Tenerife – the Exotic Volcanic Island

I’ve been reading travel guides and admiring picturesque photos of distant places for years. Somehow in my mind I’ve always associated pure exoticness with islands.

I’ve been blessed to visit a magnificent island recently – Tenerife, one of the seven larger Canary Islands

and taking pride of being the largest, most populated and most visited of the Canaries. Part of an autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife is actually located closer to Africa ( 300km ) than to Spain ( 1,000km ).

It lies at the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, which explains its warm tropical climate with exotic vegetation including palms, cacti, aloe

and many other species that are rare to find in Europe. The wildlife we noticed was presented mainly by the hundreds of cute little lizards, which were sunbathing on the heated stones or poking their heads from slits when hearing people passing. Seems like their omnipresence made them a symbol of Tenerife, as many key rings and other souvenirs were in the form of lizards.

The main feature of this island which sets it apart from the other Canary Islands is its volcano – Teide – an active volcano, which most recent irruption occurred less than 100 years ago.

Most of the island’s history, natural surroundings and coastal line is conditioned by the volcanic nature of the island.

After a delayed departure from London Gatwick and over 4 hours flying over the endless blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean,

we arrived at Tenerife airport Reina Sofia at 8.30pm. Just in time to see the sun slowly going down while its last rays were beautifully colouring the sky with hues of yellow and orange. It was very windy but the marvelous view of the green and brown hills surrounding the whole island was fascinating.

The resort was compelling with its white domes, lush, impeccably maintained gardens and spacious apartments,

thematically decorated with Spanish touch and providing enough room and intimacy to the tourists in comparison to the densely populated hotels.

Discovering our way around the island was an adventure on its own. We were staying in San Miguel de Abona, in the very southern part of the island, and gladly found out that our location was away from the big crowds and noisy bars with drunk tourists.

A walk along the coast revealed wonderful sights of clear dark blue ocean waters, splashing against black magma turned into rocks and small patches of black sand beaches.

The pleasant walk was reinforced by the big number of restaurants, pizza places, Oriental eateries, crêperies and sea bars, serving everything from local tapas to full English breakfast.

Talking about food, our 7-day stay was very much a foodie experience as well. There was such a big variety of places to eat that I wish we had more time to try all of them.

Each place we tried was a success – from the Italian restaurant just opposite the resort, to the famous tapas place with sumptuous chorizo, squid and prawn tapas and lots of sangria, Canarian paella with 4 types of meat in a coastline restaurant under the moonlight to the exquisite 5-star white tablecloth experience with compliments from the chef.

Both food and service were amazing, the cheerful local people with their warm nature and Spanish accent made each meal the ultimate pleasure.

Despite that there was a big pool with nice water temperature and sufficient number of sun beds available at the resort, as a nature lover and sensitive person I would always go for natural than man-made.

We would happily walk for 30 minutes to get to a secluded beach just to hear the waves crashing, stare at the horizon and get some sand stuck on my skin.

Armed with a pleasant and easy to read book, I could relax both my mind and body and ponder upon issues that we don’t have much time to think about in our busy everyday life.

Sun, water and books – the perfect combination for deep relaxation and recharge.

However, as leisurely and lazy this holiday might sound – it was actually infused with a lot of action and travel around the island. We decided to undertake two full day excursions to learn more about the island’s history and traditions and to admire even more of its beauty.

All about our excursions to the volcano, a mountain village, the nine kings of Tenerife, the Black Madonna and much more you can read in the upcoming second article about Tenerife called “Tenerife – Island Adventures”.

Please let us know if you have visited Tenerife, any of the Canary Islands or another exotic place, we’ll be happy to hear about your impressions.

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