Five Unusual Tenerife Sights to Look Out For

Sat, March 31st, 2012 - By Andrea Montgomery

From the creepy village which would have been the perfect set for a certain Michael Jackson video, to a classic icon of a Christmas winter scene in a location that has as much chance of seeing snow as I have of becoming the next First Lady – here are five sights worth seeing that might have escaped your Tenerife radar.

The Old Leper Colony
As you drive from the airport to your resort, or vice versa, keep a watchful eye on the eastern horizon around the town of Abades for the former leper colony of Arico. Looking a lot like another unfinished Tenerife building project, the settlement was an idea originally conceived at the end of the Spanish Civil War as an isolated place in which to house lepers from across Spain. To be run by the military, work on its construction began under Franco’s jurisdiction, but a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease coupled with the outbreak of war halted building work in the 1940s. Today it’s a great place in which to reconstruct scenes from Silent Hill and is occasionally used as a rave venue – Thriller anyone?

 

The Troglodytes
Travel beyond Santa Cruz to the far north of the island and the tiny hamlet of Chinamada in the Anaga Mountains where you’ll find some of the locals still living in caves. Built into the cliff face, the houses only have one constructed side, the rest of the home is within the rock. On the upside, the cave maintains the same temperature all year round, temperate in winter and cool in summer. On the down side, the TV reception is rubbish.

The Magic Tunnel
If you’ve never experienced the phenomenon of micro-climates, this one’s an excellent party trick. In the north west corner of Tenerife is the lovely little town of Buenavista from where a short drive takes you to the lighthouse. The road goes through a long, roughly hewn tunnel which bridges the north face of the island and the west face beyond Los Gigantes. Nine times out of ten you can enter the tunnel beneath heavy, cloud-laden skies and emerge, two minutes later into clear blue skies and sunshine. It’s magic.

 

The Stone Rose
Not to be confused with The Stone Roses, on the La Orotava road to Teide National Park, just beyond Aguamansa, is a cliff face which is shaped, they say, like the petals of a rose. Personally I think it’s more like a carnation but let’s not quibble. Believed to be somewhere in the region of 30,000 years old, the Rosa de Piedra (stone rose) was formed by lava flows which merged into columns and then cooled, causing cracks or seams in the crystallized rock. A rose forever in bloom – sweet.

The Snowman
As you drive from La Laguna towards the south on the TF1 motorway you pass beneath a bridge flanked by one of the most incongruous sights on Tenerife – a large snowman. He’s been there for as long as I’ve lived on Tenerife and his snow coat is somewhat grubby now but I have no idea where he came from or when he arrived. Presumably someone forgot to take him down by Twelfth Night and he’s been there ever since.

Posted : Saturday, March 31st, 2012 at 2:40 pm
Category : about tenerife
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