First Things First or Why consider Tenerife
Tenerife is one of the best and closest to Europe places that you can go. It is very different from everything you have seen in Europe and very exotic. It boasts with a close to 4000 meters peak, incredible beaches with black sand, picturesque nature and very warm and friendly people. It is the biggest island of the Canary archipelago and host one of the best cities in Spain if you like culture, good food and nature. It is big enough so that you wont be bored even if you stay a month. The island is around 80 km long but has 2 entirely different climates which i must tell very impressing – from the deserts to the lush greenery in an hour. Same in the altitude – from sea level to almost 4000 m and back for a day. If you are interested read on.
Getting there from Bulgaria
Best thing is that you can fly to Tenerife low cost – wizz air + ryan air. It is either Sofia – Milano – Tenerife or Sofia – Madrid – Tenerife, whatever you decide. Problem is that you might need to spend a night in Milan or Madrid as the flights don’t always match perfectly. Money-wise 250E would be enough for a 2 way ticket.
The best way to go around is to rent a car. Car is cheap (15E a day for a car as Opel Corsa) and gasoline is also very cheap. Even though roads might be narrow and curvy in some places, they are manageable. Also there is a high way that almost goes round the whole island. And it is free.
That’s how curvy roads might be. Note the natural pool as one of the tips.
The roof of that triangle building is a road.
That is one of the best parts – Tenerife has a spring like climate all year round. It is most of the time 20-25 degrees except the winter months when you get ca 15 degrees. It is interesting that the island has two climate types – the southern when it is hotter and drier and the norther where it is damper and a bit colder. You often get mists in the north in the morning. Because of the two climates, the island has entirely different look and feel in the two parts – you literally feel in two worlds. The south is a very desert-like sight while you have lush tropic – like flora and a never ending flower scent.
This is how scenery looks in south Tenerife
…and this is the north – full of greenery.
Beaches and sun-bathing
Bathing is the Atlantic Ocean is no joke. It might be quite cold and rough.
That’s why they have man made concrete pools (called natural pools) in the ocean that get filled with ocean water naturally.
Tenerife boasts with some very good beaches. There are wide and sandy beaches in the Los Christianos Area (south).
Don’t miss to hit the beaches with black vulcanic sand. One of the most spectacular is El Bollullo.
Black Volcanic sand
Black sand and rough sea
Pico del Teide
Teide is another world in Tenerife – that is the mountain in the center of the island and is 3718 m high. I must tell you it is pretty amazing to be on a 3718 m high peak and be sunbathing in one and the same day. You have two options to go for the peak. One way is to go with the car to where the road ends and get the cable car to the foot of the peak. If you are more adventorous you can walk up from Montana Blanca and even sleep at the hut on the way up. They say it offers one of the clearest skies in night for the star gazers in the whole world. Didn’t try it out.
In front of the refugee
this is what the night sky looks like in Teide
Whichever way you choose, you will get only to the foot of the peak. To get to the top, you will need a reservation with Spain’s national parks bureau as there are many people that want up and officials need a way to conserve the peak (it is a crater of a living volcano). If you don’t make it to the very peak the whole experience is amazing – views are breathtaking. Just remember to bring with you some warm clothes – it is very windy and chilly up there and weather changes in a moment so rain is also a possibility.
Pico del Teide – 3718 m high
Tenerife is one of the best hiking destinations in Europe. We met a german guy that was for the 6-th time in Tenerife and said that he hasn’t gone around the whole place yet. If you are into hiking, I would recommend you to go north to the Chinamada area – there are a few very good tracks there one going all the way down from Chinamada to Punta del Hidalgo. Another amazing experience is the Masca track – truly one of the best i have ever walked. It quite strenuous though – around 2 hours of a very steep descent. When you get finally to the shore there are two ways – up (around 3-4 hours of very steep accent) or take a water taxi to Acalantidos los Gigantes and then a taxi back to Masca where you probably left your car. Mount Teide is another very popular trekking place but i didn’t make it to there.
End of Masca trail – right at the sea
Start of Masca trail
Masca. Amazing, isn’t it?
Places to eat
The best one that we went to was El Monasterio
in the north west. This a complex of a couple of cafes, restaurants and an exotic garden. The whole thing spans over a hill and size and quality is amazing – totally worth it. Another good one is Terazzas del Sauzal
– very picturesque place and wonderful food. A bit of high prices but bearable. Another good place near Tacoronte is Casa del Vino
which is a restaurant and a wine museum in one. Very good desert and normal prices. Casa Odon is also in the Tacoronte area and offers great bang for the buck – delicious food and big portions.
Some fancy desert in Terrazas del Sauzal
Choosing from the menu with Pico el Teide as background @ Terrazas del Sauzal
Cod served with class @ Terrazas del Sauzal
Chill out at El Monasterio Gardens
El Monasterio gardens
Good old Paellha @ El Monasterio
El Monasterio entrance
Cities and resorts
Tenerife has about a million inhabitants and 220,000 of them live in the capital – Santa Cruz. Other that being a capital, Santa Cruz is not a very interesting place. Near by is La Laguna which has an university of 30,000 and as you can imagine a very vivid night life. Also La Laguna is the cultural capital of The Canary Islands. Another cities worth seeing are La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz. La Orotava boasts with an unique valley that offers wonderful climate, sights and very fertile soil. Puerto de la Cruz is a more touristic town and has a very neat city center. Parking os awful there though.Both cities have a loth of greenery and magnificent parks. Next to Puerto de la Cruz is Loro Parque
– a big park and zoo. If you find time definitely go see it. We could not. In the south you can find predominantly tourist cities – big hotels, long streets of cafes and restaurants etc. If you are that kind of person go for it – Los Christianos and Playa de la America are the places for you. However, i recommend to stick with the more traditional and local places in the north and west.
La Orotava Valley
Icod de los Vinos
La Orotava gardens
La Orotava streets
Puerto de la Cruz
Prices in Tenerife are not scary – i always thought it is reserved for the rich and famous but it is very affordable. For example e meal and a drink in a regular restaurant is 12-25 E per person. Groceries are cheap, gasoline is incredibly cheap (70 cent a liter @ 2015). We stayed with AirBnb
at a very nice and affordable place – around 40E per night. The host turned out to be not that friendly though at the end. So if you are a budget type of person you can manage it very well. Of course if you want treats, prepare to pay.
Every Day Life
People seem to enjoy life and not giving themselves a hard time. They are friendly, relaxed and take regular breaks ? They also have a very strong community identity. We witnessed on a Friday afternoon how the kids from the local school go with their parents in the local church and sing and pray and kiss like there is no tomorrow. That was a very remembering experience for me as people in Bulgaria hardly greet each other in the street.
Everyday life @ Tacoronte
I would recommend Tenerife with both hands. It is very close to Europe, rather cheap and very exotic. There is a lot to see and do – culture, hiking, sun-bathing. No need for visa, friendly people and incredible atmosphere.