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.
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.
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.
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.
Back in the olden days, this is where local washer women would come to do their laundry. (I have no idea what the actual time frame must have been, like the 19th century? That feels right, but I'm covering my bases by just calling them the "olden days".) The park is located around a powerful natural spring, and the natural beauty of the area must have alleviated the monotony of the washing.
If Taborno were located anywhere else, the day would have been an absolute failure. The one thing we had planned on doing, didn't work out... but look at these views! We weren't able to find any suitable replacement activity... except from checking out these amazing views! Objectively, the day was a total failure. But man, did we enjoy those views.
Tenerife still boasts some places of great natural beauty which are almost completely off-the-radar, such as the forgotten village of Batan. But most areas of potential touristic interest have long since been "discovered". Many of these are still must-see despite the crowds, like the Roques de Garcia. But some of them are like Los Gigantes: over-run, obnoxious places you'd do well to avoid.
Tenerife is home to plenty of upscale resorts and charming mountain villages, but it also has an outsized share of places that have been abandoned and forgotten to time. We've already written about a few, but decided to spend a second day exploring the failed projects and obsolete constructions of the island.
Tenerife's northern coast is defined by the untamed ocean which pounds its shores. The waves are great for surfers and photographers, but if you want to take a dip in the water, you have to wait for a calm day... which doesn't happen too often. For that reason, many towns in the north have created natural pools, fed with water from the Atlantic, but protected from the most violent waves.