Tenerife Island in Canary Islands, Spain
According to Food eZine, Tenerife is the largest (2057 sq. km) and the most famous island of the Canary archipelago. Here is the highest point in Spain – the Teide volcano (3718 m), whose landscapes resemble those of the moon and whose slopes are covered with massifs of endemic Canary pines, the Anaga Mountains with dense tropical forests and picturesque beaches. The capital of the island is the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is located on the coast in the northeastern part of the island and is surrounded by the ridges of the Anaga mountain range. Even during the time of the conquistadors, Santa Cruz de Tenerife became an important port, today it is the third most important port in Spain and links the most important trade routes between Europe, America and Africa. The whole city can be explored on foot. The main attractions are concentrated near the Plaza de España. There is a memorial dedicated to the soldiers who fell in the Civil War of 1936-39, and in the vicinity of the square there is the Baroque Church of St. Francis (17-18 centuries), Plaza Candelaria Square, the Church of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de -la Concepción (16-18 centuries), where the “Cross of the Conqueror” (a symbol of the capture of the Canary Islands by the Spaniards), the Carta Palace (17th century), the Calle Castillo pedestrian street with shops, the city market Mercado- de Nuestra Señora de Africa and, of course, museums: the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum, the Military Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Nature. Santa Cruz is one of the “greenest” cities in the archipelago, with trees and flowers growing on almost every street. Every year, a week before the day of repentance (February-March), Carnival is held in Santa Cruz, which is the most important and most colorful in all of Europe.
From the north, Santa Cruz adjoins the ancient capital of Tenerife – the city of La Laguna. (full name – San Cristobal de la Laguna (San Cristobal de La Laguna)), which to this day is the cultural center of the island. It was founded in 1496 and was the capital of Tenerife until 1883. Here are the largest museums of the island, the first University of the archipelago and buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1999, the city was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In La Laguna, it is worth visiting the Museum of the History of Tenerife, the Cathedral of the early 20th century, where the tomb of the conquistador and founder of the city – Alonso de Lugo, the University District and the Museum of Science and Space is located. In addition, it is proposed to go on a hiking trip through the mountains of Anaga surrounding the city., which occupy the entire northeastern part of the island of Tenerife. On the slopes of the mountains there is a natural park of the same name with an area of about 15 thousand hectares. More than 100 endemic plant species grow here, among which is the Canarian pine. There are several hiking trails in the park.
30 km southwest of La Laguna, in a fertile mountain valley occupied by vineyards and banana plantations, lies the ancient city of La Orotava . The old town of Orotava is built up with colonial buildings, among which is the Casa de los Balconis (17th century), where a museum dedicated to the life of the island of the 17th century is now open. Also of interest in the city is the Museum of Ceramics with a collection of Spanish ceramics and the Botanical Garden, which presents about 3,000 tropical plants growing in South and Central America, Africa and Australia.
5 km from Orotava on the northern coast of Tenerife is the city of Puerto de la Cruz (Puerto de la Crus). Until the 1970s, it was the main tourist center for the Canary Islands. Now people come here to visit Laura Park, where more than 200 species of parrots are represented. In addition, the park has the largest pool in Europe for the performance of marine animals (dolphins, killer whales, sea lions) and the largest aquarium with sharks in Europe, made in the form of a tunnel, under the arches of which visitors pass. Among other things, the park contains exotic fish, penguins, monkeys, jaguars, tigers, giant tortoises, alligators, iguanas, pelicans and flamingos.
The Orotava valley extends inland and goes to the highest point of the Canary archipelago and Spain – the extinct volcano Teide (3718 m). The volcano formed about 180 thousand years ago in the caldera of an older volcano, whose height reached 6000 m. Today, the Teide volcano is the main attraction of the Canary Islands. It is protected by the national park of the same name (Teide national park). The park was created in 1954 and became the first national park in Spain.. Lava flows have formed bizarre landscapes here, similar to those of the moon. Among them, unique endemic plants grow and about 700 species of insects, various reptiles and birds live. The park has two tourist centers – El Portillo (El Portillo) and Canada Blanca (Canada Blanca), from where excursions to the volcano depart. There are 10 hiking trails of various lengths and levels of difficulty along the slopes of the volcano. A cable car has been laid from the highway encircling the Teide volcano to a height of 3550 m. In just 10 minutes, tourists are in the immediate vicinity of the summit of Teide. Here is an observation deck from where you can see all the islands of the Canary archipelago. The remaining 168 m can be climbed on foot, however, this requires permission from the administration of the park, located in Santa Cruz. Teide National Park is surrounded by the Corona Forestal natural park, where endemic Canarian pines grow.
On the east coast of the island of Tenerife, the city of Candelaria is interesting. It is located 20 km southwest of the city of Santa Cruz.. Candelaria is the religious center of Tenerife, because here is the church of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, dedicated to the patron saint of the Canary archipelago. The first church on this site was erected in the 17th century, however, due to the large number of pilgrims who wished to visit this sacred place, it was completely rebuilt in the middle of the 20th century. Now the church can accommodate up to 5,000 believers. Every year on August 15, on the day of St. Candelaria, many pilgrims come here. The wall paintings of the church are very beautiful, and in its vicinity there are 9 bronze statues of the first kings of the Canary Islands from the Guanaches tribe.
A few kilometers southwest of Candelaria is the city of Guimar, which is located near the ethnographic park of the Pyramids of Guimar.. The park features stepped pyramids that were built from pieces of lava by representatives of the Guanaches tribe, who have inhabited the Canary Islands since ancient times. The famous traveler Thor Heyerdahl put forward the theory that these structures were of religious significance and were built with precise astronomical calculation (on the days of the winter and summer solstices, the faces of the pyramids accurately point to the Sun). Traces of such structures were found throughout the island of Tenerife, only in Guimar 6 pyramids were completely preserved. The Ethnographic Park has a museum and a lecture hall, where the riddles of step pyramids erected by different civilizations in different parts of the world are revealed to visitors, parallels are drawn between their appearance and various theories about the purpose of the pyramids are put forward.
The south coast of Tenerife is famous for its El Medano beach , which is the “capital” of windsurfing and kitesurfing in the Canary Islands. This beach is composed of golden sand. El Medano has many hotels, restaurants and bars. In the vicinity of El Medano, on the slopes of the Montana Roja volcano, there is a natural reserve, home to hundreds of bird species and more than 100 plant species.
The main resorts on the west coast of Tenerife are Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje (Costa Adeje), stretching for 16 km in the southern part of the west coast. The development of this resort area began in the middle of the 20th century. Playa de las Americas is the center of the island’s nightlife, with many clubs and bars located in the Veronica Strip area. Also in the center of the resort is the city park of Arona with an area of 42,000 hectares, which presents plants that grow in the Canary Islands. Los Cristianos is famous for its golden sandy beaches. In Costa Adeje there are 2 water parks Siam and Aqualand. In Aqualand Park, in addition to water attractions, there is a dolphinarium where dolphin performances are held. In Siam Park (area 18.5 hectares), all buildings are made in the traditions of Thai architecture. It is the world’s largest collection of Thai architecture located outside of Thailand.. In addition, the tallest dragon statue in the world is erected here. In addition to all sorts of slides, tunnels and artificial beaches, Siam Park offers to visit the Wave Palace, which is a huge pool in which artificial waves up to 3 m high are created. Surfing is allowed in the pool. The Thai village with souvenir shops and massage parlors is very interesting. There are also restaurants and cafes in the park.
To the north along the coast are the resort areas of Playa de San Juan with a wide variety of beaches (there are beaches with volcanic sand, artificial beaches with yellow sand and rocky beaches), Playa de la Arena (Playa de la Arena), which is considered one of the cleanest beaches on the island, and Los Gigantes (Los Gigantes), whose beach is located among the cliffs, reaching a height of 500 m. On the cliffs of Los Gigantes there are three observation decks, from where breathtaking views of the ocean open. Dolphin watching boat trips are also offered in Los Gigantes. From Los Gigantes you can go on an excursion to the traditional village of Masca, located in the middle of the Teno mountain ranges, protected by the natural park of the same name. Further north is Punto de Teno – the westernmost point of the island of Tenerife, where an old lighthouse rises. Gran