Icons of South Tenerife

Fri, November 4th, 2011 - By Linda

As my plane glided smoothly onto the tarmac of Tenerife South airport I glanced out of the window at Montaña Roja, the volcanic cone which guards the beach of La Tejita.   As always, I got that little “I’m home” thrill which this icon of the south east coast gives me. It’s my first welcome, and it’s the last thing I notice when I leave.

I got to wondering what other features, natural or manmade, of the southern landscape could be considered iconic, symbolic of the south of the island. Northern Tenerife is chock-a-block with them: Santa Cruz’s Auditorium, La Laguna ’s Iglésia de la Concepción, the Dragon Tree of Icod de los Vinos, Roque de Garachico, not to mention several surreal rock formations throughout the Teide National Park and the Anaga Mountains, and of course, Mt Teide itself.

In El Médano it’s an easy choice. At the opposite end of the main beach is a manmade icon, the town’s eponymous hotel.  What makes it memorable is that its sun terrace is built on stilts, jutting out into the sea, giving it a California feel.

At the other end of the island’s tourist coast is the resort town of Los Gigantes, nestling under dramatic cliffs bearing the same name which, as you might have guessed, means the giants. These wonders of nature feature on many of the postcards you send home to colder climes and certainly typify the island’s beauty.

Tenerife’s best-known resort, Playa de las Americas, is all about beaches and sunshine, but there are a couple of buildings which stand out.  One is MAGMA, a conference centre of adventurous, modern design using traditional Canarian stone, which sits overlooking the main road as you head west from the bus station, and last year hosted the prestigious STARMUS festival, attended by another icon – Brian May of Queen.

Oddly, the other building is also a conference centre, belonging to the Mare Nostrum complex, La Pirámide de Arona opposite the Safari Centre.  It’s the Canary Islands answer to Las Vegas, with a pseudo-Roman façade and is home to Carmen Mota’s vibrant Flamenco ballet. A bit flashy it may be, but then Tenerife’s boast is to have something for every taste.

Los Cristianos was once a quiet, fishing village with only one beach, but in the 90s the beach of Las Vistas was reclaimed from the sea by dredging sand from the seabed. It was previously all rocks and pebbles. In the middle of the beach, a fountain was built on the remaining rocks, and pictures you usually see now of the resort are taken on this beach and generally include the fountain. It’s become symbolic of the town.

In 2011 a new fountain was inaugurated at the resort’s entrance.  It’s colourful and, after a cautious start, it’s almost always to be found working.  Maybe this will, with time, become the town’s new symbol…..we can’t let the north have all those iconic emblems, can we.

Posted : Friday, November 4th, 2011 at 9:27 am
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “Icons of South Tenerife”

  1. […] a sea view room at the El Medano Hotel and you get oodles of ocean with the iconic silhouette of Montaña Roja along an endless shoreline of golden sand. Throw the rainbow sails of wind surfers and kite surfers […]

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