5 Attractions that prove Tenerife isn`t just Sun, Sea and Sangria
It is all too easy to pigeon-hole Tenerife as a holiday island with just the delights of a sun, sea and sangria break to recommend it. But is that reality or a serious misconception? As a recent visitor to the island I found there was so much more to Tenerife than the tired old stereotypes that have been peddled over the years.
To see the real Tenerife, you just have to head a little way away from the beach and youll discover culture, history and astonishing scenery.
1. One such gem is the islands former capital La Laguna a UNESCO World Heritage site where the islands history seeps from every building, demonstrating its cultural depth. It has everything from rich architecture to delightful shops and an array of historic churches. It sits in the north of the island, just a few miles from touristy southern Tenerife, but is hundreds of years away culturally.
2. The central feature of Tenerife and the sight which has defined this Atlantic island is Europes largest volcano, Mount Teide. It sits at the heart of the 189,000 hectare Teide National Park, the second of Tenerifes UNESCO World Heritage sites. The park has an amazing volcanic landscape ranging from beautiful to out-of-this-world in its lunar-like nature. But thats not its only connection to all things planetary. Halfway up the mountain are the telescopes of the Observatorio del Teide, for Mount Teide is one of the worlds leading sites for stargazing. The clarity of the night sky and lack of light pollution over the mountain means you can see the Great Bear, Plough, Mars, Neptune and more with the naked eye.
3. Lying to the north of Tenerife are lava tubes carved out by various volcanic eruptions. The Cueva del Viento are the fourth largest caves in the world stretching some 17 kilometres under the island. Small group tours take you into protected virgin caves formed 27,000 years ago by past lava flows from Pico Viejo one of Mount Teides neighbouring volcanoes. The jagged rock formations and sculptured surfaces created by the intensely hot lava are a reminder of the intense power of nature.
4. To the north west of Tenerife lies the small coastal town of Garachico which has to be one of the most picturesque on the island. Formerly a wealthy area it was all but destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption in 1706, But what remains is a charming, historic and typically Canarian town. Garachico has cobbled streets, wonderful architecture and pretty plazas that make it something of a living museum.
5. Something few people realise about Tenerife and the rest of The Canary Islands is that they are set amidst one of the worlds most diverse coral reefs.
Not only does this richness of sea life mean whale and dolphin watching are regular tours run from the island, but that it offers some of the best diving in the world, with turtles, nudibranches, and schools of exotic fish hovering above a deep ocean shelf. Added to this, nature lovers will adore Ocean Dreams Factory which you can join for diving trips, help them to clean up the ocean floor or learn about the sea life they run programmes to protect.
More on this Guest Blogger
Terry Lee is featured editor of LiveShareTravel, a travel and lifestyle magazine that takes you on the road sharing all sorts of great travel experiences. LiveShareTravel also showcases the very best in quality timeshare and fractional lifestyles and has lots of other inspiring features about Tenerife.