Look at the pictures of Tenerife on any travel agent's website or in the pages of a glossy holiday brochure. Now throw them away. Welcome to the Anaga Mountains.
While the coasts of Playa de Las Américas
and Costa Adeje
have been creating golden beaches, erecting luxury hotels
and laying palm lined promenades, the residents of the Anaga Mountains have been preparing their pucheros (stews) and combing the mountains with their hunting dogs for rabbits to go into their conejo con salmoreja (rabbit stew) the same way they've been doing since long before the rest of the world knew the Canary Islands existed.
Covering the north eastern tip of Tenerife from north of La Laguna to Roques de Anaga (the most northerly point on the island), this is a Tenerife that's as far from Los Cristianos
in character as it is in geography.
As rugged as it is beautiful, the Anaga Mountains favour plunging ravines, rocky pinnacles and mist-filled forests older than the Ice Age to manicured gardens, regimented sun beds and skies where you can play 'first person to spot a cloud' if you get bored lying on your back. Venture into this ancient mountain range and you'll find a fleece more useful than your factor fifteen and a rucksack more relevant than your Ray-Bans. A hiker's heaven and a view-finder's Nirvana, the Anaga Mountains will appeal to every photographer and Indiana Jones wannabe looking for the untamed version of our paradise island.
When it comes to somewhere to lay your head in the Anaga Mountains you could follow the example of the locals who set up home in caves five hundred years ago and haven't got round to moving house yet. Or you could opt for a rural self catering cottage in nearby San Andrés where, incidentally you'll also find some of the finest fish and seafood restaurants on the island. Those who prefer the convenience and sophistication of hotel life should look to La Laguna for the nearest hostelry or go for the total contrast option of a hotel in the capital city of Santa Cruz
, just a stone's throw and five decades away.
Family outings in the Anaga Mountains either involve sturdy footwear and a compass, or goggles and a beach towel. Riddled with ancient paths and winding goat trails, the mountains are an endless source of hiking trails that take you into Tenerife's most breathtaking landscapes, testing lungs, thighs and occasionally heads for height in the process. At the foot of the eastern ridge lies the tropical sand paradise of Playa Las Teresitas
where the city dwellers escape to fish and snorkel in the placid waters of the bay, jog along the shoreline or lie beneath the shade of the palm trees on the soft, white sand.
For a true 'away from it all' holiday, there are few places that fit the bill better than the Anaga Mountains. In the remote bay of Roque de Bermejo there's a small community of boat builders only accessible from the sea or by a three hour trek up one mountain and down another. And if you want to strip away all but the bare essentials of this rural hinterland, try the beach of Las Gaviotas
for size – black sand, mountainous backdrop, a rocky shoreline and naked sunbathers. You might just need that factor fifteen for those important places here.
If you would like to explore any part of the island on foot with an informative guide who will look after you and teach you all there is to know about this fabulous island and its landscape, we have a handful of exciting excursions