Over Easter, I took a guided tour to Tenerife with our partners at Travel Department. I have been seeing so many guided group holidays on offer recently that I was eager to get away and experience a new place with the company.
The Tenerife Coast & Country tour is a seven day holiday, with three days of excursions, flights, transfers and all meals included. The itinerary was a great mix of relaxation and exploration that I love on a holiday. The week allowed us to really settle into the island and discover its interesting geography, scenery and culture.
From the soaring volcano of Mount Teide, to the tropical parks, the warm sunshine or the chilled-out Canarian cafés, there was so much to enjoy.
Here are five things I loved the most and think you will too!
People are at their most content while on holiday, isn’t that true? So when you bring a group of like-minded travellers together, it’s a great way to meet new friends and share experiences.
There were 18 people in our group and, since we all had an interest in travel, there was lots to talk about! Guided tours are a great option for solo travellers too because you have the safety and company of being in a group.
Our tour guide Nancy was excellent. I don’t know where we’d be without her! From the moment we got off the plane at Tenerife South, Nancy took care of our transfers, check-ins, and all the organising of the trip. If there was any issue or any question we had, we knew Nancy was there to help. She set up a WhatsApp group to share daily updates and recommendations on things to do, which was a great way to stay connected on our free days. Nancy was a ray of sunshine on our excursions, and kept our energies up with sweets every day! We also had two tour guides for our day trips – Luisa and Laura – who were full of so much knowledge about every town, every historic site – and almost every tree we saw!
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, which means there are vast differences across the island. There is the buzzing family and touristy side – the water parks, the pools, the beaches and zoos – and then there’s the stunning nature. The definite highlight for me was Teide National Park. High above the clouds, the vast park is home to the imposing Mount Teide, a dormant volcano that is the third highest in the world. Surrounding Teide is an other-wordly landscape of strange rock formations that would look the part on a sci-fi film set. I don’t know how many times I pointed out the bus window saying ‘cool!’ while Luisa was explaining how the bizarre rocks were shaped by lava flows and explosive eruptions.
We were also treated to some special glimpses into the culture of Tenerife. Our tours to the old towns of La Laguna and Icod de los Vinos let us see local mansions and learn about families of centuries gone by. Plus, being there for Easter, the local religious processions were very interesting to see.
Summer sunshine is just what we needed this month, and the mid-20s heat was really pleasant because of the island breeze. Rain is very rare on Tenerife, and while there was some hazy cloud on two days due to a ‘calima’ from the Sahara desert dust, it was still warm enough to sit at the outdoor cafes. My word of advice to others is to dress for warm weather, but bring a jacket too for evenings and tours to higher ground. You can always pick up a sunhat at the many souvenir shops too.
I have toured with the Travel Department a few times over the years, always safe in the knowledge that we will be in a good hotel. When it’s a full-board package like on the Coast and Country tour, this is very important too. The Hotel Catalonia Las Vegas was great. It was a huge hotel with a pool, sunbathing area, live shows each night and it was in the best possible location in Puerto de la Cruz. The promenade was on our doorstep and all the shops and bars were just a few minutes away, so it felt safe being out at night.
Our room overlooked the coast, so we could take in the wildness of the Atlantic waves at all times of the day. In the restaurant, we feasted on fresh fish, paella, salads, and all types of European food. Each day there was something different at the live kitchen with chefs on hand to make food fresh to order. All our group were very impressed by the selection and the freshness of the buffet. Local wine was also included in the full-board package.
In terms of Covid-19 guidelines, masks are worn indoors and on public transport. So you will always need one to hand.
I had never been to Tenerife before, but I think that this ‘Coast and Country’ tour was hands-down the best way to see and learn so much about the island. We did a lot, but we were never rushed. Since we were a small group with our own guides and bus, we did everything at our own pace. The itinerary was a nice mix of active days and days to lounge by the pool with a book.
Most of all, the joy of a guided tour is stress-free travel. Instead of worrying about bookings, buses and trips, the work is all done for you by the Travel Department experts. All that’s left for us to do is sit back and enjoy the journey!
The Tenerife Coast and Country Tour departs from Dublin again in 2022 during the months of April, May, June, August, September and October. Solo traveller packages are also available. See here for more details, dates and prices: https://www.traveldepartment.com/holiday?Search=tenerife
To discuss any questions or make a booking simply call 01 637 1698 and quote Donegal Daily
Note: Rachel was a guest of the Travel Department for the purpose of this guide, but all opinions of the trip are the author’s own.