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The Gap Year Blog

A Guide to Exploring Tenerife

15 Feb 2019 17:15 PM
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Photo Credit: Flickr | Jan Kraus

Edited with Permission by Frontier

 

If you are travelling to the island of Tenerife and are looking to venture outside of your holiday resort, you have chosen the perfect location. With just over 2,000km2 of versatile landscapes, Tenerife is the biggest island of the seven main Canary Islands and offers an ideal opportunity to combine a traditional beach holiday with an adventurous road trip. A drive around the island takes about 3,5 hours and buses between the biggest towns run regularly, making exploring Tenerife cheap and efficient.

Tenerife presents a wide range of opportunities to experience wildlife from volcanos and moonlike sceneries to gorgeous sky-reaching pine forest and valleys that offer a European equivalent to the majestic views of the Peruvian Inca trails. And do not forget about the beaches, wherever you go in Tenerife, you are bound to find the most charming beaches. Tenerife has it all.

Here are some destinations in Tenerife to satisfy a heart of an explorer.

 

Mount Teide and the national park

Mount Teide, an active volcano, is probably one of the most iconic landmarks that comes to mind when thinking of Tenerife. Because of its central location, the view opening from its 3,718m high peak amazes even more-experienced travellers with a sight over the breath-taking Tenerife and Canary Islands.

To reach the peak of Mont Teide, you will have to hike up from the upper cable car station for 40 minutes. The hike can be straining for inexperienced hikers, especially, because of the high altitude, but it’s worth the effort as the view from the crater on a clear day is unforgettable. In order to access the top of Teide, you will need to book a special licence in advance, but don’t worry, you can do that online and it’s free.

If you are not too bothered to climb all the way up, you can still enjoy the cable car ride to the upper station. The landscape that opens in front of you from this 3,555m above sea level viewpoint is as gorgeous as the view from the top, and you will save yourself from some serious exercise.

Beside the adventure up to the volcano, the national park of Teide offers plenty of sights to wonder. The rare landscapes, vegetation and fauna have been an interest of many scientists, but the out of this world scenery pleases all the travellers whether you are just driving around the road network covering the whole park or hiking around lunar landscapes of the park.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Bajamar natural pools

Need a little cooling down? In Tenerife, especially in the southern parts, temperatures can rise high even during the winter. The pool at your hotel might get crowded during the peak season, so why not head to a different type of a pool. 

Natural pools in the village of Bajamar give a nice change to the typical pool day. These pools are actual swimming pools, but they are filled with ocean water, splashing from the Atlantic sea. The dramatic sight of huge waves crashing on to the pools and the rocks just on the edge of the pool site is worth experiencing.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Anaga Mountains

To get away from the hassle of holiday resorts, travel to the Anaga Mountains in North East Tenerife where you can find the calmness you have been looking for in nature. The Anaga Mountains are filled with stunning views that could easily be from the Andes. 

The several green mountains trails give you a chance to witness some of the best sceneries in Tenerife which is why it is slowly becoming a popular hiking destination for more adventurous tourists. You can reach the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Anaga by car, in fact, you can even drive to some of the tiny villages in the mountain range, but to truly reach the most impressive views of the mountains and the ocean, you will have to hike. To see some of the rare flora only located in this area, choose a more unknown track and go on an adventure.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Garachico

Once the thriving main port of the island, Garachico has now turned into a sleepy but colourful town. Garachico has earned the name of the unluckiest town in Tenerife because of series of unfortunate incidents that happened in the town hundreds of years ago. First a volcano eruption devastated the town, transforming its harbour into unusual volcanic rock formations and pools. After the eruption the town wrecked by plague, fires and floods but it has recovered into a destination where you can feel the history around you.

Garachico is the perfect town for a day-trip when staying in Tenerife. It is small enough to explore it in a day but offers everything you can look for in Tenerife; spectacular landscapes, colourful historic buildings, exotic beaches and versatile vegetation. If you have a rental car in use, you should definitely head to this charming Northern town of Tenerife.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Masca Valley

Some say that the route to the village of Masca is even more striking than the village itself. You can choose to book a guided trip, take a local bus or drive there yourself which though might be more difficult than you think as the extremely narrow road writhes around the steep hills. With the Machu Pichu-like views you will never forget, it can be an exhilarating drive but make sure you are a confident driver.

The village itself is more of a collection of farm houses up on the hills of the valley. There are few bars and restaurants in the village where you can enjoy some local treats while you admire the view opening in front of you. If you have the time and you are on a DIY trip, you can descend to the ocean through a 30-kilometer-long trail. From the shore you can opt for a water taxi to Los Gigantes, instead of hiking back to the village.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnevale

If you are not one for hiking or nature, but still want to experience something other than your hotel, travel to Tenerife in February when the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnevale takes place. This festive carnival at the end of February allows you to release your inner party animal and go crazy. Think of the carnivals in Brazil but in smaller scale.

This year the carnival will take place from February 27th to March 10th. During this time Santa Cruz fills up with music, vibrant outdoor celebrations and parades. So, book your hotel early, wear the most over the top clothes and join the party!

Photo Credit: Flickr

By Tiia Kärkkäinen - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!