Canary Islands travel guide
We're not sure why concert halls always has to be spectacular buildings, but Tenerife's version certain lives up to the stereotype. It was completed in 2003 and resemble a bit of Sydney Opera House with big white semi-domes, but the large hanging arch certainly makes it stand out and iconic. As it's made in concrete, it's best appreciated from a distance. The rocks in front of it have famous musicians painted on them (however, some are spelled incorrectly, like Shopin and Witney) and there are a couple of historical buildings too (Castillo de San Juan and Casa de la Pólvora), which were part of the old defence complex.
The cliffs at Los Gigantes shoot up to 800 m straight up from the sea. Though there are other cliff walls on Tenerife, these are the tallest. You can get spectacular views of the cliffs from various viewpoints in the resort town of Los Gigantes, but probably the best way to fully grasp their sheer size is by joining a boat trip. Dolphins and whales are often spotted on these trip, which make them hard to turn down, touristic or not.
The highest point in Spain is actually not on the mainland, but on the island of Tenerife. Here the volcano Teide rises 3,718 m into the sky and is visible from all over the island - if the weather permits. Though Mt Teide last erupted in 1909, it's still active and minor earthquakes do happen. There are several roads leading up the volcano and it's possible to drive all the way up to 2,356 m, where a cable car can bring you further up to the upper station at 3,555 m (tickets can be prebooked online). The last 163 m you need to hike on foot (remember to book a hiking permit online). A large part of the volcano is a natural park and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offer some great hiking opportunities through the volcanic moonscape. Even if you don't want to hike, a road trip across the volcano will still give you amazing sights of the snow covered peak of Teide, along with other odd rock formations, in addition to panoramic views over the rest of Tenerife and the neighbouring Canary Islands.
The main tourist town on Tenerife is Playa de las Américas. Once a small fishing village, but nowadays a large cluster of resorts, bars, restaurants and shops. Playa de las Américas is located on the southwestern tip, which gives it sea shore to two sides. There are several dark sand beaches and a palm lined promenade runs along the shore. The south end of Playa de las Américas tend to be more classy and is popular with families, while the north end is favourite among the heavy drinking British tourists.
A short drive from Santa Cruz into the hills lies lovely La Laguna at nippy 546 m. It's a university town rich in history and religion. The fine historic centre, with narrow straight streets flanked by coloured mansions and small shops, is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also several churches including the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, which also is the seat for the bishop. Pleasantly, La Laguna also has a selection of excellent bars and bodegas, whose charm and quality by far exceed anything in the tourist towns.
If you get tired of touristic Tenerife, it's nice to escape to a real Spanish city. Santa Cruz de Tenerife (or just Santa Cruz) has been the major port on Tenerife since the 18th-century when lava streams destroyed the previous port in Garachico. Present-day Santa Cruz is a mix of charming historical quarters, 70s-futuristic office buildings, and industry. There are a few points of interest - like the Auditorio, Plaza de España and Calle Castillo - but else Santa Cruz is best appreciated by walking around, sipping some coffee, and soaking up the atmosphere.
Well, the title says it all. This is a dragon tree, El Drago Milenario, which is claimed to be over a thousand years old - though, the truth is probably closer to 600-800 years. You can see the tree for free from the town square in Icod de los Vinos, but if you want to get up close, you need to pay the entrance to the grounds, which also holds a park and a small cave.
In 1706 lava flows from the volcanic eruption hit the at-that-time important port of Garachico and left the harbour and a large part of town destroyed. When the floating lava met the sea volcanic pools were created. These pools are still here today and have created the most perfect natural swimming pools, even on cool days. The volcanic pools is of course a major attraction, but the town of Garachico is a bit of a charmer itself with cobbled streets, fine colonial mansions, and a beautiful church from the 16th-century. The switchback road leading down to Garachico is equal spectacular with amazing panoramic views over both Garachico and north coast of Tenerife.