Top 5 Hidden Gems in Tenerife
Such is the popularity of the island of Tenerife, you'd be forgiven for thinking there was little of the island that you didn't already know before travel. But, behind the façade of sun, sand, and soaring mountain peaks, there lies a treasure trove of activities and attractions to experience away from the bustling crowds.
Whether it's savouring the local cuisine that packs a taste of authentic Canarian life, or heading deep into mysterious caves and following a route through thick forest, a different face of Tenerife is waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers.
Below, we look at our top five hidden gems of Tenerife starting, like all good holidays, with a delicious local meal.
"BEHIND THE FAÇADE OF SUN, SAND, AND SOARING MOUNTAIN PEAKS, THERE LIES A TREASURE TROVE OF ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS TO EXPERIENCE AWAY FROM THE BUSTLING CROWDS."
"THE CANARY ISLANDS ARE RENOWNED FOR POSSESSING A CULTURE THAT BASKS IN THE TRADITIONS OF TIMES PAST. NOWHERE IS THIS MORE APPARENT THAN WHEN IT COMES TO CANARIAN CUISINE."
The Canary Islands are renowned for possessing a culture that basks in the traditions of times past. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to Canarian cuisine. Rich in seafood and meat dishes, the dining experience in Tenerife is one that draws inspiration from the ancient aboriginal inhabitants of the island, with the spicy Mojo sauce an accompaniment to such traditional meals a papas arrugadas - literally wrinkly potatoes.
With Mojo sauces taking on a distinctive flavour wherever you travel on the island - for each recipe is unique to its region - you can rest assured a taste of tradition in yours to savour.
Cueva del Viento
For something truly different during your time in Tenerife, a visit to Cueva del Viento - lava caves - in the northern town of Icod de los Vinos will prove fascinating. Created from the lava flows of Pico Viejo nearly 30,000 years ago, the cave network stretches for more than 11 miles, descending deep underground.
Packed with fossils and the remains of the Guanches - ancient aborigines that inhabited the island - the lava caves also feature intriguing subterranean fauna, with 44 species of troglobites discovered in the caves.
"CREATED FROM THE LAVA FLOWS OF PICO VIEJO NEARLY 30,000 YEARS AGO, THE CAVE NETWORK STRETCHES FOR MORE THAN 11 MILES, DESCENDING DEEP UNDERGROUND."
"DECLARED A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN 2007, THE PARK FEATURES A FASCINATING ARRAY OF FLORA AND FAUNA TO DISCOVER, MAKING A STARK CONTRAST TO THE MARTIAN-LIKE PLAINS OF VOLCANIC ROCKS AND BOULDERS."
Teide National Park
Home to the mighty Mount Teide from which it takes its name, Teide National Park features a compelling otherworldly landscape that has led many film productions to take advantage of and commit to film. But, while it may be a star on screen, it also represents one of the most popular attractions on the island, with over three million visitors annually.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, the park features a fascinating array of flora and fauna to discover, making a stark contrast to the Martian-like plains of volcanic rocks and boulders.
While Tenerife may boast a reputation built around sun, sand, and sea, there is far more to the island than bustling tourist traps. The Mercedes Forest of the Anaga Mountains represents an enchanting region of lush vegetation unlike anywhere else on the island.
Formed between ten and 15 millions years ago, making it the oldest part of the island, the subtropical climate of this northern region ensures that the diversity of Tenerife is yours to discover, with magnificent flora and vegetation that is certain to captivate.
For more information on this gem of Tenerife, check out our Guide to Mercedes Forest.
Also in the north of Tenerife is the island's capital, Santa Cruz. From the impressive Auditorium of Tenerife to the Santa Cruz Towers, this is a city where culture comes alive. During your time in the city, you can learn more about the ancient inhabitants of Tenerife, exploring the archaeological finds from across the island, and take in the exhibitions and galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Santa Cruz offers much to discover, so take to the city at a sedate pace and uncover a host of fascinating attractions.
Those are five of Tenerife's Hidden Gems, check out the Top Things to Do in Tenerife for more holiday ideas!
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