Tenerife

The second last trip of the year we wanted to enjoy some sun and warmth, before a few dark and cold months called Winter. But living in Europe means you have to fly quite a bit in November to be sure of the weather. So we decided to go the Canarean Island of Tenerife.

We weren’t sure this type of holiday would be our cup of tea. But is was worth trying it, no?

From Brussels, Tenerife South is about 5 hours flying. There are two airports at the island. The one in the north is the old one, but few airlines hit that one since the north of the island isn’t so popular with tourists.
The south is, and we have known this!

We had to wait for about one hour for our luggage, and used that time to arrange our rental car. Pitch dark and a bit later than expected, we arrived at our hotel in the little village of San Miguel. Luckily we chose a hotel close to the airport!

Day 2 rather was day 1 of our road trip. And by now you know we aren’t really into the real touristy shizzle. We kept up our tradition and drove towards the north. On our way to the capital of Tenerife – Sante Cruz de Tenerife – we found a strange but fascinating place called Abades (360 view). On the one hand there are brand new (tourist) houses, but on the other hand there is a big site with ruins of some sort. Perfect for some urbexing, and relaxing at the edge of the ocean with the threatening clouds rolling over the Teide. It also seemed a place of (permanent) camping. We liked it!

Santa Cruz is without doubt the biggest city on the island, and has some features, but a 1 night-stay is enough to check it out. bThe most exciting site is without doubt the Auditorio de Tenerife. Calatrava’s hand is very recognazible. It’s one of the few modern buildings on Tenerife, and the location is a bit strange but it sure is a guiding point. We liked the library in the city centre as well!

On day three the weather was a bit of a downside. We tried to stay ahead of the clouds and changed our schedule. First we checked out the most famous beach of Santa Cruz, a little bit north of the town, Playa de las Teresitas. We’ve never seen anything like this. Not because it’s not overwhelming, or because there is an enclosure to swim safe from the wild waves. But because of the view. There are at least 5 working oil drilling platforms in a range of a few kilometers … (360 view).

If you wonder who wins the game ‘Money or environment?’ come and have a look at this place. At the lookout a bit further up, we learned these drilling platforms have been in the area for quite some time, but legal actions have forced the drilling companies to shut many of them down. They still have a way to go.

Because of the bad weather (we should have seen the Teide from the lookout but clouds cover the mountain range), we are not able to go further north and explore the Anaga region before going to our next sleeping place – the old capital of La Laguna. So we drive back south, towards Abades and stop at some beaches we drove by the other day. In Abades we enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal at Samelo Veg.

Day 4 of the road trip we start with a copious breakfast, early enough to enjoy it all alone! Today we will explore the other side of the island. First we drive to Puerto de la Cruz. The only reason to stop here is the street art. Armed with a map of all the murals we get an insight in this little but busy town. The murals are all of high quality, but the one standing out is without doubt the ROA. And yes, we might be a bit biased, but it is one of the biggest and most detailed ROA’s we’ve ever seen! And very strange to find it on this island :-).

Satisfied with the art work we saw, we continue to drive towards the south of the island, but on the north side of the Teide (west coast). By the way: today is the first time we see the volcano top! Unfortunately the clouds roll faster than us, and they catch us along the way. Our Google Maps sends us the wrong way to the Dragon Tree in Icod de los Vinos, and completely fed up, we leave the tree and its blood for what it is. By now we’ve learned the place will be flocked by tourists anyway.

We check out the Piscinas Naturales de Garachico and call it a day. We drive back to La Laguna and walk around in the town. Highlight two of the day is the dinner we have at Veggie Penguin! The place just opened a few weeks before, offers only two dishes on her day menu and by default we apparently had a typical Canarean meal. Delicious and I even got a second serve!

The next day we go on looking for highlights. At first it seems the stories of driving above the clouds towards El Teide are nonsens. We drive through the fog for quite some time, but all of a sudden, the wood makes room for open space and the clouds are beneath us! What a view! And the silence is amazing! There aren’t many tourists coming this way to the volcano top, and luckily so!

The roads are narrow, and at one point rocks at one side are inevitable. When trucks are crossing from the other side, my heart beat is going up like crazy. But we make it to the highest mountain of Spain! Perhaps there is a reason to come back ones to Tenerife: because of the wind it is not possible to take the cable car up. All traffic is suspended. No mountain top today, despite the clear weather.

There are some other sightings around, and they are beautiful too but you have to take into account the herds of other tourists! As always, we left early enough to have time to discover some other places today. We decide to take our chances at Los Gigantes. It is praised as enormous cliffs with beautiful views. And the other thing is: the weather at this side of the island is indeed way better! It even gets hot today! Los Gigantes is nice, but not amazing. Anyway, we enjoy it.

Today we enjoy again two highlights. In our search for a quite place, almost impossible at this side of the island, we turn off the highway to one of the natural baths. We are masters in finding all-alone-spots. At one of those spots we meet some people of an animal rescue facility. The men are releasing birds and when I ask if I can take pictures, I am handed an opportunity of a life time (at least if you are an animal friend without fear of birds). I get a pair of gloves, the bird releaser explains me how to handle the bird and then we count to three and I wiggle my arms like I would never do in normal life 😉 It’s just amazing to see the birds flying away to the ocean, back to their normal lives after some time being sick or having been covered in oil or …

We watch the birds for some time and fear for the lives of some of them who keep on fighting against the waves but don’t seem to have the power to fly. The evening falls and we have a quick dinner at the one place you should always avoid – Los Cristianos. Tonight we sleep at a rural place away from the mass tourism. But the road towards that charming place Villaflor was not without it’s dangers. We took a wrong turn off again, and ended up at a very very narrow and steep road, with rocks at both sides, in the dark. We’ve never been more happy to have arrived at a hotel before!

The second to last day we enjoy the sun and the beaches along the east side of the island. Unfortunately we have bad luck for dinner, the place at Abades is closed. Tonight, we drive back to our hotel in Villaflor when the sun is setting but before the darkness. Time to pack our bags and fly home!

Flying home took a bit longer than expected. Our airplane had a delay of about three hours. Nobody warned us in advance, while the plane had a failure in Belgium before taking off there … Got up very early for nothing. The airline (Tui Fly) did meet her legal requirements and we get some vouchers to spend after customs. We got home some hours later than planned, but that’s life …

Tenerife has been ticked off the list. We had a nice time, however we cannot understand why so many people spend months in a row on a tiny island without much culture and mostly at the most ugly places – the south. It is inevitable to visit some more touristy sites, but we had the best time especially at the non-tourist side of the island. We enjoyed the nice weather, we got surprised by the excellent vegetarian food (except for the last evening) and found some nice places to spend a few hours very peacefully!

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