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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tenerife, Spain: a Relaxing Escape

Another great place to discover in Europe is Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, Spain. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and also of volcanic origins. It is dominated by the 3718 meters high volcano Mount Teide with its mighty crater. The Teide is not only the highest mountain of all Spain, but also the mountain with the highest elevation in all the Atlantic Ocean.

At the sides of the montain range which crosses the island there are extremely fertile valleys with important plantations of bananas and tomatoes.

Tenerife's coastline is
typically rugged and steep, however there are as well almost 70 kilometers of fine sand beaches, in particular in the islands' south, with Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos among the best known. A friend of mine told me that it is also the riches island of Spain.

My friend and I spent 2 weeks there in May. It was off peak season and so it was quite easy to find affordable place. We stayed in Los Cristianos and there, one can bump into a number of British expats who found a small island to spend their retirement. As it is an island, many things are tax free!
We hired a car to be free and to discover the entire island and to avoid the hustle of finding the spots for public transport. I could speak the very basic of spanish but not enough to converse, like looking for the right transport to go to one place to another, from one beach to the next. So, having a car left us quite independent. I was surprised by the cost of fuel there taking into account the we are in Europe. I cost not even a euro for a liter!
I learnt as well that in some places, public transport like local buses are free to the locals and for tourists, it's so cheap.
In one day one can tour the island, from South Tenerife, which is obviously a place for many British to the North Tenerife, which is a haven for many Germans.
There were many zoo and park to visit where one can feed the lemurs for example. In the north, we visited the Loro Park. The facade of this huge park makes you feel like in Thailand. In the south we took several days walking along the many beaches.In the map you have to look for the word "playa" meaning beach and you are sure to find a nice beach with big waves. It was in May and the weather was fine but the water was cold! Still, we managed to take a dip though. As it was windy, there were many people doing the wind and sea surfing especially in Playa del Roque.
There are many travel sites in the internet offering a package for Tenerife. For our case, we decided to look for our own and found a cheap flight via Iberia Airlines and a nice studio with cooking facilities and a terrace overlooking the beach in Los Cristianos for a 24 euros a night.
In the photo gallery of this blog you can find more photos of our trip there.