Tenerife, the Canary Islands' wonderful combination of sea and mountains
By now you know, I am a great lover of the Canary Islands and, at this point, dare I say also an expert (below, at the end of the post, you will find the other articles on Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura).
Tenerife was the last of the "big islands" that I was missing (yes, the next ones will be La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro - very soon!). So - when my Australian friend Sophie (<3) asked me to spend a few days together, working remotely here in Europe - this island immediately came up to my mind. I hadn't seen Sophie in many years, so it was an incredible opportunity for me to spend some wonderful days with her, explore Tenerife and relax on its beautiful beaches. Thanks Soph for the company, see you very soon!
And now, let's get down to business.
Unlike some previous posts, I have decided this time to divide up all the stops we made and places we visited in a slightly different way; I also wanted to add some of the activities we did during our holiday and a few vegetarian restaurants (or with vegetarian options) that we really liked and that I would highly recommend (you can find the full map at the end of the article or by clicking here).
Where we stayed: Las Eras and Los Cristianos
Tenerife's most beautiful beaches: La Tejita, Las Teresitas, Playa del Duque, Natural Pools in Garachico
Island's inlands: San Cristobal de la Laguna, Mountain Teide, trip through the vineyards and Masca
Things to do in Tenerife: Surf and Yoga in El Médano
First though, and those of you who are regulars on the site know this, I leave you with a little spoiler of the five places that, in my opinion, are really worth visiting.
Mountain Teide: if there is ONE thing you absolutely MUST do in Tenerife, it is a trip to Mount Teide. Teide is the highest mountain in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world; whether you are a trekker or not, you can't miss these lunar landscapes!
Masca: another place you can't miss is Masca; a tiny place nestled in the island's innermost gorges, from where you can enjoy an incredible landscape, where the imposing rocky mountains meet the blue ocean
Playa la Tejita: not far from the South Airport, there is a small naturist beach tucked away at the foot of an imposing mountain, where you can take advantage of relaxing and bathing in complete freedom
Playa las Teresitas: an expanse of golden sand, with many bars and lidos throughout its area. It has large rocky mountains behind it that plummet directly onto the beach, making it very picturesque
Natural pools in Garachico: small turquoise-coloured lakes, created from inlets in the volcanic rocks that, with a little human help, have become beautiful pools where you can dive and swim
WHERE WE STAYED: LAS ERAS AND LOS CRISTIANOS
As a base for our first few days of remote working, we chose a small fishing village on the east coast of the island, Las Eras. Our intention was to enjoy Tenerife in its most authentic soul and, I can confirm, we could not have chosen a better place. Las Eras is a very small town, quite far from the most populated centres of the island - which are a half-hour drive either north (Santa Cruz) or south (Los Cristianos), where there is a small market, a bar and two small restaurants. We found our flat on Airbnb (at this link), a typical house embedded in the rock, white and blue (like many local houses in the Canary Islands), which overlooked a small patio directly on the sea. The house was very close to Las Eras beach, an expanse of black stones and sand, apparently very popular for diving. From this village it was very easy to move around the island between north and south, both during our day trips and in the evenings when we wanted to go out for a bite to eat in the more lively places. Just south of Las Eras is El Médano, a fairly touristy town full of very nice bars and shops. We often found ourselves heading here for a drink/meal after a day of work.
For our last few days, we chose to move to a slightly more touristy area, the Costa Adeje; more specifically to Los Cristianos. This location made it easier for us to explore some of the beaches I will tell you about a little bit further down and was a great opportunity to experience a completely different part of the island, much more touristy and organised. Sophie booked the house and it had a beautiful view of the city from above! I'll leave you the Booking link here.
TENERIFE'S MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES: LA TEJITA, LAS TERESITAS, PLAYA DEL DUQUE, NATURAL POOLS IN GARACHICO
La Tejita was the first beach I visited (I speak in the singular because Sophie joined me on the island in the evening of the following day), literally 30 minutes after landing. It is only a 10-minute drive from the South Airport, under the majestic Montaña Roja. It is very easy to get there, and right next door there is a spacious car park where you can safely park (a very important detail for me, since - those who know me know - parking is definitely not one of my best qualities); as soon as you arrive, the beach does not look like much, the landscape around it is very industrial and almost abandoned. After walking on the beach for a while, however, and heading towards the mountain, I found a small wooden bridge leading to a small, much more secluded beach carved out of a cove between the rocks. I discovered shortly afterwards that it was a naturist beach, where one could take advantage of the opportunity to relax and bathe freely. I understand that it is not for everyone, but if you like the mood - you absolutely must visit it!
Las Teresitas beach is located after Santa Cruz, in the north of Tenerife. I took the opportunity to visit it on the day Sophie arrived, landing in the North Airport - not far from that beach. The mood is definitely different from that of La Tejita but, together with the latter, they were definitely the most beautiful beaches visited. Las Teresitas is an expanse of golden sand, with many bars and lidos all around it. It has large rocky mountains behind it that plunge straight down onto the beach and is therefore very picturesque. It was crazy windy that day, I don't know if this is common in that area, but - should you decide to go - maybe take a look at the wind (I usually use this site) and adjust accordingly.
Playa del Duque
The Duque beach is definitely the most - pass me the term - cool and touristy beach on the island. It is located not far from Los Cristianos and very close to luxury hotels, shopping centres and starred restaurants. The style is immediately recognisable from the people who frequent it, those I like to call (in a good way) the comfy tourists. Those, that is, who want to have a quiet holiday, without too much effort and having all the comforts at hand. Despite our vision of a holiday so far removed from theirs, Sophie and I were immediately at ease. The water was wonderful and the beach bar also served us really delicious food, along with fresh fruit juices. If I'm not mistaken, Sophie liked it so much that she even went back the next day after I left!
Natural pools of El Caletón (in Garachico)
The natural pools of El Caletón (in Garachico) are, I must admit, a little difficult to reach. They are located on the west coast of the island, half an hour's drive south from Puerto de la Cruz; to get there you pass through small streets and through very characteristic villages. If you are passing through San Juan de la Rambla, stop at the Bar Restaurante EL Saucito, along the road: from the outside you won't give it a cent, but it has a huge terrace where you can ask to go up to admire the whole landscape! Returning to the natural pools, we can say that the slightly uncomfortable road is definitely worth it. As soon as you arrive, you will find yourself in front of these turquoise-coloured lakes, created by inlets of volcanic rocks which, with a little human help, have become beautiful pools where you can dive and swim.
ISLAND'S INLANDS: SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA, MOUNT TEIDE AND TRIP THROUGH THE VINEYARDS AND MASCA
San Cristóbal de La Laguna
San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the largest city in Tenerife, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It is located only 10 km from Santa Cruz (and therefore also very close to the Northern Airport) and is an excellent destination if you want to stroll through characteristic streets, historical sites and museums.
Mount Teide and trip through the vineyard
Well, if there is ONE thing you absolutely MUST do in Tenerife, it is a trip to Mount Teide. Teide, at 3,718m high, is the highest mountain in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world [after Mauna Loa (4,169m) and Mauna Kea (4,207m) in Hawaii - source], in short - a nice premise!
There are two ways to climb to the top of the volcano: 1) on foot, along a path that takes about 4 hours and for which you need a very-difficult-to-get permit (it is always booked, even if you look weeks in advance), or 2) using the cable car (tickets can be booked here).
Obviously we were a bit unlucky and, as we couldn't find room to walk up, we booked the cable car ticket. That day, as we actually found out quite often, the cable car was blocked because of the wind. So it was not possible for us to go up to the summit. However, the start of the cable car was still at a considerable height (around 2,300m), which allowed us to visit the volcanic area and follow some very scenic routes anyways. Just ask the guides for information and they will explain everything!
On the way down from Teide, we had the wonderful idea of looking for some local winery, as we were in the vineyard area of Tenerife at the time, to stop for a glass of fresh wine. So we stumbled upon this beautiful eco-friendly winery Alma de Trevejos, where we tasted the best mojo of the holiday. And, trust us, we really, really tasted a lot of them!
Another place you absolutely cannot miss during a holiday in Tenerife is Masca; a tiny place nestled in the island's innermost gorges, from where you can enjoy an incredible landscape, where the imposing rocky mountains meet the ocean. The road to reach this place is really treacherous, and it is not just me who is not very good at driving. We struggled a lot, both us and the poor hire car. Precisely because of this, however, Masca has retained a certain charm and is visited by tourists practically all year round. There are several restaurants where you can stop, admire the view and eat something local.
If you drive to Masca via the west coast (we came from Garachico), don't miss the view from the Mirador Altos del Baracán!
WHAT TO DO IN TENERIFE: SURF AND YOGA IN EL MÉDANO
On our days off, we wanted to dabble in some surfing and yoga lessons. We found a school that gave us the opportunity to buy a package with both activities and we didn't miss it. The school is called Ori Surf in El Médano (you can book the lessons directly online); we did the surfing one at the weekend and the yoga one during the week, right after work. Both lessons were very nice, doing yoga right on the beach, with the Montaña Roja as a backdrop (can you see it, there in the background of the last photo?) was an incredible experience.
WHERE TO EAT IN TENERIFE
Sophie has been vegetarian practically forever and I, on the other hand, have not eaten meat for a couple of years. During our holiday we wanted to go in search of the best vegetarian/vegetarian option restaurants on the island. I'll leave you the ones we definitely liked best below.
This one I tried on my own, but definitely among my favourites of the whole holiday. Unfortunately, it has somewhat peculiar hours and is closed for dinner (check Google before you go!), but it is really worth it. The owners explained to me that because they make everything themselves, they need more time for the various preparations, which is why they only open 4/5 days a week. Their marinated tempeh is spatial!
A small vegan lab almost in the centre of El Médano, with very few covers but really tasty dishes. We were super happy with both the main course and the desserts.
Another restaurant in El Médano (I had anticipated that this little town was a bit of a reference point for us for various post-work outings). This time Moroccan cuisine, not exclusively veg but with a nice vegetarian one-dish option for about 20€, which Sophie and I shared - it was huge!
This Mexican restaurant does not seem to have excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, maybe it was us who were particularly lucky. But we loved it, especially their strawberry margaritas ( Y U M !) and their vegetarian fajitas.
Those who know me know that Indian cuisine (right after Thai) is my second favourite cuisine of all time. Wherever I go, I always try an Indian restaurant. And this people, this is the best Indian restaurant I have ever tried. And I am not ashamed of it. Perhaps, if I am lucky enough to visit India one day, I will one day reconsider. But for now, this is my verdict. Incredibly friendly staff and 10/10 food (not surprisingly, it has 5 stars on TripAdvisor, one of the few times I see a restaurant with so many reviews have such a high average). Even better, the extreme attention to vegetarian and vegan choices. There was a dedicated section, with the possibility of converting all dishes to vegetarian, replacing animal proteins with soya-based choices.
I leave you a map of all the places we had marked; not all of them we managed to visit, but maybe they can be useful to you :)
Special thanks: endless thanks for the company to my buddy from 2016, fantastic companion of travel, adventure and food. On instagram @sofartravel, and her amazing blog can be found here: www.sofartravels.com
See you in Bali <3