For many, the south west of Tenerife represents the perfect holiday destination, enjoying as it does some of the longest sunshine hours on the island.
Less frenetic than Playa de Las Américas, better value for money than Costa Adeje and more rural than Los Cristianos, the coast which stretches from Los Gigantes in the west to Playa Paraíso in the south encompasses a diverse selection of resorts.
Backed by colossal cliffs, Los Gigantes is a family resort in a spectacular location where whale and dolphin watching cruises operate from its picturesque marina.
Moving south along the coast, Puerto de Santiago has great fish restaurants around its unpretentious harbour while neighbouring Playa de la Arena gets the blue ribbon award for its clean and sheltered beach.
Little Alcalá brings a Canarian/South American character to the coast and Playa de San Juan provides a touch of class with its chic marina and golden sand beach.
And as the coast begins to blend into Costa Adeje, Callao Salvaje turns up a surprising French connection with its crêperies and bakeries and Playa Paraíso offers spectacular headland views over neighbouring La Gomera.
But move into the hills of the south west and you’ll find a selection of terrain as diverse as the resorts of its coast.
Once the centre of cereal and grain production where durum wheat, barley, lentils and chickpeas populated the terraces and plumes of smoke filed into the sky from kilns in which tiles and bricks baked, today only the ghosts of those industries remain.
When improved water irrigation switched production to the coast taking labour needs with it, terraces fell into disuse and kilns into dereliction leaving a landscape re-claimed by nature and riddled with the paths and trails that once brought workers to their fields and produce to market.
Today sleepy hamlets and an abandoned village lie along rural paths that meander the threshing circles and dried water fountains where spectacular views open out over the coastline that stole their livelihoods.
Beyond the villages, the site of Tenerife’s last volcanic eruption lies amidst a magnificent landscape of black, frozen lava fields, emerald forests, wild flowers and red earth in a tranquil world created by the violent force of nature.
A bumper pack of directions, photos, flora, weather and terrain for the best South West Tenerife walks; Lost Worlds and Lava takes you on journeys that uncover the ghosts of an agricultural past; a lost village; idyllic rural hamlets and a volcanic wonderland.
Lost Worlds & Lava is the latest in our Island Walks series which is now available to buy online and comes with a free copy of Captivating Coastline – five of Tenerife’s most picturesque coastal walks. That’s a lot of Tenerife walking for just €2!