Visited Tenerife last autumn for a week. We took a straight Finnair flight from Helsinki on board their brand-new, super-comfortable A321 Sharklet (A321ER) aircrafts. Stayed in a cosy, little hotel called El Patio on the ragged, windswept northern coast of the island, 10 minutes drive from the picturesque town of Garachico, a food-lover’s paradise.
Originally, we had reserved a room at the annex building, located a short walk through a banana plantation from the mansion, where breakfast is also served. Although our room was nice and quite, we asked to be transferred to the main building, a true delight to the eye. Soon after breakfast and before hitting the pool, we loved to wander around the gardens, resembling a mini botanical park. Our 4-year old was so excited with all the colorful flowers and weird-looking trees.
It’s also worth looking into the long history of the estate, still belonging to the same de Ponte family that ones founded Garachico. And don’t forget to ask Helena and Nestor at the reception-both wonderful and polite-to lent you the keys to the family’s private chapel, built in 1565. It is there that some of the first de Pontes are buried, one of them apparently killed in an air accident.
Once a week, El Patio offers dinner at the breakfast room. It is fine, but you might want to head instead to one of the numerous little restaurants in the proximity. If you fancy paella, try to book a table at Las Aguas in nearby San Juan de la Rambla. We were told that people travel from as far as Madrid to Las Aguas for its delicious paella. Believe me, I could travel all the way from Helsinki for its paella, anytime! There are also plenty of restaurants in Garachico. We went a few times to La Cofradía Del Mar II (its sister Mar I is actually located in the village right above El Tempo). Despite its dated interior, we always found it to be full of locals, a good sign. If you get tired of seafood, try the pizzas at Pizzeria Bacco, right down the road from La Cofradía del Mar II. They are made “with love”-as the young lady working there told us-but it is only opened on weekends and festivals.
Things to see and do in Tenerife
The few times we managed to drag ourselves from the pool and into the car, we headed to Puerto de la Cruz with its fantastic pool complex designed by Lanzarote’s famous child César Manrique, or to the picture-perfect sandy beach of Playa de las Teresitas on the northeastern tip of Tenerife.
Not to be missed is of course the majestic volcano El Teide (3,718 m), the highest point in Spain! We didn’t make it up to the top because the line for the cable car was too long for our little one to wait patiently, but the scenery all the way from the northern coast to Orotava and from there to El Teide and finally back to Garachico via Masca was something, I don’t think I will ever forget!
Near Hotel El Patio is also the little town of Icod de Los Vinos. Worth visiting for its 1.000 year old dragon tree and the fantastic churros the lady at the little kiosk next to Iglesia de San Marcos is making!
We were amazed by the awe-inspiring views, delicious seafood and wonderful people of Tenerife. It’s true that some places are heavily touristic, but this is a big and diverse island. Give it a chance and it will reward you with quite stretches of beaches, lovely little villages, and some of the most dramatic landscapes you have ever encountered. Not to mention the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.