I’m always amazed whenever I see someone dismiss Tenerife as an arid rock, especially after they’ve visited the island.
Although it reveals that any person who states this ‘fact’ with unshakeable authority never set foot outside their southern based resort, did any research whatsoever, or even looked inland and up at the hills now and again, it is something that paints a picture in the minds of people who don’t know Tenerife.
Unfortunately it happens far more often than it should… even though it simply isn’t true.
A huge forty five percent of Tenerife is national park land; the Canary Islands have more protected natural areas than any other region of Spain. A lot of that is covered in forest.
For those who enjoy a dreamy stroll in the forest, Tenerife has some wonderfully sun-dappled options no matter where they might be based.
Teno Rural Park is easily accessed from the south west resorts. Within thirty minutes of leaving Los Gigantes you could be walking in the shade of moss covered laurisilva and tree heath. When you climb away from the south west coast, the landscape changes at Santiago del Teide; the arid land replaced by pines which front the lush woodlands that carpet the hills as they undulate north and west.
One of the most beautiful sights on Tenerife is to stand on a forest path in the upper Orotava Valley and gaze across an unbroken sea of pine trees to Mount Teide rising way above the valley with not one man made construction in sight. The forest is wonderfully wild and dense with occasional eucalyptus and chestnut trees on the lower slopes adding a bit of variety. A local bus from Puerto de la Cruz drops woodland lovers right in the heart of this natural wonderland.
Amazing Anaga offers the most incredible forest walking on Tenerife with ancient trails meandering through even more ancient laurisilva forests, the likes of which have disappeared from most of the rest of the world. Swirling low cloud can add atmosphere and chills to some of the most dramatic forest landscapes on the island. On clear, sunny days walking through Anaga’s time-travelling terrain is simply exhilarating. The downside is that, unless you’re in the likes of La Laguna or Bajamar, getting to Anaga’s forests is a time consuming business.
Even the most arid part of Tenerife isn’t that far away from forested land. A trip up the hill towards Teide National Park, leads to Vilaflor, a lovely traditional town in the heart of the pines. The forest isn’t as dense as in northern parts which can let more sunshine through (good on cooler winter days less so on hot summer ones). There are also a few curios to see in the woods here such as Paisajes Lunar as well as some seriously oversized pines.
A Forest with a Difference
It’s not exactly a conventional forest and there’s no strolling through dappled sunlight involved but the cardóns which cover the volcanic landscape in a section of the Guimar badlands make up probably one of the more unusual ‘mini’ forests you’re likely to walk through – there’s more than a hint of the wild west about this hot world of green cactus spurge towers.
Not so much an arid rock as a green gem then.
Category : about tenerife
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