The Gardens of Puerto de la Cruz

Mon, November 7th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Scroll through the pages of any holidays in Spain website and you’ll find Gran hotels by the thousands. But long before the label became as prolific as the beaches they border, the Taoro Hotel in Puerto de la Cruz was attracting wealthy Victorians to its balmy winters and exotic gardens.

Parque Taoro
The first ‘Grand’ hotel in Spain, the Taoro was built by British and local investors in 1890 and attracted those with breathing disorders, as well as the rich and famous to over-winter amidst its landscape of palm trees, laurels, oleanders, drago trees and native flora. Amongst the most notable of its guests were Agatha Christie when she came to escape England and the press following her husband’s call for a divorce in 1927.

Housing the town’s casino up until its relocation to beneath the lake in Lago Martiánez, the hotel is now closed and awaiting refurbishment but its grounds have been maintained.  A spectacular waterfall cascades down through landscaped terraces from the front of the hotel to the main road below. Behind the hotel a series of parks and gardens provide endless paths for joggers and strollers and quiet green corners for nature lovers and book readers.

Risco Bello
Located alongside the Hotel Taoro above the town, these extraordinary aquatic gardens provide water landscapes to rival a Monet canvas, and a genteel tea garden in which Agatha’s ghost wouldn’t look out of place were it to materialise. Steps, footbridges and hidden paths lead around and across lily-filled ponds, waterfalls and bougainvillea backed pools where nature and secateurs have reached a compromise. Exploring Risco Bello is like discovering a secret paradise and then being able to go for coffee and cakes by the lake afterwards.
(Open daily 09.30–18.00, entrance €4)

Sitio Litre
Another of Agatha’s favourite Puerto haunts are the 250 year old orchid gardens of Sitio Litre where her name joins that of Sir Richard Burton – explorer and translator of Kama Sutra (not actor and husband of Liz Taylor), Marianne North – artist whose paintings adorn her eponymous gallery in Kew Gardens, and Alexander von Humboldt – explorer and botanist, all of whom were guests of the garden’s British owner Archibald Little.

Quintessentially English from their manicured croquet lawn to their beds of perfumed roses, the gardens also boast a splendid orchid collection, a magnificent drago tree and a newly added bonsai section to their cultivated wealth.
(Open daily 09.30–17.00, entrance €4.75)

Botanico Gardens
The second oldest gardens in Spain, the Botanico gardens have over 3000 species of exotic trees and plants thriving in the fertile soil and perfect botanical climate of the north of Tenerife. From the limb threatening swords of giant agave leaves and rhino horn thorns of silk floss trees to the gentle lull of wafting, sky scraper palms and the placid tranquillity of the dragonfly filled pond, you’ll be awed and wooed in equal measure by this  horticultural Lost World.
(Open daily 09.00–18.00, entrance €4.50)

Posted : Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 10:25 am
Category : days out
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2 Responses to “The Gardens of Puerto de la Cruz”

  1. […] gardens at the Hotel Botánico are one of its crown jewels and give the nearby Botanical Gardens a run for their money. A beautifully landscaped, tropical paradise wends its way around a […]

  2. […] Until now, if you wanted to sample the delights of a mojito mousse or a handmade gofio chocolate, you had to travel to Buenavista or into Santa Cruz to find the only outlets. But all that has changed now as the iconic bakery has opened up in La Paz at the front of the  Canary Centre shopping precinct on the main road to the Botánico Gardens. […]

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