By the time the Christmas festivities are over each year we’ve usually had enough of sinful goodies and are ready to walk off the excesses. However, we don’t tend to jump straight back into any walking routes which are overly challenging. We ease ourselves back into the walking groove with routes which are generally under 10kms long and which don’t include gruelling ascents and descents.
This year we’ve spent a lot of time working on designing and updating Slow Travel holidays in Portugal. Subsequently, much of our walking has involved getting to know the thin slip of a country on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula. Our traditional Boxing Day route involved a relatively easy climb to a long ridge which was peppered by old windmills.
On New Year’s Eve we walked through wetlands favoured by migratory birds and along an empty beach on the opposite side of the Tagus from Lisbon. We notched up around 16km on that one but it was all flat.
Given its topography, long flat walking routes aren’t ten a penny on Tenerife, or any of the western Canary Islands for that matter. Most routes will involve ascents and descents of some level. However, over the years we categorised our favourite routes so that when friends with varying walking capabilities visited we could pick out routes to suit. Often these would be the ones which also worked for getting fitness levels back up to scratch post festive season i.e. relatively easy Tenerife routes of under 10km.
Here are five of those routes which have proved popular with friends.
Arenas Negras – Teide National Park (8.2km)
The northern side of Teide National Park tends to be a lot quieter than its southern entrance, maybe for obvious reasons – most tourists enter the park from the south. Whilst we’ve not found walking routes within the park to be particularly busy, we rarely have met many other people in this circular route from the El Portillo Visitor Centre which rewards with quite different views across the park and also, potentially, a bit of impromptu volcano surfing.
Montaña Amarilla – south Tenerife (9km)
Coastal routes on Tenerife are usually good for non-challenging walks. We like the route from Golf del Sur to the top of Montaña Amarilla and back because it offers such a contrast to the two purpose-built resort areas which bookend it. I’ll be completely honest, I’m not a fan of either of those resorts, but the surreal formations of the mini mountain concealed by Costa del Silencio is one of my favourite coastal views on the island.
Aguamansa – north Tenerife (7.5km)
A few years ago we met up with some staff from Inntravel, the Slow Travel holiday company in the UK, who were on a familiarisation trip around the Canary Islands. We had one afternoon to show them a different face to Tenerife, so we took them on a shortish circuit around Aguamansa and the pine forest of the upper Orotava Valley. En route they saw the verdant face of the island, organ pipe-shaped rock formations, and locals who still travelled around on horseback. It ended in a field with time spent amongst a family of potato pickers enjoying the culmination of the harvest with wine and a pot of… well, potatoes. We’ve worked with them ever since and become close friends with quite a few of the staff. I like to think that one short route helped change their perceptions of Tenerife.
The tropical coast – north Tenerife (5km)
One area that friends and family have all been shown, irrespective of their walking capabilities, is the coast below Los Realejos. With gorgeous haciendas, banana plantations and palms, a tiny fort, quirks galore, and hidden coves it is simply our favourite part of Tenerife’s coastline. Paths meander in all directions so it can be as long or as short as anyone wants. The only annoying thing is that the authorities have been working to improve it for years and some sections can be closed. It doesn’t really matter if one bit is out f bounds as there’s so much to enjoy along this small part of the coast.
Erjos – west Tenerife (6km)
Simply our favourite short, inland walk on the island. Again, there are a lot of paths in the area so any route which takes in the Erjos Pools with its waterfowl, frog and dragonfly residents, can be adjusted to suit. The one we favour crosses ridges and traverses the forest to tease with glimpses of more virgin areas to the west and the bulk of Teide on to the east before ending, nearly, at the delightful pools (best after there’s been decent rainfall). Apart from one time, we’ve enjoyed beautiful weather every time we walked this route. On that one occasion the wind howled and bruma (low cloud) reduced visibility to the extent we couldn’t see the path directly ahead let alone the scenery. So we decamped to Fleytas bar for a vino del pais and some almond cakes.
These are only snapshots of potential shortish routes on Tenerife. In our Walk this Way Tenerife guidebook we include a number of routes under 10km long. All of suggestions above feature in the guidebook whilst Erjos, Aguamansa, and Arenas Negras are included in the PDF routes. The north coast is part of the ‘Captivating Coastline’ set which is complimentary whenever any of the PDF routes or drives are purchased.