Bikini – check, sunglasses – check, shorts, sun cream – check, check. Packing my suitcase these were not the sort of items I had been expecting to take on holiday! Until just over six weeks ago I had been going on a week’s ski mountaineering and winter climbing holiday in Scotland. But sadly, due to a slight accident (Tom breaking his leg!) plans had had to change a little…
Now before you feel too sorry for me, we were lucky enough to get a full refund and book some very cheap last minute flights to Tenerife. The idea here was if the pot (Yorkshire for a cast!) was off we could hike and surf, and if not, it would be warm enough just to relax.
So bags packed we headed for the airport! A few hours later we had gone from around two degrees with sleet, to 24 degrees – it was incredible. We stayed at Blackstone Surf Camp, a beautiful hostel near Adeje. It was simple, clean and friendly – perfect for what we needed. Outside had a nice space to relax in with everything from a slack line, to pool, BBQ and hammocks – what more could you want!
Day one Tom chose a gentle hike along the coast – nothing too strenuous as his cast had only been off for two days… However en-route plans changed and we ended up heading to El Molledo for a six-hour hike/scramble down a gorge to a stunning secluded beach. 800m down, followed by 800m up, it was a lot of fun but not exactly easy going!
The next day we opted for a gentler activity and hired stand up paddle boards from a shop in Los Gigantes. Having surfed before but never had a go at stand up paddle boarding I was interested to see how this went. Tom ensured me it was easy..! So one the one hand yes, they are easier than trying to balance on a surfboard… But doing that, paddling and combatting the waves gives you so much to think about – I fell off a lot! Luckily the sea was a tad warmer than back home, and we were able to explore all along the coast before returning to shore for a beer.
Day three and time for another hike – this time up a volcano, specifically Montana Chinyero! Setting off the weather can only be described as British! Everywhere else on the island was in glorious sunshine, and typically we were hiking in the only drizzling cloud (literally)! This gave the walk a bizzare feel – it was like being on another planet. Luckily towards the end of our walk, the clouds dispersed and the sun came out just in time to reach the summit.
On Wednesday the plan was to tackle Tenerife’s largest volcano, El Teide (also the highest mountain in Spain). Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our hands on a permit to reach the summit of El Teide (they were sold out), so we decided to do the next best thing and hike up to the top the peak just 200m beneath it, Pico Viejo. At least this way we would have a great view of El Teide.
This was amazing! If you are visiting Tenerife, I would totally recommend paying a visit to the Teide National Park, even if you just drive through it. Starting our hike above the clouds we went from lush green woodland to snowy slopes, to boulder fields with solidified lava flows before reaching the crater top – it was just stunning.
As per normal the last day of the holiday came all too quickly! Slightly tired (funnily enough) we realised we had utterly failed to have a ‘relaxing’ holiday! So we headed to the beach at Los Americans for a quick surf before a stop at Turtle Bay for a spot of snorkelling and turtle spotting!
There are so many more things I would like to tell you about this amazing country. However this post would become a short novel – so I will summarise!
Here are my five top recommendations/tips:
1. Visit the Teide National Park
It’s so different from the package holidays and sun loungers around the resorts and a far better reflection of what I think Tenerife is really like. Even if you can’t get out hiking, go and have a look, it’s simply stunning.
2. Hire a car
In the five days we were there, we covered most parts of the island (albeit quickly), and it was well worth having the flexibility to see it all without relying on buses.
3. Jump on a bike (road or mountain!)
One of my regrets was not having enough time to hire a bike. Apparently, mountain biking is the up and coming thing here. The road biking, on the other hand, is well established and amazing – it even has a reputation for courteous drivers!
4. Visit Masca
Positioned high in the mountains, this is one of the most picturesque villages I have visited. Expect it to be busy, but its well worth the trip (and nail biting roads) to get to there. It is also a perfect spot to watch the sunrise and set.
5. Jump in the sea
Surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, diving… the opportunities are endless and so much fun. There are lots of facilities to hire – my only tip would be to ring beforehand if you are heading there off season, just to check places are open.