Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Walking on Tenerife – Instead of a Fly Drive Holiday, Try a Walk Drive One

When we wrote Real Tenerife Island Drives and Island Walks we wrote them independently of each other. The idea for a series of driving routes came about because we were constantly passing visitors to Tenerife who had hired a car, parked in lay-bys with a map spread over the dashboard, or worse – arguing furiously. Having travelled all over Tenerife on a regular basis for research purposes, we knew only too well that a map had limited value, and if driving through towns, was virtually useless.

Similarly with walking, we started writing walking routes because, as avid walkers, the ones we had tried to use were often more likely to get us lost than get us from A to B and many were simply quite a few years out of date.

However, we never really thought of them being used together until we noticed recently that more and more people were combining buying Island Drives with one or more of the Island Walks routes and we thought, ‘what a damned good idea…why didn’t we think of that?’

I suppose it’s an obvious way of getting the most out of the drive to the walking location. The Anaga Mountains are a perfect example of this. To get the best out of them really requires exploration on foot and by car (or bicycle if you opt for the green option…and are super fit).

The terrain is far too demanding to explore in great depth on foot over the course of a two week holiday. Yet there are places that can only be explored on foot like the fishing hamlet with no roads to it near Tenerife’s most easterly tip (we haven’t written a walking route for that one yet, but it’s in the pipeline) or the merchants’ trails linking tiny hamlets (which we do have routes for).

On the other hand, the road which runs along the Anaga’s spine isn’t ideal for walking along, but it does have spectacular views over both coasts and there are some excellent viewpoints worth stopping at for some breathtaking photos to impress the friends back home.

So to anyone out there who has bought Island Drives and Island Walks, you may just have pioneered a new concept in tourism, The Walk – Drive Holiday; the perfect way to get the most from car hire on Tenerife.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Anaga Mountains: Real Tenerife's Favourite Place for Walking on Tenerife - But What did The British Guild of Travel Writers Make of them?

The first time we explored the Anaga Mountains we were completely seduced by their astoundingly dramatic beauty.

As we walked along narrow trails through a lush valley, where we passed a few goats then a lone cottage where a smiling old woman in a straw hat tended her flower-filled garden, a thought occurred. If you dropped someone who has never been to Tenerife (or even plenty who have, but have never made it beyond the beach) into this remote wilderness without telling them where they were, you could let them have a hundred guesses and they’d never get it right.

The Anaga’s are by far our favourite place for walking on Tenerife, but because of their location they are still too far off the tourist trail for most visitors, even those who enjoy hoofing it around the countryside on foot.

We’ve been banging about how incredible the Anaga Mountains are for years. Even the walker’s paradise of neighbouring La Gomera can’t compete with what the Anaga Mountains have to offer in my opinion. And you’ve got the added bonus of having the wonderful cities of Santa Cruz and La Laguna within easy distance. These extreme contrasts found in the north east tip of Tenerife represent the best of the real Tenerife.

But we’re biased northerners, so it was with interest that we followed the British Guild of Travel Writer’s tweets on Twitter as they swapped the surreal luxury of the Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque and other 5 Star hotels in Costa Adeje, the newest part of Tenerife, for goat trails and laurisilva forests in the oldest part of Tenerife. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“Changed my mind about Tenerife. Stunning scenery & amazing downhill walk in Anaga Mtns & rainforest. Must go back.”

“Had a fab walk in Anaga's laurisilva forest y'day. Robins and wagtails galore.”

“Magnificent walk in Anaga rain forest.”

“Loved today's walk through the beautiful Anaga laurisilva in NE Tenerife.”

“Hike in Anaga was great yesterday, particularly views of sea and village towards the end. Bit steep for some though.”

“Very impressed with the hiking in Tenerife's remarkable north.”

So there you have it, we’re clearly not alone in our views. The Tenerife Tourist Board pulled a master stroke by taking the British Guild of Travel Writers to a place where life continues much as it has done for centuries.

If you want to show visitors an area of Tenerife which is guaranteed to confound preconceived ideas, you couldn’t choose better than the Anaga Mountains.