Volcano Teide is often obscured by clouds so we were delighted when we woke up on our first morning in Tenerife to see the summit amidst clear blue sky! We decided this would be a good day to go and explore the Teide National Park.
We began our journey in the historic town of La Orotava a short distance from our accommodation where we used Google Maps to navigate towards TF-21 the road which takes you through the Teide National Park.
Driving at the far end of La Orotava wasn’t the easiest with incredibly steep and narrow roads where you are barely able to pass other vehicles! We soon came out of La Orotava and into the pine forests of the foothills of Teide.
There are several viewpoints (called ‘Miradors’) where you can stop your car and take in the wonderful vistas. However these can be crowded if a little flurry of cars all decide to stop at once! Driving through the forest was a real pleasure. The road was smooth with no potholes and there was enough space for cars to pass each other properly. There was even snow along the verges despite the weather being sunny and not particularly cold.
The forest ended abruptly and we entered straight into the desert! We found a pleasant roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere and stopped for a coffee. We had a little wander outside the restaurant and discovered an awesome desert view of Teide complete with several hiking trails across the landscape.
A little further past the restaurant was another stop where you could park up and have a walk across the desert landscape which reminded us of our trip to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
A cable car is available if you wish to visit the summit of Mount Teide. I’m not sure if booking is necessary but the cable car station looked pretty busy! We decided not to do this as firstly I went up to the summit when I visited Tenerife in 1986 and secondly Chris wasn’t too bothered. We continued our road trip and headed towards Los Gigantes.
We had begun to descend down towards Los Gigantes on the west coast of the island although at this point we were still above the clouds.
We arrived at the resort of Los Gigantes and parked along the side of the road. Having spent a small fortune in parking charges during holidays in Wales and England is really gratifying that you rarely have to pay to park anywhere in Tenerife (and this was similar in Spain last November).
We had a tasty lunch of sangria and paella in the restaurant on the right in the above square.
Los Gigantes is named after the giant cliffs that tower around the resort. They are between 500-800 meters high!
Still in Los Gigantes we drove to Playa de la Arena with thoughts of swimming in the sea. Again, we were able to park near to the beach and without having to pay. However not long after we arrived, nobody was allowed in the sea due to the crashing waves and strong currents.
At the end of a brilliant day we made our way back across the island (around the shorter coast road) to our Villa Finca El Drago.