Tenerife - the other side of the island

Casa de la aduana (Customs House in Puerto de la Cruz)

Casa de la aduana (Customs House in Puerto de la Cruz)

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Tenerife’s different personalities will surprise you if you’ve only visited its south

The Canary Islands are the winter sun destination of choice for millions of northern Europeans, who come in search of the vitamin D-rich rays sadly lacking in our home autumns and winters.

The Teide

The Teide

The islands’ year round sun have meant resorts have grown up in Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife to welcome these people.

But in the latter’s case, the south of the island is the place one tends to think of first when booking holidays.

Resorts such as Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje cater for their different markets very well indeed.

But there is another side to Tenerife - a side with more greenery, a different, more humid climate and a slightly more softly-spoken personality.

Puerto De La Cruz is situated in Northern Tenerife fairly nearby to the island’s capital - Santa Cruz.

Lying in the shadows of the majestic 3718m Mount Teide (the highest point in Spain) The lushly green Puerto can bask in the warm winter sun while high above Teide sits in snow-capped splendour.

The scene is as far away from some perceptions of Tenerife as it is possible to get.

The northern climate is slightly cooler and mistier than the south but it still has a winter average temperature of around 20 degrees, so unless you’re an out-and-out sun worshiper, it should be more than enough to banish the winter blues.

I stayed at the exotically-named Hotel Botanico & The Oriental Spa Garden, which is a luxurious place with a slightly eastern theme running through it in terms of decor.

It’s main restaurant is also an up market oriental affair.

The hotel is set in lovely grounds and a highlight was taking a daily stroll through the grounds with their lakes and bridges to check on the progress of a young family of swans.

The clientèle of the Botanico (at the time of my visit) tended toward the more senior end of the age spectrum and depending on your outlook that may be a good or a bad thing.

From my point of view, the older demographic meant that, although not an adult-only hotel, the Botanico was more or less free from the noise one associates with kids having a good time!

But it was the spa area that really made the holiday a relaxing one for me.

We had paid for the spa to be included in our package and so were at liberty to saunter down there every day after breakfast to bask in the gentle heat and crack open the Kindle.

Here in Puerto, it seemed to me that there was a broader mix of holiday-making nationalities on display than at some Canarian resorts.

Again, some might find that not being crowded together with a load of like minded and uniformly sunburnt Brits a negative.

Not me. I liked the more cosmopolitan nature of Puerto, which in turn leads to a more interesting offering in terms of restaurants and bars.

On that gastronomic note, if you find yourself in Puerto with a hungry belly, the excellent Hay Lo Que Hay, which has recently relocated to just opposite the Botanico on Avenida Richard J. Yeoward offers a daily menu that is as satisfying as it is good value.

Prices for holidays at the Hotel Botanico: Thomas Cook Signature European Beaches offers a week B&B at the five star Hotel Botanico, from £809 per person, from Manchester on June 7. Thomas Cook 0844 412 5970.

Three things to do:

1. Visit the Botanical Gardens and marvel at the variety of the vegetation. Some of the trees in particular are real oddities and really do show the diversity of plant life that has been collected from around the world.

2. Walk along the harbour with the sun on your back and the snow-capped Mount Teide within your field of vision. It has a very different feel to other parts of the Canarian island.

3. Try the traditional Canarian and Spanish foods. 
Along with the much-loved Paellas common to all of Spain, specifically Canarian cuisine includes specialities such as their own method for potatoes. These are new potatoes cooked in lots of salt and served with a wrinkled skin. They go well with the traditional ‘Mojo’ sauces of the Canaries (green and red) and are often served as a delicious starter in tourist restaurants.

Stay at the airport:

A really good travel tip is to stay over at the airport - especially if your flight is an early morning one. And the Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport is a fine place to do just that. With great facilities including four restaurant outlets, a complimentary shuttle service to the terminal, breakfast from 4:30am, the ‘club lounge’ experience and the opportunity to earn IHG rewards. You can also book parking with the hotel for a convenient package.
Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport to book direct.

Parking: Manchester Airport offer a range of parking options - of which the ‘top of the range’ is the multi-storey car park right next to the terminal building. You can pre-book a week for £69.99 and it’s a very short walk to the terminal.

Lounge: You can add luxury to waiting for the plane by booking the Escape lounge. Relaxing environment and complimentary snacks and drinks. £17.49 per person Manchester Airport