Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Tenerife: The Island of Eternal Spring

In a bygone era when the expressionless face of a doctor would proudly announce that, “A dose of sunshine is what is needed to remedy your affliction”, and sent you packing to the island of Tenerife, little did he know how popular this little island would become for that very sunshine he prescribed and how it would grow to become one of the most popular tourist islands in today’s world.

Unfortunately, due to the hedonistic club scene fuelled by alcohol and yet more alcohol, it quickly earned the nickname Tene –grief, but the island has been undergoing a transformation and now, the island of Eternal Spring is better known as a world class destination boasting beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels, top quality restaurants, amazing nightlife and everything else a visitor could wish for in terms of activities and pleasures.

So why not join me on a short trip around the island and experience some of its delights?
With Tenerife being less than 800 square miles, it’s astonishing that it has 12 micro climates in different areas within short drives of one another.
In colder months, snow can cause road closures, while a short drive away, visitors sunbathe on sandy beaches.
Another contrast is that although the Mercedes Mountains are cloaked in lichen and moss, the black rivers consisting of petrified lava find their way through the seemingly lifeless body of desert known as Las Cañadas, located at the centre of the island.

Resorts, Towns & Villages

The tourist resorts of Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Costa Adeje are the main resorts in the south of the island and still have evidence of the banana plantations that once existed pre-tourism days.

Near these three main resorts in the south, there are numerous towns and villages filled with charm such as Los Abrigos which is the embodiment of the typical Canarian fishing harbour where the daily catch is sold directly to the quayside restaurants. Or there is the windsurfer’s paradise called El Medano with its golden sandy beach and perfect coastal wind that makes it such a haven for water sports.

Another sport that thrives on the island owing to the perfect year round weather is the game of golf. For this reason you have the resorts of Golf del Sur and Amarilla Golf which are purpose built around professionally built and manicured golf courses. The resorts are very much self-contained and come complete with bars, restaurants and all kinds of entertainment venues.

On the west coast, you can find Los Gigantes which is famous for its giant cliffs and are usually better when viewed from the ocean to experience their sheer size and is also close to the village of Masca which is a hikers dream. Perched on mountainous ridges, visitors flock to admire the beauty of this village. It’s the closest you’ll get to Shangri-La on this side of the Atlantic. There are some excellent excursions available so why not take a look at what's on offer.

The resort of Puerto de la Cruz in the north was the first and original resort on the island until the south became a permanent fixture. Its flora and fauna are a welcome change from its dry and arid looking sisters in the south. The harbour houses old cannons which once guarded against ruthless invaders who were quickly sent on their way.
Garachico offers even more history with its colonial styled mansions which are surrounded by narrow cobbled streets. During the last volcanic eruption in 1909, it received the last of the lava flow from Teide which adds more to the adventure of exploring this little town.

Other Places to Visit

Known as the third largest volcano in the world, Mount Teide dominates the island and is the dividing line between north and south. During winter months, it is snow covered and as you descend from the volcano, the landscape reveals itself in all its glory, from the lunar type scenery at the summit that was used in Clash of the Titans, to the delightful vineyards of La Orotava.

Santa Cruz

I couldn’t complete this article without mentioning the capital of the island, Santa Cruz. Once a drab and weary looking place, it has now become a cosmopolitan, bustling and chic place to visit. It is also home to one of the biggest carnivals in the world and has now become a very popular port of call for many cruise liners. With its many galleries, museums, cafes and shopping centres, it makes the perfect trip.

About the author

Peter runs Tenerife Forum and is convinced he has found his very own Shangri-La on the island of Tenerife.
Make sure you check out the Facebook page for daily updates.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Tenerife - 7 Interesting Facts

1. While most people believe that vodka comes from Russia, the truth is that the highest quality, purest vodka is made in a small Canarian borough. Rated in the United States for being the purest and smoothest vodka available on the market, Blat Vodka keeps all of the traditional taste while avoiding any painful hangovers.

2. The city of San Cristobal de La Laguna, back in 1999, had been declared as being a World Heritate site as a truly unique example of a walled, non-colonial city. La Laguna was founded in 1496 and was the capital of Tenerife up until the 19th Century and is currently the third largest city of the Canary Islands.

3. Canarian wrestling, or lucha canaria, is the native regional sport. This is a sport similar to Symo and it takes place in a terrero, which is a circle of sand, where two opponents will try to topple each other without causing harm. One of the two will be forced to touch the floor with a body part besides the feet.

4. Siam Park of South Tenerife has recently been named for being the best waterpark in the entire world by the people at TripAdvisor. The award had been presented in the second edition of the Traveler's Choice Awards where it passed 300 competitors from all over the world.

5. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, a director, script writer and producer, was born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Known on an international level for directing the film 28 Weeks Later, he had been nominated for an Oscar for Esposados, the 1996 short film. He also won a Goya, which is the equivalent of an Oscar, for being Best New Director for the film Intact in 2001. Then, in 2007 and 2010, he launched two other films called 28 Weeks Later and Intruders.

6. Measuring in at 2,390m, the Internationally famous Teide Observatory opened up in the 1960s, marking the beginning of astrophysics throughout the Canary Islands. The geographical location and the unpolluted, clear sky have been contributed to it becoming on the the best places in all of the world where you can study the sun, as well as being home to the finest telescopes in Europe.

7. Prior to the Spanish conquerors arriving, Tenerife was divided into nine smaller kingdoms, with each having a ruling King. These kingdoms were Abona, Anaga, Adeje, Icod, Daute, Taoro, Güímar, Tacoronte, and Tegueste.

For more information about the island, visit the Tenerife Forum site for topics covering all aspects of the island and our popular Facebook page that provides daily updates of fabulous photos and current news.