My Favourite Tenerife Day Out

Wed, May 16th, 2012 - By Linda

One of the first things an expat learns about living in the Canary Islands is that there is no need to be homesick ….. all of your family and friends will want to come visit you! In the early years of living here I had a particular, favourite excursion and which never failed to wow guests. Recently I had visitors two, consecutive weekends, and repeated the trip. Even after all these years the distinct contrasts on each occasion surprised me.

This excursion begins with breakfast in the Plaza de España in the island’s capital of Santa Cruz, enjoying the early morning calm, and watching the people meandering off the cruise ships moored in the harbour.

Full of coffee and tortilla, we head north, along the TF5 to the clearly marked exit to Teide National Park. As we leave La Laguna behind and drive upwards, the deserts of the south and pine forests with scant undergrowth, are replaced by mixed woodland, where the scent of eucalyptus mingles with the fragrance of pine, and moss and wild flowers dot the borders of the roads.

Some days, wisps of cloud filter through the trees, giving the scene a faintly magical quality. This route is well endowed with viewing platforms, and the photo ops are myriad. On my first weekend this time we have clear views, spying the island of Gran Canaria on the eastern horizon. Further on Puerto de la Cruz and the northern coast spread beneath us like a postcard. On the second occasion our views are restricted by clouds, but even so the mist shifts constantly in the stiff Atlantic breeze, and we can pick out the sights of Santa Cruz beneath us at the first stop.

On the first, sunny visit, the famous Mar de Nubes frames Mt Teide in a perfectly-white mass, as the volcano rises above; on the cooler day, grey clouds drift across the road in front of us. It’s slightly spooky, and a totally different experience from the previous week. Leaving the forests, and driving through the volcanic landscape I am struck by how, in this different light, the colours of earth and rock seem altered from the previous week.

Stopping opposite the Observatory on the first occasion, we spot the peaks of La Palma on the horizon, peaking above those “cotton wool” clouds. We stop for a bite in El Portillo before driving through the stunning, lunar-like caldera, and it’s great to note that the souvenir stalls are mainly filled with local products and produce, like artisan honey and jams.

Returning south, you have a choice of routes. Reaching the edge of the crater, you can turn right and descend via the village of Chio, perhaps detouring to Playa San Juan to watch the sunset over drinks by the ocean. Alternatively, you can carry on, pausing in Spain’s highest village, Vilaflor, spotting the island of La Gomera shimmering on the horizon, and dropping down via Arona to Los Cristianos or Playa de las Americas.

Whichever route you choose to return, and whatever the weather, I can guarantee that you will be amazed by the variety of scenery – desert, sophisticated city, lush forest, dramatic seascape, lunar, agricultural terraces. You will feel more like you’ve crossed an entire continent than a small island!

Posted : Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Category : days out
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