This is not the largest, but the most versatile island of the archipelago. Mimicking a mini continent, Tenerife offers lots of mountains, with the – at least during winter – snow-capped Teide being the highest mountain of Spain. Add to this bizarre volcanic landscapes, ancient woods, dramatic cliffs, tropical valleys and desert like coastal areas and you almost get it.
The island is – in geological terms – pretty young, what translates into lots of mountainous areas and little flat spaces suited for settlement. Consequently almost every acre of non-vertical terrain is already developed with Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife the main cities. The third cluster of – in this case doubtable - civilization is Los Christianos with its proliferating suburbs. In contrary to the “Cruz” towns, the purpose of Los Christianos is solely to satisfy the needs of mass tourism. But outside these densely populated areas there are plenty of – often almost inaccessible – areas left. In fact, these areas still represent the by far larger part of the island and still offer an amazing variety of natural wonders.
Tenerife´s north coast is dominated by the Anaga Mountains, an extremely inaccessible terrain. The bizarre formed peaks with about 1000 meters altitude catch the trade winds and milk the humidity out of them, resulting in a lot of fog and ancient vegetation. The thick laurel woods that covered most of the Mediterranean a few hundred million years ago nowadays only can be found here, on La Gomera, Madeira and the Azores.