate the magnificent sunsets that nature gives each evening, with the sun disappearing behind the island of Gomera.
The rooms inside the hotel have a stylish and elegant decor, and all of them are equipped with all the kitchen utensils you may need, a private bathroom with a huge shower and my room also had two huge breath-taking terraces facing the ocean: it was such a dream!
To get around the island I used a nice car provided by Poul’s Auto car rental. To collect the keys I didn’t have to wait at any office at the airport: that’s because their cars are equipped with a security box attached to the window, where you just need to type a code to have access to your car.
On the second day of my stay, I went with the Tenerife Magazine team to Oasis Los Gigantes: a delightful recreational complex with pools, bars, and a restaurant overlooking the majestic Los Gigantes Bay. It’s a place I absolutely recommend to spend a relaxing day with friends or family!
During the following days, I explored the island from north to south, trying to discover and capture with my camera all the most characteristic places in Tenerife.
Masca’s walk was one of the most amazing experiences of my life: after taking a taxi to Masca, a village in the northwestern mountains of the island, I walked down to its valley between the imposing rocks, until I got to a wonderful black sandy beach, walking for about 3 hours surrounded by nature only.

• Masca walk: one of the most beautiful (and challenging!) experience of my life! Walking down for 3 hours from a mountain, through a breathtaking landscape and arriving in a paradise black sand beach…so a m a z i n g ! Being inside the mountains and feel their energy is such a powerful feeling! 😍 Now…I feel like I need to rest for so long… but it was worth it! 💪💪💪 . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢ #theitalianchica #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #tenerife #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #espacio_canario #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ok_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #ig_canon #natgeo #travellingthroughtheworld #amazing_nature #femaletravelbloggers #girlslovetravel #gltLOVE #beautifuldestination

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Visiting the valley of Teide, the highest volcano in Spain, was another exciting experience: its scenery resembles the high mountain landscape, and it’s unbelievable how in just one-hour driving you can go from the heat of the palm-lined beaches to the cool mountain weather with its green pines.
The north of the island is very interesting also: from the capital of Santa Cruz, in the northeast, it’s possible to reach in a few minutes by car the beautiful beach of Las Teresitas but also the amazing protected area of the Park of Agana.

• Tenerife is an island full of surprises: from warm heavenly beaches, you can find mysterious forests where you can get lost and imagine to be in a fairy tale! 🌳🌈 . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢ #theitalianchica #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #tenerife #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #ig_canon #ig_landscape #travellingthroughtheworld #ig_europe #ig_worldclub #gltLOVE #girlslovetravel #femaletravelbloggers #nofilter #nofilterneeded

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In the most western part of the island, there is Punta Teno: a hidden and pristine gem, surrounded by the many contrasting shades of blue ocean.
In addition to exploring the island, I was lucky enough to try other types of experiences like the amazing relaxing massages by Judith of Origins Wellness, and a Yoga and Meditation session in a dream place with the talented Emily of Yoga Vibe Tenerife.

• I miss those pleasant moments at @pearlygreyoceanclub in Tenerife, like this amazing sunset massage by Judith @origins_wellness ! 😊😍 She's so great, I felt like I had a new body! ❤ . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ #theitalianchica #tenerife #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ocean #peace #massages #relax #luxurylifestyle #relaxing #relaxinglife #sunsetmassage #sunset #sunsetlovers #sunsetphotography #goldenhour #meditation #lawofattraction #gratitude #positivethoughts #goodvibes #goodenergy #traveldiaries #massagetherapist #canon_official

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A week in Tenerife has literally flown, and I will definitely return as soon as possible to continue to visit and discover all the secrets of this fabulous and unpredictable island!

Special thanks to my amazing sponsors for their extraordinary organization and for making me feel at home during my entire stay. They all helped to make this incredible and unique experience possible!

Our team would like to offer a big thank you to Kate Michelle Conti aka The Italian Chica for this blog post and all the amazing photo and video content she produced during her stay here in Tenerife. We hope to see her again soon! To see more of Kate’s travel photography, videos and blog posts make sure to check out her website and follow her on her social media channels:

Walk this Way, El Palmar

One of the joys of walking on Tenerife is that, provided you stay clear of the hiker highways of Barranco del Infierno, Masca Barranco and La Caldera, you can enjoy many of its best trails all to yourself.
This month we apply the high factor sun cream, don our caps, stock up on water and head to one of the island’s least known rural locations ““ the El Palmar Valley.

Why this way?
Millions of visitors annually make the trip to Masca, many of them to test their stamina against nature’s assault course in the Masca Barranco, but very few of them ever emerge on the other side of the Teno Mountain Range to discover a corner of Tenerife that is still very much a secret.

Like Tenerife’s version of The Archers, the folks of El Palmar are predominantly a farming community whose daily lives revolve around working the land and tending the livestock in their green corner of the north west of Tenerife. Sandwiched between the Monte del Agua and Teno Mountain ranges, the valley once provided building materials for local housing, a legacy which has left its mark in the form of deep slices carved out of the landscape like missing portions of a pie.

Perched astride the Teno Mountains, the sleepy hamlet of Teno Alto goes about its business much as it has done for the past century, producing some of the island’s best loved queso de cabra (goats” cheese) and sustaining a small community who’s priorities are clear as they have no less than two village bar/restaurants to serve the handful of residents.

As far from the tourist trail as you can get, both physically and metaphorically, walking around El Palmar will open up a world where osprey circle overhead, the air is filled with the tinkle of goat bells and you can buy the most pungent of cheeses in the sort of village shop that you see in old episodes of Miss Marple.

Hike this way.
Starting out from El Palmar a narrow path winds its way through pines and prickly pear groves up the side of the valley, flanked by fields of potatoes and vines. The higher you climb the more spectacular the views become until finally you reach the crest, rewarded for your efforts with views over the entire valley with, if you’ve chosen a clear day, the peak of Mount Teide just visible above the Monte del Agua.

Through the cool of the forest and along the ridge of emerald hills and you’ll arrive at the hamlet of Teno Alto. In the village are two bar/restaurants, well, one’s more of a bar/shop where you can also get something to eat and one shop which stocks all sorts of locally produced goodies including their award winning cheeses. Rising in texture from soft to rock hard and in flavour from mild to pungent, you can buy fresco, semi curado or curado (only for the brave) to stash in the rucksack.

The return journey back the way you came has two distinct advantages ““ firstly it’s almost all downhill and secondly you’ve got that cheese to keep your strength up.

Stroll this way.
Leave the hill climbing to the goats and take the car instead. Drive from El Palmar to Teno Alto and park the car in the village. Beyond the scattering of houses, paths run across the cliff tops all the way to the edge where you can look down over the lighthouse at Buenavista. You can still pick up some cheese and just pretend you did the hike, we won’t tell.

My way
Peaks: There are two highlights for me: the views over the El Palmar valley from the ridge and the path that skirts the barranco covered in tree heath, passing the goats in the farmyard on the hillside. Oh, and did I mention the cheese?

Troughs: El Palmar is prone to low cloud more often than not and your views of the valley can be spoiled. Also, it’s a long way to drive from just about anywhere on the island to get to El Palmar.

My view: 4 Stars ““ Although it’s only a linear walk, it’s one of my absolute favourites and I defy anyone not to enjoy its embroidered landscape and absolute serenity.


The Why, Where and How of Camping in Tenerife

If the word “˜camping’ brings to mind nightmarish childhood memories of being forced to sleep in a cramped leaky tent in Wales for a week when all your friends were at Disneyland, then you might very well wonder why anyone would ever choose or even want to go camping.

Camping on Tenerife is a completely different experience ““ dark threatening clouds are replaced by twinkling night skies, muddy fields replaced by fragrant pine forests and soggy sandwiches replaced by sizzling barbecues.

Ingredients for Camping

Why go camping in Tenerife?
In today’s world where you’re constantly bombarded with futile Facebook status updates and trivial Tweets, it’s nice to be able to completely switch off from the online world. If it’s not Facebook or Twitter constantly in your face, it’s your online calendar letting you know that you’re 30 minutes late for that really important meeting and your extended deadline that you promised you’d make flew by last week.

Fortunately, you won’t find any WiFi hotspots in the campsites in Tenerife ““ you probably won’t even have mobile phone coverage ““ making it the best place to unwind and leave your responsibilities behind for a least a couple of days.

Barbecuing Sausages Camping in Tenerife

The best part of camping ““ and the only reason I go back again and again ““ is the food. Huddling around an open-flame barbecue with a glass of sangria, the smell mojo-marinated chicken gliding through the air gets me every time. Don’t forget to take marshmallows ““ a camping trip doesn’t count unless there are toasted (or burnt) marshmallows dripping molten goo all over your hands.

Where can I go camping in Tenerife?
If you don’t have any of the equipment, you’ll need to take a trip to Decathlon in La Laguna. From April to September you’ll find a large portion of the sports shop dedicated to camping equipment ““ this is the best time to get everything you’ll ever need in one place.

Setting up Camp in the pines

I recommend getting as large a tent as you can afford ““ you’ll really appreciate the extra space. Try and grab a mini gas hob, too ““ they’re great for cups of tea and coffee first thing in the morning. An inflatable mattress will be a lot more comfortable than the forest floor. Don’t think you can make do with a pool inflatable ““ you’ll wish you hadn’t and your back won’t let you forget it. When you’re all kitted out, you’re ready to choose the campsite that’s right for you.

All of the government-run campsites are located in forestal areas throughout Tenerife. You can find a map with information about them all here. Whilst the amenities do vary, most campsites provide running water, a recreational area complete with barbecue pits, and toilets ““ although whether you’ll want to use them or not is up to you as they are usually nothing more than ceramic-lined holes in the ground. Some campsites even offer small bars, showers, and children’s play areas, so it’s definitely worth doing your research before you head off.


How can I go camping in Tenerife?
You need to obtain permission if you want to camp in Tenerife. There are rangers patrolling the areas that will ask to see your permit and will happily kick you off if you haven’t got one, so avoid the hassle and make sure you’ve got permission to camp before you go.

You need to go to an Oficina de Registro y Servicio al Ciudadano (Registry and Citizen Service Office) ““ you can find a list of them all here ““ and request a username and password which will allow you to obtain permission to camp. You’ll need to take your residencia and passport with you to complete this process.
Once all your details have been tapped into the computer, you’ll get a sheet of paper with your username and password which will allow you to log on to www.Tenerife.es. Through this website you can book all your camping trips online and print off the permits seconds later.

Camping in Tenerife

So that’s it, you’ve got the gear, packed the marshmallows and have your permit tucked safely away ready to brandish when faced with an inquisitive forest ranger. All that remains is to take to head into the hills to make friends with Tenerife’s wild side of life.


Arona Rolls Out The Green Carpet For Walkers

Nipping out for some shopping takes on a whole new meaning when faced with a two hour downhill trek. That was the reality in the small village of Jama some 700 metres up above Valle San Lorenzo on the border with Vilaflor. Maybe that’s why most of the houses at Casas Altas are deserted although the freshly restored homes looked magnificent with the Barranco de Chijas and a bounty of plant species spreading out below.

Arona is known for its beaches but the Ayuntamiento (council) is rightly proud of its heritage and beauty and have started a programme of free guided walks to show the other side of the municipality. After dipping into a similar series a few years ago I couldn’t strap my walking shoes on fast enough to enjoy the first of eight walks offered for January with the promise of more to follow.

Meeting at 9am in Valle San Lorenzo I was hoping the full compliment of 25 enthusiasts would have signed up but it was just myself, our council guide Virginia, and three holidaying ladies from Rotterdam, who had seen the publicity at Las Galletas Tourist Information. A steep side road and we were looking up at the small houses perched on the lip of the hill, the sun was poking through two volcanic peaks and the tranquil sounds of nature soon had us moving.

I do a lot of walks but rarely have the advantage of a local guide. Virginia is from Valle San Lorenzo and a keen bird spotter, the high pitched shrill overhead was quickly identified as a Buzzard. The walks are aimed at locals and tourists and the guide’s knowledge comes in several languages including Spanish and English.

As the road changed to a track and then a rough rocky path the upward climb began. A chunky metal water pipe headed up with us but about half way up we found a crossing point of several old concrete channels that were gushing fast with cold water, an amazing work of skill and dedication that stretched down into the town. Even the ugly ducklings of the plant world have a story to tell and the cochineal beetle had left its white scale on many of the cacti, a quick rub revealed the rich crimson colouring that was exported to dye clothes in mainland Europe.

By the time the Jama houses loomed large above us we had been introduced to garlic flowers, mastic trees, Pistacia Atlantica and many more. The most restored house boasted a lovingly tended garden with a well inside and another near the partly re-constructed barn. And how about this as a bonus… a deep, cool cave split into chambers with a long table set out for relaxing away from the high summer sun. Walking inside the dusty shells of the neglected dwellings, I could see daylight through the floorboards of one. Thankfully the next one had a hewn stone floor and a window with a large sill to rest on which afforded inspiring views of the valley.

The wider area offered us a fragrant Rosemary bush. Virginia told us that it was often used locally to make honey. Suddenly my cheese rolls seemed very inadequate. After a short rest we started the walk down. Nature had a colourful rival as paragliders swirled in the air currents on their own graceful descent. It’s always quicker on the downward route but we made plenty of stops to admire flowers and plants, questions are encouraged on these walks and the pace is leisurely, the walk took just over four hours. Back in Valle San Lorenzo we went our separate ways but the Dutch ladies had plenty of good things to report to less active fellow holiday makers and to spread back home.

Here are the walks for the remainder of January, you must register (for insurance) at any Arona Tourist Information Office, or call (0034) 922761600, or via the website www.arona.travel

  • Tuesday 24th ““ Montaña Guaza
  • Wednesday 25th ““ Arona Casco to Altavista
  • Thursday 25th ““ Barranco Chijas
  • Saturday 28th ““ Arona to Ifonche
  • Tuesday 31st ““ Malpais de Rasca

There should be more walks in the following months depending on the response. Publicity had only just been launched before this first walk. Arona is well worth getting to know and this free initiative is waiting to introduce you to a new landscape.


Walk this Way, Santiago del Teide

As we emerge from the stifling heat of late summer and the first rains of the autumn feed the earth, turning brown to green and filling the air with the promise of new growth, it’s the perfect time to head into the hills of Santiago del Teide and visit the delightful Erjos Pools.

Why this way?
There are very few places on Tenerife where you’ll find pools or lakes that aren’t surrounded by sun loungers or walls. The disused quarry workings of Erjos are one of the prettiest. When the heavy digging machinery moved out, the wildlife moved in and now the pools are a haven for butterflies, dragonflies, ducks and rabbits ““ a veritable Watership Down, but without the sad bits.

It’s a part of Tenerife that’s favoured by walkers and it’s a million miles from the beaches of the south coast. Up here, the air is scented with pine, the landscapes are rolling green hills and dramatic volcanic cones and the nearby village of Santiago del Teide is to my mind, one of the prettiest on Tenerife. For the bonus ball, Bar Fleytas provides a great place to head for a beer and some tapas when you’ve finished. The inside bar is great for escaping the cool clouds and if it’s hot, the outside tables are perfect for perusing the, err, car park. Still, there’s always plenty to nosey at.

You don’t have to be a hiking pole-carrying, rucksack sporting, boot-clad rambler to enjoy this part of Tenerife. The pools are easily accessible from the main Icod de los Vinos to Santiago del Teide road and are great fun to explore just on their own and there are more than enough places to buy ice cream and fun things to do in Santiago del Teide to please the whole family.

Hike this way*
A path drops down from a dangerous bend on the main road, just north of Bar Fleytas on the Icod road, and zig-zags down to the pools. From there, any number of trails criss-cross their way, connecting smaller pools to wannabe lakes and providing reed cover for mallards and dragonflies. Just keep hold of the smallest members of the family lest they mistake bulrushes for solid ground and find themselves doing a Moses impersonation without the aid of a basket.

When the novelty of chasing rabbits and crickets wears thin, a path leads up through heather and willow trees to the ridge that overlooks Valle de Arriba and Santiago del Teide. At this point, any breath you had spare from the climb will be taken away as the gorgeous valleys unfold at your feet with the massive bulk of Mount Teide and Pico Viejo blotting out the horizon.

From here, a Red Riding Hood trail takes you through dense forest which still bears the blackened scars of the 2007 fires, along the north west ridge overlooking Los Silos before bringing you full circle to emerge once more above the Erjos Pools. Whistling the theme tune from the Archers, you descend through the green and pleasant farming land and arrive back at the pools.

Stroll this way
In the centre of Santiago del Teide is a small footbridge which looks as if it leads nowhere. In fact, it leads to a small shrine hidden in the hillside high above the village. The path is called the Camino de la Virgin de Lourdes and is marked by the white crosses (stations of the cross) that the pilgrims follow to reach the shrine. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with lovely views back over the valley and the village, and a small oasis of honeysuckle, roses and bougainvillea in which to sit and ponder the beauty of your surroundings.

Alternatively, take a stroll through the neighbouring village of Valle de Arriba where you’ll find rural Tenerife in all its simplistic glory. Agriculture is the mainstay of the village, much of it still by back-breaking bending and weeding by hand, and the fresh water spring is the centre of village life where bottles are filled and gossip exchanged. Feel free to join the queue for the free water, it tastes much better than the bottled variety and is rich in minerals.

My way

Peaks: Check out the lovely Casa Del Patio in Santiago del Teide for great food, souvenirs and a menagerie of farmyard animals or enjoy a eucalyptus-scented picnic at the zona recreativa opposite, If you’ve forgotten to pack the egg butties, the kiosk does a mean burger.

Troughs: If you’re unlucky and the bruma (low cloud) rolls in, the temperatures can plunge to uncomfortable levels and scenery can disappear.

My view: 4 Stars ““ This is one of my enduring favourite walks in an unspoilt area of Tenerife and is easily accessible by everyone. With the lovely Santiago del Teide next door, it makes for a great family day out.

*Detailed directions for this walk are available in PDF format as part of the ‘Into the Valley’ Island Walks.


Making Hay While The Sun Shines at Día de la Trilla

Sunshine and hay are two commodities they’re not short of in the hills of El Tanque where they’ve always been an integral part of community life, made all the more precious when one of those commodities was taken away from them for over 200 years.

Perched at the top of the Acantilados de La Culata, the 16th century settlement of El Tanque took its name from the large water tank which fed the farming needs of Garachico on the coast far below. A community began to grow around the tank and they worked the fertile land to produce cereals and grain which provided them with a living and a rural idyll… until the fateful 1706 eruption.

Destroying the crops of El Tanque en route to Garachico’s demise, the eruption left a trail of barren wasteland where once fields of golden corn had reflected the sun. Poverty ensued and the Tanqueros departed in their droves, immigrating to South America in search of a living. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that they returned and used their acquired wealth to reclaim the lands and recreate and preserve the traditions of their forefathers.

Today those traditions are a treasured part of everyday life in El Tanque where high summer means two things ““ thermometers are turning red and it’s time to gather in the wheat.

Día de La Trilla begins early on Friday morning when the farmers take to the fields with their traditional hand held scythes. Gathering, cutting and bundling the long straws of gold, it’s back-breaking, hot and dusty work under the relentless sun of an El Tanque summer. When the last bales of wheat have finally been transferred to the era (threshing circle), folklore bands strike up their song and the kegs are opened. Tomorrow the wheat will be threshed, but for now, it’s time to celebrate the harvest with friends and neighbours.

Now in its 16th year, Día de La Trilla attracts farmers and neighbours by the (literally) truckload to the site of the Eco Museum in the hills above the village of El Tanque to watch the wheat being threshed traditionally. As every year, it’s a hot and windy day for the fiesta and despite being damped down with hoses, the ground wants to join in the fun, sending swirling plumes of dust to parch already dry throats and colour bare feet a rusty shade of brown.

At the gate a religious painting is being raffled and a few feet further on, the same fate awaits a live pig on the back of a truck. It’s the perfect analogy for El Tanque where farming and religion go hand in hand.

First in the row of stalls is the straw hat vendor who’s doing brisk business and whose products can be seen at regular intervals sailing over the heads of horses and oxen before coming to rest in the straw or escaping into the distant hills. A handful of stallholders are selling honey, miniature carvings, musical instruments, farm implements and clothing but as tradition dictates, it’s the bar that’s doing the best business.

Beyond the era, several stalls are occupied by the Taller Empleo Recupera group who create and conserve the parks, gardens and greenery of El Tanque. Using only ecological methods to create their gardens, they’re giving away free plants to encourage and educate others to do likewise.

When the folklore groups take their bow, it’s time for the horses to take to the ring. Tethered in teams they canter through the stacked wheat, their hooves breaking the straws down as they go. Clockwise and counter clockwise they’re driven by their handler, the sweat glistening on their necks until it’s time to tag the next team and to pitchfork more bales into the circle.

When the mountains of straw are finally laid flat by the horses, it’s time to tether the oxen. Two by two the placid beasts of burden are led by the nose into the era and harnessed to a thrashing board. Adding weight to the board and claiming a mini fairground ride are hordes of local children who ride the boards as they’re pulled around the circle, breaking the wheat down to a size that’s small enough to flail and winnow.

As the sound of the children’s laughter carries on the wind, locally grown potatoes are being boiled and fish from the coast is being fried for the traditional meal that will follow the threshing and signify the end to another Día de La Trilla. Accompanied by home made saffron mojo and gofio amasado and washed down with red wine from the area’s own vineyards, it’s easy to taste why keeping their traditional farming methods alive is so important to the Tanqueros and why they’ll continue to make hay while the sun shines.


Walk this Way, Puertito de Güí­mar

Now summer is officially here and before the thermometer loses its head entirely, it’s the ideal time to explore Tenerife’s east coast. Around Puertitio de Güímar the default setting is sun and there’s very little shade to be found, but the near-constant breeze keeps everything just the right temperature for exploring the coastline.

Why this way?
For many people, the east coast of Tenerife is just a blur seen from the window as they travel along the TF1. But leave the motorway and head down towards the coast, or up into the hills and you discover a very different side to Tenerife. Less conducive to taming than its southern and western counterparts, the east has escaped over-development and there are many parts where nature still holds sway with wide, open spaces, where you can walk for hours and not meet another soul.

Hot, dry and windy, the central eastern coastline is largely what is known as malpaís (badlands); arid scrub land with desert-like conditions. To look at it from a distance, you might be forgiven for thinking that nothing grows or lives here but in fact, the malpaís is home to 150 species of flora which support 100 types of insect and 60 types of butterfly, not to mention the thriving communities of lizards that accompany your every step.

But the best reason of all for choosing Puertito de Güímar as a walking base is because of its great seafood and tapas restaurants and the little port with its stylish boardwalk where swimmers and sunbathers frolic. There can be few better places to end a hike with a swim, lunch and a beer, not necessarily in that order.

Hike this way
The clearly marked path begins just outside Puertito de Güímar and follows the coastline past a shanty town of former military installations which have been extended haphazardly using a spirit level that was clearly far more spirit than level. It should look like an eyesore, and indeed it largely does, except that there’s something compellingly ideal about its simplicity and I could easily pull up a deckchair and spend the day just idling here.

The path winds its way through clumps of pink marine thyme and bright green sea lettuce until it reaches Montaña de la Mar which should be awarded a prize for self delusion as, rising to no more than a paltry 27 metres above sea level, it barely deserves the title hillock, let alone mountain.

As the trail reaches the base of Montaña Grande the vegetation morphs into tall grasses and sweet tabaiba and everywhere, lizards scurry through the undergrowth, foraging for food. From the mountain a path leads back, zigzagging round islands filled with the fat spikes of cardón, to Puertito and that promise of a cold beer and lunch.

Stroll this way
The great thing about walking around the malpaís of Güímar is that you can set out from Puertito and just stroll along the coastal path, spotting nice pieces of driftwood and all sorts of detritus washed up by the tide.

Beyond the turn off for Montaña Grande the path continues to the tiny coastal settlement of Socorro with its beach houses and its two chapels ““ one above, one below ““ and its little beach of Chimisay where the miraculous discovery of the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands, the Virgin of Candelaria took place. For such a momentous event, you might expect there to be an ostentatious monument or two but in fact, there is just a simple cross set in a block of concrete. The ostentation is preserved for the Candelaria Basilica.

My way
Peaks: The aces in Güímar’s pack for me are the wide open emptiness of the plains and the lovely El Puertito as the start and end points. Keep an eye out for plovers and turnstones fishing amongst the rock pools.

Troughs: The scenery could get a bit monotonous if you were to walk here every day and the lack of trees and natural shade mean it’s best to avoid high summer days when the breeze drops.

My view: 2.5 Stars ““ This is an easy, pleasant walk which offers a landscape which is more akin to the Eastern Canary Islands. I particularly like the abundance of grasses around Montaña Grande, particularly in spring and early summer.


Walk this Way, Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada

The Easter Bank Holiday weekend weather was something of a disappointment for Tenerife and just for once, we enviously watched the sun soaked UK from our rain sodden island. But all that refreshment has given the earth her spring shower, the sun has returned to warm her to the core and she has responded with an explosion of colour.

This month, we leave the ‘valley deep’ of Masca and head to the “Mountain high’ of the Anagas for a truly heady, spring hiking trail from Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada.

Why this way?
Long before the Spanish conquest of Tenerife, the Anaga Mountains were populated by the indigenous Guanche population. Rich, fertile earth; abundant rainfall and deep valleys punctuated with caves provided shelter, food and grazing for the livestock rearing people. Moving their herds from valley to valley, the Guanche created a web of trails that later served as paths to market for subsistence farmers before the roads were constructed.
Today they provide a network of walking trails through this incredible landscape.

The Anaga Mountains are like nowhere else on Tenerife. Here, life goes on in much the same way it has for centuries, completely oblivious to the developments of the resorts on the rest of the island. In the little hamlet of Chinamada, the population still live in caves,- albeit ones with satellite TV and telephones ““ a convenience only accessible since the 1990s when the hamlet got its first electricity supply.

If you were to blindfold someone, take them on a trip in a helicopter and drop them in the Anaga mountains before unveiling their eyes, I reckon that never, in a million guesses would they think they were on Tenerife.

Hike this way
Using the free car park at Cruz del Carmen as the starting point, the trail sets off from the right hand side of the Cruz del Carmen restaurant and descends gradually along a red earth path through a fairytale forest where lichen hangs from the gnarled branches of trees. Emerging into the sunlight, the path meanders alongside the allotments of smallholdings on the edge of the Batán ravine, bordered with hedgerows brimming with wild flowers.

After a short stretch along a quiet mountain road where wood smoke permeates the air, steps lead off the road and down to the Las Carboneras and Chinamada path. It’s important not to lose your footing here as the views over the rolling valleys to the peak of Roque de Taborno force you to gawp endlessly at their sheer drama and beauty.

Taking the Chinamada path, the trail descends through sparse woodland until you emerge onto the ridge overlooking Chinamada where the panorama stretches to Punta Del Hidalgo on the coast and back along the rugged valleys behind you. Dropping down into the hamlet of Chinamada you’ll spot the cave houses on the brow behind the little plaza.

For those with the energy levels, the path continues all the way to Punta Del Hidalgo, taking in some of the most awesome views you can imagine. For everyone else, a detour to Las Carboneras on the way back to Cruz del Carmen completes a perfect walk.

Stroll this way.
From the car park at Cruz del Carmen a series of paths lead into the forest, one of which has recently been adapted for use by those with disabilities and which gives a total sensory experience of the forest. An easy stroll along walkways and even paths takes you to Llano de Los Loros where, provided the cloud isn’t lingering, you’ll discover spectacular views over to Santa Cruz.

My way

Peaks: To me, the Anaga Mountains feel like an ancient land, steeped in history, with a rugged beauty that has to be respected as well as admired. Cave dwellings are another bit of icing on a truly spectacular cake.

Troughs: Clouds love the Anagas and are apt to descend, and dissipate at a moment’s notice, or hang around interminably completely spoiling the views. Web cam checks and a prayer to the Anaga gods are all you can do.

My view: 5 Stars ““ Quite simply stunning.


Walk this Way, Masca

Tenerife’s most popular walk, the Barranco Del Infierno, hung up its hiking boots and closed its gates to the public 18 months ago, thus depriving the south of its most impressive walk and Tenerife of a splendid barranco (ravine). Luckily, in my opinion it wasn’t the best barranco on the island – that title belongs to Masca.

This month we stop mourning the manicured splendour of Adeje and head instead to the Jurassic jewel of Masca.

Why this way?
There’s a reason why Masca is the second most visited place on Tenerife and it’s the same reason that Teide National Park is first on that list ““ it’s quite simply breathtaking.
Few places on the planet can boast such a dramatic setting as Masca, nestling in its fertile blanket at the confluence of two gorges beneath the colossal peaks of the Teno Mountain Range.

Thanks to the daily influx of visitors, a hamlet that would otherwise have slipped under the cloak of invisibility as easier ways to make a living attracted its ageing population away from the back breaking terraces and into the tourist resorts, now offers an authentic taste of rural Tenerife. In the restaurants you can enjoy such home made delights as cactus ice cream, cactus lemonade, smoked goat’s cheeses and mojos made from every fruit growing in the village.

If you really want to have your cake and eat it, visit early in the morning, late in the afternoon or on Fridays and Sundays to avoid the majority of the tour groups and experience the solitude and tranquillity of Tenerife’s Shangri-La.

Hike this way
From a signpost in the lower village, a path descends the side of the ravine, plunging you ever deeper into the bowels of the earth and giving your thighs a sneak preview of the trials to come, until you reach the narrow path that twists and turns its way towards the sea.

Scrambling over rockfalls, constantly scanning the near horizon for white markers on rocks and small piles of stones to keep you on the right track, the terrain morphs from arid to lush as you traverse a ravine floor untouched by sunlight. Skirting crystal creeks that gently cascade over elephant grey rocks into emerald basins and trekking, Hobbit-like, along the foot of Tolkien-esque cliffs, the barranco walls grow ever taller and close in overhead as you travel deeper and deeper into this endless lost world.

Eventually, the sound of waves crashing on the rocky shore reaches your ears and after the best part of three hours you emerge, footsore and thigh weary, beneath the tamarisk trees onto Masca beach to revel in the sunlight and dip your relieved toes into the surf. For most people, this is the end of the trek as they board the little boat that takes them to Los Gigantes and a Dorada reward.
For car drivers and masochists, the trail back up Masca Barranco is not only as arduous the other way, it’s also unrelentingly uphill.

Stroll this way
Thousands of visitors descend on Masca village every day of the week and very few of them take on the Indiana Jones mantle of the barranco walk. Instead, paths wind their way through the hamlet, alongside terraces filled with fruit trees and giant agave plants to the charismatic little museum of El Lomo de Masca where you can get a glimpse of the harsh reality of farming life in this paradise before the construction of the road from Santiago del Teide to Buenavista in the 1970s which brought the outside world and tourism.

A sloping stroll to the very end of the path at the bottom of the village takes you to a circular cul-de-sac where you can sit and look back over the palm groves of the village above which the daunting bulk of Roque Tarucho looms. Guanche legend held that the rock had to be bound with a reed rope each year to prevent it from falling on the village. It’s a tradition that remains in place today and it seems to have worked…so far.

My way

Peaks: For me, there is nowhere else on Tenerife to match the Jurassic drama of Masca Barranco. It really feels as if you’re the first person to discover this incredible landscape, tucked so deeply away from the view of all those day trippers.

Troughs: The down side for me is that unless you go with a tour group or have two cars, one parked at Los Gigantes, you have to face the return trek and your thighs will be bitching at you for days afterwards.

My view: 4 Stars ““ A truly unique location which tests the nerves and soothes the senses in equal measure.