If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and want to see another side to the largest Canary Island that might not be in the holiday brochures, there are lots of things you can see and do that are off the tourist trail.
During your Canary Islands cruise and whilst you’re on land, you should consider doing some of the following activities to get a taste of the real Tenerife.
The Auditorio De Tenerife is a public cultural centre designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava and it is located in a privileged area, near the sea, in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Here you can listen to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, who call this venue their home, as well as attend a range of music festivals throughout the year.
To get a real insight into the island you should visit the centre, as a spokesperson for Auditorio De Tenerife said: “We have an unusual island with very beautiful cities and the most incredible wild landscapes. On the same day, you can enjoy our cultural events, tasty restaurants and walking along amazing paths into wildlife.”
There are guided tours of the Auditorio de Tenerife that will help you learn about the building, its history, and other unique facts. Guided visits are available from Monday to Saturday (except holidays) at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm.
While the likes of Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje are the towns that get the most headlines, Los Cristianos is one destination that should be on your bucket list.
Vicki Psarias, who runs the Honest Mum blog and is the author of Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home, said: “It's a destination that is warm all year round and is somewhere we've visited at Easter in the past as the temperature is pleasant but not boiling hot for kids. Los Cristianos hasgolden beaches and blue waters as far as the eye can see along with restaurants and shops on the boardwalk making it an ideal location for young families.”
Situated in the north of the island, Garachico gives you the chance to explore one of the oldest villages in the Canary Islands which was founded at the end of the 15th Century by a Genoese banker. The Basilica of Candelaria is a Roman Catholic basilica and is just 12 miles south of the capital Santa Cruz.
Janet Anscombe, who runs the In Tenerife Janet Anscombe blog, says that away from the tourist resorts there are lots of great places to see: “Away from the main tourist resorts, Tenerife has some stunning places to see, ranging from wild and rocky shores and cliffs, the third largest volcano in the world, world-heritage towns, little country bistros called guachinches which only sell locally sourced and produced food and wine at rock-bottom prices.
“Check out the chic seafront of the charming old-world town of Garachico, or the old aboriginal Guanche kings statutes lined up alongside the basilica in Candelaria with its own founder goddess myth.”
Pirámides de Güímar is, without a doubt, the perfect place for those of you who want to know a bit more about the history of the island, its culture, traditions, flora, etc., all surrounded by nature. “The pyramids have been studied by archaeologists from all over the world,” said Alicia Barroso, operational manager of Piramides de Guimar.
The Botanical Garden & Ethnographic Park Pirámides de Güímar, which has previously been nominated for the 2017 European Museum of the Year Award, is a large open-air museum that is home to several routes and specialised gardens around these six pyramidal structures oriented towards the sun on key astronomical dates.
The different gardens are:
The Poisonous Garden - A specialised garden, unique in the Canary Islands, which surprises with its more than 70 species of toxic and even deadly plants
The Sustainable Garden - Made in collaboration with the University of La Laguna, the garden was inspired by a typical Canarian ravine, and it shows us the characteristic flora of these environments
During your visit, you should also head to the Casa Chacona Museum to learn about the pyramidal structures by looking at the largest photographic exhibition of steeped pyramids in the world.
While a large number of tours visit the iconic Mount Teide, the most-visited natural wonder in the whole of Spain, during the day, you can also head to the mountain at night for a new perspective on one of Tenerife’s most famous attractions.
With Teide By Night, you can go on an excursion to explore the 3718m high Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain and enjoy the Teide National Park which has been crowned a ‘Starlight Destination’. Naomi Belhomme from Teide By Night told us about the different excursions you can go on with them.
“We offer a unique excursion where you will be able to contemplate the most spectacular views, breath-taking sunsets and a professional guide that will reveal all the secrets of our starry skies. This magical evening includes a delicious 3-course meal in the highest restaurant in the national park.
“Watch the sun go down and toast the sunset as you enjoy complimentary Cava in this amazing landscape. Gradually turning to rich and strong colours of pink, red and purple, have your camera at the ready to capture the bold silhouettes and the dramatic looking sky.
“It’s in the national park where you find the skies and atmospherical conditions amongst the best in the world for astronomical observation. Once darkness has fallen, your professional guide will point out the night sky for you with laser technology. We will name and explain the different constellations, give you lots of information about the night sky and answer any questions.”
If you want to eat and drink like a local, then Janet Anscombe, the blogger behind the In Tenerife Janet Anscombe blog, recommends heading to a vineyard and trying out the local cheeses on a visit to a goat farm.
“Go to a bodega (vineyard) where you can see and taste Canarian wine - famous since Shakespeare's time - picked and bottled, or maybe go to the top Denomination of Origin home of Canarian wine, the Casa del Vino itself.
“What about a visit to a goat farm where world-medal-winning cheeses are made - and see the goats and kids too - in the Montesdeoca Dairy in Tijoco, Adeje, just a ten-minute drive from the tourist-filled beaches in the south!”
Santa Cruz de Tenerife may now be the capital, but once upon a time San Cristóbal de La Laguna was the capital of this paradise island. Janet Anscombe says you should visit: “San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Site, is the original capital of Tenerife and its old central pedestrianised part is like stepping back in time and is in an exemplary state of conservation, with important monuments and historic buildings. But this city also has a modern feel, perhaps because it's where the island university is, so the old streets and pedestrian walkways are an important cultural centre with lovely old independent shops, musical and theatrical public performance art, and café bars and beautiful churches. The city is simultaneously old and new, lively and relaxed.”
As described above, Tenerife is full of amazing attractions and places that you might not have heard of, which makes it a great place for a Canary Islands cruise, but don’t just take our word for it. “The above suggestions will hopefully show that Tenerife is not just sun, sea and sand,” said Janet Anscombe. “More particularly, it is no longer ‘Uncovered’ in the sense of the 1970s programme which gave it its none-too-savoury party reputation. These days, it is a very different place, with the tourism authorities promoting up-market and niche holidays for much more discerning visitors. Do yourself the biggest favour and open your mind to the possibility that Tenerife is a cultured, civilized, beautiful, historic, nature-lovers and hiker’s paradise and one with no light pollution in the national park (by law) where you can watch the Milky Way rotate above your head with a night-sky view you won't find better anywhere on Earth. Give Tenerife a chance to steal your heart.”
Written by Delasi Adorkorbidji
Image Credit: Cristo Yusta