Tenerife – Island Adventures
Different people have different understanding and preferences on how they spend their holidays but in general we can be summarized in two types – people lounging by the pool, who enjoy relaxing on the beach, by the pool or at the spa with a cool drink and tasty snacks, actively relaxing both their body and mind, and explorers, who prosper in activities such as trekking mountains or taking cultural tours, who enrich their lives by experiencing more of the history, culture and natural surroundings. Regardless which one of the two categories you fit in, I invite you to embark on two interesting and fun journeys with me 🙂
On my recent vacation to Tenerife, although it was supposed to be a relaxing one,
I couldn’t help but go on two island excursions – an Island Tour and a Tour to the National Park.
The first one included many stops in the four ends of the island and gave us a better understanding of the island life and sightseeing places.
The first stop was Los Gigantes,
huge cliffs that rise from the sea to a height of 500-800 metres, situated on the Western Coast of the island. After observing the majestic cliff views for a while, we hopped on the coach to the next destination – Garachico.
Situated on the northern coast, Garachico nestles below a 500-metre cliff.
A former port town, a big part of it was destroyed after the eruption in 1706 and left it with its peculiar form – like a nest surrounded by two steep slopes of black magma. Taking an overview from the top of the cliff gave a great perspective but the cold, windy weather soon prompted us to take off to the next stop.
Situated in the northern town of Icod de los Vinos, the Dragon Tree is one of the major tourist attractions of the island.
Though called a tree, the species is actually a plant of the Dracaena family which blossoms once every two years in September with beautiful white flowers. What makes it special is that it’s believed to be the oldest and largest of its kind. Surrounded by palms and other lush tropical vegetation, El Drago was indisputably a very fascinating discovery.
The next town we visited was La Orotava, famous for its Casa de los Balcones –
a historic house and a museum with typical Canarian artwork and also renowned for the local Festival of Corpus Christi, the largest cultural event in the municipality, for which carpets of sand figures and flowers have been made in the streets as a traditional part of the celebrations.
Captivated by these magnificent views and encounters of the Canarian culture, we had a lunch break in Puerto de la Cruz. Although it is a big city port and a tourist spot, I wasn’t impressed by it as it was overcrowded and full of tall, dull concrete buildings like so many of the tourist towns nowadays.
The last stop of this intense but highly educational and enriching excursion was the Basilica in Candelaria with the famous Black Madonna.
Very different from other temples I have visited, it gave us a nice, quiet time for contemplation and observation. Just outside of the Basillica on the left there was a square along the ocean front where we could see the statues of the Guanche Menceyes – the nine aboriginal kings of Tenerife, believed to be the first inhabitants of the Canaries.
The second tour we embarked on was to the splendid National Heritage Park of Mount Teide and Masca.
The adventure started with making our way up the mountain hill through a pine forest until we reached the plateau of the volcano. To be honest, I’ve never seen anything like that before – it looked like a moonlike landscape.
Once again, it reminded me how little we are compared to the might of the nature and that nature is the best painter of all.
Several Hollywood movies were shot here ( “Planet of the Apes” and “Clash of the Titans” ), which is not surprising given the “out-of-this-world” look of El Teide. As a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it’s a home of profuse flora and fauna and also to gemstones that are inherent to Mount Teide. A definite must-see, together with our next stop – Masca.
Masca is a small mountain village with only around 120 inhabitants and it was home to the pirates who stole their contraband here.
Located in a gorge of 650 metres altitude, it provides wonderful views to the nearby island of La Gomera. We were surrounded by forests with palm trees and cypresses and views towards the Atlantic Ocean, which could be seen as slits in between the huge cliffs.
Despite the hot weather and the long coach drive, experiencing those adventures and getting in touch with the foreign culture, history and traditions, but most of all – getting close to nature – was definitely worth it. If you missed the first article for Tenerife, you can find it here – “Tenerife – the Exotic Volcanic Island”.
Please share in the comments one natural or cultural place that really impressed you. I look forward to hearing from you!