Tenerife has been one of the most popular holiday destinations for Britons for the last twenty years. Whilst it has rightly earned a reputation as an appealing sun-soaked destination full of hotels and beaches where you can lounge all day, the island does have much more than that to offer.
Tenerife is most definitely a place where not all is what it seems at first glance. Keep reading to find out more about some of the island’s most interesting hidden gems.
The town of Garachico has endured a lot since its foundation in the fifteenth century. The residents have had to endure disasters, both natural and manmade, but the town has survived, even when a volcanic eruption destroyed the town’s main source of income – the harbour – in the early 1700s.
As soon as you reach the village, it’s easy to see why you would want to stay, with the breathtakingly beautiful setting and some stunning, restored architecture, a spectacular coastal view and unparalleled character.
Further east along the coast from Garachico is the town of La Orotava. It is an amazingly characterful old town that is a must-see for every visitor to Tenerife.
If you wish to explore the town in detail, the best way to do it is on foot. The historical centre of the town is a must-see due to the beautiful architecture and traditional houses.
You can also relax in the knowledge that if you do not get to see the whole of the town, it will still be in the same condition when you next visit, thanks to its conservation status – the town has been recognised as a place of national historical and artistic interest.
For those in search of something a little different while visiting La Orotava, there are two festivals that could be of interest to you. One is the Feast of Corpus Christi that takes place in June and sees the towns’ streets covered in flower carpets while the town hall is decorated in a tapestry of flowers, soil and sand. The other is known as the Fiesta of San Andres which is a wine festival that sees people throw open their wine cellar doors and welcome people inside for tasting.
Situated on the north coast of the island, Los Realejos rarely features in guidebooks, but it’s well worth a visit.
This is a village with true history, as this was the last stronghold of the Guanche Kings in their fight against the Spanish conquistadores in 1496 – one that they ultimately lost, leading Tenerife to become a Spanish territory permanently.
The old quarter of the village provides greater insight into the interesting past of this Italian-esque mountain setting. There is a mixture of 16th and 17th century housing, delightfully perched on the edge of the village’s steep streets. Los Realejos has some of the most stunning scenery on the island, nestled between the ocean and the Tigaiga Mountains; the village also plays host to some special events such as the firework event in May and the Paragliding Festival, which includes events such as air displays, concerts and beach parties.
The village of Masca is an impressive sight amongst the mountains of Tenerife. Located at an altitude of 600m in the Macizo de Teno Mountains in the island’s northwest region, it is considered Tenerife’s prettiest village.
Its location also means the village is uniquely isolated. With spectacular views across the Masca Valley towards the Atlantic Ocean, the village is a haven for those wanting to explore the possibility of an alternative Tenerife holiday.
If you’re a seasoned hiker, you could take the six-hour journey down the steep Barranco de Masca towards the ocean. With numerous rocky outcrops, tricky passages and tunnels, coupled with breath-taking scenery – who wouldn’t want that kind of challenge?
OK, the Tiede National Park is not exactly a hidden gem, due to its vastness when compared with the island of Tenerife, but many holidaymakers don’t make the most of it.
The park is dominated by the imposing Mount Tiede, the third highest active volcano on Earth. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the park attracts a high amount of visitors each year. Keen hikers can take guided walks up the volcano, and there are many other sites of interest around the park too.
The variation of the landscape within the park is a big attraction. From the forested areas of the south, to the almost lunar-like landscape around Mount Tiede, there is lots to see and experience.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, is a unique and major event on the island. The festival is comparable only to the world famous Rio Carnival in Brazil.
The festival attracts some quarter of a million partygoers each year, and is clearly a unique event, so much so that in 1980 the festival was declared a festival of specific cultural interest.
The event takes place in the 3 weeks leading up to Shrove Tuesday – if you’re planning to travel to Tenerife at this time, make sure you book early, as accommodations will be thin on the ground.
Situated north of the village of San Andres on the east of the island, this beach is one of the least visited in Tenerife. When you see the golden, sandy beach, the surrounding Anaga Mountains and the crystal blue ocean, it is hard to see why this beach is a “hidden gem”.
However, it is one of only a few beaches on the island that features golden sand instead of the original volcanic black substance that nearly all the remaining beaches have. The picturesque surroundings and also the quality of the beach, the sea and the facilities make this a great place to spend a day.
This little village in the north of the island fits the ideal description is one of Tenerife’s best-kept secretes. In a deep valley between the Anaga Mountain range, the village is an amazing sight, perched on the slope of a rise that arcs back toward the village.
Not only is the village a sight in itself, the drive to it also full of adventure and intrigue, occasionally catching glimpses of the sea between the mountains and the surrounding forests – this little corner of Tenerife will capture the imagination and ensure you get to see a little bit of unspoilt Guanche charm.
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And don’t forget to share your own hidden gems in Tenerife in the comments below, or using the hashtag #hiddengems on Twitter.
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