November is the best time of the year to go hiking on Tenerife! While in most parts of Europe it’s raining cats and dogs, Tenerife is full of sunshine. Although, there is much more to find there, besides the sun! In this post, I will tell you where to go for the best hiking on Tenerife. Do you dream about escaping to nature and recharging your batteries while spending time actively? As a worm up, I take you to the mountainous region of Anaga, full of rocky peaks and deep gorges!
What fascinates me the most about Tenerife is the diversity of nature and wildlife, in a relatively small area. The entire island is 50 miles long and 30 miles wide. Travelling along the island is like going from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Imagine that while driving 2 hours through Tenerife, you can go along the sunny beach by the ocean, through semi-arid landscapes, pine forests, volcanic landscapes (more information in the post about The Magical Mount Teide), and finish your journey in the ancient laurel forest, which is dated back to 40 million years!
During one day on Tenerife, you can experience summer, fall and winter! You can get above the clouds or literally take a walk in the clouds. As a matter of fact, I experienced that while hiking in the Anaga Mountains. Anaga mountain range is located in the northeastern part of the island. It is less touristy, perhaps due to the fact that the weather changes very quickly here.
In addition, the Anaga region is the oldest part of the island. It was formed by a volcanic eruption many millions of years ago. Therefore the area of jungle-like laurel forest is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is the best place in Tenerife to go hiking surrounded by nature.
My first destination is La Laguna, located in the northern part of the island, near the capital of Santa Cruz. Then I go to the car park in Mirador Cruz del Carmen, located about 7 miles from La Laguna in the north-east direction. Parking at Mirador Cruz del Carmen is free but has a limited number of spaces.
For many, it is a destination itself, because there is an observation deck with a beautiful panorama of the city and the volcano in the distance. For me, it is the beginning of a hike through ancient mountains on Tenerife. The Anaga Mountains are no more than 3 280 feet high. When driving up to a height of over 1968 feet, you can already be at the cloud level. If you are not surprised by the fog, you have a chance to enjoy beautiful views from the car. There is also an information centre for visitors to the Anaga Biosphere Reserve, near the car park. Here you can find information about the routes you want to go to. Most importantly, you can have a delicious coffee in the small shop next door.
Personally, I am a huge coffee lover, especially in the morning and necessarily with a beautiful view. While in Tenerife, you must try Barraquito, also known as “Cafe Leche y Leche”. In free translation, coffee with milk and milk. The name makes sense as coffee is made of two types of milk, plain and condensed milk. The glass must be straight, tall and transparent so that you can see the layers. Condensed milk on the bottom, then espresso and a sweet liqueur to finish. All this is covered with frothed milk sprinkled with cinnamon and grated lemon peel – heaven in your mouth!
Strengthened with sweet coffee, I go for a walk. I say walk because first I go to the Path of Senses – Sendero de Los Sentidos, which will take you no more than 30 minutes to walk through. This is the first encounter with a prehistoric laurel forest, that has survived since the Tertiary, the geological era that began 65 million years ago.
The Path of Senses runs among the well-preserved fragments of dense laurel forests, but it is only a substitute for what the Anaga Mountains hide. If like me, you want to see more, you need to follow one of the trails deep into the ancient laurel forest. The most beautiful hiking paths, are to be found in a protected mountain area called Monte de Aguirre. A special permit is needed to enter, which can be obtained from the Environment Office, the official name is Oficina de Medio Ambiente del Parque Rural de Anaga (check here).
As it turned out later, no one checked this permit, but it is always better to obtain a document than to have to turn back. Besides Monte de Aguirre, there are three more regions that require a special permit. They are Ijuana, El Pijaral and Los Roques de Anaga. However, Montes de Aguirre is home to the rarest, ancient laurel forest, which can be classified as a living fossil as it has survived for over 40 million years!
Hiking through this forest is a journey back in time. Transport to another dimension, twisted tree trunks and moss-covered branches. Lianas hanging from treetops perfectly match the mysterious mist rising above the forest. Fog is actually clouds that settle at the top of a mountain range. I dare say that Montes de Aguirre is one of the best places for hiking on Tenerife.
I am walking towards Pico del Ingles, which is the highest viewpoint in the Anaga Mountains (3 248 feet). It is worth mentioning that if you are starting from the sea level, the altitude is very noticeable because at times the ascents are quite steep. My friend Ricardo was not entirely satisfied with the difficulty of the route and mentioned several times that his legs were burning from pain.
For me, hiking in the mountains, through the terrain cut by deep gorges was a bit like an adventure straight out of the Jurassic Park movie. While the surrounding vegetation certainly remembers the times of the dinosaurs, fortunately for us, the passage was completely safe. The forest smelled wonderful and all around, there were clouds hovering in an invigorating haze, Away from people, surrounded by this magical land of moss and ferns, just as I like. The Anaga Mountains are the perfect place for hiking on Tenerife.
After 30 minutes, following the trail from Cruz del Carmen, I reached Pico del Ingles. It is the highest viewing point and you can also get here by car. There is parking, albeit small.
In November, there are no tourists here, however, clouds hang over the panoramic views of the northern and central parts of the island. The truth is that the clouds in the Anaga Mountains can be quite thick, while a few meters below it is full of sun.
I am walking on the summit surrounded by silence, only broken by the chirping of orange-bellied birds that fly very close, apparently used to the presence of people. I’m lucky, after a while the clouds part a bit and I get a beautiful view of the coast and the lush green Anaga mountains, beautifully lit by the sun.
Because I’m crazy about capturing beautiful scenes and moments, I take my phone out and start snapping. Success at last! The common finch with an orange belly was my model. She was sitting gracefully on a twig with the ocean coast stretching in the background.
From the viewpoint, I hike the trail towards the small village of Chamorga, from where you can only come back. When I get to Chamorga, I have already walked over 4 hours and covered about 12.5 miles. The second as much is the way back, so I decide to hitchhike. The people of Tenerife are extremely friendly, so without waiting long, I manage to catch a ride to the place where I started my hiking on Tenerife.