Working an unconventional week means that Tuesday is my Monday. That means I’m spending a dreary Tuesday afternoon daydreaming about places I’d rather be.Lately these daydreams have mostly been about my upcoming trip to Moreton Island or my perennial daydream about someday backpacking my way around South East Asia, but my brother’s recent travels around Europe have got me thinking about island paradises in that neck of the woods instead.
Ibiza isn’t really my speed, so I instead looked at the Canary Islands off of the African coast. More specifically – Tenerife.
Rather than give you a history lesson about the Canary Islands and their role in the Spanish empire, I’m just going to launch in with five things in Tenerife I’d rather be doing than taking phone calls at work.
Explore Teide National Park
Tenerife is perhaps most recognizable for Mount Teide – the world’s third largest volcano and the largest in all of Europe. More gung ho adventurers might wish to hike up the massive dormant volcano (although this post reminds us that dormant doesn’t mean harmless), but the rest of us can simply take a cable car to the summit in order to take in the breathtaking view of the island.
It is possible to have the best of both worlds though. While the hike from foot to summit takes upwards of six hours, less ambitious travelers can ride the cable car partway up the mountain and continue on foot. With approval from park authorities, you can even go to the very lip of the volcano.
The whole park is a stunning example of a volcanic region and offers photographers and geology nuts a great chance to see the unique terrain that exists around a volcano.
You can read more about Teide National Park here.
Ever since I first got my Scuba license in Cairns last year, I’ve been addicted to the deep blue sea. While I did get a chance to dive on Mantaray Island while I was in Fiji, it’s been a long time between drinks.
Tenerife boasts a truly stunning variety of dive sites. Want to dive a wreck? There’s countless wrecks along the coastline of what was once a stopping off point en route to the New World. Want to swim with manta rays? You can! Fancy exploring a cave or checking out some beautiful coral? You can do that too.
Tenerife offers up a whole lot of options when it comes to scuba diving and there’s no shortage of companies offering to take you out. Couple this with year round warm waters, and Tenerife is a diver’s dream.
Relax on the Beach
What kind of daydream would it be without warm sandy beaches, a cocktail, and gorgeous girls frolicking in bikinis? And what kind of island paradise would Tenerife be without a whole selection of beautiful beaches to relax on?
Whether you’re into wind-surfing, surfing, sunbathing, or swimming – there’s a beach on Tenerife for you. While a lot of these beaches are man made and belong to the many resorts that clutter the coastline, there’s still a few better kept secrets for those wanting to avoid a crowd and find their own slice of paradise.
Travel Guru compiled this great list of ten beaches on Tenerife worth checking out, and I daresay I’d try and hit as many of them as I could.
Visit the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción
Relaxation is more than just stretching out in the sun and sleeping away your hangover from the previous night. There’s a certain serenity to be found in places of worship regardless of your spiritual background, I feel.
Built in 1498, this ancient church was built shortly after the islands were conquered and has been built on since. While I was raised Catholic, I think almost anybody with an appreciation of history or architecture would find the church to be a moving experience.
Ken Follett’s outstanding Pillars of Earth was inspired by the writer’s fascination with the role a church played in the community and the incredible artistry that went into their construction – and the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción is a great example of the beauty that can be found in these buildings.
Chase Whales and Dolphins
I was lucky enough to have a chance to see the clowns of the sea in action last year on a visit to Nelson Bay, but I’ve yet to have the thrill of seeing the largest mammals in the world in the wild.
The southwest coast of Tenerife boasts permanent pods of dolphins but there’s a stunning 21 varities of whale and dolphin that can be spotted off the coast. From the killer whales to sperm whales and blue whales to the adorable bottlenose dolphin.
Tenerife boasts a pretty spectacular rate of success when it comes to spotting whales and dolphins – with 95% of tours seeing these fascinating animals out in the waves. You won’t find odds like that anywhere else in the world outside of a Sea World.
Much like scuba, there’s no shortage of companies offering to take you out either. Shop around and get the best deal possible.
Back to Reality
The odds of me taking a trip to Tenerife any time soon seem pretty slim, but a guy can dream, right? And who knows? Someday I might just be teaching in Europe and I can take a trip to Tenerife.
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