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Formed by lava more than 300,000 years ago, Tenerife combines the tradition and culture of Spain with the beauty of a year-round temperate natural island. Just 186 miles west of Africa and 800 miles from mainland Spain, Tenerife is a world of contrasts. Sea and mountains, forests and beaches, modern amenities and historic archaeological treasures….the capitol of the Canary Islands is truly a treasure trove.

Our visit started in the North with an urban stay in Puerto de la Cruz. Just outside of the lively town, Hotel Botanico was our oasis. Set amidst more than 6 acres of magnificent landscaped gardens and across the street from the Botanical Gardens, Hotel Botanico offered ultra-modern rooms with balconies and well-appointed amenities, the uber-luxurious Oriental Spa Garden (with complimentary access to their amazing Thermal Circuit for all guests), award-winning dining in four restaurants, gardens, tennis, and evening socials and entertainment.

In addition to exploring the busy Plaza del Charco and the charming old fishing harbor of Puerto de la Cruz, our northern stay included visits to the historical town of La Orotava, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Laguna, and the metropolitan capital of Santa Cruz, where we strolled along the avenues and pedestrian streets window shopping and tasting tapas along the way.

Our next stop was Isla Baja on the northwestern side of the island. Lush golf overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Buenavista del Norte, the coastline village of Garachico, and the rugged beauty of Masca Gorge provided a look at the natural side of Tenerife and was a precursor of things to come at Mt. Teide. The highest peak in Spain at over 12,000 feet, Mt. Teide National Park is dominated by the volcano that gave it its name and is inhabited with over 50 species of indigenous animals and plants. A cable car allows everyone the opportunity to ascend Mt. Teide and experience it’s majestic form and exceptional volcanic shapes and colors.

Our remaining time in Tenerife was spent in the South region, known for its magnificent climate and for it’s beaches--which stretch along almost the entire length of the coast. Our stay at Gran Melia Resort presented luxury accommodations on steroids. Featuring over 500 square feet in the most basic room, mahogany furnishings, granite counters and tabletops, living areas, private balconies and lush and luscious in-room amenities, our room became our sanctuary. Combined with the YHI Spa, four adult freshwater pools (the infinity pool is over 850 feet long!), six restaurants, six bars and cocktail lounges, tennis courts, paddle tennis, a golf simulator, and so much more…..Gran Melia was practically a city within itself. There was really no need to leave. Except that the outdoors beckoned.

With outdoor activities including spectacular volcanic rock scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing in the gentle trade winds, deep-sea fishing for tuna, swordfish and blue marlin, and whale watching, Playa de las Americas and the surrounding beaches offer up island exploration at its finest. And when the sun goes down, the nightlife come up with some of the best dining and exhilarating nightclubs in all of Spain.

Can’t decide on a sightseeing trip to Europe or an adventure-filled trip to the islands? Get both in Tenerife.