Top 10 Tenerife Villages
There are plenty of cute and cuddly places off the beaten path in Tenerife, none more so than our very own Top 10 of Tenerife's prettiest villages. So veer away from the beach and take a look at the real Tenerife, where time stands still, palm trees sway and whitewashed cottages remain... well, white.
There's a reason why Masca is second only to Teide National Park in terms of its popularity with visitor – the WOW factor is off the scale. If the sight of a tiny settlement perched on a rock needle, surrounded by Clash of the Titans–sized mountains doesn't move you, then cobbled tracks winding down beneath bougainvillea cascades to a palm filled valley floor should. If you're still not impressed, check your pulse.
Garachico is much more than just a pretty face although, as pretty faces go, it's got one of Tenerife's finest. Nicknamed by one resident writer the 'Unlucky Alf of Tenerife', nature has tried her hardest over the centuries to destroy this little port by raining down fire, pestilence, plague and finally volcanic eruption over her. But Garachico has risen from the ashes every time and has earned her spot in the glamour limelight.
3. Arico Nuevo
Considering the proximity of this walled settlement to the busy beaches of the south coast's resorts, Arico Nuevo has managed to remain under the tourist radar. A cloistered 18th century settlement where all the houses are white with green doors and the roofs and walls have never heard the terms 'plumb' and 'spirit level', they don't come any more quirky than this one.
Cradled in the fertile Valle de Guerra where the tropical plants that adorn hotel lobbies all over the island are grown, with better looks than your average chocolate box and more charisma than Robbie Williams, Tegueste is the Tenerife must-see of pretty villages. A quaint village square, a brilliant farmer's market and a setting in stunning countryside, all add to the joy of a visit.
5. San Miguel de Abona
Drive ten minutes from the Golf del Sur coast, up into the hills and into the municipality capital. You'll have to get behind the main street to find San Miguel's best profile but the journey is well worth it. The Church of the Archangel Michael has a setting pretty enough to frame and the surrounding streets ooze character and charm.
Discover a very different Tenerife by visiting Spain's highest village. Being backed by mountains and surrounded by pine and fir trees gives Vilaflor it's alpine good looks, and the village responds by putting on vibrant displays of blossoming flowers in pots, window boxes and flower beds all over the place.
7. Los Silos
Look down on Tenerife's Isla Baja lowlands from a height and you'll see a small settlement of white houses with red tiled roofs dominated by a white spire, nestling within an emerald carpet of plantations. Wander into the heart of Los Silos and you'll find the spire belongs to the icing sugar-coated church and the houses surround a marzipan-sweet plaza. It's all good enough to eat.
From its baroque 18th century church with its distinctive bell tower and the row of pastel coloured houses in the street alongside, to its renovated Franciscan convent, Granadilla is half an hour and a half a century away from Los Cristianos. Don't miss the quirky little museum with its doll's house-sized doors and rooms, it'll blow your mind – literally, if you forget to duck.
It may now have one of the sexiest hotels in Europe stationed on its doorstep, but the heart of this fishing village is indifferent to its film star neighbour. A charismatic plaza surrounded by restaurants and cafés where you can get a mean arepa and an even meaner ice cream, fronts a tiny beach and oodles of sunbathing terraces.
10. Los Gigantes
When it comes to giving out the medals for breathtaking locations on Tenerife, Los Gigantes gets the gold. Set at the foot of the 'giants' from which it takes its name, a picturesque marina and a maze of streets lined with places to shop, stay, eat and drink attract visitors and holidaymakers in their droves, and its steep streets send them home with thigh and calf muscles twice as strong as when they arrived.