Three months, already gone. As we took off from the airport, rose into the sky, and flew off towards Valencia, we could scarcely believe how fast the time had passed. Tenerife had been far more interesting than we could have ever predicted. Rarely has one of our 91-day destinations so completely exceeded our expectations.
Located in the center of Tenerife and dominating the horizon, the Teide volcano is an overwhelming physical presence on the island. For our final excursion, we decided to put ourselves once more in its shadow, by hiking along the Montaña Blanca. We couldn’t say goodbye to Tenerife without tipping our hat to the Teide.
When most people imagine "Tenerife", the pictures which come to mind are of golden beaches, the blue Mediterranean, and perhaps the Teide Mountain. But as we discovered during our 91 days on the island, Tenerife boasts an endless variety of picturesque scenes.
“Calima”. During our time on Tenerife, we had heard the word enough to make us curious. “Watch out for the calima! The calima is coming! What’s the calima going to be like this year?” Eventually I looked it up, and then scoffed to Jürgen, “Guess what it means? HAZE. That’s what everyone is so worried about! A little haze!” He joined me in a hearty laugh, and we got back to booking our flights back home. A bit of haze was not going to stop that.
With its alien aesthetic and angular white profiles, the architecture of Santiago Calatrava is unmistakable. And that's especially true for anyone who's visited the architect's hometown/playground of Valencia. Santa Cruz's auditorium, one of its most emblematic buildings, looks like the sibling of Valencia's Palau de les Arts -- definitely part of the same family.
It had been a quiet Friday, and the hour was approaching five. Wrapping things up with work, I mentioned to Jürgen that we had just a few days left on Tenerife. "Just a few days?", he responded? A couple quiet seconds passed, and then we both simultaneously stopped typing on our computers, and slowly raised our heads
San Cristóbal de La Laguna is a gorgeous city for a lot of obvious reasons: for example, its convents, parks, museums, palaces and just the sheer weight of its history. But our appreciation for Tenerife's original capital only deepened as we discovered its modern side.
Tenerife's westernmost spot is the Punto de Teno, defined by a candy-cane patterned lighthouse that looks out towards the nearby island of Gomera. A harsh terrain with scant vegetation, high winds, and wide open views, it's a strikingly beautiful place, but not the kind of park you'd want to spend all day at.
We enjoyed fantastic hikes all over Tenerife, from the Macizo de Teno in the east, to the Malpais of Güímar in the south, and of course all over the Cañadas of the Teide… but some of our favorite hikes were a bit closer to home. In fact, we just had to step out our door, and walk into the hills that surrounded Las Mercedes, in order to have an awesome day out.
We were surprised by the wide variety of dishes local to Tenerife. A rich cuisine isn't one of the characteristics which immediately spring to mind when thinking about the Canary Islands, but of course it makes sense -- close to Africa, linked historically to Europe, and with a strong connection to the New World, the food of Tenerife should be special. Here are a few more dishes we loved.
The northern coast of Tenerife is a lot different from the more tranquil south. On this side of the island, the Atlantic Ocean is angrier, the water is colder, and the sand is neither golden and soft, but black and volcanic. But that doesn't mean the beaches of the north are never fun. We really enjoyed the small rocky beach of San Marcos, near Icod.
The southern coasts of Tenerife might draw more tourists, but if you're looking for dramatic natural landscapes, the north is where it's at. After having visited the Parque de los Lavaderos, we continued exploring the coastline around El Sauzal.