Tenerife’s new must – 11 tips for the holidayDecember 16, 2018
Tenerife is not only the largest Canary Island, it is also the most inhabited. Like all islands, Tenerife has a variety of climate zones, but what is unique is the big volcano Teide, which with its 3,718 meters not only dominates Tenerife, but in clear weather is seen from almost all islands.
Teide also creates a special microclimate that makes the south coast extremely sunny – no wonder it is here that the Canaries themselves go when they want a holiday. Then they go to Playa San Juan, many like the Canary Islands best combination of environment, food, bath and sun. That this island is famous for its gourmet taverns and its wines certainly makes for it. For this reason, you eat and drink well on more or less all the islands, but Tenerife stands out with a restaurant scene that spans all the price ranges right up to the Michelini stars.
Something else that’s special here is the whale watching. The same Atlantis clearly surrounds all islands and in such big water there are always lots of exciting things to discover. But just the strait between south west Tenerife and the small neighboring La Gomera is famous for its permanent populations of both dolphins and short-legged gravel valleys.
Should you ask a Tenerife neighbor (or chicharrero) about what is most special with their island, the chance is that they should name the carnival – actually one of the world’s largest ones, even saying that it is the second largest after Rio. When it’s ready, it’s broadcast live on television for days. In 2019, the great parade goes through the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife on March 5, but it is celebrated many days before – and some after.
- 1 TIPS TO TENERIFFA
- 2 1. Enjoy gourmet food in cute Garachico
- 3 2. Try wines on Bodegas Monje
- 4 3. Bath at beautiful Playa de el Bollullo
- 5 4. Bila or walk at the stingy Masca
- 6 5. Hang in the favorite beach of Playa San Juan
- 7 6. Eat well under giant trees in Santa Cruz
- 8 7. Healthy cutting bath
- 9 8. Hike in Teide National Park
- 10 9. See the concert hall
- 11 10. Visit the university city of La Laguna
- 12 11. Experience whales and dolphins on rolling safari
TIPS TO TENERIFFA
1. Enjoy gourmet food in cute Garachico
The small village of Garachico is a frequent travel destination for Sunday-breaking local and no wonder, it’s close to the gourmet hooks. Combine the restaurant visit with a walk and have a nice day trip. The village consists of rolling cobbled streets and colorful little houses, a beautiful square and a small church. Behind them are green high mountains and in front of a rocky coast with wild waves.
Casa Gaspar is one of the more elegant restaurants and a popular choice for Sunday lunch. The food is finely caught, the fish is caught on the north coast and can be steamed, fried or grilled, while all meat is cooked on the grill. Another favorite is Ardeola where the kitchen spells out one surprise after another. A standard dish like “ropa vieja” (meaning “old clothes” but is an octopus salad) reaches true heights in both taste and fragile texture. Book a table before.
Address: Casa Gaspar: Calle Esteban de Ponte, 44, Garachico.
Address: Ardeola: Avenida Tomé Cano 4, Garachico. restauranteardeola.com
2. Try wines on Bodegas Monje
The Monje family has produced wine since 1750 and now operates in the fifth generation Bodegas Monje. The wine grows 600 meters above sea level in volcanic soil, which gives the red wines a lightly burned character. The bodegan itself is situated in the midst of the vineyards and has a restaurant and a wine shop. At the shop’s stable table we try to try out ten different types of wine from the farm. The favorite will be the Red Listan Negro from 2012, made on the Canarian typical grape with the same name and there will also be a couple of bottles of the one who will accompany home. If you are looking for more wine after this there is a guachinche, a kind of local farm restaurant in the countryside, opposite Bodegas Monje, focusing on the production of natural wines.
Address: Bodegas Monje: Camino Cruz de Leandro 36, El Sauzal. bodegasmonje.com
3. Bath at beautiful Playa de el Bollullo
Four kilometers east of Puerto de la Cruz you will find what many consider Tenerife’s most beautiful beach. The subtle position far below the cliffs makes it possible to find here – you must either drive a car along a winding road through banana plantations, take a slow bus or walk 40-60 minutes along the coastal path. And finally, you have to walk down a steep mountain path which makes it difficult for strollers, wheelchairs and those who go bad. But one gets reward for the mood – the dense plantations are crushed by a high cliff top. Far below, the beach stretches out like a black moon cutter of soft sand. The waves are often high, so be careful when bathing, it can be underflows (and it’s definitely not child-friendly). There is also a simple beach bar that offers cool drinks and a bit of mackerel and something to chew on. Upstairs at the parking lot there is also a multi-level restaurant with roof terrace at the top. Today’s three-course dishes as well as a la carte are served – all of the slightly simpler, robust battle with emphasis on fish.
Address: Playa de El Bollullo: Camino el Bollullo, outside Puerto de la Cruz.
4. Bila or walk at the stingy Masca
The village of Masca was built by Tenerife’s native people, the guanches, high in a mountain ravine surrounded by 600 meter high mountain walls. Its location is fantastic and the village is well worth a visit even though it can be touristy. A nice excursion is to follow the beautiful TF-436 mountain road between Buenavista del Norte and Santiago del Teide with a stop in Masca and a Mirador de la Cruz de Hilda. For the experienced hiker there is a section of the ravine from the village of Masca down to the coast. It is famous for its scenic beauty and because it’s a little tough to go down and then back up to Masca there is the option to just wander down and then take a boat from the beach to the resort of Los Gigantes.
Address: Masca: mascalosgigantes.com
Address: Mirador de la Cruz de Hilda. miradorlacruzdehilda.es
5. Hang in the favorite beach of Playa San Juan
The south coast is like all Canary Islands full of charter hotels with a few exceptions. Playa San Juan is the little genuine village that has grown a little cautiously with tourism and where many local people still live. There are plenty of good taverns, such as the Pearl Jamón Jamón, which we return several times. We eat excellent, Iberian air-dried ham, avocado and laxtimbal topped with fishrooms and tasty Spanish meatballs albondigas. Our favorite dish, pimientos padron, grilled small, salty peppers, was also affordable. Every now and then you have flamenco evenings. If you are looking for a bath, Playa San Juan has both a small beach and a fresh cut bath, all within walking distance.
Address: Jamón Jamón: The corner of Avenida del Emigrante / Calle Isla de Fuerteventura. jamonjamongrill.com
6. Eat well under giant trees in Santa Cruz
The first time we walk past Plaza 18, is the evening and the lights shine welcome below the huge giant tree in Plaza San Francisco Square. Cozy but maybe a lot of tourists. Regardless, we have to try it, we will, if not for a glass. We settle down at one of the tables and serve an elegant mixed gin and tonic. There will be a couple of tapas, which will soon become more. The food turns out to be excellent. Again, we will return here, for the sake of the food, for the sake of the atmosphere. Try the classic Spanish cuisine from the menu of both carvery and the hot dishes. Inside the restaurant there is a stylish and ipod-blinking white bar with nice eighty-eight elements of turquoise and pink, but it’s the outdoor table we like best. A favorite!
Address: Plaza 18: Plaza San Francisco 18, Santa Cruz. plaza18.business.site
7. Healthy cutting bath
The small village of Alcalá is an authentic gem with a large cliff bath with a couple of small bars above. The sunbathing, most local but also tourist, spread out on the sun loungers above. There is a small beach strip with black sand, but most are rocks so be sure to bring a sun lounger or rent on site. The bath is well protected, but with its edges and little foxes, it invites you to snorkeling. If you want a swim there is plenty of space. Another nice but smaller rockbath is found in nearby Playa San Juan. Sometimes the waves are too big for baths but when it’s cool you have clear water here and very good snorkeling with lots of wildlife right outside the steps.
Address: Playa de Alcalá: Calle la Playa, Alcala Litoral Playa Bay: Outside Avenida del Emigrante, just north of Calle Isla de Fuerteventura.
8. Hike in Teide National Park
Around the Volcano Teide, you have created a national park to protect the unique landscape. It is easy to get around by car, but it is best on foot. The leaders have different degrees of difficulty, the vast majority of steep and tough. We feel our littleness when we are far out on the rocky stone that surrounds the volcano. Massively and vigilously the mountain is watching us and it is difficult to determine whether it feels reassuring or threatening.
As far as the walk itself is concerned, even the simplest joints can be difficult, so bring water, cap and good shoes, sunbathing and some basic conditions to walk at 2000 meters. If you take the closer trail (number 3 from the parade) it takes about three hours. There are many routes starting from the paradise / Cañada Blanca and you can walk all the way up to the top of the mountain, but it is only for the experienced. Then it’s easier to take the cable car that runs almost all the way up, just check the weather before the cab is closed often due to strong winds. If you have to go all the way up to the top, you have to walk the last bit and in advance seek special permission.
9. See the concert hall
A flower that opens its leaves for the sun, or maybe a nautilus nail? It is the world renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava who created Santa Cruz’s amazing concert hall (the same Calatrava, which stands behind Turning Torso in Malmö). Inaugurated 2003, the auditorium quickly became a symbol of Santa Cruz, and with all right. The concert hall looks far away, but it’s only when you walk close to the huge size of the building. And first of all, we see that what appears at a distance like a smooth white surface is actually artfully cracked tile. In the middle of the building there is an airy cafe where we like to sit and sip a glass of wine and enjoy the view of the sea. This way, you can enjoy this architectural gem without having to buy a ticket for a concert.
Address: Auditorio de Tenerife auditoriodetenerife.com
10. Visit the university city of La Laguna
The World Heritage Site of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, daily spoken of La Laguna, is Tenerife’s original capital and is also considered the island’s cultural center. As a home for a larger university, the atmosphere is youthful and together with over 500 years of history we remind you of cities like Lund and Uppsala. Best of all – it’s crumbling by cafes, restaurants and fun shopping in the multicolored old houses. Over time, La Laguna has grown with today’s capital, Santa Cruz, and it is easy to get around between the resorts by tram. Just take an extra shirt, La Laguna is 546 meters above sea level, which means considerably cooler temperatures than at the coast.
A favorite is the old casino, now a private club. On one corner, a little secret and half hidden by lush vegetation, lies one of La Laguna’s most bulky buildings. In the courtyard there is a fountain surrounded by small round tables. If Evita Peron had gone in to take his supé, nobody had raised his eyebrows, it would have been quite in order. The garden is open to the public and serves lunch of the day.
Address: Casino de la Laguna: Calle Nava Y Grimon 7, La Laguna. casinodelalaguna.es
11. Experience whales and dolphins on rolling safari
The wide strait between southern Tenerife and the island of La Gomera is an excellent area for rolling safari. Here the water is relatively protected from the great waves on the Atlantic, which makes it easier to spot fins and exhale spray. And while it’s so close to land, it’s still really deep – all this makes the marine mammals happy. Nearly 30 different species of dolphins and whales have been seen in the area. We go out on a rollercoaster safari with the little catamaran boat Nashira Uno from Los Gigantes harbor. Even though it is relatively windy and wavy, we already get ten minutes out of the harbor view of dolphins. Then there are a series of meetings with dolphins and short-legged gravel whales, sometimes just next to the boat. Most “oh!” and “ah!” comes when a little whale with mom takes a turn around our boat. At the end of the trip we stop at a badvik and then follow Los Gigantes steep cliffs back to the harbor.
Address: Marítima Acantilados: Avenida Jose Gonzalez Forte 17, Los Gigantes. maritimaacantilados.com