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.

A is for ANAGA MOUNTAINS

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.

B is for BARRANCO DE MASCA

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.

C is for COSTA MARTIÁNEZ

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.

D is for DOLPHINS AND WHALES

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.

F is for FREEDIVING

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.

G is for GARACHICO

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.

I is for ICOD DE LOS VINOS

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.

J is for JEEP SAFARI

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.

K is for KAYAKING

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.

L is for LORO PARQUE

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.

M is for MONKEY PARK

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.

N is for NATIONAL PARK

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.

P is for PUERTO DE LA CRUZ

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.

Q is for QUAD BIKE SAFARI

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.

R is for ROQUES DE GARCÍA

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.

T is for TERESITAS

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!

Y is for YACHT TRIP

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.

Z is for ZOO – JUNGLE PARK

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.

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A Simple and Useful Guide to Los Gigantes in Tenerife

Tenerife is definitely one of the best destinations in the world to visit and also an amazing place to live. It is such a diverse and unique island which will surprise and delight you with all the amazing things to see, do and experience. Here at Tenerife Magazine, we like to help you uncover the many incredible features of the island, rather than spending all your time at your hotel or resort. We know how tempting a week sunbathing by the pool can be, but to truly experience the real Tenerife and all it has to offer we suggest spending plenty of time exploring.

If you’re looking for amazing places to visit or to stay in and aren’t feeling particularly adventurous though (although Tenerife is perfect for exciting adventures), then you won’t go wrong with the gorgeous seaside resort town of Los Gigantes.

Location:

The town of Los Gigantes is located on the stunning south-west coast of the island which is bathed in beautiful sunshine almost all year round. Unlike other parts of the island where the weather can be a little less predictable, you will almost certainly find blue skies and the spring-like temperatures that Tenerife is world famous for. Even during winter months, you can still enjoy strolling around during the day in shorts and t-shirt and sunny days at the beach or by the pool.

The town is in the municipality of Santiago del Teide and is just a short distance from Puerto de Santiago and Playa de la Arena, two other lovely holiday resorts. It is also only around 30 kilometers away from the livelier resorts of Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos which are easy to reach by car, or the convenient and frequent direct bus route.

Acantilados de Los Gigantes

The town is named after the absolutely incredible Acantilados de Los Gigantes (“Cliffs of the Giants”) situated just north of the town. The first time you see these 500 meter high cliffs in real life you will see that they really do live up to their name.  They completely show off the immense power of nature, and we can almost guarantee you will be awestruck at their size and beauty!

The town is perfect for either a day trip to see these cliffs and the many other fantastic features, or for a longer stay of a week or more with many hotels and holiday apartments. There are also a variety of houses and apartments for rental or sale if you choose to make the town your home which we are sure you might be tempted to after a visit.

Peaceful and Exclusive Atmosphere:

Los Gigantes offers the best of both worlds: being relatively quiet and perfect for a peaceful holiday or place to live, but also still with many places to enjoy with live music acts and plenty of things to do. Unlike other parts of the island such as Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos which have a whole host of bars and nightclubs and have a livelier, loud party atmosphere, Los Gigantes, and surrounding towns are brilliant for families or couples looking for a quieter, more relaxed stay.

All of the resort’s central apartment complexes and residential area, with the exception of one multi-story hotel, are low-rise, thus blend in well with their surroundings. Because the town is naturally closed in on all sides, located within natural rocky boundaries and the Atlantic Ocean, there is little chance of it dramatically expanding in any direction and losing its peaceful atmosphere or air of exclusivity.

Main Features:

The streets of Los Gigantes are quiet, safe and narrow, with a one-way system operating throughout most of the town. Most of the time you won’t be disturbed by the constant noise of traffic driving by or masses of crowds. Instead, you will find plenty of excellent restaurants, cafes, and shops that you can enjoy at a much more relaxed pace.

The Amazing Cliffs of Los Gigantes

The main features of the town are the Marina, The Plaza, and the Avenida Maritima main street. There is also the small, clean, black-sand Los Guios beach located next to the Marina. While the beach is perfect for families with kids due to its safety, luckily it is rarely crowded.

Los Gigantes Marina:

At the Marina, you will be able to gaze out at a variety of different boats with an array of different sizes and styles, while enjoying a meal or drinks at the array of excellent bars and restaurants located there. The Marina definitely adds to the feeling of exclusivity and luxury, as you sit with friends and family gazing out the boats bobbing quietly up and down in the water.

To the right, you will be treated to the incredible cliffs rising dramatically out of the water. There are certainly few other places with such an incredible combination of natural and man-made view while you enjoy your meal or drinks. It is easy to while away many hours here in this gorgeous setting and before you will be able to witness a beautiful sunset out on the ocean horizon.

At the Marina, you can also book a variety of different excursions including jet-skiing, scuba diving, fishing trips, sea kayaking, a trip to see dolphins rent a boat and sailing trips. In addition, the taxi boat to and from Masca bay also depart from here, either to collect and bring back those who have hiked down the Barranco, or take out those who want to hike up to Masca village (both of which are amazing hiking excursions).

Los Gigantes Plaza:

This is a pretty, pedestrianized plaza based around the church. Surrounding the plaza are a variety of different bars and restaurants offering a wide variety of different types of meal to suit all tastes. Taking place at the plaza are the majority of town events including the carnival de Los Gigantes (the week after Ash Wednesday).

Recommendations:

Oasis Los Gigantes

A perfect place for a great day out in the town is at the stunning Oasis Los Gigantes leisure center. There are few places on the island that can compete with this center for its gorgeous setting and superb features. It has a beautiful infinity pool with views out to the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by verdant green grass and tall palm trees which give that added tropical feel.

If you are used to heading to your local swimming pool leisure center back home in the UK or other northern European countries, then this is a total world away. What’s more, while you relax in the pool with a huge horizon of the ocean in the distance, surrounded by an Oasis of green, there are also the stunning Los Gigantes cliffs in plain, breathtaking view.

As well as the main infinity pool, there is also a huge new slide, a separate children’s pool, a large pool bar with plenty of seating and views out to the ocean, a restaurant with a wide selection of delicious meals, tennis and bowls, and private Bali beds which can be booked for that little bit of extra luxury.

West Tenerife

If you’re looking for an action-packed excursion taking in the incredible sights of the cliffs of Los Gigantes, then you should definitely book a trip with the excellent West Tenerife jet ski excursion company. Based out of the Los Gigantes Marina, the company takes you out on a boat and then you will transfer onto one of their amazing, modern jet-skis for some super fun.

During the trip, you will literally be speeding along beside the giant Los Gigantes cliffs taking in their true splendor. From the town the cliffs are amazing but seen from a jet ski while you speed alongside them, it really is something else. It feels like some kind of fantastic dream, but the wind in your hair and the sound of the jet ski engine reminds you that it’s very real!

This isn’t only a jet ski adventure though, as later on you will meet with another boat and be taken to the Punta Tena to see the lighthouse of Teno. This is also a very interesting area and from here you will be able to snorkel in the clear water and try out the super fun underwater scooter. With this motorized scooter, you can power yourself deep under the water for a unique perspective beneath the waves. Later on, you will jet ski back to the Los Gigantes Marina and enjoy the incredible cliff views again.

As you can tell, Los Gigantes is an amazing place to visit and stay in, with plenty to do, see and experience. This is just a selection of some of the things you can enjoy in this beautiful seaside resort town and we certainly recommend checking it out yourself to experience all that the place has to offer! Make sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date with our recommendations about Los Gigantes and the island in general.

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Tenerife – An Island Road Trip 

Known as the ‘island of eternal spring’, with its mild climate all year round and green landscapes, Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. Its mountainous terrain reveals lush valleys, dramatic cliffs and moonlike rocks that are crowned by the majestic Mount Teide, an active volcano that rises 3,718 metres above sea level, making it the highest point in the whole of Spain. 

With scenery like this and pretty much guaranteed good weather, you have all the ingredients you need for the perfect road trip to explore this incredible island over a few days.  

Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes 

Puerto de Santiago on the West coast is a great starting point to take to the road, but before doing so, a visit to this town is a must for two reasons. In the south, you will find Playa de la Arena, a jet-black sandy beach with some spectacular volcanic rock formations around it.

In the north, the small seaside resort of Los Gigantes, nestled into the breathtaking cliffs of the same name, translated as The Giants. Admire these imposing 300-metre high cliffs from the Mirador de Archipenque, on the approach road to the town. 

Parque Nacional del Teide 

From Puerto de Santiago take the steep winding road up to the Parque Nacional del Teide, where there is so much to do, you can easily spend a whole day here… or even longer. The National Park consists of two huge craters separated by the Roques de García, a group of rock formations in the Las Cañadas Caldera and the most visited attraction in the island. It’s so popular, that the Roques de García were once featured on a Spanish note, before the Euro. There is a walking trail here that takes you through moonlike landscapes made up of pinnacles and ancient lava fields that have turned to rock. 

In the summer you can climb to the peak of the volcano, but it’s a gruelling 5-hour climb for hard-core hikers. But don’t despair. You can still access the summit by taking the cable car. Just make sure you are prepared for the cold. No matter how hot it is at sea level, the drop in temperature at the top tends to catch people by surprise. 

If you are thinking of climbing to the peak, you will need to apply for a permit in advanced. This can be done online (https://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es/real/parquesnac/usu/html/detalle-actividad-oapn.aspx?cen=2&act=1) and it’s free and pretty much instant. 

 Within the National Park, you can also visit the Teide Observatory, one of the major international astronomical observatories, on some days of the week. You will need to book in advance and confirm opening days. 

Masca 

If you have spent a whole day on top of Mount Teide and the national park, head north to Masca the next day. Masca is a little village perched on top of a lush outcrop surrounded by rocky cliffs. Anyone who sees a photo of Masca could be forgiven for thinking it is located somewhere in Hawaii.  

The drive to the village skirts around the cliffs and it’s both terrifying and exhilarating, and it’s definitely worth doing. 

If you do have time, it is possible to walk down the gorge from the village and come back. It’s a very tough trek, but you will feel like you’re within the set of Jurassic Park and you almost expect a dinosaur to appear around the corner. One thing you will see is lots of bats, who live in the caves on the rock face. 

 If you plan to do this walk, remember that you will have to come back up, so start very early in the day to avoid getting caught out in the ravine in the dark. I cut it a little bit fine and it was slightly unnerving, as you are completely cut off from the world. But don’t let this put you off. It was one of the most spectacular treks I have ever done and it’s one of my best memories of Tenerife. 

 For those using public transport, there is the possibility of getting a water taxi from the shore when you get to the bottom of the gorge, but check what time the last one is as you don’t want to be left stranded there. 

Garachico 

Garachico is not only a town that sounds cute, but it also looks cute. It is one of the most picturesque towns in Tenerife, but it is also said to be the unluckiest. Legend has it that a monk who was expelled from the town put a curse on it and the next day Garachico was destroyed by an eruption. The eruption part of the legend, however, is real.

It is now a sleepy town with a traditional Spanish charm. It is set at sea level but due to the eruption, there is no longer a beach. There are, however, numerous natural pools formed by the volcanic rocks. A lovely place to sunbathe and relax, as long as the sea is not too rough. 

Icod de los Vinos 

Up the hill from Garachico is Icod de los Vinos, famous for being the home of a very old tree. But this is not just any tree, it’s a Millenary Dragon Tree that has become the symbol of the town. A visit to this umbrella-shaped tree is a must, as is a walk through the shady cobbled streets and beautiful squares.

You can also visit a volcanic cave here, Cueva del Viento, more than 11 miles long and thought to be the largest in the world.

If after this you still have some time in your hands, head back to Los Gigantes for sunset, one of the best spots in the island to relax at the end of the day. 

 Text and Photographs by Teresa Gomez  

Travel Blogger @ http://broganabroad.com   

Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest: @broganabroad 

Facebook: http://fb.me/broganabroad  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Los Gigantes is a Great Place to Visit

Most visitors to Tenerife tend to stay in the popular Costa Adeje area in South Tenerife and hence many get the image that Tenerife is basically a destination for UK folks looking for the next “All-You-Can-Drink Sangría Party.” Well, let me show you a different side to Tenerife: Los Gigantes.

Los Gigantes is located at the far west of Tenerife island and it is not only a perfect day-trip from Costa Adeje, but also the perfect place to spend your entire Tenerife holidays. After living for several months in Tenerife, namely in the Los Gigantes area and exploring the island as much as possible, I want to share with you my love for this particular area and why it is a great place to visit.

Los Gigantes (“The Giants”) area, located at the west coast, got its extraordinary name from the enormous, giant rock formations that shape the landscape of the area. The cliffs of Los Gigantes reach up to 800m height and are considered to be some of the highest in Europe. The towns located in the Los Gigantes area are Puerto de Santiago, Playa de la Arena and Los Gigantes village with its marina.

So what makes the Los Gigantes area so adorable? For me, besides its breath-taking natural setting, it was particularly the fact that it has maintained the traditional Canarian character of a village despite being a coveted resort town. This means that you still can do your grocery shopping together with the locals and experience old Canarian traditions. Even though there are several supermarkets, you can still find cute little shops. My favourite one was the fruit shop in Puerto de Santiago where you only get local, seasonal fruits like mangos, avocados, oranges etc.

Village life in Puerto de Santiago, once a small fishing village, is characterized by its numerous religious and traditional festivities like the processions, a folklore dance festival or the “romería”. Those festivals are the perfect opportunity for tourists and locals to mingle.

Food & Beaches

Exquisite restaurants also played a major role in my growing love for the Los Gigantes area. The price-performance ratio is optimal because you only get the freshest seafood, but at lower prices than in the Costa Adeje area. On top of this you get to enjoy the best views across to the neighbouring island La Gomera. I spent some of the my best moments at a terrace in Los Gigantes watching the sunset behind La Gomera enjoying a glass of local wine and some gambas. The most prominent restaurants in the area are Fisherman’s Inn, La Pergola and Los Corales.

What is a town in Tenerife without its beaches?

Well, the Los Gigantes area has plenty! Most are of black sand and have a lovely view of La Gomera. There is Playa de la Arena, Playa Chica, the natural swimming pools in Puerto de Santiago, and Playa de los Guios next to the marina of Los Gigantes. Although it has a stunning view of the cliffs, it is occasionally polluted due to its location next to the marina, but nonetheless remains highly impressive. These beaches are especially suited for families since they are quieter and less crowded than the beaches of Costa Adeje.

Activities

Another big plus of Los Gigantes is its large range of activities for families and adventure lovers. Several whale-watching and catamaran tours depart from the marina of Los Gigantes. The more adventurous among you can do jet-skiing. In case you fancy visiting Masca village and doing its legendary hike through the incredible gorge down to Masca beach, then Los Gigantes is the best place to stay due to its proximity. Masca village is only a 30-min drive away and many taxis in Los Gigantes offer this service.

I hope I was able to show you the beauty and fascinating character of the Los Gigantes area. With its breath-taking rock formations and its fishing village charm, it’s definitely a must-visit of every Tenerife holiday.

 

Paulina on the road

www.paulinaontheroad.com

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Finding Shopping Paradise in Icod de Los Vinos

Ask your average visitor to Tenerife or ex-pat resident what they know about Icod de los Vinos and they’ll tell you it’s the home of the Millenium Drago Tree. Those more familiar with the area might well add that it has the picturesque cove and tranquil beach of San Marcos. But ask a Canario what they know about Icod de los Vinos and they’ll tell you it’s the best place on Tenerife for shopping.

With the Three Kings safely returned to the East and shopkeepers all over the island taking a red marker pen to their price labels, Tenerife Magazine heads off to the picturesque town of Icod de los Vinos to find out why Tinerfeños believe there’s a whole lot more to Icod than just a drago tree.

Shopping in Icod de los Vinos
Strolling down the busy pavement of Calle Key Muñoz in Icod de los Vinos, my eye is drawn by a sign which tells me I can buy clothes imported from Miami and New York from just €9.95. Popping inside, my fingers are itching to reach for the credit card as tailored dresses and skirts, so different from the usual, mass produced merchandise that fills the racks of major chain stores, yearn to be tried on.

My shopping senses awakened, I decide to take a look down Calle San Sebastián where I”M stopped in my tracks by the sight of exquisitely tailored Italian imported dresses wearing the sort of price label they would presumably not be seen dead in, were they still to be in Italy. Further investigation reveals an entire shop dedicated to French and Italian couture at prices that were eyebrow raising before the sales and are now just too good to ignore.

The trouble with buying fashionable little Italian numbers is that you simply have to have shoes and a handbag to match, and naturally some new earrings, maybe a necklace…

To those in the know, Icod de los Vinos is the place to come when you want to refresh your wardrobe, step into this season’s shoes, stock up on some fine wines or find the perfect gift for special occasions without busting the budget. In other words, Icod is a shopper’s paradise.

One of the oldest settlements on Tenerife, after the conquest Icod was quickly recognised for its fertile valleys. From 1496 sugar plantations were planted across the area attracting wealth and settlers to make it their home. But in the 17th century the sugar trade collapsed and the first vines that came to lend their names to the area were planted. Today the municipality of Icod de los Vinos produces excellent wines, predominantly cultivating the listan grape variety, under the Ycoden-Daute-Isora denomination label where, across eight municipalities, almost a million kilos of grapes are processed.

The wealth generated by the wine industry distilled a culture of commercialism in Icod de los Vinos which is evident in the 200 or more shops that make up one of the oldest shopping centres on Tenerife. Beneath the benign gaze of Mount Teide and the traditional balconies, family businesses have thrived here for decades. Keeping their prices low and their stock constantly changing, the shopkeepers of Icod aim to ensure their customers will return and, judging by the crowds who are enjoying the winter sunshine as they gather carrier bags by the armful, it’s a strategy that’s working.

Time for Tea
Having toured the main shopping streets of San Agustá­n, San Sebastián, Key Muñoz, Infanta Isabel and De la Cruz, it’s time for a sit down and a nice cup of tea. Turning the corner onto Calle San Sebastián at the Town Hall, I spot tables and chairs outside a quaint little tea shop and spotting the sign on the window, I have to do a double take as the words ‘rosy Lee’ jump out at me. Inside, Rosy Lee looks for all the world like Miss Marple might be sitting in the window with a pot of tea and a fairy cake, musing on her latest murder mystery.

Flower wallpaper and wooden shelves stacked with Twinings tea and pots of relish form the backdrop to elegant tables on which China cups, antique tea pots and dainty milk jugs sit. Ordering a pot of breakfast tea, I notice English cake trays with home made cream buns and the display cabinet which is filled with scrumptious looking cakes, its counter adorned with rows of marzipan mice and pastel coloured fairy cakes.

“Are you British?” I ask the owner, Nátalie Delgado, as she places my pot of tea before me.
“No. I was born in Puerto de la Cruz,” she replies in an accent that would have you swear in court that she was born and bred somewhere south of Bristol. “But I spent 10 years working in England and I have a lot of English friends who constantly pick me up on my accent.”
All I can say is, Nátalie didn’t just learn how to speak like a native while she was in England, she perfected the art of making a grand cup of tea too.

Malvasía Wine
Sated of shopping for the day, I head back to the car and find myself looking into the doorway of the Museo de Malvasí­a where the walls are covered with framed quotations from Shakespeare, Keats, Ben Johnson and Herman Melville and the shelves are filled with the subject of those quotations Malvasí­a wine, the Canary Islands” most famous tipple.

Housed in one of the beautiful, historic houses that line Plaza de la Pila, the Museo is a mine of information on the historic grape and its famous advocates. Stocking a wide selection of malvasia wines from across the Canary Islands, the museum also offers wine tastings so you can try before you buy. It’s all the excuse I need to indulge in a little more quality assurance of the products on offer in Icod de los Vinos.

“Oh Knight, thou lackest a cup of canary; when did I see thee so put down?” asked Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.

Quite right, Sir Toby, it will never do. Adding a bottle of the Bard’s favourite tipple to the day’s haul, I bid adios to Icod…until next time.

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Which Travel Companies Tell the Truth About Tenerife’s Resorts?

We all know that travel companies” descriptions of holiday destinations have long been known for being creative. However, the internet revolution over the last few years has resulted in more accurate information about holiday resorts than ever being freely available to the man, and woman, in the street forcing travel websites to ‘up their game’ in terms of how they describe holiday locations to their clients.

But bad habits can be difficult to break. We thought that for the second of our consumer reports it might be interesting and fun to compare a selection of descriptions of resorts on Tenerife by some of the UK’s top travel names to see how well they compare with reality.

The results caused a few raised eyebrows and a lot of laughs as well as teaching us a few things we didn’t know such as Playa de la Arena being in the north of the island, Loro Parque is near Playa Paraiso and there are regular boat trips from Puerto de la Cruz to the neighbouring islands.

So which travel companies came out of our research with credibility intact by providing descriptions that at least had some semblance of accuracy?

Travel Companies” Descriptions of Playa Paraiso
Having once seen purpose built Playa Paraiso described as a quaint fishing village, we thought it would serve as a good model to test various online descriptions.

Hats off to Thomsons who wrote ‘Calling it Playa Paraiso was a bit cheeky, cause the beach really isn’t much ““ a small rocky patch of coast”.

First Choice started well with this – ‘small and low-key, Playa Paraiso is a quiet place to spend your holiday, with a little sandy beach, a salt-water lido, hotel-based entertainment and just a handful of bars and restaurants for relaxing evenings.”
But they went on to stretch reality by describing it as a ‘developing resort” – presumably because of the amount of unfinished building work in the area.

Lowcostholidays pushed the poetic licence by describing Playa Paraiso as follows “With the handful of shops, quiet bars and international restaurants, Playa Paraiso holidays provide all you need for a chilled out holiday in the sunshine.” And then nose-dived by saying Loro Parque was ‘nearby’. That would be nearby if you used a helicopter as it’s located on the other side of the island.

EasyJet played it clever by saying “playa Paraiso provides a tranquil getaway by the sea, but is not far from busier resorts if you’d like a vibrant day, or night, out.” which isn’t inaccurate. They strained credibility to the limits by describing it as ‘one of Tenerife’s hidden gems.”

Worst of all though was Thomas Cook who laid it on a bit thick with “playa Paraiso is not huge on ancient history and museums but, in an island where natural beauty is far more impressive than any historical monuments, this resort has got the balance absolutely right.” And then committed copywritten suicide by including the Calblanque nature reserve and Salinas salt flats as nearby attractions. Both of these are located in Murcia in mainland Spain…ouch.

Compare these with online travel agency Sunshine’s Tenerife site which states ‘I don’t wish to be cruel but for a place whose name means “paradise Beach’ there’s no natural beach and it isn’t exactly my idea of paradise.” (Confession time – TM writer Andrea and myself wrote their descriptions so we’re biased, but they did ask for a warts and all and we can vouch for their descriptions being accurate.)

The results of our research suggested that travel companies had improved generally but were still inclined to be too generously creative with their descriptions. Many were also too SEO (search engine optimisation) heavy which often made descriptions clumsy in a bid to get in key phrases like ‘holidays to Tenerife’.

The biggest crime committed by most travel companies was that there were too many errors resulting in misleading information about Tenerife resorts that could lead to serious disappointment for their clients.

Here’s a selection of some of our favourites.

Thomsons described Playa de las Teresitas and Las Gaviotas as being nearby Puerto de la Cruz. Both are about 40 kilometres away.

First Choice wrote that Playa de la Arena is in the north of Tenerife and that Costa Adeje had fabulous views of Mount Teide…maybe if you were able to take a hot air balloon ride from the resort.

Lowcostholidays described Santa Ursula as a beach holiday location (anyone who believed that one is in for a serious shock).

Thomas Cook, winner of the biggest howler award due to the Murcia/Tenerife mix up, didn’t help their credibility much by describing Los Gigantes as having ‘a brace of inviting restaurants” ““ presumably all the other restaurants in the resort are uninviting.

EasyJet came out overall winners of getting it wrong by rolling out a load of statements that just defied belief. According to their website Puerto de la Cruz has golden sand beaches; you can take boats trips from Puerto de la Cruz to the other islands; there are ‘bushy paths, forested hills and extensive lowlands to explore when on holiday in Costa del Silencio’; You can visit the Palmetum in Santa Cruz (doesn’t exist) and Santa Cruz is also unusual because of the ‘streams, waterfalls and ponds to be seen around the city’. That would certainly be unusual if it were true.

Overall on the hit and miss evidence we saw our advice is to book your Tenerife holiday with the company that gives you the best deal…but do your research elsewhere online.

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Top Ten Picturesque Towns on Tenerife

As it’s a mere 500 years or so since the conquest of Tenerife, the island doesn’t boast the sort of architecture or sense of history found in those magical medieval towns in mainland Spain. But neither is it only made up of modern, purpose-built tourist resorts younger than a good majority of the people who drink from their pleasure fountains (that’s bars just in case I was being too flowery).

There are plenty of towns across the island that boast picturesque quarters and charming old streets filled with lovely examples of colonial architecture. These are ten of the most picturesque to be found on Tenerife.

Garachico
Tenerife’s unluckiest town (volcanic eruption, plagues, floods…) is also possibly its prettiest. The area around the Plaza de la Libertad is especially photogenic and the bandstand kiosk is ideal for soaking up the scenery ““ as well as a cerveza.

La Orotava
A town of two halves; one bustling and functional, the other filled with elegant town houses, exquisite gardens and grand churches. The town’s hidden courtyards are filled with surprises including peacocks, the Tin Man and effeminate Guanches.

La Laguna
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Laguna’s old quarter looks as delicious after dark as it does during daylight hours. This is the place to come for churches, museums, art exhibitions and… salt cod, found piled high in the farmers” market.

Masca
Any list of picturesque towns on Tenerife has to include the sensational scenery of Masca. Some call it Tenerife’s Shangri-La, others Tenerife’s Machu Picchu. I call it murder on the thighs after you’ve walked the Masca Barranco and back.

Vilaflor
Spain’s highest village has a ‘fresh as the morning dew’, alpine-esque atmosphere which is aided and abetted by the fact that it’s located in the middle of the pine forest. It’s a peach of a location until low cloud rolls through the streets turning it into Silent Hill.

Santiago del Teide
Apart from the Señorio del Valle Visitors” Centre and the church there aren’t really any attractive old buildings, yet Santiago del Teide has an unmistakeable charm. It even gets away with having a cheesy horse outside one of its restaurants.

Icod de los Vinos
Most people think only of the Millennium Drago when thinking of Icod, but head upwards and away from the tree and there are some lovely old parts to be explored, and there’s another drago. These are mostly overlooked by visitors as to explore them requires negotiation of streets so steep that if you lean back you’ll topple over.

Arico Nuevo
The secret gem of the south (-ish) of Tenerife. A sweet and immaculate little village of higgledy-piggledy architecture where you’re as likely to meet a praying mantis as another tourist. Walking around it can feel as though you’re trespassing on private property.


Los Silos
This bohemian little town near Garachico is home to a fairy-tale church and a storytelling festival. The streets are too narrow for excursion coaches, so it remains a hidden treat for independent explorers.

Buenavista del Norte
Another pick in the north west of Tenerife. It’s no coincidence that the furthest places from the airports have remained relatively undeveloped and therefore retained more olde Tenerife charm; you’ll still occasionally see caballeros tether their horses outside bars here. Apart from its pretty plaza there’s a picnic zone hidden in a ravine in the centre of the town ““ a perfect place for pigging out on sinful goodies from the town’s chocolate factory.

Although these are my pick of Tenerife’s picturesque towns there are quite a few other locations that could easily have made the list. Feel free to add your own favourites.

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Destination Costa Brava

This month Tenerife Magazine launches a new series of travel guides featuring destinations that can be easily reached from Tenerife. To begin we’ve turned the spotlight on a region of Spain that many people might think they know, Costa Brava.

Tenerife Magazine’s Guide to Costa Brava

In the far north-east corner of Spain, Costa Brava is separated from France by the Pyrenees whilst its 158 kilometres of coastline is lapped by the Mediterranean. These factors lend it a personality that is quite different from other regions of Spain. The language spoken is Catalan which, even for people who can speak Castilian, can mean that menus might as well be written in a foreign language…if you know what I mean. Where the language can confuse, the scenery enchants. The coast is classic Mediterranean with sigh-inducing cove after cove of azure waters lapping beaches backed by scented pines. Inland, rolling hills surround perfectly preserved medieval towns and villages.
As for the food, this is the region where Michelin stars are positively commonplace and the cuisine is so good that it could curl a surrealist artist’s moustache.

Whether sun-seeker, nature lover, gastronome or cultural junkie Costa Brava has surprises galore that will thrill and delight new visitors.

Costa Brava for Sun Seekers
For a traditional sun and fun holiday we’d recommend either Roses or Lloret de Mar. Both have lovely long beaches and plenty of bars and restaurants. In Roses, the most interesting of these are located in the street behind the promenade. Lloret de Mar is probably the livelier of the two, especially in summer when young Spanish descend in their droves. Apparently Belgians consider it a party town.
Where to Stay in Roses and Lloret de Mar
The four star Hotel Terraza Spa in Roses is right on the beach front and is perfect for exploring the centre of town.
In Lloret de Mar, the five star Guitart Monterray is a short distance from the beach and the centre of town and has a casino straight out of Las Vegas.
Where to Eat in Roses and Lloret de Mar
Tramonti on the sea front in Roses serves the best pizzas in Spain – it’s got plenty of awards to back that claim up. Carmen’s in Lloret del Mar is a stylish bar with a dining area in the rear serving excellent traditional Catalonian cuisine.
What to do in Roses and Lloret de Mar
A trip to the serene and sublime Santa Clotilde Gardens is a must in Lloret del Mar. In Roses the Roses Express is cheesy fun. This 4×4 tourist train passes some hidden beauty spots on its way to captivating Cadaqués including the bay that’s home to the world famous El Bulli restaurant.



Costa Brava for Nature Lovers

There are any number of places to stay on and away from the coast which provide picturesque solitude, but two favourites are Santa Pau and Fornells.
Fornells is characterised by a Mediterranean coastline consisting of unbelievably beautiful coves and lush pine forests whilst Santa Pau is an absolute delight of an historic village dating from the 13th century with atmospheric old buildings erected around a plaza and castle.
Where to Stay in Fornells and Santa Pau
Hotel Aigua Blava at Platja Fornells not only occupies a location that, once seen you’ll never want to leave, it is also one of the friendliest family run hotels you’ll come across. Hotel Cal Sastre in Santa Pau is an eclectic treasure full of witty touches. The room reached from the narrow stairs leading from the bar is particularly appealing.
Where to Eat in Fornells and Santa Pau
In Fornells you won’t want to leave the hotel…and you don’t have to because the food in its restaurant matches everything else about the place ““ exquisite. Like Aigua Blava, the Cal Sastre restaurant is owned by the same family who own the hotel and its photogenic position, beneath old stone arches opposite the plaza, is also matched by divinely tasting local fare.
What to do in Fornells and Santa Pau
Enjoy nature in all its glory. In Fornells explore paths that stretch all the way along the coast before cooling off with a swim in crystal waters that demand your presence. The volcanic landscape around Santa Pau may not impress anyone used to Teide National Park on Tenerife…unless viewing it from a basket under a hot air balloon.

And in bite-sized chunks…

Costa Brava for City Slickers
Girona is an underrated city with a beautiful old quarter (Barri Vell) overlooking the river; it’s more charming and safer than Barcelona…so the locals tell me.

Costa Brava for Culture
The Dalí Theatre-Museum, dedicated to Costa Brava’s most famous son, in Figueres is as delightfully potty as you’d hope and a rich roller-coaster ride of a cultural hit; add on a visit to the genius’s house at Portlligat for an enriching Salvador Dalí experience.

Costa Brava for Adventure

Empuriabrava is a town whose streets of mainly canals are best viewed from the cockpit of a tiny Cessna four seater plane or, for the ultimate in getting a bird’s eye view of the scenery, whilst skydiving from 14000 feet about Terra Firma.

How to get to Costa Brava from Tenerife
There are no direct flights from Tenerife’s airports to Girona airport, so the easiest way is to catch a flight to Barcelona from Tenerife North (From €35 one way) and then a bus from Barcelona to Costa Brava (not much different from catching a bus from Tenerife south to Puerto de la Cruz).

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Resort Report, Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz Overview
Banana plants, palm trees, laurel, bougainvillea, frangipani, hibiscus… like Alice in Wonderland after a swig of the ‘Drink Me’ bottle, they all grow at an alarming rate in Puerto de la Cruz giving it a lush, tropical identity that separates it from the south of Tenerife by more than just distance.

Resolutely Canarian in character, Puerto de la Cruz was Tenerife’s first tourist resort and original destination of those wealthy and adventurous enough to visit the Canary Islands back in the 1960s and early 1970s. But when the south airport opened its runway and package holidays came within the financial reach of a vast untapped market, millions of Brits headed south for the holy grail of a guaranteed suntan.

On its little promontory at the foot of the La Orotava Valley, Puerto gets the best of the north’s sunshine and just enough rainfall to keep it as green as the bananas that surround it.

Beaches in Puerto de la Cruz
The town’s main beach of Playa Jardín is a beautiful, black sand beach backed by extensive landscaped gardens designed by César Manrique. The beach shelves steeply into the Atlantic rollers which for much of the year make swimming an extreme sport and a no-no for everyone but the jackass addicts. To compensate, the swimming and sunbathing paradise of Lago Martiánez has tropical gardens, oodles of sunbathing terraces, restaurants, kiosks, seven swimming pools and a vast lake beneath which the town’s Casino is located.

Where to Stay in Puerto de la Cruz
Pamper Yourself ““ Hotel Botanico (5*). Everything about this hotel says “quality, luxury and attention to detail’. From its three a la carte restaurants to its Oriental Spa, the experience is unbridled indulgence of the mind, body and senses.
(0034) 922 381 400; www.hotelbotanico.com; double room with breakfast from €190

In the Thick of it ““ Hotel Monopol (3*). One of Tenerife’s oldest hotels situated in the heart of the town whose lobby is a balconied Canarian courtyard which is simply stunning. Try for one of the 15 rooms overlooking Plaza de la Iglesia.
(0034) 922 384 611; www.monopoltf.com; double room with balcony from €63 per night



Restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz

Special OccasionMil Sabores (C/Cruz Verde, 5; (+34) 922 36 81 72, closed Wednesday): A foodie’s nirvana where the menu is so mouth-watering it could provoke a Meg Ryan, “˜When Harry met Sally’ reaction.
Going Local – Always packed with locals, Tasquita de Min (Mesquinez; (+34) 922 37 18 34; closed Monday) beside the harbour, serves fish and seafood dishes as fresh as an Italian waiter. Their vieja (parrot fish) has to be one of the tastiest fish you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
Family Friendly El Pomodoro (Punta del Viento; (+34) 922 38 13 28) overlooking Atlantic rollers which crash below the restaurant’s open arches, has a menu which will appeal to all the family – pastas, steaks and pizzas.
Meat Free – Barcelona and Madrid comes to Puerto in the guise of El Maná (C/Mesquinez, 23 (+34) 922 36 85 23; closed Monday) a modern, organic restaurant. Opt for the degustación and discover that mana doesn’t really come from heaven but from the restaurant’s chef/owner.

Nightlife in Puerto de la Cruz
For night owls and savvy visitors, bar hopping in Puerto begins after midnight. Get in the mood with some cool cocktails at Elements in the Ranilla District or Colour Café overlooking Plaza Charco until the midnight hour has well and truly bid adieu. Then head to Limbo Bar on Calle Blanco to take in the night air and busy atmosphere before moving over the road to the uber cool Blanco Bar for some excellent live bands. Just when you think you might hear the sandman calling, notch up the adrenalin to Cuban volume at loud and sultry Azucar where you won’t hear his whispers until way into the early hours.

The Puerto de la Cruz WOW factor
There’s a reason why visitors have been coming to Loro Parque in their droves for so many years. From acrobatic dolphins and performing sea lions to parrots on bicycles and penguins on ice, the breathtaking moments arrive thick and fast.

Who would like Puerto de la Cruz?
This is the resort for anyone who wants to experience Canarian culture, cuisine and hospitality in a stunningly beautiful setting. Popular with more mature British and German visitors during the winter months and buzzing with Spanish mainlanders during the summer.

Star Ratings
Accommodation: 3 stars ““ Puerto simply doesn’t match the accommodation choices of Playa de Las Américas and Costa Adeje.
Restaurants: 5 stars ““ Around 200, including a few truly excellent, restaurants to choose from with predominantly Canarian menus but a wide choice of International cuisine.
Beaches: 4 stars ““ Black sand beauty and the iconic Lago Martiánez provide perfect settings without regimented sun loungers.
Nightlife: 4 stars ““ If you’re looking for tribute bands, cabaret and karaoke, you’ll be disappointed.

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Tenerife Resort Report, Los Cristianos

Los Cristianos Overview
Located a mere fifteen minute’s drive from Tenerife’s south airport, there’s hardly time for visitors to ditch the woolly jumpers for skimpy T-shirts before arriving in the centre of Los Cristianos. Some cruel souls have dubbed the resort Los Crustianos because it’s favoured by mature northern European visitors, but that doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the town’s personality.

Just over fifty years ago Los Cristianos was still a small fishing village, then a Swedish broadcaster suffering from MS found its climate had curative effects, shared his discovery with the world and the rest, as they say, is history. Nowadays the resort has grown into a thriving holiday destination. Although it has been outgrown by it’s newer neighbours, Los Cristianos has one quality that Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje don’t; it’s still a Canarian town at heart.

Beaches in Los Cristianos
Many consider the expanse of golden sand, aka Playa de las Vistas, as one of Tenerife’s best beaches. It has all the usual facilities (sunbeds, parasols, toilets, showers etc) and also boasts an area for people with mobility problems. Playa de Los Cristianos in the centre of town is smaller but good for watching the boats coming in…and going out again. For more natural surroundings Playa Callao at the southern end of the resort is ideal for letting it all hang out.

Where to Stay in Los Cristianos
In the Thick of it ““ Hotel Reverón Plaza (4*) Not only central but has bags of individualistic style, elegance and charm. This is a hotel with character that harks back to the golden age of travel.
(0034) 922 757120; www.hotelesreveron.com; double room and breakfast from €100 per night)
The Quiet Life ““ Arona Gran Hotel (4*). Set at the southern end of the bay, the Arona Gran offers luxury, style and tranquillity from the moment you step into its cavernous lobby dripping with foliage.
(0034) 922 750 678; www.springhoteles.com; double room with breakfast from €172 per night)



Restaurants in Los Cristianos
Special Occasion – The eponymous Alain of Le Bistrot D’Alain (C/Del Valle Menéndez, 23; (+34) 922 752 336; closed Monday) performs magic as a culinary cupid, combining herbs and sauces with unlikely partners and creating matches (quail and pear, chicken liver with honey and apple) made in gourmet heaven; A delicious slice of France in Tenerife.
Going Local – Mix it with the locals at La Tasca de Mi Abuelo (CC San Marino; (+34) 922 794 466; closed Monday). A wonderful tapas menu includes mushrooms wrapped in Serrano ham. You might even get treated to some live music courtesy of the owner”¦if he’s had enough to drink.
Fish ““ Simply El Cine; somewhat of an institution and basic, cheap and fresh. (C/Juan Bariajo, 8; (+34) 609 10 77 58; closed Monday)
Meat Free – The Olive Garden (El Carmel, 5 (+34) 922 791 115) has an international range of choices whether you’re vegetarian or not. The choice on the veggie menu rivals that of their meat and seafood dishes. Now that’s rare and well done at the same time.



Nightlife in Los Cristianos

Heard that nightlife in Los Cristianos shuts down at midnight? Wrong. Whilst the bars aimed at visitors do tend to wind down around midnight, those at San Telmo aimed at the resident Spanish population don’t liven up till then. Check out the area at 2am on a Sunday morning and you’ll see what we mean. Our Bar Hopping in Los Cristianos article has some suggestions for bars with live entertainment whilst lively, cosy bars like Grouchos and Mestizo and a few others are ideal gin joints for a more bohemian scene.

The Los Cristianos WOW factor
With a bustling port on the doorstep, this is the place for sea going trips and to take advantage of the opportunity to explore La Gomera, La Palma & El Hierro. Los Cristianos also has one of the best carnivals in the south of Tenerife (Feb/March) ““ a good time for cross dressers and party animals to visit.

Who’d Like Los Cristianos?

Despite having a relatively youthful Canarian scene, Los Cristianos isn’t really the best choice for younger visitors or families. The tranquil pace of life here suits people looking for a resort that has plenty of bars and restaurants but isn’t too lively. With it’s aim to be a barrier free paradise, it’s also the best resort on Tenerife for visitors with mobility problems.



Tenerife Magazine’s 5 Star Ratings

Accommodation: 3 stars – Not as many quality hotels as you might expect in a resort of this size.
Restaurants: 4 stars ““ A good balance between international cuisine and Canarian.
Beaches: 5 Stars – You’ve got stunning Las Vistas and the town beach bustling for those who like their beaches a bit manicured and Playa Callao for those who don’t.
Nightlife: 3 stars – There are a good choice of diverse bars, but they are spread all over the place.

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