When we decided to move to Tenerife
, we didn't relocate to a sun-kissed resort that was the scene of a case full of happy holiday memories. We'd never stayed on Tenerife. But it did have the attraction of year round-tourism, wasn't too far from the UK and had a friendly climate which ranged from hot to less hot between summer and winter.
To discover which part suited us best, we booked a flight, sorted out car hire at Tenerife Sur airport
and took to the road.
El Médano, near the airport on Tenerife's south east coast, was first port of call. It's a small resort with a handful of hotels and a long sandy beach that is as close to golden as you can get on Tenerife without being man made. There are cosy tapas restaurants overlooking the sea and it possesses a laid back, Canarian vibe that is seductively appealing. It also has an almost permanent sea breeze, making it a magnet for windsurfers and kite-boarders.
Next was Los Cristianos in the south of Tenerife. It's a mix of Canarian fishing community and holiday resort which means visitors can sample local dishes such as parrot fish or rabbit in traditional restaurants or stick to more familiar international fare. Los Cristianos has two attractive beaches including many people's favourite Tenerife beach, Playa las Vistas, which links the resort with Playa de las Américas.
Third stop was south west Tenerife; an area that enjoys the most hours of sunshine on the island. Los Gigantes is a smallish quiet resort with a pretty marina and bars and restaurants aimed mainly at British visitors. The view of the cliffs that gave the town its name is one of the 'must sees' of Tenerife's scenery. Adjoining resorts Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena offer more restaurants and bars and the seamless trio exude a genteel air and welcoming personality. A thrilling drive over the hills revealed another face to Tenerife. The arid slopes of the south west coast gave way to almond trees, pine forest, lush farmlands and tiny hill towns as we swapped south for north and moved from one micro-climate to another.
The coastal road leading north was in complete contrast to the drive from south to south west. This is a coastline consisting of dramatic verdant cliffs, banana plantations and colonial mansions with Mount Teide occasionally dominating the skyline. A tricky negotiation of a busy road leading to the centre of Puerto de la Cruz brought us to the town centre where old men in homburgs played cards around a picturesque harbour. A few yards further on was a bustling plaza with Indian laurel and palm trees providing shade for pigeons, parrots and Canarian families who chatted and laughed in the warm sunshine.
By the time a waiter at one of the plaza's cafés brought two chilled beers, we were hooked. The hire car stayed in the car park for the rest of the visit.
Guest Post - Jack and Andrea Montgomery are authors and travel writers who have lived on the island of Tenerife for the past 8 years and spend much of their time driving its roads. Their Real Tenerife Island Drives guide takes you off the standard tourist trail and into the 'real' Tenerife (www.realtenerifeislanddrives.com).