El Paisaje Lunar – The Lunar Landscape

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.

Paisaje Lunar

With a name like that, we expected more

They can’t all be winners. The “Lunar Landscape” of Tenerife is just underwhelming. And first you have to get there! The hike from Vilaflor is an unrelenting uphill odyssey of over two hours. But hey, at least you’re heading somewhere interesting, right? Well… wrong. The name “Lunar Landscape” promises something bizarre and expansive: like a panorama of unique formations which defy earthly logic. So when you finally arrive, and encounter just a few smooth, white rocks, it’s hard to not be disappointed. You’ll be done within fifteen minutes, tops, and then it’s time to hike all the way back.

This would be acceptable, if the hike itself were entertaining. But nope, the path goes through a monotone pine forest, and there’s nothing to see along the way. The ground, gravelly and sandy in patches, is difficult to walk upon. It’s a boring, steady slope, never too steep, and never the least bit interesting.

Experience Bias

I’ve been shocked by the positive experiences of this hike reported by others on the internet. If you look up “Lunar Landscape”, you’ll find nothing but rave reviews, which makes me wonder how much of this is down to something I’ll call “experience bias”. That is, you’ve taken a big chunk of your time on Tenerife to do this stupid hike. You’ve driven here, and spent an entire day getting to the Lunar Landscape. And now you have a choice: admit that it was a waste of time, or pretend that it was “amazing”. Admit to all your Facebook friends and Instagram followers that you wasted your time, or insist that it was a marvelous day and you couldn’t have possibly picked a better thing to do.

Paisaje Lunar Tenerife

Afterwards, we spent some time in the village of Vilaflor, but not even that could rescue the day. This is a town which has given itself over completely to tourists. It’s chintzy and overpriced, with restaurants designed to attract to foreign palates. A number of other hikes start from here, but having already seen and disliked the “best” one, we passed on the others.

Are we being too harsh on the Paisaje Lunar? I suppose it’s possible, though we were in good spirits before starting and felt optimistic about it. Have you done this hike, and had a more positive experience? (And if so, are you sure you’re not just fooling yourself?) Leave a comment and let us know!

Check out another strange landscape in Macedonia

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