As we wake this morning, glad of the extra hour we’ve enjoyed in bed, we know we’ll pay the price this evening when we find ourselves cooking in darkness instead of beneath a crimson, sunset sky.
With autumn firmly established and sunset falling at 4.42pm in the UK, Tenerife also sees a seasonal change. This October has been one of the hottest we can remember with endless sunshine days here in Puerto de la Cruz where afternoon temperatures tip into the low 30ºC (86ºF) and the air resonates with the heat. But right on cue, as the autumn solstice arrived, gentle rains falling through the night brought relief. This morning the sun and blue skies are back but the temperatures feel a more perfect 22º/23ºC (72/74ºF).
Autumn is the ideal time to take to Tenerife’s walking trails and experience the joy of perpetual spring for which the islands are famous. With the best of the walking in the north of Tenerife, the autumn rains bring fresh growth to the subtropical coastline and green shoots of euphorbias breaking through the parched earth of the mountains. Longer daylight hours than the UK mean you can enjoy more hours of walking, spending all day up in the hills and still having time to shower and relax with a glass of wine or a gin and tonic in time for sunset at 6.25pm.
Once the intense heat of summer days wanes, walking above the clouds in Teide National Park is one of the best places to enjoy the sunshine without having to run for shade. Get away from the tour buses and strike out on your own to enjoy the solitude and surrealism of this extraordinary space. If you’re up to the challenge, autumn is a good time to climb Mount Teide itself before temperatures at the summit fall too low after dark and before the first snows of the year appear. Be sure to set off early enough to arrive at the Alta Vista Refuge before dark and take warm layers for when the thermometer drops with the sun.
A lesser challenge but no less rewarding is to climb the remaining crater wall at Guajara and survey the vistas down to Vilaflor and the south coast on one side, and across the Cañadas to Mount Teide on the other. Or choose to get up close and personal with the volcanic landscape on Arenas Negro where you can ‘ski’ down the loose picon and try not to get stones in your boots.
The Anaga Mountains are, without doubt, the most stunning walking area on Tenerife and sunny autumnal days are a good time to enjoy them, especially as the first of the rains will bring fresh water flow to the Barranco del Afur which you can follow along its meandering path to the sea at the secluded, black sand beach of Tamadite.
Chestnuts and wine
Autumn is the time when, according to ancient magic, the summer fairy hands over her wand to the autumn fairy who uses it to ripen the last of the fruits. Here on Tenerife, that means the chestnuts are harvested, and everywhere the chestnut trees grow, small earthenware pots are placed on stands over open fires until they’re white hot and ready to roast the chestnuts. It’s also the time when the vendimia or wine harvest is complete and the new wines are ready to be tasted.
Around the harbour at Puerto de la Cruz the chestnut braziers will be fired up from 1st November until the feast of San Andrés on 30th November. Tasting the freshly roasted nuts, hot from the brazier and washed down with a cup of country wine is a tasty autumnal tradition and the harbour is nightly teeming with locals and visitors enjoying the harvest. For those with a finer palate, stalls around the harbour offer tasting of wines from local bodegas and cheeses from local suppliers and you can buy directly from the producers.
Chestnuts, wine and wonderful walking. Welcome to autumn on Tenerife.