Walking Along The West Tenerife Coast

Wed, June 27th, 2012 - By Colin

You don’t have to clamber up a mountain to uncover Tenerife’s natural charms, a gentle coastal stroll can be very rewarding and the west coast has plenty to offer. I did the whole walk from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes but with a half hourly bus service running parallel to the seaside paths you can dip in and out at your leisure.

Playa San Juan, Tenerife

Playa San Juan seemed a good starting point, the recently upgraded beach has just been awarded its first EU blue flag for cleanliness and the compact harbour is complimented by a good selection of cosy bars and restaurants. Dropping down onto the wide concrete path just before the open coast road leaves town I was mesmerized by the gnarled and twisted rock formations. Fissures cut open by the waves offered brave fishing enthusiasts great vantage points and a little further along sun bathers found special hideaways near the rock pools.

Flamboyance tree, Fonsalia, Tenerife

The path became rougher rising and falling gently as it passed banana plantations until it reached a short drop to a tiny shingle beach. At this point it’s easier to divert to pass through the charming hamlet of Fonsalia. The main street is small but boasts the bar restaurant La Barrera, and the church and mini plaza. Cutting back to the coast, La Gomera is at its closest point and the sound of shingle dragging slowly against the rocks is the only thing breaking the silence.

Coastal walk, West Tenerife

Alcalá soon arrived with steep stone steps down to secluded swimming points before the path dipped down into the plaza. Veril café bar is a good people watching place to quench your thirst before pushing on along the quayside and up past the Union Sur bar which serves another small plaza overlooking the sweep of the bay. The Palicio de Isora hotel has brought high end tourism to the area but has also subsidized big improvements to the walkway with a children’s play area, volleyball beach and benches to enjoy the fabulous sea view.

Another beach, Playa La Jaquita, is being upgraded and that meant another detour through the tight corridors between the fast ripening fields of bananas but back on the other side the coast was still rugged and the rocky outcrops fascinating.

Los Gigantes, Tenerife

Cresting the brow of a hill gave me the first clear view of the Los Gigantes cliffs topped with a few whispy clouds, below me stretched the wilder Punta Blanca coast favoured by surfers. Camping is illegal on the coast but the well worn track is popular with families enjoying a picnic by the waves. The path ends by curling up into El Varadero on the main road, I chose to walk through Playa de la Arena to the edge of Puerto Santiago, a couple of stops on the bus, before taking the steep road down to the pocket sized Playa Santiago beach.

Crab Island, Los Gigantes

The walkway curls up and around the headland onto the Paseo Litoral which was created in 2006 with modern bars and restaurants  looking out onto the rock pools below. Steep steps had me puffing on the way out by the Hotel Barcelo Santiago, a brief stroll up the hill and there’s a short cut over a mirador that looks down on Crab Island and the large circular pool where the sea laps over the edges. All the time the cliffs of Los Gigantes loomed larger and more impressive, the road out of Crab Island brought me into the heart of the village. Tipsy Terrace is a good place for a well deserved drink with the main bus stop in clear view or the church plaza towards the beach is a quiet place to reflect in one of several cafes.
Each of the three main sections of the coastal walk take around an hour at a leisurely pace but you don’t have to cram them in all at once, maybe savour them over a few days.

Posted : Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 at 9:20 am
Category : days out
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