It’s the beginning of April, and the nice days are on their way : it’s the ideal time to discover a new destination… and what a destination ! Juliette went on an adventure with Floriane (like in Belgium), full of hikes and atypical landscapes !
We didn’t know it yet but Tenerife will be in Juliette’s top 3 trips for the year 2018 !
We landed at the airport at the South of the island. As we had to go to the airport in the North in a few days to go to an other island, it came to us as the perfect opportunity to do a roadtrip around Tenerife !
What you must know :
Tenerife is part of the 13 islands composing the Spanish Canary archipelago. They are situated off the Africa North-West coast. The language is therefore Spanish. People we met in the Canary islands didn’t really speak English, which created some difficult situations because we don’t speak Spanish ! But don’t worry, there are a lot of foreigners coming to settle on these islands and who speak English (whether they are English, American, German…) ; sometimes, we even wondered where the local people were !
These islands are part of the European Union, and as Spain, the currency is the Euro and the power sockets are the same ones as in France.
The Canary islands are often qualified as an archipelago with eternal springs, however the topography is quite impressive on these volcanic islands and the temperatures can thus go down quickly. Personally, we spent our days in warm clothes, coats and trousers, and others in shorts and tank tops : perfect if you travel with a cabin luggage !
Day 0 :
We chose to rent our car with the Autoreisen agency, expert in the matter on the Canary islands. We were happy it was simple and went perfectly from start to end. We strongly recommend you to rent a small car because as we’ll talk about it later, the roads are quite narrow.
We straightly went to our Airbnb located in Viaflor. We, as we were saying, quickly noticed how narrow and thus winding and hilly the roads are. First evening, and we’re tired of the journey : we’re going to bed under a nice moonlight.
Day 1 :
Today, we’re waking up at dawn : we’re heading towards the Parque National del Teide to go up the Teide mountain… in a cable car ! It’s possible to go up on foot if you feel like making the effort, but we have a busy day so we don’t have time ! We had booked our tickets on the internet beforehand for 27€/person : it’s not cheap but the opportunity to climb up the highest summit in Spain won’t happen every day ! It’s 9h15 : the car park is almost empty and there is no queue.
Once up there, the first thing we notice is… the cold ! There is even snow ! Quick, quick : we’re putting on more layers of warm clothes that we had brought in our bags. The view is breathtaking : a rocky and desert landscape is really atypical. We’re walking in between rocks to join the two points of view, accessible at the price of a few minutes walk, we thought we were on the moon !
Moral of the story : you absolutely have to go early because you’ll have more chances to see an unobstructed view and there will be a lot less people there. Besides, think about checking if the cable car is open, because it’s sometimes closed because of the weather.
There is no doubt : the first visit is a success, what’s to come should be as good ! En route to Roques de Garcia, situated a few minutes away by car. This site is known for its atypical rocky landscape in this dry decor. It’s 11h15 and we quickly understand that it’s now peak time, everyone is out : no more peace and a large choice of parking spots !
While preparing for this trip, we had read mixed opinion about this place but we still decided to include it in our programme anyway… And we did well to do so ! We’ve done the walk about the site and from the first steps, we loved it. We’ve never been there, but it feels like we’re in the American desert… the pics are self-explanatory.
The walk is quite easy except of the last part which gathers all the ascending elevation, which by the way allows you to aknowledge the greatness of this place. Don’t just take a picture from the point of view from the car park like we saw a lot of people do, because you would miss something : the effort is really worth it !
We’re continuing our « small » itinerary of the day by joining our next little hike of the day : Samara (trail ici), always in the same park. The starting point is not easy to find : it’s actually on the TF38 between the 7th and 8th kilometre. The car park is very small, so you might have to park a bit further away on the side of the road, which is not really ideal. The trail is once again a loop, there are therefore 2 possible departure points : we’re going on the right and we’re going up, going up… We’re starting to feel the kilometres on foot ! But once at the highest point of view, we understand why we made the effort : the green fir trees growing in this volcanic setting create a surprising and beautiful contrast. The rest of the hike is easier and allows us to look up more to admire the lunar decor surrounding us.
This time, we’re driving for a bit to join the last point of the day : Icod de los Vinos, small city situation at the Noth-West of the island. It’s very nice to walk around in the little streets, the architecture is typical. The church square is animated by locals, meeting there at the end of the day. From this place, you’ll be able to admire what makes this place famous : the dragon tree, magnificent tree which you’ll be able to see from closer by buying the entrance to the garden… We don’t especially recommend to do so because you’ll see that it’s actually easy to see some by simply walking around in the nature.
As you might have noticed, we weren’t really interested in the West part of the island, and on purpose : we hadn’t find anything interesting there, there is plenty of big hotel and everything that comes with it.
This first busy and filled with diverse landscapes day is coming to an end : it’s time to go to our Airbnb to recharge all the batteries !
Day 2 :
We had to modify our programme because the promising hike at Masca was closed for maintenance. But with everything we’ve seen and read in pictures, we can only recommend it to you ! However, you’ll have to organise beforehand because this hike is not a loop so once you went down it all, you’ll either have to be courageous and come back up the whole thing, or enjoy the Masca Express shuttle which will lead you to Puerto de Santiago, while offering you a very nice view on Los Gigantes.
We therefore drove up to Puerto de Santiago. You should park at Lidl because the parking spaces are rare and not free.
We’re following the signs towards the natural swimming pool of Los Gigantes. It’s our first time at the Canary islands and we’re not disappointed : the clear water, into the rock in this breathtaking decor, we really love it !
We’re continuing our little walk towards the Los Guios beach, where we have a great view on the beautiful Los Gigantes cliffs.
To come back to the car, we decide to go through the city centre : we’re charmed by its small wooden balconies as we can see everywhere here and by its little church square.
After this first successful stop, we’re heading towards Masca picturesque village. Indeed, it is among the mountains of the island and the road to access it is thus extremely winding and narrow : prepare yourself to a tensed drive !
But it’s worth the journey : it’s nice to walk around this village constituted by small stone houses in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains.
Ok, we couldn’t have a day in the country of hikes without doing one ! So let’s go to San Jose de Los Llanos to rectify this ! We had found the trail here, however we advise you to start the hike by parking at la Calle de Don Corsino Cairo Perez, because the first portion is going up quite a bit and is not really worth it.
Once again, we discover a different environment here : the woods. It’s nice to walk in the shadow of these high pine trees. We only see a few people.
All of a sudden, the decor completely changes : here we are, not far from the Chinyero volcano ; the vegetation disappears and the colour of the soil changes.
We recommend you to turn back here because the rest of the hike is not really worth it and only allows you to join other trails.
To end this day, nothing better than a sunset : THE spot of the island is at Punta de Teno. Indeed, we end up across the world with a lighthouse which only adds even more charm to the place.
We prefered to walk 5 minutes more to be on our own and fully enjoy the incredible sight (with a beer, of course!)
Day 3 :
Once it got dark, we drove to Orotava, a village in the North of the island, to join our new Airbnb. So we were already on the spot to visit the city. We didn’t really have any expectations… and we were impressed ! Walk around in the streets of the centre is so enjoyable : traditional houses with little flowery balconies, the Liceo de Taoro, the Constitution church square, le Hijuela de Botanica… Here, everything is cute ! Unfortunately, the Victoria garden was in maintenance when we were there, but we recommend you to go and have a look !
We continue our tour of the island by going to San Cristobal de La Laguna, other city of Tenerife. This one is more known and we had read lots of positive things about it but honestly, it has nothing to envy Orotava ! Of course, we’re not getting enough of these churches. A particularity here : the nice inner courtyards across the city ; don’t hesitate to enter when it’s allowed to because you could sometimes have a nice surprise, like at the Saint Augustin convent.
After this « urban » morning, back to green ! We’re taking the road towards the Malpais de Guimar. We walked in a nature reserve, with lots of typical canary cactuses ; you can find the route here. This stroll is nice and easy, there is just no shadow.
To close the loop in Tenerife, we went to visit its capital : Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
We had a look around not far from our Airbnb : Plaza de Espana, Iglesia de la Conception and the Plaza del Principe. Everything is quite cute and for a capital, there’s not a lot of people at all here !
Day 4 :
Today, the weather is not as good as expected. It’s fine, our visits are awaiting ! Let’s go to the Mercado Municipal Nuestra Senora de Africa where, everyday from 7am to 2pm, there’s a market selling local products which will make you drool ! Not only it’s smelling good, but the place itself is really nice.
It’s been 3 days of us going places to places : we want to chill for a bit. We were glad to see that the Parque Maritimo wasn’t too far from here. The entrance is 2.50€ with an access to several swimming pools, we couldn’t refuse ! Only downside : at the start of April, the weather is not bad but not good enough to bath, so we enjoyed the banches along the water (you have to pay for sunbeds).
That felt good but come on, let’s get back at it ! We’re taking the bus to the Mirador Cruz del Carmen in the Parque Rural de Anaga to start our hike. Plan 1 hour to go there (with 1 bus change) ; it’s not really easy. After missing a bus and almost feeling sick in the second one because the road is bad, here we are finally ! The view from the mirador is not crazy because the clouds are still here. We’re starting our walk, which you can find here.
We recommend you to do it because although it’s going to be physically tiring, the landscapes are different from start to end : humid forest, fields, mountains and cliffs by the sea… It’s clearly worth it !
The hike is not a loop, so we’re waiting for the bus at the Punta del Hidalgo, a village at the seaside, which looks like the end of the world is coming : it’s deserted !
Day 5 :
After stretching yesterday night, let’s go for a 12kms hike ! We have to get up at dawn this morning because we can’t miss our flight tonight !
We’re going back to the same national parc as yesterday but this time, we’re joining the departure point by car : Afur, a little village lost in the Canary mountains.
We thought we had done our best hike yesterday… This one is going to prove us otherwise and show us more assets of this island (nope, this destination never finishes to surprise us!)
The trail starts downhill, along a river course, which gives even more charm to it. Step by step, we see the sea get closer and we eventually arrive at Tamadite beach, famous for its black sand.
Follows a coast trail, and it seems we teleported without aknowledging it ! These green and atypical topography mountains, this flowery trail and the sea crushing against the rocks… Yep, undoubtedly this island is magical !
Once we arrived at Taganana, we decided to see this village only from afar because our legs are sore and the hardest part is to come still. Indeed, to end the hike you have 2 choices : for the most courageous ones, go through the forester’s house by taking the trail on the left ; for the others, like us, rather take the trail on the right, directly leading to Afur after an ascent which will still tire your calves !
After 5 intense days in Tenerife, we’re back at the airport not to go to France, but to go to La Palma, an other island of the Canary archipelago, situated more towards West. Article to come !
Expenses per person :
Plane : 100€
Car rental for 5 days with the return point at a different location: 31€ (imbattable!)
Airbnb, 5 nights : 56€ (incroyable!)
Teide cable car : 27€
Swimming pool : 2,5€
Bus : 6,6€
Food : 25,3€
Petrol for 5 days : 16€
Avoided expenses per person :
It’s hard to talk about avoided expenses here, as it’s a destination focused on nature. So except the entry at the Parc de Icod de los Vinos to see the dragon tree from close at 5€/person and the fact that we always had picnics or ate at the Airbnb, which saved us 55€ (5€/meal), we weren’t really tempted to spend money here and there!
It’s therefore without any big efforts that we just earned our ticket to La Palma!
This island has been synonym of surprise and wonder from the beginning to the end : there are many different landscapes whereas it is not that big. Sporty, hikers, geology lovers, experts in bathing, or simply addicted to travel… As a family or between friends, it’s a destination where everyone will find its own happiness !
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