Like you might expect of a Spanish city founded in the 15th century, La Laguna has more than its share of churches. The Catholic Church apparently thought every block needed its own cathedral, convent, or chapel, and walking around town, it's easy to imagine the outlandish power they must have exercised.
One of the more well-known hikes on Tenerife leads from the village of Vilaflor to the so-called "Paisaje Lunar", or "Lunar Landscape". Sounds amazing, but this turned out to be the least compelling hike we had during our time on the island.
Having spent a considerable amount of time there, we weren't surprised to learn the Anaga Mountains are saturated with tales of witchcraft. With their moss-covered trees, scant sunlight and twisting paths overhung by gnarled branches, these forests are straight from the imaginations of the Brothers Grimm. It would've been shocking if there wasn't a belief in witches here.
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.
It's been a few minutes, so how about another post about Tenerife's fantastic hiking? Today, we'll be looking at the trail which begins at the foot of the Barranco de Ruiz, and leads to the seaside village of San Juan de la Rambla. At about three hours in length, this hike has a bit of everything, and serves as a primer to Tenerife's incredibly varied terrain.
Although they're long gone, assimilated completely into the genetic lineage of their Spanish conquerers, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands have a strong presence in Canarian culture. Before submitting to the Europeans, the Guanches lived on the islands for around two thousand years, and have left a large footprint.
We had enjoyed our initial hours of exploring Candelaria, but we really fell for the town during the second half of our day. After a coffee in the immense Plaza Patrona de Canarias, we walked up into the town's elevated historic quarter, saw some artisans craft clay pots, and discovered what might be our favorite restaurant on Tenerife.
We weren't expecting much from Candelaria, whose main claim to fame is a large Basilica. But the day we spent here was really nice. We learned about the Guanche kings, checked out an ancient cave chapel, and visited the incredible Basilica… and that was just within the first couple hours.
The Anaga mountain range is big. We knew that, but didn't realize quite how big, until we drove out to the very last village on the road, Chamorga. Even though our house is directly at the front door of Anaga, it took us well over an hour to complete the drive -- about the same time it takes to drive to the other end of Tenerife!
La Montaña Negra erupted, and as the lava flowed downhill to the ocean, the town was almost completely destroyed. And right now, you might be thinking, Mike and Jürgen should know better than to hike around a volcano with such an ominous name… but we did anyway. Would we survive?! Find out the thrilling conclusion later in this post!