Thursday, November 8, 2012

Touring Tenerife: Land + Water

Mention holidays to Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, and most people conjure images of rowdy bars, lively nightclubs and black sandy beaches covered in sparsely-clad bodies. Thanks to its temperate year-round climate and coastal appeal, it's true that you can find plenty of great beach hunters here, but there’s more to this sun-baked island than meets the eye. In fact, nearly 50 percent of the island is protected as national, natural or rural park lands, meaning there's a ton of green space surrounded by all that blue.

Well known for their breezy coastline, the Canary Islands are perfect for the more adventurous types - watersports, particularly wind surfing, parascending, sailing and surfing - top the list of daytime activities. Not to mention, Tenerife is a diver’s haven. Thanks to its steady climate, there is a magnificent range of marine life just beneath the surface. The scuba scene is fast becoming the next big thing, and its combination of underwater wrecks, caves and corals makes for prime dive sites.(Find eco options here.)

Back on dry land, Tenerife’s Teide mountain range lures droves of land lovers. Drive through lush forests and make your way to the chilly peak of Mt Teide - a dormant volcano and the highest summit in Spain. It’s a magnificent, towering spectacle and provides fantastic views across the volcanic range, the island, and further out to sea.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, getting to Tenerife isn't as difficult as you might think. Vacation packages, like Thomas Cook holidays make for trouble-free travel planning and typically cover return flights, nightly accommodation, transfers to your hotel and the support of a locally based representative. Or you can choose to go your own way and book your hotel and flights separately. (Green Travel Guides provides a good overview of some of the best eco options.)

However you choose to get here and whatever you wish to do on arrival, Tenerife is a fascinating place that goes far beyond the standard sun, sea and sand. 

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