The Canary Islands are the ever popular holiday destination for countless Irish holiday-makers being only 4 ½ hours due south from Ireland by air. This blog post is about our visit in October 2007.
About the Canaries
Although they are Spanish and part of the European Union, they lie just off the African continent 300 km west of the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean. There are seven main Canary Islands and the largest, most famous island is Tenerife is where we visited for a week.
The list of Canary Islands is as follows from largest to smallest:
Above: Us enjoying the gardens at Bahia Principe Costa Adeje - Oct2007
Each year the Canary Islands host many visitors — especially from other European countries such as Ireland that don’t see quite as much sunshine. Pre-pandemic in 2019, Tenerife welcomed over six million visitors. Fuerteventura, though, only welcomed two million. And smaller islands like El Hierro, La Palma or La Gomera may only see a few hundred thousand visitors each year — and this isn’t taking into consideration the drop in visitors in 2020 the islands experienced because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most visitors to Tenerife congregate on the island’s southern beaches, where resorts and clubs cater to mainly Irish, British and German holidaymakers. If, however, you are prepared to get out and explore, you will discover a diverse island with remote mountain villages and charming fishing ports. Outdoor lovers will be in their element with sub-tropical forests and an often snow-capped volcano to explore. So in essence, there’s a Canary Island to suit every type of holiday and every type of holidaymaker….and who can complain about that great weather?!
Above: Us at Bahia Principe Costa Adeje - Oct2007
One of the biggest calls of the Canary Islands is indeed the weather. You can expect year-round sunshine and warm temperatures. There are few places in Europe you can suntan on the beach in January, which is part of the Canary Islands’ big draw for us frozen and half-drowned Northern Europeans. That said though, winter evenings can get chilly. And, the islands are often windy, too. Pack layers and a jacket or jumper for chilly evenings. If you plan to hike, especially the Teide volcano, layers are also a must, as it gets colder the higher you go — you may even see snow towards the top of Teide!!
Hiring a Car
Your first point of business, upon arriving at Tenerife South, is to get to your accommodation. We had booked with Falcon Holidays and the week was intended primarily as a week of sunshine and cocktails. How bad?? We decided that we would hire a car for one day only to allow us tour the island but decided we would do that in the middle of the holiday. This we did in Los Cristianos on the Tuesday picking up a little red Mini Uno from Cicar. With a road perimeter of 359 km, you can easily drive around the whole island in around 3 – 4 hours.
So we arrived into Tenerife South airport on a Friday night and took the supplied transfer bus to our hotel in Costa Adeje, the Bahia Principe Costa Adeje……which was just GORGEOUS!! It’s a 4-star All-Inclusive Resort with 3 stunning pools (including an infinity pool), 4 restaurants and 3 bars. We had a smooth transfer from the airport (30 mins approx.)
We were met by very friendly reception staff, who were very helpful and informative. Our bags were taken to our room by the Bell Boy and we were invited to go straight to the buffet restaurant for dinner as it was a Friday night and busy. The food was good for the duration of our stay with the Asian and Italian restaurants excellent. The breakfast omelette station is a must!
Our room was spacious and very clean and had a beautiful view of the sea. Many nights we brought our after-dinner drinks back to the balcony to watch the sunsets over the Atlantic.
Other than the day we toured the island in the hire car, we spent our days down by the infinity pool which was simply beautiful! Lunch at the pool bar was great every day, with burgers and fries fresh to order and a great range of salads. The staff were polite, friendly and helpful. No sun-beds to be reserved before 7.45-8am when the pool attendants have cleaned is a good idea and it was good to see the staff removing towels from beds reserved but left for a long time un-used.
The hotel is slightly remote, we did walk to a Bodega in the next cove over following the shoreline for lunch one day. The sea views along the way were stunning:
We also visited the legendary Harry’s Bar:
But otherwise there wasn't much to walk to outside of the hotel. This was not an issue for our week of relaxation, although might have been if we were there longer. A taxi to Costa Adeje cost around 10 Euros for some shopping, and a wander through the neon of the bars and restaurants!
We would definitely return to this hotel.
Costa Adeje, itself is the quintessential of tourist towns in Tenerife. Here, you can pull up a chair, grab a drink fruity enough you can no longer taste the booze, and listen to the crash of the waves as you nap on a chair under a nice umbrella.
Tenerife is very pretty outside of the tourist centres. A large portion of the island is also protected national parks, meaning that it’s perfect to go hiking in.
I’d definitely recommend Mt. Teide, as at 3,718m (12,198 ft.), it’s the tallest mountain in Spain and the world’s 3rd tallest volcano. Pico del Teide has to be Tenerife’s number one attraction. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot! An active volcano that last erupted in 1909, it is possible to hike to the summit, most people ride the cable car where at the top, you are rewarded with views of the islands of La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro. And that is exactly what we did.
It was amazing at the top and we were actually above the clouds!:
We also popped into Los Cristianos. This peaceful coastal town has beautiful beaches, a range of restaurants, and is right next to several fun-packed adventure and animal parks.
Los Cristianos is a hub for watersports and we could see locals had come from all over the island to windsurf, jet-ski, and paddleboard. You can rent equipment down by the beach or book some lessons from the experts at the watersports centres. Los Cristianos has two of them right by the harbour. For a more relaxing seafaring adventure, go on a two-hour kayak tour from the port. Paddle past the beach coves and secluded bays for spectacular views of the coast. And there's a good chance you'll see some dolphins and turtles.
Los Cristianos is a former fishing village that retains many of its old-world traditions. We took a walk around the harbour to see the fishing boats bobbing up and down on the water. The small neighbourhoods on the edge of town are untouched by the recent development projects. These are great spots for relaxing strolls, and a must-see for anyone interested in traditional architecture and design.
All too soon the week in Tenerife was over and we were heading back to the airport for our homeward bound flight FCA8511 to Dublin. I would definitely return to Tenerife!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 77
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been to Tenerife? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!