If you are going to relax on Tenerife, then before you leave, you will search the world’s web for information about, what to do for yourself 7-10-14 days on this Canary Island, except for felting on the beach, eating local cuisine and going to shopping centers and souvenir shops. I will tell you, what to look at in Tenerife to get an idea of it. Canary Islands -the unique archipelago with an unusual nature, so many travelers come here to see the natural beauty of this corner of the earth. Here you can see a volcano and gorges, green mountains and caves, banana plantations and pine forests, palms and cacti, as well as flowers and plants that you will not find anywhere else in nature. Due to the mountain range, Tenerife is divided into 2 parts: southern and northern. In the south, the climate is warmer and drier. The north of the island is damp and cool.
Traveling in Tenerife by car or bus, you can see for 15-30 minutes, how fasterly the weather changes over the window: it was just sunny, and now you are surrounded by thick clouds, it begins to rain, and after another 20 minutes you again admire the bright sun. It is also interesting to observe the change of the landscape: you just rode among the brown hills, and suddenly the mountains turn green, the nature becomes brighter and more beautiful. For the diversity of the Tenerife climate is called a continent in miniature. Having visited this island, you seem to visit several different countries with landscapes different from one another. Each person will have his own idea of the largest Canary Island. And I’ll tell you about the places, that impressed me and force me to come back to them again and again.
THE TEIDE VOLCANO and The Las Cañadas del Teide National Park
Half an hour before landing in Tenerife South Airport, I saw the island in the airplane window. Among the clouds, slowly floating above it, towered a huge mountain – the Teide volcano. From above it could be seen in all its glory (from the ground the volcano is visible from many points of Tenerife only in clear weather). Teide is the most important tourist attraction of the island, because Tenerife itself represents 3 volcanoes, that rose millions of years ago from the ocean depths. The height of Teide above sea level is 3,718 meters, another 3,782 meters of the volcano is hidden under water.
To see the main “mountain” of the island, go to the National Park – Las Cañadas del Teide, in whose territory it is. Here you can not only take a photo on the background of the volcano, but also climb up its slope by cable car. To reach the top of the Teide and look into its largest crater, you need to book a place in advance, 2 months before the proposed trip. You can do it on the official website, following the link.
The territory of the Parque National de las Cañadas del Teide will also please nature lovers. There is little to remember about our planet. Fantastic landscapes seem to take you to the Mars or to the Moon. The impression is reinforced by unusual shrubs and flowers, many of which grow only here, for example, tajinaste.
I was most impressed by the Roques del Garcia roks, around which are hiking trails. It is impossible to tear our eyes away from the orange slopes of these stone images, the shape of which is created by nature itself: the winds are free to walk here and the bright rays of the sun.
In the National Park you will also be amazed by the Lunar Valley – a huge field, surrounded by brown rocks and famous for the fact, that Hollywood directors love to shoot scenes for their blockbusters here.
DRAGON TREE – EL DRAGO
On the island there are many plants, that are unusual for our view. For example, on the streets of cities you can see trees with blue and red flowers and parks of cacti, growing on volcanic earth. But Tenerife is more famous for Dragon tree or dracaena draco. This plant was considered by the ancient inhabitants of the island to be sacred. Its dark-red resin was used by them for medicinal purposes. The resin was called the blood of a dragon, and the tree itself was called a dragon.
On Tenerife dragon trees can be found in different towns and villages, but all travelers are eager to see the main dragon tree of the island – El Drago. In 1991 it was declared a plant symbol of Tenerife.
El Drago is the oldest dragon tree in the Canary Archipelago. It grows in Icod de los Vinos town in the north of the island. Scientists suggest, that the age of the dracaena is from 800 to several thousand years. The tree is a some dozen intertwined trunks, above which is a thick dark green crown. The height of El Drago is 18 meters, the diameter of the trunk is 20 meters. The dragon tree is located in the territory of the Drago Milenario Park, where you can see other unusual plants, get acquainted with the rites of the island.
Icod de los Vinos is famous for making wine, called malvasia for the divine taste. On the Day of the Canary Islands, June 30, when I visited the town, there was a holiday: tastings of wine , cheeses and traditional sauces were held everywhere in Tenerife. And several museums, including the Malvasia Museum, could also be visited free and listen to Canarian music.
THE ANAGA MOUNTAINS (Parque Rural de Anaga)
Many tourists, coming to the south of Tenerife or visiting the Teide volcano, characterize the island as a brown desert with scattered on it bare hills. Indeed, in the southern part of the island the climate is drier, and it leaves an imprint on the nature of Tenerife. The predominant colors here are all shades of brown.
If you want to see another Tenerife, green and mysterious, go to the north-east of the island, to the Anaga mountains, to understand, what the island looked like thousands of years ago. The climate of this part of Tenerife is cooler and wetter. Thanks to it, here from prehistoric times there is a unique flora, that you will not see anywhere more on Earth.
The Anaga mountains are declared of a nature park. You can come here from the city of La Laguna and follow the winding routes, the chain of which is entangled in a mountain range. You, of course, will be amazed by the laurel forest or laurisilva. Crowns of trees of a dense tent interlaced above the paths and look unusual. In foggy weather there is gloomy and damp.
Walking on narrow paths among unusual vegetation, you imagine, that millions of years ago, among the exactly same laurels, the ancestors of these plants, dinosaurs wandered. The impression is strengthened by giant ferns, rocks, overgrown with moss, and the absence of people nearby. In fact, a lot of people come to the park, but everyone diverge on different routes, and you find yourself in complet alone.
In addition to laurel trees, there are beautiful coniferous forests, walking along which is more fun, because overhead you see the sky, and not the bizarrely bent branches. Many endemics grow here, the names of which you will not find in the textbook on botany.
In Anaga Park come to enjoy the magnificent scenery, that opens from the hills and passes. The mountains are wonderful always, but when they surround you from all sides, and you conquer one green ridge after another, emotions overwhelm. A special charm of the mountains attached to the small towns, that lie on their slopes or in the lowlands. Beautiful views open to the Atlantic Ocean.
Most of all I liked the Taborno peak, towering above Anaga to a height of 1034 meters and being its highest point. Walk to the mountain along the narrow paths, laid along the peaks of the ridges, I will remember for a lifetime.
LOS GIGANTES CLIFFS (Acantilado de los Gigantes)
The small town Los Gigantes or Los Higantes, as it is called by the locals, is in the west of Tenerife. It can be easily reached from Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz by public transport or a rented car. In the town there is a small port, from which daily excursion ships with tourists, dreaming to see dolphins and whales, are sent. In the opposite direction boats return with the travelers, which passing through the Mask gorge to the Ocean.
The main natural landmark of the city are the giant cliffs Acantilado de los Gigantes, rising from the ocean to a height of 500 to 800 m. They are like the backs of giants, who went down to the waters of the Atlantic to quench their thirst. Cliffs rise vertically and are the most sheer cliffs of Europe, for which they are included in the Guinness Book of Records. You can see some rocks with help Acantilado webcam. You can look at them for a long time and admire the changing colors, playing on their slopes. But it’s best here in the evenings, when you can enjoy a magnificent sunset, which gilds the slopes of giants.
At the foot of the cliffs is the Los Guios beach it’s so nice to swim, looking at the natural attraction and marveling of its beauty.
BEACHES WITH BLACK SAND
Black sand beaches on Tenerife are surprising for inexperienced travelers. It seems, that this is the ground, crouching on which, you will smear clothes. But no. Covering the beaches, consisting of small grains of lava with greenish impregnations of the olivine mineral, sticks only to the wet body. Then, crumbling off it, leaves no trace of dirt. And walking on a black cover is comfortable: the sand is soft and warm.
In Tenerife there are several beaches with black sand. The most famous of them – La Arena is located next to Los Gigantes. But I could not visit him (I only saw it from the bus window, when I was passing by). But I visited several northern beaches of the island. In this part of Tenerife most of the areas with black sand.
Playa Jardin (Jardin Beach) is located in Puerto de la Cruz town. It was designed by designer Cesar Manrique and looks very picturesque, because of the green palm trees, framing it from several sides. Near the beach on the shore is the ancient fortress – San Felipe, unique in, that it is the only building in the Spanish colonial style on the island. Get detailed information about the beach of Jardin and see its videos and photos you can, by following the link.
Beaches with black sand are also in the east of Tenerife, for example, in Candelaria. You can swim there only in good weather, because they are not protected from the Atlantic by breakwaters. On windy days giant waves collapse with force on the coast.
The nature of Tenerife is striking in its diversity. Not all sights were visited. But I hope, that I will see them on my next visit, when I continue studying this amazing island.
And what impressed you the most on Tenerife? What famous natural attractions would you like to see? Leave comments under the article. All those, who are just planning to relax on the Canary Island, I wish you to not sit only in one place or beach, but to open the new corners of Tenerife and to catch wonderful emotions from their beauty.