Today’s post is written by Katherine Louw as her stories about the Canary Islands have put this destination on my ‘must-go’ list. I admit that previous to my talks with Katherine about her travels, I thought the Canary Islands were in the Pacific Ocean. I just didn’t know. For those of you still guessing, think Europe. To entice you to plan a vacation here, Katherine has collected deals ranging from 10-20% off at fabulous hotels and area attractions just for StyleBlueprint readers – see the end of the post for details.
In the year of 1492, before Columbus sailed the ocean blue… he made a stop in the Canary Islands, Spain to stock up on fresh food and water – and as legend has it, for a “rendezvous” with the wife of a Canary Island noble.
My family and I went at the new year to visit my husband’s family, who immigrated to the island of Tenerife in 1972 from Denmark. His grandparents wanted to retire to the most southern point in Europe, which is Las Islas Canarias, Espana – located 70 miles off of the west coast of Morocco.
This archipelago of seven islands, nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, is full of history, charm and some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine. I will write about the largest of the islands, Tenerife, because this is the island that I have explored and grown to love. My first trip there was in September 2001. I had been out of college for just over a year and was not ready to fully commit myself to “the real world.” A friend and I decided to spend a semester in Spain at the language school, don Quijote, which has seven locations scattered around the country. We would spend six weeks in three locations. I agreed to go to the “touristy” island of Tenerife for the first leg of our journey only because she agreed to the more historic, Spanish cities of Granada and Salamanca for our final two stops. As fate would have it, I met my future husband during our first week in Tenerife. That is another story, but I’ve gotten to know Tenerife pretty well since then.
Tenerife is a tourist destination, but I found that it is so much more. There are structures that have been standing for hundreds of years, quaint European streets full of cafes and almost everywhere you go there is a view of the Atlantic to one side and El Teide to the other. El Teide is the volcano that makes Tenerife and is the tallest peak in Spain, standing at 12,200 feet.
Whether you are looking for a romantic, European get-a-way or an adventure vacation for your family, Tenerife can provide. Recently named the best luxury holiday destination in Europe, Tenerife offers five star resorts, black sand beaches, hiking, mountain biking, shopping, wine tasting and learning Spanish, on an island that is 40km x 70km.
Air Europa is currently offering a direct flight on an Airbus 330 roundtrip from Miami-Tenerife through October. You can search for this flight through Air Europa (flight code 095 and 096). This six and a half hour flight is as easy as it gets if you are going to Europe.
The town of Puerto de la Cruz is a great place to make “home base” and is just about 20 minutes from the airport.
Puerto de la Cruz, (“Puerto” for short), is a beautiful, pedestrian, coastal town. It is full of tourists, mostly German and British, and mostly retired, but don’t let this deter you. Here, you will find all restaurants offer menus in English and everyone working in the service industry speaks English. This will prove helpful to set you on your way for daily excursions because once outside of Puerto, you will find fewer English speakers.
Things you must do on any trip to Tenerife:
Culinary (this is my favorite part of Tenerife)
- San Diego: Don’t miss the French bread with garlic ali-oli and guacamole dips. For our table of 11, with apps, entrees, wine, and a few desserts the total bill was 158 euros.
- Meson El Monasterio: The setting of this restaurant is unmatched, and the food is always awesome. Lots of pictures on the website.
- Wine: Tafuriaste winery in Los Realejos – They also have a great family restaurant, El Engaso on the other side of the vineyard from the winery with very typical Canarian food.
- Santa Cruz, the capital city of Tenerife, is the best place to shop. Shopping here is not high end, but is very European and fun! Think Ikea, H&M, and lots of other fun European Brands like Desigual, Zara, Mango, Corte Ingles, Pedro del Hierro, and Cortefiel. There is also a world famous opera house right on the water.
- My favorite quaint Tenerife town. Here you must go to any café and order a Zaparocco. This is a shot of expresso with sweetened condensed milk, Liquer 43, small bit of lemon rind, and a dash if cinnamon on top. Yum!
- I admit, I have not actually done this, but it is supposed to be an incredible hike.
Trip to Teide
- Where else can you see an active volcano?
Family funLoro Parque
- (in Puerto de la Cruz) You will see signs all over town and you must go to see the killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, penguins, gorillas, and of course, parrots (loros)!
- Costa Martiánez (in Puerto de la Cruz) An enormous salt water pool, built on the ocean. The ocean waves crash up against the sides of the pool and provide a great mist on a hot day.
- For other useful information please visit
- Buen viaje!
For StyleBlueprint readers:
- Webtenerife, the tourist board on the island, has helped us obtain several offers, exclusive to StyleBlueprint readers.
- – A luxury 5-star resort in Puerto de la Cruz. Styleblueprint subscribers will receive a 10% discount when booking. Use Promotion code: Styleblueprint. Offer good for reservations made through October 23, 2010 and stays through December 23, 2010.
- – An upscale, contemporary hotel in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. Styleblueprint subscribers will receive a 20% discount when booking. Use Promotion code: www.StyleBluePrint.com This would be a perfect place to stay if you prefer an urban experience while visiting Tenerife. Santa Cruz is a popular port for cruise ships. Hotel Contemporaneo would be a wonderful place to stay if you plan to participate in a cruise that leaves from Santa Cruz.
- If sailing the open seas is your pleasure,
- is offering a 20% discount to StyleBlueprint readers. Mention StyleBlueprint when making reservations to take advantage of this offer.