When I told my family that I am not coming for Christmas, they were not particularly happy about it. Instead of going to Poland, I decided to travel three thousand kilometers to the sunny Canary Islands.
Canary Islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro
Tenerife – the gem of the Canarias
Tenerife is the largest of the eight Canary Islands. The island is known as the Island of Eternal Spring, as it has all-year long temperatures between 18-20 °C. Also, the island of Tenerife experiences various microclimates, which cause a diverse floraand fauna. Consequently, in the south you will have a desert view, while in the north you will land in Macizo de Anaga – a remote and wild subtropical forest. Besides, the highestpeak in Spain is located on Tenerife. So, if you visit the island in winter, you will experience some snow during the climb to the top.
La Montaña Roja ("The Red Mountain"), a volcanic cone located near to El Médano that is a protected natural reserve.
Roam the island by bike
An attractive way to see as many places as possible on an island is to rent a car. It gives you the freedom and you are not obliged to have the bus timetables in mind. However, that is just a way of getting from A to B. On an island there are mostly nomust-see As and Bs. You choose the points randomly and what matters is the journey between them - the view on the ocean, the nature (or a desert) around you and the windy climat. To fully enjoy it and to get a true feeling of a being an explorer ofthe island, a bike would be a much better option.
From El Médano to Playa de las Américas
The plane landed on the airport in the southern part of Tenerife nearby the town El Médano, where I was going to spend the next five days.
As I was finally in the town, I rented a bike and rode about 25 kilometers west along the coast right to Playa de las Américas. On my way I met a very nice German man who was in his sixties. Retired, got his pension and had traveled to these Europeanislands like I did. We chatted for 5 minutes and I rode further.
Ten minutes later – ziuuuum…. This old guy passes by with a smile on his face. I tried to catch up, but I failed miserably. I was just won over by an old man on a pension.
Anyway, I managed to get safely to the western part of the island, took a quick refreshing bath in Playa de las Américas and got on my way back.
Playa de las Américas, biking along the coast.
Few kilometers before getting to El Médano, there was a guy in pyjamas standing by the road and trying to hitchhike. I stopped by and offered him a ride, but as you know, that’s not so easy when you are on a bike. Nevertheless, we chatted a while. Hewas from Croatia, flew to Canary Islands and had been traveling ever since. He had visited the eight islands of the archipelago one by one.
Though I couldn’t help him out, he was nice enough to tell me that there was a series of caves on the coast - five minutes on foot from there - and that it seemed like somebody lived in there!
Well, if you know me, you may guess what I did. As the way was sandy and my bike could not handle it, I ran towards the coast. I needed to pass through two rocks which were like a gate leading to the front yard of the area with caves.
Series of caves near to the town El Médano, Tenerife.
And there they were! A series of four or five caves. There was a curtain and a prototype of door behind the curtain in the last one. While I was entering the cave, I moved aside the curtain and because of some security mechanisms a stone felt down andmaked a noise, when I opened the door. Probably, it was a warning sign for the inhabitants at night in case of an entry of a stranger.
Location of the caves - south-west from El Médano
Inside the cave near to the town El Médano, Tenerife.
Nobody was inside – there was a bed, a little wardrobe with few dresses and one pair of female shoes. Also, a table located on a carpet. And that’s it. No need for a shower or a toilet as there is the Atlantic ten meters further.
By the way, I marked on the map the location of the caves, so you may find it too. It is a walking distance from the windy town of El Médano, about twenty minutes march, when you are by the Montaña Roja.
No need to tell it – that would be one hell of a budget travel, if you decided for such an accommodation.
Playa de La Tejita by Montaña Roja near to the town El Médano, Tenerife.
Quaint Object – the Destroyed Radio Telescope
At the hostel, I met a guy from Sweden who also rented a bike for his stay in El Médano. We decided to ride to a nearby crater to take full advantage of our mountain bikes. There was such a post-apocalyptic atmosphere going on, far from the town withfew old and deserted buildings and greyish landscape. Likewise, a destroyed radio telescope only magnified the effect.
Apart from this, we were chased by a dog, but we were lucky that it happened at some level above the sea, so we just started to ride downhill and got rid of the dog.
Radio telescope near to the town El Médano, Tenerife. La Montaña Roja ("The Red Mountain") in the background.
Las Vegas of Tenerife – the desolate one
Lastly, we took a look on a map and saw a city called Las Vegas about 20 km from El Médano, but uphill! The way up was pretty harsh. When we eventually got to the village, we had got a stunning view on the south part of Tenerife. Definitely my climates- no tourists, rural area and a refreshing breeze coming from the ocean. We needed more than three hours to get there, but only twenty minutes to ride downhill.
Three kilometers from the village Las Vegas, Tenerife.
Tips for travelling
- Eating and drinking out is in general cheaper than in Germany. It gets very affordable as long as you avoid touristy locations. My record was to get the main dish with soup, dessert and a whole bottle of wine for only 8€.
- Grocery and tobacco articles are very cheap - Tenerife has lower taxes than Spain.
- The public transport is really bad. If you want to get as much benefit of your exploration of Tenerife as possible, rent a car or bike.
- Pedal pushers should ride with care and in single file. As beautiful and inviting as the roads are for riding a bike, they are also narrow, windy and hilly, and many are without shoulders.
- Renting a car on Canary Island is pretty cheap (about 10€ a day). If you book a car with a full tank, they will sometimes charge a few euros more to the cost of the oil as a fee for filling the tank (20€ in my case). I also recommend taking pictures ofthe car before you drive away. Not that the car renting companies are scam, but sometimes their employees do not examine the cars well enough after the previous users, so you might have to take the responsiblitiy for damages, which had been causedby other drivers.
- Renting a bike (12€ in my case) might be more expensive than renting a car . If you want to ride more than a week, it might be smart to take your own bike with you.