I have to admit that I had my prejudices about the Canary Islands... I thought that they were a prime holiday spot for the typical British tourist, and I didn't like the sound of that at all. But when I saw how cheap a holiday package would actually cost me, I was booking my flights before I even knew it! Tenerife is the largest of the seven islands that are located 100km off West-Africa and, for as little as £200, I could enjoy it's all-year-round warm weather, whilst it was cold and rainy back in Cornwall!
It's fair to say that my expectations of the Canaries weren't very high, but it didn't take very long for them to become reality either. At the check-in gate, boisterous holiday punters surrounded me and, on the plane, I had to sit behind the embodiment of lad culture... But to be fair, everyone other than a small minority settled down fairly quickly. Plus, my experience with Bristol Airport was amazing with it's easy self parking, fast track security and an organised boarding process!
The aeroplane route took us along the coast of, I guess, Spain and Portugal, but from my side of the plane, the sea seemed endless. Even when we came into land, I couldn't see the island itself until the very last minute. So, when I eventually saw the palm trees, volcanic craters and beautiful villas for myself, I was even more amazed! I was officially blown away, and finally understood that Tenerife can offer a lot more than just a sun-soaked week away!
From the airport in Tenerife, a fairly full coach drove hair-raisingly-fast along the motorway to each of our hotels whilst we all took in the stellar scenery along the way! With lit up cities along the cliff tops, a actual volcano on the left and waves crashing on black sand beaches on the right, it was like nothing I had seen before!
Where I Stayed - Hotel Elegance Miramar
Honestly, my hotel took me a bit by surprise to! The reviews were absolutely terrible, and I admit that the beds weren't the comfiest, but as a whole I thought it wasn't bad at all! My room was massive and the balcony was just as big! Also, there was a pool and the food was pretty good to (for non-veggies at least). The only major issue was how far away it was from anything... It could've been worse, but there were a few times when I wanted to avoid going out and about.
Puerto De La Cruz
The hotel was located in Puerto De La Cruz, on the north side of the island. Although a lot of the area was occupied by hotels, I was amazed to see so much old-style architecture around town, which made me feel like I was in “Pirates of the Caribbean”! I guess the parrots helped with that to, as well as the abundance of beaches and the fact that I could always see the ocean!
The closest beach to me was Playa San Telmo, which I liked the look of because there were spots to jump in from. There was also Playa Martianez, which I liked the most because there was a lot more space. Playa San Felipe and Playa Grande both looked absolutely lovely, but they were a long walk away and a real challenge to get back from because of the humongous hill!
Where To Eat
Okay, so I didn't actually eat out at all because my hotel was all-inclusive, but I did come across some amazing looking places whilst out exploring! I was speechless when I first saw Cafe Alba... The walk there wasn't exactly easy, but the high vantage point offered unbelievable views over the town and out to sea! Brunelli's Steak House also offered stellar views (especially for sunset) and sat right by the water's edge so you could watch the waves crash beneath you to! My final awesome spot was a place called Restaurante Rustico and, if you had a space by a window, it honestly couldn't get much cooler!
What To Do
Aside from it's reputation for “fun in the sun” holidays, Tenerife also offers a range of water sports and outdoor activities, including surfing, scuba diving and whale watching!
I was hoping to go paragliding around Los Gigantes, traversing down Masca Gorge and trekking up to the summit of Mount Teide (the tallest point in Spain)! However, it was all impossible to organise, because the tours were limited to certain days. So, instead of seeking out thrills and adventure on my trip, I ended up simply enjoying the sun after all!
Had I been comfortable in hiring my own vehicle, things would've been a bit more exciting. Plus, I could've gone to Siam Park, which is one of the world's top water parks according to TripAdvisor! Just down the road in Puerto De La Cruz, there was a zoo called Loro Park, with an “extensive and diverse” collection of animals, as well as a “top class” orca and dolphin performance. Sound cool? No! The confinement and captivity of animals is not cool!
What I enjoyed most about my time in Tenerife was definitely all the photography I got to do - Tenerife is a landscape photographer's dream! Even in Peurto De La Cruz, I was spoilt for choice when it came to spots to shoot. If only I had a car, so I could explore even more! I suppose I now know for next time though.