Tenerife is a terrific holiday destination, particularly if you are keen to get a little sunshine. Although the Spanish island is perhaps most famous for being a great spot for beach breaks and welcomes thousands of tourists to its most popular resorts in the summer months, it does have a wealth of lesser-known gems that are just waiting to be discovered.
Admittedly, once you have taken a low-cost flight to Tenerife from Britain you may be tempted to head straight to the nearest beach and/or bar to do nothing but relax and work on your tan. However, we are firm believers that you ought to be a little more proactive in discovering the culture and history of the places you see. Obviously, it takes a little effort to escape the tourist traps but the magical sights that you find when you do are certain make your exertions more than worthwhile. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of what we think some of Tenerife’s best-kept secrets are.
One part of the island that we definitely recommend you visit is Taganana. Situated on Tenerife’s north-eastern shore, this fishing village is one of the oldest settlements in the region.
Taganana’s remote location means it’s an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of tourist-filled resorts, with the El Bailadero mountain road that leads you here surrounded by ancient woodland and caves. Once you’ve arrived, head to the Casa Africa restaurant where you can enjoy freshly-caught seafood dishes while soaking up fantastic sea views.
Tenerife is a brilliant destination to connect with nature and, while many people who are keen to feel at one with the world around them will head to the Teide National Park (with good reason, actually, as it contains Spain’s tallest peak), there are plenty of other gardens and reserves that are deserving of your attention too.
Among these is the Orchid Garden Sitio Litre, which is located in the northern city of Puerto de la Cruz. Situated in the grounds of a private 18th century mansion, this is the oldest public garden in Tenerife and contains the largest collection of orchids that are to be found anywhere on the island.
Here, you can see dragon trees and other colourful floral specimens, as well as souvenirs that have been left by celebrities who have visited over the years, among them the crime writer Agatha Christie. Once you’ve finished taking in the diverse array of plants, head to the onsite cafe for a drink and a bite to eat, while you can see a collection of paintings loaned to the institution by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.
Last, but by no means least, Casa del Vino is a fantastic place to visit if you fancy a change from pubs and restaurants that are overflowing with tourists. As you might have guessed, this state-owned attraction’s name translates as ‘House of Wine’ in English and it is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the island’s winemaking heritage.
Set in a 17th century Canarian farmhouse, this establishment features a tasting hall where you can sample a variety of locally made wines, which can then be purchased at the onsite gift shop. Conferences, art exhibitions and music recitals take place on a regular basis, so there will be plenty for you to see and do here.