Canary Islands, Tenerife: Tourist attractions

Canary Islands, Tenerife: Tourist attractions

Mandatory visits where you will spend more time on the journey than on the destination, but it will still be worthwhile

February 2020

The island of Tenerife has essential visits that must be made even if you can not spend much time. One of the most representative and emblematic elements on the island is the Drago Milenario in Icod de los Vinos, a tree plant that is the largest and longest-living known of its kind in the world. Another visit should be Garachico, the picturesque coastal villa where one of its attractions are its natural pools but because of a fierce swell that hit the coast a few months earlier they were not accessible when we made the visit. The spectacular Caserío de Masca (Masca Hamlet) perched on the crest of a mountain and surrounded by deep ravines, an isolated, peaceful place that has adapted to its surroundings; the Punta de Teno lighthouse that has controlled access and which we reached at night and could barely enjoy the surroundings.

All these places represent small brush-strokes that together build a more complete image of the island of Tenerife.

Garachico Masca #1
Masca #2
Punta de Teno lighthouse

La Orotava

Our visit to this villa began in the church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, which has its origins in the 15th century, but the earthquakes of the Güímar volcano eruption damaged its structure between 1704-1705, it was rebuilt years later and more recently has received a deep reform. The façade of the temple is in Baroque style and is one of the most representative of the islands, in its interior stands out its elegant dome because of the colourful light that filters in the crossing of the temple.

Following the directions given to us at the Tourist Information Office in La Orotava, we go up behind the church to one of the water mills where gofio is made, a flour obtained by grinding toasted corn, wheat, barley or a mixture of both, which is one of the most important elements in Canarian gastronomy.

Further on, we find the Casa de los Balcones, which houses a local handicraft centre, where its balcony set around stands out. Just in front of it is the Casa del Turista, which is mainly a souvenir shop but has a representation of the famous La Orotava carpets, made with flowers and volcanic sand from the Teide on the streets of the town during the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Going up the street we reach the Lavaderos de San Francisco (San Francisco Wash-house), a space from the 16th century that was recovered to serve as a heritage example of the laundry trade and of the uses of the water that ran to supply the operation of the mills.

Our next stop is the small botanical garden known as La Hijuela, bordered by an interesting cast iron fence where native plant species and other exotic specimens stand out. Across the street are the Jardines Victoria (Victoria Gardens) now owned by the municipality, but formerly part of the Marquesado de la Quinta Roja mansion. At the top of this set of landscaped terraces stands a Masonic mausoleum promoted by the marchioness to house the mortal remains of her son Diego de Ponte del Castillo, who was initially denied burial by the Catholic Church because he belonged to the Freemasonry, although in the end it was never used.

Finally, we go to the Telesforo Bravo Visitors' Centre in the Teide National Park. Inside this modern building we find an interpretation centre that host an interactive exhibition about the island of Tenerife from a physical and historical perspective, through the eyes of illustrious travellers who have visited it.

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Buenavista del Norte

We arrive in the town because of the good references we had been given of one of the restaurants in the area, where people ate well and cheaply. While we were waiting for lunch, as there was a long waiting list, we decided to approach the centre of the town. Walking we reached the church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios and we guided our steps to the north, where we found a road that gave access to the Playa de Los Barqueros (Los Barqueros Beach). Walking among banana plantations we arrived at the alleged beach where there is no trace of sand and a concrete ramp serves as a shelter for fishermen to protect their boats; ignoring these details the environment does not cease to be striking. A path takes us back to the village along the perimeter of a golf course designed by Severiano Ballesteros and which turns the surroundings into a garden of Eden.

From Buenavista begins the road that leads to Punta de Teno, private vehicles have time limitation to make the journey, so the best option is to use the bus line, here called guagua.

Buenavista del Norte #1
Buenavista del Norte #2
Buenavista del Norte #3

Playa de las Teresitas (Las Teresitas Beach)

We are on a beach of fine golden sand with calm waters... but there is a trick, it is an artificially transformed beach. In the 1970's sand was brought from the Sahara Desert to cover and extend an existing beach of black sand of volcanic origin. In addition, an artificial reef was created by accumulating large rocks that act as a breakwater and prevent the strong currents that exist.

It is important to note that the beach has a step a few tens of metres from the shore, which is where the artificial sand is cut. In addition, the angelfish (Squatina squatina), an endangered species, uses the sandy bottoms of the beach as a breeding area, so it is recommended to access the sea dragging your feet to avoid stepping on the fry of these harmless fishes.

Otherwise, the beach has all kinds of services: Lifeguards, showers, toilets, changing rooms, lockers, parking area... With the possibility of being able to rent equipment for water activities such as paddle surf or kayaking.

Las Teresitas Beach #1
Las Teresitas Beach #2
Las Teresitas Beach #3

Much more to see

There are so many places that we practically passed on tiptoe... Candelaria, Adeje, San Cristóbal de La Laguna and, of course, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Besides, we left activities undone... as it can be the visit in boat to Los Gigantes cliffs or to make some aquatic sport in El Médano.

San Cristóbal de La Laguna
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Los Gigantes cliffs
El Médano

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