Have you been to Tenerife? The last time I went to Tenerife I don’t think I did it justice. As a newly married, pregnant with my first child, burnt out secondary school teacher, I was thoroughly uninspired to do very much in the glorious tropical heat and spent a lot of time enjoying a sun lounger by our apartment.
When in Tenerife, look beyond the more obvious resorts and attractions and discover the incredible wildlife, wonderful nature, stunning vistas and beautiful hamlets.
Watch Whales and Dolphins
South Tenerife has resident colonies of dolphins and pilot whales, there are also up to 21 different species who visit during the year. With sightings nearly 80% of the year and an almost 100% sighting on those days Tenerife is an amazing place to watch whales. There are few locations on Earth where you can watch whales and dolphins so close to your hotel.
Top tip: The south-west coast of the Island is the perfect place for whale and dolphin watching. Tenerife is home to a number of companies which specialise in organising trips to see these animals in their natural, free habitat. Boats set off from the ports of Los Cristianos, Puerto Colón and Los Gigantes, with trips to suit all interests and budgets and ranging from 2 -5 hours.
Tenerife has so many blue flag beaches with golden sand and calm waters perfect for families. For an other world experience and to see nature at it’s wildest, visit the beach of Benijo. The waves can be strong so take care, especially with kids. With fabulous views of the Roques de Anaga rock formations, the sunsets here are breathtaking – the glimmering sea contrasts with the red horizon and the dark outline of the volcanic rocks rising from the ocean.
Top tip: Benijo (pictured above) is the most remote beach belonging to the town of Taganana (which also contains the beaches of El Roque de las Bodegas and Almáciga). To get there, you will have to walk along a path with steps. It is popular with nudists as well as nature lovers! You can get reasonably close by car, and there are plenty of restaurants nearby serving typical Tenerife dishes.
Climb Mountains and Hike
Behind all the resorts are miles of trails through national parks, full of wildlife and past isolated rural villages. Teide National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The structures of the caldera and the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano are unique in the world. With hundreds of cones, lava tongues and caves, it is the focus of much scientific and scenic interest.
You could take a thrilling cable car ride up Mount Teide, with its lunar landsapes and unique species. If you want to reach the very top of the summit, you can apply for a permit. The trail follows in the footsteps of Tenerife’s aboriginal population, the “guanches,” who made the first trails through the dense laurisilva forest and the grazing areas near the mountain.
Top Tip: Spend the night at the Altavista Refuge, and you won’t need to apply for a licence at all to access the Mount Teide’s peak and will see the sunrise. However, you will need to have completed the walk by 9 o’clock in the morning!
Find Hidden Hamlets
I do remember visiting Masca, a picturesque hamlet, which has been declared an area of ethnographical and architectural interest. It is only recently that is has become accessible by road, and what a winding, dramatic road it is.
Top tip: Unfortunately I was too pregnant to hike down the Masca ravine to the sea and take a boat back to another coastal town, but the views are meant to be utterly incredible.
Have you been to Tenerife? Do share your top tips in the comments!
Post in association with Web Tenerife. Images courtesy of Web Tenerife.