Away from the beaches, away from the pool and away from the bars. Tenerife has so much to offer those that want to get out and hike or see nature in very unique ways. All on one Spanish island. All these hikes, climbs, activities and experiences are only within an hour of the hustle and bustle of the resorts of Playa de las Americas and Adeje for example.
You can see it as you fly in, it towers up from the centre of the island rising up above the cloud, Mt Teide summit. Standing at 3,718 m (12,198 ft) it is the highest point in Spain and is the third highest volcano in the world, measured from its base under the ocean. Part of Teide National Park that has become the most visited in Europe.
There are two ways up. The quick tourist way is to take the cable car to within 160 m of the summit or climbing the good old way, on foot. With a reasonable physical fitness the climb is naturally the best and most rewarding, seeing close hand the lunar landscape, looking out over the island from great viewpoints and experiencing a great mountain. It takes between 5 - 7 hours to reach the place the cable car reaches and this is where you would need a permit to proceed to the summit. Due to conservation only a handful of people are allowed on the summit area/cone per hour and if you want to go all the way then it really is best to book your permit days in advance here. Permit in hand I made my way to the top with the smell of sulphur rich in the air, and looked down below over all the island. One of my favourite summit experiences truth be told. Take a look at the slideshow below this post to get a teaser.
To the North West of Tenerife is the long cut off remote village of Masca. So remote the road to it was not built until just 1991. What a setting it has though. Perched on the side of the mountains at the top of a ravine that winds its way to Masca Bay at the shore.
Keen walkers may have heard of this ravine but for those that do not then take the opportunity whilst on the island to walk it, 2 and a half to 3 hours downhill through the gorge. Mountains rising high beside you making some parts only 20 m wide.
Beautiful walk, unique private views around every corner with great natural architecture above and beyond. greeting you at the bottom is Masca Bay and the turquoise waters. If you are not keen like some of us and do not fancy the hike all the way back up to Masca the you can always pre book a boat to pick you up and take you round the coast to the buses.
Speaking of boats I took a day off my feet and went on a dolphin safari. To see dolphins swimming free in families in such abundance was a true pleasure. They came and more came, swimming by the boat as if to say hello. The coast of Tenerife was only a couple of miles away so it is not that you have to go far to see them. Wonderful.
A detailed day by day account of these adventures can be found at BaldHiker too.