With balmy all year round temperatures and a reputation for fun packages holidays it’s no wonder the the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands (located off the coast of West Africa) attracts over 10 million visitors a year. Although it is still possible to escape the crowds, from unspoilt, sandy golden beaches to UNESCO heritage sites, but there is so much more to this island than meets the eye. Here are 10 of the most unspoilt places to visit in Tenerife which are just waiting for you travel snobs to discover and uncover. Find your own travel snob worthy Tenerife trip through Thomas Cook.
San Cristobal de la Laguna
This UNESCO site is located at the northern tip of the island of Tenerife and is widely considered to be the cultural capital of the Canary Islands due to its title as “The City of the Anticipated Ones” as it was the first university town of the archipelago. The city is dotted with majestic seventeenth and eighteenth century stately house, museums and cathedrals. The city is divided into two parts: Villa de Arriba and Villa de Abajo, arranged in 16th century Renaissance style. After a stroll through the cobbled streets or a hike around the mountains surrounding La Laguna enjoy a vieja sancochada (a fish dish) with some fine local wine.
The Anaga Mountains
Filling the north-east corner of Tenerife, the Anaga Mountains rise from crashing coastline to vertinagous villages. While trekking through the mountains you will encounter the stunning natural scenery of Roques de Anaga which, are natural monuments in Tenerife as well as the Barranco de Las Huertas which, is an area of botanical importance that stretches across the range. The area is of stunning natural importance and showcases “Hidden Tenerife” which, is a world away from stereotyped Tenerife.
At the beginning of the Spanish conquest here, La Orotova was home to the wealthiest and most noble families. Nestled in a lush valley which is covered with crops of bananas and sugar vines, the town’s streets are lined with Renaissance style architectural treasures. There are countless beautiful gardens, winding streets and intricate stonework. Generally, tours flock to Casa de los Balcones to explore the balconies and the views of the classic skyline, dominated by the domes of Iglesia de a Conception. For lunch, grab a table in the courtyard but for dinner, spring for an elegant candlelit meal at one of the many classy wine bars.
Teide National Park
The national park is located on Mount Teide, the highest in Spain and the largest volcano in the world. It is also the second UNESCO site on Tenerife and is one of the oldest national parks in Spain. The journey itself is panoramic but during the hike the drastic change in terrain, scenery and flora and fauna is breath taking. There are also guided walks for less experienced hikers and on clear days Gran Canaria can be seen in the distance.
Playa del Pozo and Playa de Los Patos
Tenerife is famous for its beaches and dotted all around the island are prime examples of Tenerife’s fabulous playas. Although there are many wonderful beaches around the island, this pair are exceptional due to their secluded location they offer excellent water sport facilities. However, remoteness of these beaches offer a chance to relax in seclusion among the stunning views of the untouched and natural landscape.
Icod de los Vinos
Founded in 1501 the city is a collection of seigniorial houses, ancient palaces, churches and convents. The town is packed full of heritage from the ancient Dragon Tree at the Church of San Marcos to the Plaza de La Pila and lots of grand old homes. If you can get there for the San Andres on November 29th for the spectacular sliding of the boards through the old neighbourhood, to celebrate the harvest. Eating in Icod de los Vinos is a unique experience as many of the dishes can only be made locally and offers unique exposure to pure traditional Canaries cuisine.
The Cliffs at Los Gigantes
Los Gigantes is a resort town on the west coast of the island, and is dominated by giant rock formations- Acantilados de Los Gigantes, that loom out of the sea at over 1,000 feet. This gives rise to the town’s name- Los Gigantes: The Giants. Needless to say one of the most popular attractions of the area is sunset over the cliffs. There are three viewpoints in the village; the main road, above the sports club and a third one is along a coastal path. The village of Los Gigantes has many small shops that sell local produce and souvenirs. A must is to have a meal at one of the many restaurants surrounding the church and plaza or along the marina, then maybe catch the sunset…how romantic!?
After repeated battering by storms and smothering by volcanic lava, this picturesque marina town was once home to chaos and frenzy however, it has completely picked itself up and dusted itself down. It is hard to imagine these cobbled streets were not always so pretty and the sailboats jostling in the harbour were not always there. Now Garachico oozes style, with grand town houses and cute fisherman’s houses in pastel hues. Stroll along the tree lined promenade or paddle in the turquoise waters and stay in one of the chic boutique hotels or visit the developed lava pools. Go now while it’s still one of Tenerife’s best kept secrets.
El puertito, meaning ‘little harbour’ is where the beach is a calm, relaxing oasis with a gorgeous little bar, right at the eponymous harbour. Since it has only recently become popular with tourists it has a more local, authentic feel as oppose to the tacky beaches along the strip. Before visiting ensure you check the tide, if it’s out you have plenty of sandy beach to relax on but without a doubt you must try the snorkelling and get a peek at the family of turtles living in the area as well as a variety of other marine life. The unspoilt nature of the beach is what attracts travellers as oppose to revellers who stay in the more lively parts of the island.
The golden sand of Playa de las Teresitas stretches for about a mile and is lined with rows of palm trees, with a regular gentle sea breeze, golden sand and calm waters it is widely considered to be one of the nicest beaches in North Tenerife. The beach sits in the shadows of the Anaga Mountains and is near to Santa Cruz but the local village of San Andres offers a great opportunity to chill out and enjoy the sunshine in peace. Although it is becoming more and more popular with tourists it still retains a certain unspoilt quality and can easily be mistaken for the Caribbean coastline..for half the travel time and cost! What’s not to love?
Find out more about a trip to Tenerife at www.thomascook.com