“I’ve driven around Tenerife several times, but have never really taken to it. It’s as though Mount Teide, the great volcano which sprawls across the middle of the island, has corroded everything, and left only black wilderness behind. Black beaches, dark mountains, barren rocks, and a deserted landscape between the scattered settlements. I was pleased at first to see the greenery in the towns and villages, but only until I spotted the cunningly concealed irrigation pipes. It’s as though without these, there would be no vegetation whatsoever, and everything would be lifeless. In the north it’s often cloudy and rainy, with strong winds, while the south is almost always sunny but crammed with tourists, while the beaches are lined with rows of dull, nondescript hotels.
We had a look at the thousand-year-old dragon tree, which may or may not be a thousand years old. We sunbathed on Las Teresitas, the only beach with white sand, which was blown there from the Sahara Desert. We also visited the famous Loro Park, where the animals have so little space it move we felt pity for them. However, walking in the historic quarter of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, built by Spanish Conquistadors, we felt like time travelers. This, along with the soothing sound of the ocean waves, was just about the only interesting thing we saw at sea level in Tenerife.
“I’ve been to a lot of places, and Tenerife is one of my favorites. The island is so diverse that everyone is sure to find what they’re looking for somewhere: the southern part is bare, the north is green, and in the middle of the island looms the volcano of Mount Teide. The south is characterized by mass tourism, and there are many enormous hotels. I much preferred the north of the island, e.g. Puerto de la Cruz.
I’d definitely recommend renting a car to explore the island – it isn’t expensive, and can be arranged on the spot. Mount Teide itself is one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited, and even the drive up to it is captivating, as you see the landscape gradually transform. The crater, which is approximately 80km in diameter, is an almost lunar landscape, and offers great hiking opportunities along well-marked trails. There is a cable car to the summit of Mount Teide, but you can only go right to the top with a pre-booked ticket.
If you prefer sunbathing, Teresitas Beach, formed of sand from the Sahara, is right next to the capital, and is (almost) the only white sand beach on the island. My secret tip, however, is Taganana Beach, on the north-eastern tip of Tenerife, is great, and don’t forget to try the freshly fried fish at a seafront bar! (Attila, 2016)