Top 5 Romantic Places in Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Following on from my post ‘Top 5 Romantic Places in Puerto de la Cruz’ is my second Valentine’s Day special article. This time focusing on the area of Costa Adeje in the south of Tenerife.


This is a fantastic hotel, where you can relax in beautiful surroundings overlooking the sea. You can spend your romantic holiday sipping cocktails by the pool with your loved one, while enjoying the peace and quiet, and stunning views of this fantastic location.

All rooms are great, but to make your trip just that little more special pick the deluxe suite, which has a huge private terrace with spectacular sea views. You will also find a bedroom with a huge Sheraton Signature bed, a separate living area, and a bathroom with a shower and a bath.

The food is heavenly, and with four restaurants to choose from you will be spoilt for choice. I believe the La Venta Restaurant is the most romantic. The menu is Spanish gastronomy and has some delicious fish and meat options. All is served to you by the welcoming and professional staff. You couldn’t choose a better hotel for romance in Costa Adeje.


The Bahia Del Duque Spa is pure luxury, set in a serene location. From the warm welcome and excellent service to the hydrotherapy circuit, aromatherapy facials, and seawater Jacuzzi’s and pool, you will feel pampered and relaxed like never before. Afterwards you can spend some time in the relaxation area enjoying complimentary chocolates and coffee pastries.

Photo Credit: Bahia del Duque

For a romantic visit how about enjoying an exclusive private spa suite with relaxation area, treatment area, Turkish bath, hydrotherapy bath, and a private terrace. This spa is one of the finest in Tenerife, and it certainly shows. Your better half will thank you for a visit here!


Restaurante Sebastian is a hidden treasure in a very touristy area. Don’t let this put you off, as you are in for an amazing dinner experience, with great service in a relaxed atmosphere. The authentic Spanish food will melt in your mouth, and I highly recommend the warm tapas menu and the half roast duck with the orange and Marnier sauce, both of which are delicious!

The wine is high quality, and the Cava is excellent! For a romantic meal, this great restaurant will be hard to beat. It can get quite busy so it’s a good idea to book your table in advance.


How can a water park possibly be romantic? Well in Siam Park it can be! Here you can rent a private VIP cabana equipped with a private terrace with shower, sunbeds, towels, sofa, TV, and a free minibar with soft drinks, beer, and snacks. Also included in the rental price (per cabana by the way, not per person), is entrance to the park, fast passes to the attractions, and floats.

The all-inclusive service includes soft drinks, beer, wine, water, ice creams and food at the Beach Bar, Beach Club, Thai Bar and Thai House.

You have a huge choice of superb water slides, 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.

A day here together with your loved one, would certainly be a romantic fun day!


The Kaluna Beach Club is a wonderful place to come during the day, but at sunset, with the reflections from the last rays of light, it is stunning. The club is beautifully decorated and plays good music which helps create a great atmosphere. There is a heated pool, which is a great place to cool down in. You can also pay €50 euros for a bed or €100 for a VIP bed by the pool or overlooking the ocean. You receive the money back in the form of food and drinks. The cocktails are very tasty and served quickly by friendly smiling staff.

Photo Credit: Kaluna Beach Club

This club has an excellent view over the beach, and I can’t think of anything more romantic than sipping some champagne with your partner while watching the sun disappear slowly below the horizon. What a beautiful place to propose!

Post by Lynne Knightley

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La Vendimia Restaurant, Imaginatively Tasteful

The woman waved her hands to attract our attention.

“Are you going to eat at La Vendimia?” She asked.

“Just on our way now,” I replied.

“Wonderful,” she smiled. “I’ve just finished dining there and the food was fabulous. You’ve got to try the mussels…they’re huge.”

La Vendimia’s setting in the Hotel Spa Villalba in Vilaflor on the edge of the pines is perfect for a romantic culinary liaison. As dusk fell and the sky turned velvet, the patio lights on the restaurant’s terrace lit up the enchanting forest outside.

Inside, a soft colour scheme of oatmeal and beige contrasting with dark wood furnishings creates a tasteful, gentle atmosphere. Scenes of traditional country life on the walls and freshly cut flowers on each table serve as reminders of La Vendimia’s rural setting. A few tables were occupied by couples of varying ages, all of whom seemed to be enjoying the romantic ambience.

The seductive scene was set. A hike around the streets of Vilaflor had built up a bit of an appetite and so I was chomping at the bit to see whether the menu had the charm to romance my tastebuds.

The Main Attraction, The Menu at La Vendimia
I get a buzz out of being excited by a menu. Most of the time on Tenerife this doesn’t happen. That’s not to say that the food isn’t good, it’s just that menus often lack the imagination that rings my gastronomic bell.

This wasn’t the case with La Vendimia.

The menu was small, but boy was it select. Although there was a limited choice for each course, the descriptions of each dish had my tastebuds delirious with anticipation.

Tempura of vegetables from the hotel’s garden; creamy vegetables with crusty bread; pork loin in a honey and mustard sauce; garlic tagliatelle with clams

I was glad there weren’t more dishes as I struggled to choose from the short list in front of me.

After a difficult elimination process we finally decided on vegetable tempura and the cheese plate with blueberry jam to kick off this particular culinary journey, followed by Côte d’Azur mussels and the pork loin with honey and mustard sauce. Although it was unlikely that there would be any room left at the stomach inn, the lure of raspberry and mint sorbet and the restaurant’s house cake to finish off sounded too yummy to let pass.

To accompany the feast we ordered a bottle of Pagos Reverón, an ecological red wine from the owner’s vineyard.

Whilst we waited for our food, we were brought a wonderful looking and tasting appetiser of light pastry boats topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives.

The cheese platter when it arrived looked attractively stylish and the blueberry jam added a fruity zing to savoury slices of manchego, semi-curado and queso fresco. However, the tempura was a revelation. I”M a huge fan of tempura and La Vendimia’s was in another class. This was the FC Barcelona of tempuras.

Courgettes, pumpkin, aubergine, artichoke, leek and red and green peppers encased in the crispiest of batters was possibly the best tempura I’ve had the pleasure to meet…and eat. I can’t tell you how good it was…and that was before it was dipped in the soy sauce.

The main courses were artistic in their presentation. Medallions of pork, squaring up to a potato gratin tower, were tender enough to be eaten using chopsticks whilst huge green mussels topped by a chipstick bonfire lay on a vibrant bed of vegetables.

All the dishes were an absolute joy to look at and, more importantly, to devour.

By the time we reached the dessert stage I was ready to wave my napkin in defeat but although the refreshing raspberry mint sorbet was the sensible choice, the cream, moist sponge and white chocolate ‘house’ cake that I’d ordered was worth risking dying from over-eating for.

La Vendimia Summary
The rural setting is wonderful and if you’re looking for a romantic location that would confound many people’s image of Tenerife, this is the place. But dining at La Vendimia isn’t just about romance, even if the food does get in on the act by making love to your senses. La Vendimia is a restaurant for people who love food and who want to be wowed by cuisine that is creative and as fresh as Vilaflor’s mountain air.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for La Vendimia
Décor ““ 4 stars. Tasteful and fresh with some nice original touches such as stained glass panels and the depictions of rural life on the walls. Maybe slightly too brightly lit for setting a perfect romantic scene.
Menu ““ 4.5 stars. Small but diverse and appealingly creative. Lovers of good food will want to try everything on it. There are also choices for vegetarians. When we ate there there wasn’t a vegetarian main, but there were two vegetarian starters and the tempura was of main meal proportions.
Food ““ 4.5 stars. Overall the food just looked and tasted sensational. The tempura especially was simply one of those “Wow’ dishes.
Service ““ 4.5 stars. Smiley, friendly and attentive staff who seemed extremely happy in their jobs and that came across in how they interacted with customers.
Where, when and how
Part of the Hotel Spa Villalba in Vilaflor; +34 922 70 99 30; open 7pm to 10pm daily.
The average prive of a meal is around €25 per person. A bottle of wine costs from €10.

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.

La Bellotina Tasca, a Romantic Setting and Spanish Specialities

Puerto de la Cruz boasts many attractions for visitors to Tenerife, from the must-see Loro Parque to the ultra chic swimming pools of Lago Martiánez and from traditional restaurants in cobbled streets to the cultivated jungle of the Botanical Gardens, or in this case, the traditional restaurant right opposite the Botanical Gardens ““ La Bellotina Tasca.

Ensconced in a covered courtyard fronted by ornate wrought iron gates that emulate the imposing entrance to the gardens across the road, La Bellotina is a romantic little restaurant tucked away behind the main road at the edge of the La Paz district. A handful of tables for two sit out front on the little terrace with views over the towering palms of the Botanical Gardens.

Inside the gates, a small covered courtyard is softly lit by wall lanterns which create an orange glow over the exquisite terracotta tiled floor and the wrought iron tables and chairs. Set into a wall recess, a beautiful mosaic fountain adds a touch of feng shui to the mirrors, trompe l’oeil flower murals and wall pots brimming with blooms to create an intimate and romantic hidden garden.

The Main attraction, The Menu at La Bellotina Tasca
One glance at the menu and you know the chef has travelled beyond these shores. Originally from La Palma and honing his craft in Madrid, the chef combines Spanish speciality ingredients with traditional Canarian dishes and adds his own touches to come up with a menu that is both varied and fresh.

As if the menu wasn’t already difficult enough to chose from, a long list of the day’s specials threw a dessert spoonful of indecision to the dithering that was already on the table. Finally we plumped for starters of Croquetas Caseras de Jamón Ibérico (home made Iberan ham croquettes) and Crujientes de Morcilla de Burgos (crunchy black pudding from Burgos) followed by Ración de Cochinillo Asado la Horno ““ estilo Segovia (baked leg of pork cooked Segovian style) and Solomillo Bellotina (the house special fillet steak).

There was just enough time to uncork the red and take in our surroundings before the starters arrived, nicely presented on white dishes with a small side serving of thin strips of fried potatoes. The croquetas de Jamón Ibérico were delicious; a light, crispy coating giving way to succulent cured ham in creamy potato. The crujientes de morcilla de Burgos were a little too ‘crujiente‘ for my liking and had lost some of the taste of the black pudding as a result. Ironically the fried potatoes were less crispy than they could have been.

Starters despatched, the main courses arrived. The fillet steak was tender, juicy and flavoursome, topped with oyster mushrooms and set in a bed of rich gravy with a selection of vegetables and a handful of chips. The crispy outer skin of the cochinillo asado concealed a succulent leg of tender pork, flavoursome and cooked to perfection so the meat melted in the mouth. Accompanied by a selection of vegetables and scallop potatoes, it took some time to finish every last scrap.

For dessert we ordered the Milhoja de Crema Pastelera y Nata (flaky pastry with vanilla custard and cream). The lightest of flaky pastry slices layered with smooth custard cream and a ball of fresh cream and sprinkled with icing, lay on a bed of chocolate sauce like a pastry butterfly on a chocolate petal. We cracked the pastry with our spoons, gathered it up with some vanilla and cream and made silly mmmmm noises as it melted in our mouths.

La Bellotina Tasca Summary
With so many traditional Canarian restaurants in Puerto, it’s good to experience a menu that incorporates some of the best of Spanish mainland specialities and La Bellotina does that beautifully. It’s a wonderful location and a friendly little spot for a casual lunch, an everyday dinner or a special occasion. At the end of the meal it was very difficult to pull ourselves away and we could easily have lingered longer over coffee listening to the tinkle of the fountain and watching the silhouettes of the palm trees wafting against the night sky.

Tenerife Magazine’s five star rating for La Bellotina Tasca
Décor ““ 4 stars. A romantic courtyard setting with rustic décor and trompe l’oeil murals which bring the gardens of Puerto to traditional tasca style.
Menu ““ 4 stars. A wide choice of starters includes lots of speciality tapas, a good selection of substantial salads and tasty tostas. Main courses are geared more towards meat eaters with emphasis on Spanish pork and lamb specialities. There are menus del día and daily specials to make life even more difficult for decision phobes.
Food ““ 3.5 stars. A half star dropped in the starters was regained in the main courses and the dessert. Cuts of meat are tender, portions are generous and flavours are intense.
Service ““ 3.5 stars. This is a friendly little restaurant where you’re not hurried between courses and can relax and enjoy the ambience, so much so that we eventually had to ask for the dessert menu.

Where, when and how
Calle Retama, 3, Edificio Retama, La Paz (opposite Botanico Gardens), Puerto de la Cruz; +34 922 38 63 95; open Tues ““ Sat 11.30am to 11.30pm, Sunday 11.30 ““ 3.30pm, closed Monday;
Starters average €8-€9, tapas average €4, main courses average €14-€15 and desserts average €3.90

La Terrazza del Mare, a Taste of the Mediterranean on Tenerife

Restaurants by the sea on Tenerife are nearly as numerous as the grains of sand on the playas they overlook. Restaurants by the sea that have a stylish pizazz about them and offer a sophisticated setting for a long leisurely lunch, or romantic sunset dinner are as rare as a rainy day in July.

Apart from occupying an envious position with views that sweep from both Troya beaches to the south west coast and La Gomera on the horizon, La Terrazza del Mare in Costa Adeje possesses the sort of chic good looks that demand your company for a cooling, pre-dinner cocktail whilst enjoying the warmth of the sun’s final rays of the day.

The first thing that struck me about La Terrazza del Mare was the choice of unique corners in which to eat and chill out with friends. Canvas teepees are a fun place for a soiree with mates whilst Balinese-style raised cabins create a wonderfully intimate dining space and tables for two with prime views overlooking the beach fit many people’s idea of what the setting for a romantic meal should look like. Leafy plants, tumbling floral displays and sunflower bright flowers in smoked glass add the finishing touches to La Terrazza del Mare’s tasteful good looks.

We’ve established the décor looks the part, but does the food at La Terrazza del Mare live up to the dressing? There was only one way to find out.

The Main attraction, The Menu at La Terrazza del Mare

The Mediterranean menu appealed right away; the Mediterranean style of utilising fresh ingredients to create dishes that aren’t too heavy in their delivery are ideal for hot climates in my view. Additionally a menu that features pastas, pizzas, fish and meat choices has something to appeal to most culinary tastes.

After a lot of humming and hawing we opted for a mixed starter of Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil; Andalusian prawns with sweet chilli and alioli dips; Andalusian squid and Catalunian tomato bread with cured ham. The prawns were succulent and coated in a beautifully crisp, light tempura batter and the squid, also coated in a light batter was nicely tender. I’d become a big fan of the Catalunian bread (pan tumaca) having just been presented with it at nearly every meal in Costa Brava recently so was intrigued to taste Terrazza del Mare’s version of making it more like toasted garlic bread with a tomato and olive oil topping. It was a variation that worked well for me, especially combined with a cured ham topping.

For main course we went along with the recommendations from manager, Pepe; grilled sea bass and as pizzas are one of the restaurant’s specialities, pizza parmigiani accompanied by a bottle of Tajinaste – an appropriately light, fruity red wine from Tacoronte.

The presentation of the sea bass, two fillets sandwiching a layer of al dente asparagus, carrots and cucumber, was as immaculate as the Terrazza’s décor and the fish was crispy skinned with moist, flaky flesh. The pizza parmigiani was equally attractive with a thin, crispy base, lots of parmesan shavings and flavours that were unlocked by a drizzle of spicy olive oil that delivered a taste-bud wakening kick.

A generous slice of tiramisu, that was thankfully lovely and light, and an equally generous slice (their version of ‘a small piece please’) of tangy lemon meringue pie finished off what was an enjoyable meal in relaxing and extremely ambient surroundings.

La Terrazza del Mare Summary
It doesn’t take a fashionista to see that La Terrazza del Mare prides itself on appearance. Apart from the fact it adds good looks to the area, I like the restaurant’s approach to making eating a more interesting experience with the likes of hosting cocktail competitions, introducing brunch menus and the great sounding chill house Sunday which involves enjoying cocktails and paella as the sun goes down. At La Terraza del Mare they’re attempting to inject innovation into dining and that should be applauded.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for La Terraza del Mare

Décor ““ 4 stars. La Terrazza del Mare looks the part of an upmarket, stylish restaurant with superb views. As inviting a venue for cocktails as it is for dining.
Menu ““ 4 stars. A relatively select Mediterranean menu that shows some imagination and has choices to suit many tastes.
Food ““ 3.5 stars. The presentation of the food was as tasteful as the surroundings and there was no faulting its freshness or how it was cooked, but overall the flavours in the main courses were pleasing rather than sensational.
Service ““ 4 stars. Very professional and attentive service and the advice from Pepe, the manager, was extremely helpful.
Where, when and how
Paseo Marítimo behind Playa Troya, Costa Adeje; +34 922 79 64 28; open 11am to 2am daily, last food order – 11.30pm, last cockatil order – 1.30am;
Prices vary as the restaurant also serves snacks and breakfast. The cost of a meal at La Terrazza del Mare is about average for the area, which makes it quite good value considering its individualistic style. Starters begin from €5.50, main courses from €7.50. There is a great value 3 course lunch option for €9.90.

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.

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).

El Cine Restaurant Review, Los Cristianos” Worst Kept Secret

If you haven’t heard of El Cine in Los Cristianos then you haven’t been talking to the right people; it’s Los Cristianos” worst kept gastronomic secret. Ask nearly anyone who knows Los Cristianos to recommend a good, traditional fish restaurant and the name that’s probably most likely to form on their lips is El Cine’s.

Such is El Cine’s reputation that it’s not uncommon to have to queue with the mix of Canarios, ex-pats and hungry visitors who quite happily wait for anything up to an hour to dine at what has become a culinary institution in the south of Tenerife.

Tenerife Magazine decided it was time that we feasted at this legendary establishment tucked away in a small alley behind Playa de Los Cristianos to discover why El Cine attracts praise that sometimes borders on the fanatical.

In the looks department, El Cine is hardly Hollywood glamorous. The décor is understated to the point of being non-existent; tables and chairs crammed underneath a lemon coloured canopy in a narrow alley – and maybe that’s part of its charm. When so much of Tenerife is being developed and given a ‘nip and tuck’ so that the term ‘upmarket” can be added, El Cine feels like a link to the town’s simple fishing village roots.

The Main attraction, El Cine’s Menu
Like the décor the menu is minimalist and features one salad, chips, papas arrugadas (wrinkled Canarian potatoes) and around ten main courses; all fish and seafood except jamoncitos de pollo (fried chicken wings).

We ordered the merluza (hake), pulpo (octopus), papas arrugadas and a tomato and onion salad and sat back in our chairs, excited at the prospect of sampling food that regularly receives rave reviews.

We didn’t have to wait long before all the dishes were brought to the table at the same time. The merluza (three decent sized fillets) and pulpo (again three good sized specimens) had a promising on-plate chemistry on the silver platter they shared. The portions were generous and with the papas arrugadas to boost them, added up to a substantial amount for not a lot of money. In fact the three of us dining together could have had a fish fillet and one whole octopus each ““ two dishes for the price of one in essence.

The tomato and onion salad on the other hand looked quite unappealing. I subscribe to the view that the best fish is simply prepared and served…but that’s fish. I like salads to have a bit of flair and creativity. Chunky slices of tomatoes and onions drizzled with olive oil just looked like a salad that couldn’t be bothered making an effort and it tasted like it looked…uninspiring.

Thankfully the main dishes lived up more to the reputation that had preceded them. The pulpo was nicely cooked with a taste-bud pleasing smoky flavour and satisfyingly crunchy tentacles whilst the merluza tasted as fresh as the morning tide and was pleasantly moist, although it did border on being very slightly overcooked for my taste.

The Closing Credits

I liked El Cine’s lack of fussiness and simplistic approach. Its lack of pretension means it’s a comfortably casual place in which to dine and although there was the ubiquitous queue by the time we’d finished eating, there was never any pressure to vacate the table. I thoroughly enjoyed the fried octopus, portions were big and extremely good value and I’d happily eat there again. But overall I thought the food was good rather than exceptional.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for El Cine
Décor ““ 2 stars. Simple…there’s not a lot else to say.
Menu ““ 3 stars. Very limited, but that’s not necessarily a negative. If it’s fish you’re after then it features the main stars.
Food ““ 3 stars. The food is simply prepared and presented which works fine for fish and seafood, but I really couldn’t see the point of the salad.
Service ““ 3.5 stars. Like the restaurant itself, unfussy. Food was prepared quickly and service was efficient.

Where, when and how
C/Juan Bariajo, 8; +34 609 10 77 58; behind Los Cristianos beach

Excellent value. Main courses are €7 except the chicken which is €6.

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;; 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;; 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.

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;; 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;; 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.