The Teno Massif

This route takes us through some of Tenerife`s most intricate and rugged landscapes. The Teno Massif plummets down to the ocean in series of sheer rock faces and vertiginous cliffs know as Los Gigantes – The Giants. The narrow, twisting roads take us through little-known country towns such as Masca.

Before exploring the country park, visitors should take the time to visit two villages that are off the tourist track and where life takes on quiet pace that characterises the traditional towns and villages of Tenerife: Los Silos and Buenavista del Norte.

Los Silos is a small village close to the sea huddled around the landscaped Plaza de la Luz. The principal places of interest face this square, on the other side of road, namely the Convent of San Sebastian, the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Luz and the Town Hall. The first of these buildings is particularly worth a visit, dating back to the 17th century, it boasts a superb chapel with a coffered ceiling. Opposite the monastery is a picturesque whitewashed church with a distinctive pyramid-shaped tower. This municipality is the site of several wineries and a pleasant beach, known as Agua Dulce.

Just a short distance inland, past Casado Point and its lighthouse, we come to the delightful town of Buenavista del Norte, within easy reach of Teno and its spectacular cliffs. At the centre of the town we find its most important building: the church of Nuestra Senora de los Remedios, built in 1513 and restored following a fire that luckily did not completely destroy the spectacular polychrome coffered ceilings.

The town square is a charming spot, complete with a picture postcard bandstand.

From Buenavista del Norte, a detour takes us along the TF-445 coastal road with sheer drops on one side and offering some of most spectacular and rugged scenery on the island. Particularly breath taking are the views from El Fraile Point, especially when there is a storm at sea, when trying to reach Teno Point and its two lighthouses can be hazardous. Battered by the wind, the coastline becomes gentler at this point, with stretches of emerald green waters that are suitable for bathing. From here the views of volcanic Teno massif are nothing short of spectacular. The sheer face are also scattered with the occasional burial sites of Guanche shepherds. Our route now takes us back to Buenavista del Norte and up along the twisting TF-436 road through the Teno Massif, which covers 90 per cent of the municipality of Buenavista del Norte and is dotted with several hamlets and villages such as El Palmar, with its characteristic broken volcanic cone. The most striking point on this route is the village of Masca, with several fine examples of traditional Canary Islands architecture that blend in perfectly with the rugged green landscape. A sheer ravine leads to a small cove that can be accessed on foot or by the boat service that operates from Puerto de Santiago. Masca is popular rural tourism destination. It is also has several small restaurants and a small ethnography museum housed in traditional style building next to one of the spectacular viewpoints. It belongs to the network of museums of the Macaronesia region, which includes the archipelagos of Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde.

From here we can see the vast silhouette of the Teide, and nestling underneath, the small town of Santiago del Valle estate, the remote dominions controlled by the Hoyo-Solorzano family until the 19th century when their feudal rights were abolished by the Courts of Cadiz. Today this estate houses a charming country hotel and an interpretation centre. Nearby stands the Church of San Fernando Rey, which its characteristic white domes, and opposite, in the pleasant park, a statue of a Guanche ruler. A detour of just a few kilometres takes us below the hillside of the Chineyro volcano, site of the last volcanic eruption on Tenerife back in 1909. Here we find the Arguayo pottery centre, with an ethnography museum and the Cha-Domitila potter`s workshop situated in traditional Canary Island style house.

Our route ends in the port of this municipality, Puerto de Santiago, a popular tourist resort within easy reach of the spectacular cliffs known as Los Gigantes or The Giants. Some ten kilometres of sheer faces plummeting almost 600 metres down to the ocean, where visitors can catch sight of various species of whales and dolphins. This area of ancient basaltic lava flows is scattered with ravines interspersed with solitary beaches such as Barranco Seco, Masca or Juan Lopez. Puerto de Santiago also has a pleasant beach known as La Arena, backed by a sea promenade lined with apartment block and hotels, and restaurants serving the fresh tuna that is caught in these very waters. Further down the coast are the spa resort of Alcala and Playa de San Juan, with a harbour and black sandy beach.

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