Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Unspoilt Tenerife; SPAIN the North of the Biggest Canary Island Has Ancient Forests, Historic Towns and Not a Sun Lounger in Sight, Says Monica Goya

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Unspoilt Tenerife; SPAIN the North of the Biggest Canary Island Has Ancient Forests, Historic Towns and Not a Sun Lounger in Sight, Says Monica Goya

Article excerpt

Byline: Monica Goya

THIS is the authentic Tenerife," says a retiree sitting on a sun-facing bench with ocean views in the main plaza in El Sauzal. The relaxed atmosphere in this picturesque village is the norm in the verdant north, where living the slow life isn't just an Instagram hashtag.

Last year more than 5.7 million travellers visited Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, but only a quarter of them stayed in the north. An hour by car from the touristy side of the island, it's a world away from the south. Here you'll find excellent food, ancient forests, quiet beaches, striking mountains and charming towns. And all minus the crowds.

The tropical greenness of the north is astounding, especially as Tenerife normally conjures up images of arid landscapes and sunburnt Brits. Driving along the TF-5 road I spot vineyard after vineyard and stop at the wine museum at El Sauzal. There are wines from the island's five appellations to try, including new producers such as Suertes del Marques and Envinate.

Just a 20-minute drive inland, on the edge of Anaga Rural Park, sits the town of Tegueste. Its link with Latin America are on show at the local farmers' market Tenerife was once the gateway for new foods brought back to Europe from the Americas. The soft avocados, sweet bananas and juicy papayas are so unlike what we get in the UK. Turning off towards the laurel forest of Anaga, meanwhile, is like going back in time. With a microclimate closer to that of a rainforest than Tenerife's usual Mediterranean sunshine, this prehistoric forest has rocks thought to be seven to nine million years old. Home to gorges, peaks, isolated villages and endemic flora and fauna, the area was awarded Biosphere Reserve designation by Unesco in 2015. There are beautiful walks and a visitors' centre at Cruz del Carmen offers information and recommendations. …

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