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.
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.
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.
In the Cañadas, there are 41 named routes, of varying lengths and difficulties, and I can imagine that all of them are worthwhile
Tenerife isn't a massive island, so the sheer diversity of landscapes it contains is impressive, from lava-strewn volcanic wastelands, to ancient laurel forests teeming with life. During a drive along the southern coast, we stopped to explore an area that has nothing to do with the fabulous beaches the coastline is otherwise known for: the Badlands (Malpais) of Güímar.
The mountains and forests of Tenerife are full of surprises. You can set out into the hills at random, and feel confident that you'll encounter something unforgettable, whether that's an unmarked trail leading to a glorious viewpoint, or a charming town you'd never heard of. We discovered Batan in this way, having set out in our car, without any itinerary... and it was among our best excursions on Tenerife. First, a quick (and unsolicited) plug for the…
Despite its location on the other end of the island from our house, we found ourselves repeatedly drawn to the Teno mountain range. Today, we plotted out a hike which would take us from the highland village of Teno Alto, through strange, jagged landscapes, down to the coastal road that ends at Tenerife's westernmost lighthouse.
The hikes we map out for ourselves usually tend to be circular. Round trips involve less hassle, and there's something satisfying about arriving back to where you started; it makes the day feel complete. But we couldn't resist the one-way hike between Anaga's Cruz del Carmen and Punta del Hidalgo, ten kilometers away, on the northern coast. The fact that it's almost entirely downhill might have helped.
On our first visit to the volcanic region known as Arenas Negras, we had done a loop around the Montaña Negra. This "Black Mountain" last exploded three hundred years ago, utterly destroying the seaside village of Garachico. We were so impressed by the otherworldly area, that we promised ourselves to return for a second hike… and it was a promise we kept.
What the Anaga mountain range is to eastern Tenerife, so is the Teno to the west. This natural reserve occupies the entire northwestern corner of the island, and although it's less forested than the Anaga, it's just as breathtaking. We spent a day hiking around its valleys and peaks.
On the second half of a long hike that began with an ascent up the Barranco de Ruiz, we passed through the charming village of San Juan de la Rambla, before continuing along the coastline back to our car. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at an amazing local spot.