The Island of Eternal Spring
A record two million Brits holidayed in Tenerife in 2016 – that’s an increase of 16 per cent from the previous year. But before we pat ourselves on the back for our excellent decision making in choosing guaranteed sunshine and great value, the numbers also show that us Brits are the least active. Yup, we're beach potatoes, preferring to catch the rays than catch the action.
That's all the more surprising given the landscape of Tenerife lends itself to being explored. Dominated by the volcanic Mount Teide and its namesake national park, fresh air lovers can find plenty to enjoy away from the hotels. Even oceanwards, the very fact that the Canary Islands are in an isolated spot in the Atlantic means that the mesmerising aquatic life deserves to be investigated too.
To give an idea of what’s on offer away from the lounger the Flexicover team has picked out five activities that are well worth considering during a sojourn in Tenerife.
Waters around Tenerife run deep. Not only does that mean it's a good spot for diving, but also that it's home to an impressive 26 species of whales including pilot, baleen, killer and dorm whales. The wondrous mammals are seen all year around, especially in the south west coast. Better still, boat expeditions might also uncover bottle nose dolphins, turtles, sharks and sea birds. An even more interesting proposition are the tours which invite you to snorkel in the Atlantic: few pleasures are greater than swimming with dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.
With little air and light pollution thanks to its isolated location, Tenerife is a global centre of astronomical research, with the Teide Observatory its focal point. Capitalising on its stargazing value (it was recently awarded a Starlight Certification), trails across the national park signpost the best views, along with discussion topics for late-night adventurers. For those who prefer the sanctuary of nearby civilisation, or when the weather looks too temperamental to brave the wild outdoors, the Parador Hotel is another prime spot. On the base of the volcano, its terrace offers spectacular views of the twinkling night sky in easy reach of a hot chocolate. And if you stay on a Friday, the hotel offers a guided stargazing session after dinner.
Bathe in natural pools
Though currents around Tenerife mean its ocean waters aren't always swimmer-friendly, its many natural pools ensure that the nature-lover won't miss out. Bajamor is a nice halfway house between the wild ocean and an outdoor pool, with an ocean break to protect swimmers from the rough conditions. But water babies can still benefit from the oceanside location, especially as high waves crash against the break, spraying swimmers at regular intervals. Other natural pools like Charco del Viento are sheltered behind giant lava rocks, giving it the feel of a hidden gem.
The Mediterranean climes mean that the Canaries are in a prime location to make domestic wine. Tenerife’s vineyards are the highest in Europe, leading to a unique taste and for those who visit, a unique experience. Wine centres like Bodegas Monje and Casa del Vino offer tours and tastings; either spend a full day soaking in the atmosphere, or go on an organised excursion that takes in a number of vineyards and wine cellars. Real wine buffs should visit on St Andrew’s Day (30 November) when locals celebrate both their patron saint and the first of the year’s new wine with a full day of revelry.
Explore the caves
Another of Tenerife’s natural wonders is the Cueva del Viento, a series of caves that form the world’s largest lava tubes outside of Hawaii. Located in Icod de los Vinos in the north east (where you can also see the Dragon Tree which is reputed to be 1000 years old), the unusual phenomenon is created when the outer layer of lava cools as it hits the air. While it hardens on the outside, liquid lava continues to run through the middle until the flow stops. Cut to the present day, over 17km of lava rock-passageways are waiting to be explored on the island. Tours take place daily and last around two hours, which includes 45 minutes of underground exploration.
So wherever you travel to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing the highest levels of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.