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Discovering the charm of Tenerife 🏝️

Updated: Jan 31

I just returned from a week of island life, sun and temperatures of 22 degrees on average! Such a welcome break from this endless wet and grey Dutch season. Tenerife is a perfect winter escape destination as it's a few hours travel away and the temperatures are pleasant! Moreover, the Canary island is absolutely stunning, diverse and all different sights are within a short drives reach. The people are also so warm and friendly! The only downside perhaps, if you're like me not a super regular driver, is that driving can be a bit challenging. The roads are busy, a bit hectic and there's lots of steep, tiny streets to conquer up in the mountains. Luckily, I had my brother with me ;-).

Anaga national park

Tenerife is divided in a North and South part by the spectacular volcano El Teide with its 3800 meters height. Due to this volcano, the island has several micro climates, meaning that you can usually find a sunny area on the island. The south is the more sunny side, with lots of beaches, and the landscape is more sandy and dry. Most of the all inclusive resorts are found here. The North feels a little more "off the beaten track", is much greener and also a little more rainy (but nothing compared to Holland).

Our travel route

My brother and I had the below itinerary, which we spontaneously developed day by day. We also didn't book our hotels more than a few days in advance. This is doable, however, I think we would have been able to find something more to our liking, if we booked at bit earlier. Especially, if you want 2 separate beds, the choice is a bit more limited.

Garachico / El Guincho

So, we started in El Guincho, this town is literally just a few streets and 2 restaurants, about a 25 minute walk or 5 minute drive from Garachico. For us this was fine, but some might prefer to stay in Garachico itself. Garachico is such a lovely, old and tranquil town with stunning architecture. It used to be a town of great cultural and economic importance, until the volcano erupted in 1705 and destroyed the harbour. Garachico is great to wander around for an afternoon, has plenty of restaurants and a beautiful trail over the rocks along the seaside. It's called Charco de los Frailes.

We stayed 3 nights in El Guincho in an Airbnb. There is a beautiful bay here with a rocky beach. This is common for many bays around the (northern part of the) island, and made it a bit of a hurdle to go for a quick swim.

el Teide

El Teide national park

The highlight of the island! This national park is so much more than the volcano, which is already stunning in itself. From almost every part of the island you can see the volcano from afar. You can visit el Teide by cable car (be sure to buy tickets online in advance). The cable car is situated on a height of 2.200 meters. We didn't take the cable car up, as there was already so much to explore around the volcano. The lunar-like landscape, the colours, the viewpoints, the many walking trails along the crazy rock outcroppings... it is absolutely mind-blowing! I especially like the trails around Sendero Roques de Garcia. There's also an observatory platform where you can book several activities and excursions (including star gazing!). The whole area is well worth to spend a day, or more.

Puerto de la Cruz and a nice walk nearby

A fine town in the North, with some great shopping and cafes. We spend an afternoon here. We had a tasty sourdough sandwich at La Casa del Panadero and the BEST pistachio cinnamon buns at Señorita Canelita. If you're into silver jewellery, I adored everything in Art of Nature Sea Spirals.

On the way, we made a stop at Paisaje Protegido de la Rambla de Castro. A beautiful nature serve with stunning coastal cliffs. Great for a short walk.

Playa de las Teresitas

Santa Cruz & stunning nearby beach

The capital. We spend 3 nights here, because we struggled a bit with finding a hotel last minute to our liking. Looking back, I wouldn't necessarily stay in the capital again. It is quite a densely populated city with lots of cars. There are some nice streets and some good cafes and bars around Emilio Calzadilla, but other than that... not really an interesting city. The man made beach nearby is very nice though! With its sandy white beach, crystal clear water and the backdrop of these dark hills. It's called Playa de Las Teresitas.

Some cafes I liked in the city for breakfast/lunch: La Escala / Food Craf, Aqui Si and Amazonia Açai! We had a great dinner with creative, local dishes at La Mordidita. And an amazing artesian bakery with sourdough bread, that I found on the last day is called Panaderia La Danesa.

San Cristóbal de la Laguna

San Cristóbal de la Laguna

The former capital, and a UNESCO world heritage sight. I absolutely loved this stunning, colourful town with its car-free center, laid back atmosphere and lively student vibe. We had a delicious brunch and awesome cakes at Zoka. I recommend trying the coconut & dulce de leche cake 🤤.

This museum about a typical Canary house, also seemed lovely: Casa Museo Cayetano Gómez Felipe. I only peeked in the cute inner court yard which also houses a café.

Anaga national park

This national park lies in the north of the island. We only drove through a part of it, and made a little hike. Many people say the forests here are like from a fairytale. There's tons of hikes to do on this lush green low mountain range. It has a bit of a New Zealand feel to it. It's easy to reach from Santa Cruz or San Cristóbal, but if you want to stay in the middle of the park, I imagine this affordable hostel with stunning views could be a good option: Montes de Anaga Hostel.

The coast around playa de Benijo

Black sand beaches, few crowds and stunning views on the mountains along the bay.

The coast around playa de Benijo

El Médano

Since our flight was only at 19.30 in the evening, we decided to spend the final day on the beach. Our AirBnB host recommended us El Médano. This is a sunny beach town, just a 15 minute drive to the southern airport. There are 2 bays on both sides of the town. The more popular one, close to the main square of the town, and the one which I actually liked better, which is just a few 100 meters on the other side of town. Apparently it's a place frequently visited by (kite) surfers. We had a lovely relaxed day swimming (sea water is still around 20 degrees) and sunbathing, and a nourishing lunch at cafe Ubuntu.

Charco de Los Frailes, Garachico

Other tips, for which I'll hope to return some day:

  • From the old mountain town Masca, there is a well known walk down to the beach through the canyon. Supposed to be stunning, but expect much traffic though!

  • There are many natural pools all around the island, formed between the rocks along the coast line. Find them on google maps or ask around.

  • You can spot dolphins & whales around Tenerife! However be sure to double check if the tours are ethical.

  • Curious about the others Canary islands? From Tenerife you can take ferries to Gran Canaria, la Gomera and la Palma.

Hope these tips are helpful for an awesome stay in Tenerife! If you've been, what was your favourite part of the island?


Found my tips useful? You can buy me a coffee in return:

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