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Tenerife FUN I


t’s all too easy to think of Tenerife as nothing more than a beach


destination. Of course the Canary Island, just 186 miles off the coast of West Africa, has some great beaches, but it also provides so many diff erent types of holiday experiences and adventures. From prehistoric forests to desert coastal plains, stargazing to hillside villages — it’s truly an island of great diversity.


Canarian fl avour Tenerife’s tourist centres are well-known, but beyond the beach resorts the island has many delightful towns and villages. One of Tenerife’s most charming


towns is Garachico, a port hugging the north-western coastline. Once a very wealthy town, exploration of its typical Canarian streets provides an insight into its merchant heritage. With its elegant architecture, cobbled streets and pretty plazas, Garachico is eff ectively a living museum. Back on the south coast, make for


the delightful town of Las Galletas, where narrow streets wind their way down to the seafront and a traditional promenade. After you’ve given your legs a stretch, head for the town’s pretty harbour where boats bob on the tide offl oading their daily catch. The beach at Las Galletas is


a mixture of pebbles and sand while rows of hammocks make it a great place to enjoy the Canarian sunshine. The Atlantic swells off the coast here have made it a popular haunt with local surfers who regularly meet to put on displays of their wave-coasting skills. Las Galletas is also renowned for its


great beachfront restaurants serving traditional Canarian cuisine and excellent seafood.


Mighty mountain Tenerife’s landscape is dominated by Mount Teide, which is Europe’s largest volcano at 12,200 feet. It lies at the heart of the 46,700


acres Teide National Park, a vast volcanic landscape sculpted by centuries of eruptions. The lunar landscape makes Teide National Park a fascinating example


Mount Teide


Garachico


of nature’s staggering drama. Drive through traditional villages and ancient countryside to the park and you’ll be met by a constantly changing landscape. From pine forests to lava-covered ranges, volcanic rock formations to desert- like plains, Teide comes alive in an eye-catching array of colour. The national park has many paths


for leisurely walks while the more adventurous can climb to Teide’s summit, though you must seek permission first. For a gentler pace take the cable car to ‘La Rambleta’ from where, at 11,600 feet above sea level, on a clear day you can see Gran Canaria.


Garachico Head north of Teide to Icod de los


Viños and you’ll discover another volcanic treasure. The Cueva del Viento is a network of lava tubes carved by volcanic eruptions. The lava flows from Pico Viejo — one of the highest volcanoes making up Mount Teide — have left a network of caves, rock formations and sculpted surfaces. The accessible areas of the cave network, which stretch more than 56,000 feet beneath the island, can be viewed on organised tours. They are the fourth largest caves in the world and offer a glimpse into 27,000 years of geology and nature’s incredible might.


www.rci.com HOLIDAY 23


Mount Teide


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