For Fall and Spring Breaks I try to go somewhere out of the country and somewhere new (only two requirements). My brother wanted to go to a mountain, so after doing so searching I found the Canary Islands, specifically the island of Tenerife. I found round trip tickets from Cincinnati to Paris on United ($490 round trip pp) and then cheap tickets from Paris to Barcelona on easyJet ($99 round trip pp) and Barcelona to Tenerife on Norwegian Air ($103 round trip pp).
All photos from this trip were taken on a Samsung Galaxy S8 (I felt like this needed to be mentioned).
Our flight arrived from Washington D.C. in Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport) at 6:55 AM. The flight, which was economy class on United Airlines was not too terrible and the food actually wasn’t half bad. Normally I fly WOW Airlines when I fly international so it was nice to have legroom, bags, and food.
Going into Paris I didn’t think I’d like it too much, however I was dead wrong. Paris was beautiful everywhere we walked and there was so much to see! We took a train from the airport to downtown (I think) and hit up Notre Dame and then walked all the way to the Eiffel Tower.
Our next flight left Paris at 8:45 PM on easyJet (I was impressed with easyJet when compared to Ryanair) and we spent out night in Barcelona. Overall I really enjoyed Paris and we definitely come back for it (I didn’t feel the same way with London or Berlin).
You can view the entire album of Paris pictures over on Flickr.
We flew Norwegian Air from Barcelona to Tenerife early Wednesday morning. Norwegian Air was your typical low budget airline, no frills. I managed to get a bag that was too big on board by moving to my opposite side when the gate agent was walking down the line to check bag sizes. The airpot we flew into, Tenerife North Airport, was small and clean, nothing crazy about it. I used CICAR for the rental, a “SEAT IBIZA 5D AUT” (by the end of the trip, I hated that car).
Wednesday consisted of getting accustomed to Tenerife (tons of roundabouts and the local drivers really like to creep into them, checking out the old town of Santa Cruz, and going up to Parque Natural de Anaga. Driving and finding parking in the old town is pretty hard, so I suggest parking on the outskirts and walking in. There are tons of restaurants and shops to see in the told town.
The park has tons of overlooks where you can see to the ocean or across the island itself. We didn’t encounter any hard hikes in the park (granted we weren’t there too long and stuck to the trails) however it is a must see when visiting Tenerife. The views were spectacular.
After visiting the park we made out way back into the capital, Santa Cruz. Our hostel, El Jostel, was a bit hard to get to (finding and parking) but was in a great location to go see and do things. It was also very clean. One thing I liked about Tenerife was that in alot of places they have people who’s only job is to help you back out of parking spots.
We woke up to a rain storm Thursday morning as we made our way to the next destination, Garachico. When we made it to Garachico, the rain was still pouring so I decided to keep driving until we were out of the rain. That resulted in going thru the mountains (i’ve never seen so many roads that just go straight up) and into Acantilados de los Gigantes. The descent from the mountains into the cove of Acantilados de los Gigantes was amazing, as the giant cliffs appear looking over the oceanside.
The beach in Acantilados de los Gigantes was a black sand beach, which was cool at first but ends up being extremely dirty looking. The beach was also very small, but there is tons of oceanside walking and paths you can do, plus an oceanside “pool” (I use that term very loosely).
After spending the day there, we drove back to Garachico, which at this point was no longer in a rain storm. The town is like something off a postcard, being nestled at the bottom of the mountainside on the ocean. We stayed at an amazing Airbnb and had a great time exploring the town.
Friday ended up being a day full of adventure. We woke up early that morning to make our way to the top of Mt Teide, a 12k foot volcano. You take an amazing drive into the base of the mountain, which is the giant crater desert that makes a bowl shape. On one end of the bowl you have the peak of Teide, which you can either hike to the top or take a cable car.
We arrived early that morning to be first in line (you can schedule times for the cable car) as all the paths were shut down due to ice. It took about an hour before they started allowing people on the cable car (due to ice testing), but the journey to the top was great and the views even better. At the top there are walkways and a few overlooks that allow you to see pretty much everything.
Back down in the base you can spend the whole day exploring. We left the rental car at the cable car parking lot and made our way to The Finger of God. It took us a few hours to walk from the base to the finger and back, but it is definitely a must do.
When we arrived back at the car I noticed that we had a flat tire. Changing that tire was a little crazy as I’ve never seen a car jack like what was provided (it took about 30 minutes to figure out). After changing the tire we found out that the rode we took up the mountain was closed so we now had to drive 2 hours out of our way to get to our next hotel, the Hotel Rural Bentor. The drive down the mountain on a donut tire was the most sketchiest drive ever needless to say.
Saturday was the relax and do nothing day. I booked an all inclusive hotel in the city of Los Cristianos, which is more or less the central party and tourist spot on the island. Not much to say about this day outside of it was relaxing!
The last full day in Tenerife was Sunday. One of the goals of the trip was to stay somewhere different everyday and try to stay all across the island, so on Sunday we made our way to El Medano, a small desert oasis town. The town looked like something you would find in Arizona or Nevada and had very secluded beaches. It was a complete 180 of the day before. We stayed in the Aloe Vera Shared House hostel which again very clean and had very involved owners!
Our flight back left Tenerife at 11:30 AM on Norwegian Air for Barcelona. Dropping off the car was very difficult, as the airport roads made no sense for the dropoff and when we finally did figure it out the lot was full (so give yourself alot of time when getting to TNF here). In Barcelona we had a 3 hour layover, which wasn’t too bad as Barcelona’s airport has alot of restaurants and shops (the Burger King has kiosks to order from so even if you don’t speak Spanish you can get food). From Barcelona we flew back to Paris on an easyJet flight and then spent the night in an airport hotel.
Tuesday was an all day flight from Paris back to Cincinnati with a layover in Chicago. Security at Charles de Gaulle Airport wasn’t bad and the lines flowed. United screwed something up with our booking so we had to work that out, but we were upgraded from Economy to Economy Plus so no complaints there. The Border and Customs agent in Chicago was a dickhead, as is tradition with Border and Customs agents (I’ve never had a good experience with one).
If you are looking for a beach vacation, save your money and go to the Caribbean. If you are looking for beaches and more, Tenerife (and the Canary Islands) are a cool, unique choice. The island has tons to see and do, is very beautiful, and can be traveled with very little Spanish knowledge/speaking.
Don’t get the grilled cheese in Tenerife and Paris is awesome.