Most wanderlusters who love the eclectic call of a city break will not choose Tenerife as their first choice of destination. The mere thought of an island holiday will sound like hell. After all, those who enjoy a liberating ponder around the metropolis want there to be something unique on every corner. They want bright lights and cosmopolitan sights! Not hotel after hotel. So thinking that somewhere known for its sun, sea and sand could ever possess anything remotely spectacular has to be crazy talk.
But thinking that would be wrong.
And I should know. For I’m one of those city-loving holidaymakers who learned to swallow their tongue.
Make no mistake, I was reluctant to believe that this was possible. My head was filled with thoughts of drunk people keeping me up till the early hours, beaches covered in a stretch of leather-look bodies and absolutely nothing interesting to see or do whatsoever. In all honesty, I was preparing for a week of aimless mooching and buying lots of novelty tat to keep me amused. However, unlike some island holidays I’ve been on in the past, Tenerife is very different. Sure, it boasts some similarities to the traditional idea of a trip to the Canaries (warm weather, water parks, good night vibes etc.) and if you go to the South of the island you’ll find that type of thing aplenty. But, in contrast to this, there’s a special facet to the North that goes beyond this expectation.
With such a rich blend of a tropical climate meeting city culture, Puerto De La Cruz (the smallest municipality in Tenerife and my chosen destination in the North) proves a bedazzling spot for both sunseekers and sightseers alike. There’s something stirring everywhere you go. And, if you’re a bit of a thrill-chaser, the rugged landscape alone should set your heart racing. Especially when you discover what you can do there…
But before you start packing your DSLR and faithful walking boots, first, grab that trusty pen and paper. You’re going to want to take note!
- FOR THE ADVENTUROUS THRILL-SEEKING SPIRIT: From surfing the tide on the black-sanded shores of Playa Martianez, hiking the dramatic ravines within the Anaga mountains to paragliding 2,200m into the sky facing the island’s monumental volcano, Mount Teide, there’s simply no excuse for your adrenaline junkie to lie dormant. You can even go full-throttle on your trip up to Teide and take a quad bike excursion! What better way to unleash your inner-daredevil than by speeding across an unpaved road? However, this level of awesomeness does require some prep. Many other globetrotters will know of these trips and will, therefore, have most likely booked/prepared in advance. So, in the cases of excursions, I’d recommend booking prior. Nevertheless, if you’re the independent sort who can venture without much aid, or if you have plenty of time to kill, then have no fear! There are many places in and around Puerto that will help you kickstart your island adventure into action. So let the fun begin! (Also, while you’re in an adventurous mood, take your journey underground and pop to Icod de Los Vinos to discover El Viento Cave – one of Europe’s widest volcanic tubes – for that extra bit of awesomeness in your bucket list itinerary)
- FOR THE ARTISTIC WANDERING SPIRIT: If you’d rather keep your feet on solid ground, however, keen photographers and others who possess a creative vision will have a field day admiring the tropical landscape, botanical gardens and phenomenal viewpoints. Such as from the cascading Parque Taoro, which offers both a splendid skyline panorama to please the eyes as well as the calming flow from the nearby waterfall to please the ears. Also, if you’re really ambitious and make it to the top of this vertical park, you can even treat yourself to a rewarding drink in the cafe located at its peak (ideal for sketching the view or penning out your inspired thoughts) Then, when you’re done there, head back down towards the coastline and just keep on walking. You’ll be sure to discover hidden treasures and hotspots that’ll keep a picture-perfect smile on your face all day long. (Also see, Playa El Bollullo & Jardin Aquatico for more unspoiled scenery)
- FOR THE GOAL-ACHIEVING SIGHTSEER SPIRIT: Nevertheless, even the most energetic of us need a break sometimes. So if you want to explore this side of the island without the dread of endless walks or wild rides in the heat, you can simply hop on a bus. Remember, there are no trains here, so it’s a bus or…well, quad bike! Anyway, with it being an island, no part of it is ever out of reach. So whether you fancy spending a day strolling the versatile sights of Santa Cruz, appreciating the famously artistic areas of La Orotava, uncovering history at the Pyramids of Guimar or exploring Teide National Park, you can save a bit of money (and foot ache) by catching the bus. For a day out in the capital, you should find buses run pretty frequently. But, when it comes to visiting Teide (the highest point in Spain) it’s one pick up a day from 9.30am at Puerto’s bus station (and other stations en route) and then 4pm to head back down. However, this is one of the cheapest ways to see this staggering landmark and also gives you the opportunity to go up by cable car. For this reason, if you’re on a budget but want to tick as many boxes as possible whilst on your island experience, this one’s for you! (Bonus tip: Those who want to stare into the mouth of Mount Teide WILL NEED A PERMIT! This is something that must be booked well in advance, as there are only 50 people allowed up there at any one time)
- FOR THE INSIGHTFUL ROMANTIC SPIRIT: Undeniably, a lot of these opportunities are already great for couples to enjoy. After all, holding hands as you explore the world’s third highest volcanic structure is pretty romantic, right? But, what if there was a way to make the passion you felt all the more explosive? Well, then you should try seeing it all at night! Teide under the stars is an absolute MUST for all travellers, but even more so if you seek that perfect setting for true love’s first kiss…Without a doubt, North Tenerife’s staggering views from up high and stunning coastal walks from down below are bound to get your heart pumping that bit faster. Every curve of this treasured island boasts a heavenly scene. So whether you go to find somewhere for your imagination to run wild or for sparks to fly between you and that special someone, this place is guaranteed to leave you starry-eyed. ♥
Even now, it amazes me to think about how I nearly poo-pooed visiting this wonderful this Spanish island. Hand on heart, I can honestly say that there really is something for every kind of traveller out there. Never again will I dismiss an island trip without looking a little closer!
With that thought in mind, it cements just how important is it to explore. The world is a big place, I know, and choosing which parts to prioritise seeing is always a huge decision. After all, you only live once, so you want to live wisely. But I hope that, whichever destination you choose to voyage, you will say yes to the incredible opportunities that come your way and go see the things you’ve never seen before. Even if they initially don’t sound like your kind of thing, going out of our comfort zone is often when we live the most.
So whatever type of creative spirit you are, make sure that one thing always remains top of your to-do list: Live life with soul.