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Expecting more of an African island vibe considering it’s close proximity to the continent, I was so surprised that Tenerife was absolutely Spanish. There was no doubt – I could have been in the center of Seville instead of 600 miles from the mainland (or as they say, the ‘peninsula’).

view from above tenerife spain eileen cotter wright

Tenerife Highlights: Outdoors

How can you stay inside at all while on a sunny island? The beaches are perfect, as is the pool scenes at many of the upscale hotels. But I also really loved driving down the coastline and seeing a few Tenerife highlights off the beaten path. Tiede National Park shows off some of the islands incredible natural wonders, include the massive Mt. Tiede volcano.

The landscape is worth seeing in itself; changing from lava rocks to forests and formations close to the American West.

volcano national park tenerife

A short drive from the park is Garanchico in the northwest. his village is full of natural rock pools you can take a dip in – but be warned, the water is often REALLY cold! But with temperatures hitting almost 90 F degrees (32 C), it was well worth braving the plunge. The environment around the crashing waves is super chill as well, with lots of people walking along the cement pathways or simply having a moment to take it all in.

yoga garanchico

Where to Stay in Tenerife

In the south is where most tourists find themselves while on holiday. It’s well worth exploring the north and the capital city of Santa Cruz. But if you are on the hunt for a luxurious, breezy time by the beach, hang south and be amazed.

lobby hotel iberostar anthelia

To conclude my time on the island, we splashed out at the beautiful Iberostar Anthelia on Costa Adeje. We had mostly overcast weather during our stay, but that didn’t make a difference. The outdoor space, lounge pool areas and fine dining experiences are wonderful to experience in any weather.

pina colada at hotel iberostar anthelia

The spacious rooms are wonderfully bright and airy, with balconies overlooking the bustling waterfront below. I had the best sleep of the trip at Anthelia, with cool AC and a large king-sized bed.

balcony view hotel iberostar anthelia

After a frozen drink or two at the pool, I had the pleasure of dining with Poseidón, specializing in seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Try the salted potatoes and mojo sauce – a classic in the Canary Islands.

canary island potatoes hotel iberostar anthelia

The satisfying, high-end culinary options didn’t end at night, as the morning breakfast was one of the beat I’ve experienced at an all-inclusive.

fruit at brunch hotel iberostar anthelia

Tenerfie Highlights: Food and Nightlife

Of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is not known for it’s wild nightlife. But that’s not to say there isn’t a few fun places to have a drink and enjoy sitting out in the nighttime heat. Hookah, or shisha, is very popular outdoors, as is dancing at small nightclubs. I was impressed by the massive cocktails at La Flaca, and we even had fun at some of the ‘ex-pat’ bars that offered lots of older British people on holiday singing karaoke.

patio area hotel iberostar anthelia

As for food, Azar on the water offered a wonderful pre-going-out dinner with fantastic jamon iberico and fresh melon – ideal for the warm temperatures. During the week, I couldn’t help but visit 100 Montaditos, which brings me back to studying abroad and bring on a budget, back in the day! This is a well-known Spanish chain that has a zillion different kinds of mini ‘bocadillos’, or sandwiches, plus sangria on tap. It’s the best.

100 montaditos tenerife eileen cotter wright

In July, we’ll be returning to the ‘peninsula’ this time for a small road trip through Andalucia. I’ll definitely be at 100 Montaditos again and look forward to more swaying palm trees and sunshine!

Have you been to any Spanish islands? Which is your favorite? I also loved Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea – much more Catalan than the Canary Islands!


Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA local and a former London, UK expat. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for more than 16 years. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Instagram @CrookedFlight.

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