I’ve spent many happy holidays on Tenerife, and one of the prettiest rural regions of the island is around the traditional fishing village of Garachico, on the west coast just a short distance from the capital, Santa Cruz. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring extensively around the region and I can highly that recommend that anyone with a love of tradition and nature does the same.
Take the Road Less Travelled in Tenerife
While Tenerife is quite rightly renowned for its fabulous beach culture, for those prepared to go just slightly off the proverbial beaten path, the opportunity to explore some unspoilt gems is there for the taking. The lesser-known parts of the island are every bit as beautiful as the high profile coastal resorts; things are just that little bit slower-paced and there’s an authenticity to the local life that is unashamedly charming without being clichéd. Prestige Holidays has some delightful rural properties that make an idyllic base from which to explore this very special landscape.
Tenerife Less Travelled
I’m delighted to share my experiences of three wonderful locations on Tenerife I’ve been fortunate enough to visit on numerous occasions, followed by two excellent property recommendations from our Prestige Holidays collection.
Buenavista del Norte
Situated beneath the shadow of the Teno mountain range, this town forms part of the Isla Baja region, which is defined by its spectacular landscape and laidback bucolic ambience. In the town itself, the main attraction is the impressive Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Church. In what I consider an historical tragedy, many of the priceless treasures held within this church were destroyed in a fire in 1996. It’s been magnificently restored, however, and I suppose if you never knew, you’d never know.
The high point of this area, for me, is the Teno Rural Park and, in particular, Punta del Teno. This wild, beautiful and totally unique place represents the most north-westerly point of the island. At the juxtaposition of the often tempestuous north seas and the much more tranquil southern oceans around the island, this site has a very special feel, along with stunning views of the rugged cliffs of Los Gigantes.
When mentioning high points I should also make note of Teno Alto, the highest vantage in the park and offering incredible views over the landscape.
The Corona Forestal
I fell in love with this lush woodland region that embraces the Teide National Park many years ago, and I’ve been fortunate enough to return on numerous occasions. Each time I found something new to love. For my clients who express an interest in hiking, this place is number one on my list of recommendations.
The entire 50,000-hectare area is protected and its vast expanses of pine forests that cover the sprawling valleys of La Orotava and Güímar make for a spectacular foreground to the far-off vision of the ocean beyond. You can hike up to altitudes of around 2,000m, almost as high as Teide, taking in the rugged features of the lunar-like volcanic landscape and encountering a wealth of the island’s flora and fauna along the way. I really recommend a visit to either or both of the delightful traditional villages of Las Dehesas and Los Pelados, where you just might think you’ve taken a wrong turn to the last century.
The enchanting town of Garachico epitomises the timeless authenticity of the Canary Islands. To stroll through its charming cobbled streets and take in the elegance of the architecture, the pride of its local citizens and its picturesque natural setting is to discover the elusive “spirit of place” that so many people miss in the rush to tick off the “must-sees”.
My favourite place in town is the central plaza, La Libertad, where from every aspect you feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a travel brochure. But it’s far from clichéd, decorated by the gentle lines of its surrounding buildings that include the sixteenth-century Convent of San Francisco and the lovely Santa Ana Church.
“My top tip: When you’ve soaked up the ambience of the town (although, if you’re like me you’ll never get enough) head down to the shore and the marvellous natural sea water rock pools.”
Melia Hacienda del Conde Golf & Spa
I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the magical Melia Hacienda del Conde Golf & Spa several times and it’s one of my top recommendations for those visiting on Tenerife’s “roads less travelled”. With the cliffs of Teno behind it and holding the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean firmly in its uninterrupted gaze, this magnificent hotel melts seamlessly into its natural surroundings.
The luxury Colonial décor is the perfect complement to the simply jaw-dropping views, and whether you’re relaxing in one of the two pools or hitting a ball around the golf course, the feeling of being nurtured in the embrace of nature is ever present. Because the hotel is adult-only there’s a gentle, refined atmosphere and there are plenty of opportunities to be pampered in the excellent YHI spa.
A Gourmet Experience
The hotel claims to offer the best gourmet experience on the island, and while I haven’t tried everywhere (yet!), they certainly must come close. With numerous options including a Mediterranean à la carte restaurant, a buffet and al fresco poolside dining, you’ll be spoilt for choice – with those spectacular views served up as the appetiser.
The Spa VillAlba has perfected the ability to offer guests a genuine connection with nature. But despite its rural setting, its comfortable accoutrements create a sanctuary of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Set Amidst Natural Beauty
For my clients who want to explore the beauty of the Corona Forestal and Teide Natural Park, pardon my pun, but it’s a natural choice. At an elevation of 1,500m above sea level, it is surrounded by pine forests and in the centre of a network of walking trails.
The hotel has been designed to sit unobtrusively in its landscape. Both inside and out, the use of timber and stone finishes give it a sense of timelessness and belonging. Again, this is an adult-only hotel, which I think befits its tranquil setting.
Eat, Drink and Be Pampered
The hotel’s à la carte restaurant offers both international and traditional Canarian cuisine. In the warmer weather you can dine on the terrace and it almost feels like you’re picnicking – albeit in a delicious way.
Enjoying the facilities of the spa, which includes a Turkish bath, pebble path and sauna, is a truly unique experience amidst the captivating natural surrounds.