Tenerife - 1 week with your soulmate

I must admit Tenerife, or the Canary islands in general, were not really my travel list. The image I had of them was beaches, resorts, sun and not much to do except sunbathing. However, when looking for a summer destination last minute, Tenerife somehow appeared in the short list and a quick google search showed that there was actually quite a lot to do.

Where we stayed ?

Puerto de la Cruz, for convenience. We definitely wanted to avoid the purely touristy south-west and Puerto had quite some variety of accommodation to offer. We managed to find an AirBnB nicely located close to the sea and all the amenities. Obviously, we were surrounded by beach hotels and the very touristy sea promenade was just two steps away, but we had an apartment, with balcony and kitchen, and a few nice restaurants close-by. Also, contrary to other, probably calmer destinations, like Gigantes, Puerto is easily accessible and much more central. Our goal was definitely not staying in here every day.
Our 6-day itinerary

Tenerife La Orotava maison jaune

Day 1 - Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz has its very touristy part, but also a historical center. We were there in the middle of the July celebrations, so every day, there were fireworks, music or some other festivities. Regularly, we saw people in the traditional costumes. The old battery park and the old port were nicely decorated and constantly full of people.

The only regret I have is that we were not able to visit the Botanical Garden, as I planned it for our last day and we finally managed to get to the El Teide peak, but more on that later.

For a break from crowds, we headed to La Orotava, the town situated just above Puerto and being the wine center. Its historical center was definitely worth visiting, even though the town is built on one giant slope and we were constantly either going up or down, rewarded by the amazing views on the ocean or Puerto just below.

In the evenings, the streets were getting rather crowdy, so we just hopped in the car and went visiting the surrounding cliffs – there is Mirador (viewpoint with a small parking slot) on almost each of them, every time with a different angle. My favorite was definitely the former water lift and the path around it.

Day 2 - North-West

Starting from Puerto de la Cruz, we headed west on the highway, enjoying the great views in between the tunnels. Passing through the villages of Icod and El Tanque, we were set to surround the Mount El Teide from the north, climbing up more and more.

Mr. definitely had some fun on the serpentines in the Tenerife interior. Also, the numerous viewpoints just significantly slowed us down, but always offering great vistas. With that we managed to get to Santiago del Teide and finally to Masca. This little village in the mountains is known for its rocks resembling the famous Machu Picchu. It feels more like Machu Picchu-miniature, but it is a place worth stopping anyway and not only for the view for its small streets, cute little terrace/square and a chapel.

With that we turned back to the ocean and descended to Buenavista del Norte, town mostly known as the starting point for any excursion to the Teno parc. This was not on our plan, but we went got to the ocean, enjoying some calm and waves on the northern coast; and a funny lighthouse.

The last of our stops was Garachico, a village which used to be the biggest port of Tenerife until a volcanic explosion in the 18 century destroyed the port and most of the town with it. It now hosts a series of natural swimming pools, small port and a big church. Much more laid back than all the other “big” towns in the area and at the same time quite lively. When stopping at the Mirador del Emigrante, we could see the how the lava flew and where it probably did the most damage.

Day 3 - North-East

San Christobal de la Laguna and Anaga Rural Parc – North-EastStarting the early morning by a walk in La Laguna, where most of the shops ware barely open, all tourists still sleeping, we enjoyed the empty streets and the fresh (almost cold) air of the altitude. Contrary to the first days when it was rather cloudy, the rest of our stay was really hot so this was a nice change. We went to see their Cathedral as well, but the highlight of the visit was clearly the cuteness of the town itself.

A special stop on the Mirador San Roque with a view on Laguna and Santa Cruz, including the northern airport. The airport is almost on the same height level and quite close we had the chance to see an aircraft land, by pure luck, as this airport only serves to local flights and is definitely as busy as the southern one.

After this stop, we continued to the Anaga rural park, a quite strange place of Tenerife – we almost forget we were in the tropics and on a volcanic island. Due to the altitude and some microclimate conditions, the park is very green and full of blooming vegetation. Expect high trees, low trees, where you cannot see through.

There are many walks around the parc, but our knees were suffering from it. We tried to do a mix of easy (get out of the car, walk 200m, take a picture) and harder. The vistas were extraordinary and the microclimate made the whole.

After one wrong turn, we ended up heading toward the northern coast instead of the eastern extremity, but it was definitely worth it – we managed to see Bajo del Roque on top.

Day 4 - National Parc El teide

Starting the day early, we went direction Santiago El Teide, but instead of going up north again, we continued to the National Parc. It contains El Teide, the highest volcano (and the highest mountain of Spain) and all the surroundings, all mostly volcanic landscapes, but with a huge variety.

We started on the Samara mountain, Chinyero viewpoint and highly enjoyed the 4km Roques de Garcia walk/climb. The walk was definitely doable, even though it probably took us more than the announced 40minutes.

Next time () I would definitely start on the left side, do the slopes first and enjoy the “easy” walk at the end.

Next time…

Not counting the numerous stops on the way, admiring the lava fields, colored mountains and Mars-like landscape of Minas San Jose, we did a slight detour to the Astronomical observatory. There were some additional viewpoints and small walks to do, including a view towards the Orotava valley and Puerto de la Cruz below it.

While we spent the day somewhere between 1600 and 2800m, it was very hot and sunny, having some wind did not really change much on the perception.

Day 5 - Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We reserved a whole day for the island capital and definitely did not regret it. We started the day at the seaside, walking around the Palmetum, Parque Maritimo César Manrique and the Opera house.

Once we took pictures of it from all sides (twice), found our favorite singers on the stones lining it, we headed to the city center. Cooperative market – to be visited in the morning, as all was closed in the afternoon, totally dry river bed of Barranco de Santos and Plaza de Europa, historical minicenter, and stopping at Plaza de Espana.

While there is a large water basin and quite some trees around, the whole sea promenade made no sense to me – there is barely any shadow and with the hot weather in Santa Cruz (supposedly hotter than Puerto), there was no single person in that area. Quite a pity because one could walk/run/bike for a few kilometers there.

We preferred to head to the shadow of the buildings, walk around the pedestrian alleys and visit the several parks the city has on offer :

  • Plaza del Principe de Asturias
  • Plaza de los Patos
  • Plaza Weyler
  • And Parque Garcia Sanabria

Day 6 - El Teide

It is definitely possible to climb the El Teide itself, there are even several paths leading to the peak. For getting to the top, a permit is necessary, as well, as the advance booking. While we did not have this ambition, we still wanted to get up, at least by the cable car, but in hindsight, climbing up would have been probably easier. We had booked the cable car for our first day, at 9AM timeslot. Got up early, got in the car, only to receive a message informing us on adverse weather conditions and cable car not running. We rebooked to the next day.

And the same story happened. We rebooked once more, this time to our last day, as there were no earlier slots available. To be honest, the evening before, I did not have much hope about getting to the top and prepared an alternative itinerary.

But the luck was with us in the end anyway. Starting at 8AM, I kept refreshing the Volcano Teide page, as well as their Facebook account just to make sure there was no cancellation for this day and off we went. During the whole week, there was only one day where the weather was good and the cable car was running and we had a slot. The place is quite well organized, even though the time slots were only vaguely respected. The cable car ride took cca 15 minutes and we ended up just under the top, walking around to the La Fortaleza viewpoint – just about what we were ready to do in this altitude.

While the weather was great and sunny on the top, there were some low hanging clouds so the view of the valleys was not the best, but it was fun to finally be up there, while we spent 5 days checking out and photographing the volcano from different angles down there.


What I would add were we to stay 1-2 more days (or, my alternative if the cable car does not work):

Retour en haut