Tenerife is a volcanic island belonging to Canary Islands, which are part of Spain. It used be portugueese, then english, but in the end Pope Alexander VI took the line and made them spanish spanish (further historical explanation in this article). 🙂
Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands archipelago, but also is the largest and most populous island of Macaronesia – a collection of four archipelagos in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the continents of Europe and Africa(Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde), created by volcanic activity.
I was fying from Brussels to Tenerife South. The flight was 4,5 hours and landig looked like this:
Upon my arrival, I noticed the pleasant 25 Celsius in December and beautiful vegetation around me. So let me show you the photos:
My hotel was in Santa Cruz de Tenerife – the capital of Tenerife island. I had views on the riviera so I walked every day next to cruise ships watching the mass people exchanging at the port on a daily basis.
But wherever you go, the mountains are always around you:
To get closer to the city center, you can walk or catch the bus – or how they call it here ”GuaGua.” Don’t ask why. I didn’t manage to discover that phenomenon.
I walked around to explore the city walls famous for the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 18th century, when the british Royal Navy under the command of Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson attacked the then spanish port Santa Cruz. Having lost several hundred men, Nelson himself had been wounded in the arm, which was subsequently partially amputated: a stigma that he carried to his grave as a constant reminder of his failure.
The city has an Auditorium, kinda inspired by Gaudi, if you ask me. The promenade there is nice and you can simply walk around enjoying the view on beautiful ocean.
As it was the time to explore the food, I made another walk through the park and couldn’t notice the cross in the park which shows the etymology of the name of the city: “holy cross of Tenerife,” in memory of the foundation of the city, when a Christian cross was planted in the place that is now the center of town.
The absolute fascination was the market: Mercado Nuestra Señora de África. It is a famous and imposing collection of market stalls, shops and eating places located on the Avenida de San Sebastián in Santa Cruz.
Talking about the traditional food at Tenerife, I ate madregal fish and typically oven baked salt potatoes and drank local wine.
The next day I visited San Cristóbal de La Laguna city in the northern part of the island of Tenerife. Actually, the city is just above Santa Cruz so you can easily take the tram and visit the city.
The city used to be the colonial capital so it forms the typical urban colonial style and architecture.
Today is the city of university with many students around forming the Univerisity of La Laguna.
La Laguna is considered to be the cultural capital of the Canary Islands. Also there is in the habit of being calling the “Ciudad de los Adelantados“, for having been the first university city of the archipelago.
As mentioned, the colonial style is still present and one can see small passages between houses with balconies and old, dark, wooden bars that bring you to the old times when important historical figures of the city like Amaro Pargo, one of the famous corsairs of the Golden Age of Piracy, walked around.
The Catedral de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is a roman catholic church, of the 20th century. Not so old, but some interesting statues of the Christ can be found inside. You decide why:
And now the best part, the volcano Teide. 🙂
Mount Teide is a volcano on Tenerife, wwith 3,718-metre summit which is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic and Earth’s third-tallest volcanic structure.
We started our climbing admiring the city that left below us and watching the nature.
The National Park Teide is fammous for its pine tree that can survive the fire and grow again. The lava flows on the flanks of Teide weather to a very thin but nutrient- and mineral-rich soil that supports a wide variety of endemic plant species.
As we were climbing higher, the city below us looked scary away and some other peaks of canary islands started to rise, not being sure where the ocean ends, sky starts or landmarks appear again. It was unreal…
I was mostly trying to adapt to this landmark not being sure why I felt so unreal… Teide was a sacred mountain for the aboriginal Guanches, so it was considered a mythological mountain.
The ore we were climbing, the vegetation was disappearing and landmark turned into beautiful colour representation of lava’s progress.
Finally we saw the peak from much clearer distance: from the astronomical observatory. But we decided to continue the way to reach it as possible we could. And then the fog came down and the magic started to be even more unreal…
We enjoyed taking the photos around the volcanic structured stone and cliffs, shaped by the wind. When I wanted to pick the rock, I noticed it is quite light.
Interesting for us, there was a small church completely built of volcanic stones. 🙂 Of course, with the Teide peak behind.
The last day, I visited the black beaches of Tenerife. Actually, I visited La Teracita. The sand is black because it is actually made of lava.