Tenerife doesn’t only have landscape, there’s also a few very pretty and not so pretty towns and cities on the island. Some of them are worth a visit, like the oldest town there: La Laguna. Others, like the conglomerate of Las Americas should be avoided at all costs unless you’re into the binge-drinking experience. La Laguna was actually the first stop in our Tenerife expedition.
Mostly because it is easily reachable by bus and is only a half-day trip. However, after the somewhat drawn out bus travel there, we decided that it would be smarter to rent a car for the rest of the trip. La Laguna lies roughly 20min from the beach and was the first settlement of the Spaniards in Tenerife, after having beaten the indigenous people. It was the capital of Tenerife for a long time due to it’s convenient location close to farm land a drinkable water. It is over 500 years old and the city pattern still remains from this first building period, even if a lot of the buildings were renewed and altered over time. Most are over 300 years old though. Accordingly a lot of the sights are actually old churches, the cathedral and monasteries. But there are also quite a few m
ansions from wealthy families that are open for visitation. Quite a few of them now contain one kind or museum or another that allow for deeper insight into the lives back in those days and you can easily spend a half day to a relaxed day there. The entire down town is actually considered part of the UNESCO world heritage and is mostly a car-free zone.
Not just La Laguna is worth a visit, in their own right every village is worth a visit and we did stop at a few more, in particular La Orotava planted onto the slope of a rather steep mountain side. Most of the city is from the 18th century and displays the typical houses of the Canary islands with the wooden balconies going out onto the streets.
I probably liked La Orotava better than La Laguna. It is less overrun and just seems brighter. A bright pink seems to be considered an adequate paint for houses there, the sun is usually shining and the gardens are a luscious green. There are plenty of plazas, in front of the churches and elsewhere, nicely paved and pretty to see. Inside the churches i particularly liked the wooden ceilings, often covered in intricate geometric shapes.
Moving away from the historical towns, there’s of course Santa Cruz, which we barely saw and the conglomerate of Los Cristianos, which we unfortunately had to cross to get to a whale watching expedition we wanted to do Los Cristianos is like a big blemish on the island, we drove past it on the highway for almost an hour, watching how the beautiful landscape was replaced by a concrete-wasteland.
No more plants, no more ocean, just one skyscraper besides the other with fading colour, plaster falling off and all in all quite desolate.
Arriving at the harbour the beach was worse than expected and we just got happier and happier that this would be our only contact with this part of the island. The whale watching itself was quite fun, even if my sister considered the whales we saw as too small to qualify as whales. I hope she didn’t offend their feelings. Personally, I had issues with the lack of distance between us and the whales. This, for sure, wasn’t ecological in any way.