Tenerife, Canary Islands

It’s like Hawaii with Spanish food.

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(Maui? Nope, Guia de Isora.)

One of the things I love about volcanic islands is that I can enjoy a warm beach and a mountain hike on the same trip, sometimes even in the same day! Teide, Tenerife’s peak, doesn’t disappoint here – it’s the highest point in Spain and one of the largest stratovolcano in the world. On the day that the picture above was shot, it was a balmy 70F at sea level but the peak at 12,000 feet was still ringed with snow.

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(Volcanic moonscape inside the Teide caldera)

We stayed at the Palacio de Isora on the northeast coast of the island – while it was a good 90 minute taxi ride from either airport, this section of the coastline is tucked between the sheer cliffs of Los Gigantes and the more touristy region at Playa de la Americas and offered a relaxed, nature-focused backdrop for our stay. Top marks for this property; it was our wedding anniversary and the staff left us a nice cava and plate of jamon on one of the nights.

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(Nothing says love like ham. I love Spain.)

Tenerife is large. To drive the length of the island from east to west would take 3-4 hours, depending on traffic. There’s a lot to do here, and we only had a few days, so we chose to go up to the top of Teide and see the rugged coastline at Masca. We hired a taxi for the day to drive us in a circular route up from our hotel, around the crater rim of Teide, and down through Masca and Los Gigantes.

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(the road to Masca. Not pictured: vicious traffic on super tight roads!)

Masca is a tiny village super-glued to the edges of sheer cliffs. There’s a French guy who’s been there for a few decades with his partner running the restaurant La Pimentera, basically a kitchen, an outdoor terrace with a dozen tables, and a bunch of friendly cats. The cooking is high quality French and Italian classics with local ingredients – when you realize the remoteness of the restaurant (and Masca in general) you have to wonder how this guy keeps his supply chain going. And what a view.

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(The terrace view at La Pimentera)

I mentioned Playa las Americas earlier? You can skip that unless you’re looking for Las Vegas. We headed down there to pick up a sweater or two to wear at the top of Teide, and wandered around for a bit but generally found nothing but pubs and cheap pizzas, unfortunately.

So – it was magical. Tenerife is one of those destinations that make you think about radically simplifying your life and moving to a traditional village house perched on a cliff, growing avocados and heading down to the coast once a week for the fresh bounty of the sea. If we disappear suddenly someday, you can look for us there.

 

 

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