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Back to Nature

British Guild of Travel Writers 2010

Annual General Meeting 26th to 29th January

Thanks to this ecological awareness, half of the island is National Park or Nature Reserve. The island government is entirely supportive of this policy of protection of the natural environment and its natural resources, and the PIOT (Plan for the Organisation and Safeguard of the Environment) contributes largely towards setting the guidelines for sustainable development and care of the environment. Active Tourism The variety of landscapes and the superb climate make Tenerife an ideal location for outdoor activities all year round, from hiking to cycling and climbing to caving, potholing to paragliding. More unusual activities include stargazing in the world’s largest volcanic caldera in the Teide National Park and exploring one of the world’s largest lava tubes on a guided tour at Cueva Del Viento. Outdoor activities are complemented by excursions to the island’s charming villages and towns to see traditional Canarian architecture, witness colourful festivals and enjoy the hospitality of the friendly local people. There are a host of restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets. Rural accommodation is also an option and an ideal way to experience the lesser known side of Tenerife – there is a wide choice in charming country hotels, traditional farmhouses and typical rustic homes.

British Guild of Travel Writers 2010 - Annual General Meeting 26th to 29th January

Tenerife is part of the Macaronesia, one of the four richest biological areas of the natural world. The island authorities, supported by the EEC are striving to achieve a balance between tourism and the preservation of the environment.

Tenerife Natural, a brand marketed by the Tenerife Tourism Corporation comprises 58 associated companies dealing with all aspects of rural tourism, from excursions to outdoor sporting activities complemented by central reservation offices on the Web for rural accommodation and a growing number of rural houses and hotels perfect for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Footpaths Tenerife is a landscape of contrasts and micro-climates; a volcanic island, with stunning beaches and coastal paths that run alongside mountain tracks, woodland paths and watercourses that cross the lush terrain. The island brings together an enormous variety of landscapes and ecosystems and over 47% of the territory is classified as protected in one way or another. These protected natural spaces have a rich legacy of history and natural beauty, and each footpath offers surprising insights into the heritage of the island and each step, brings visitors closer to discovering the real Tenerife, whether meandering along ancient watercourses, treading woodland paths, or enjoying a variety of spectacular views.

Gardens & parks in Tenerife Tenerife has many important gardens and parks that are well worth visiting for those with green fingers. In Puerto de la Cruz, the Jardín Botánico was created by royal order in August, 1788, due to the need to cultivate species from the tropics in a good climate and has major collections of tropical and sub-tropical plants. In Icod de los Vinos visitors can see the ‘thousand-year-old Dragon’ (officially only 800 years!) in Parque Del Drago, one of the most important natural, cultural and historic symbols of the Canary Islands. The Icod Dragon tree is considered the oldest specimen on the islands at more than 16 metres tall and some 20 metres around the base. The oldest garden in Tenerife is the Orchid Garden Sitio Litre in Puerto del la Cruz at over 220 years, and featuring a private mansion that dates from 1730. The owners decided to open this magnificent garden to the public and they have the largest collection of orchids on the island, the largest and oldest dragon tree in Puerto de la Cruz and souvenirs from important visitors like the famous German botanist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and Agatha Christie.

British Guild of Travel Writers 2010 - Annual General Meeting 26th to 29th January

The network of footpaths on the island is growing daily. New routes are rehabilitated and put back into use, offering an increasing variety of opportunities to experience the natural world first hand. Many of these footpaths have been improved to meet the European standards of the ERA (European Ramblers Association) which guarantees the quality of the signage and levels of safety.

Interesting Facts • Tenerife has 42 protected areas which represent 48.6% of the island’s land surface • From the mountains to the coast, Tenerife has a remarkable variety of scenery and micro-climatic conditions from rain forest to coastal desert • The Teide National Park is an ideal location for studying volcanic features in the islands. Mount Teide is the highest mountain in Spain, standing at 3,718 metres The National Park was declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO in 2007 • In the northern part of the island are sub-tropical forests, Laurisilva, that used to cover a good part of the Mediterranean basin until the end of the Tertiary age • Bird watching is increasingly popular – the Blue Chaffinch, the Tenerife Kinglet, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit and Rock Dove are just some of the species inhabiting the island • The strait dividing Tenerife from the island of La Gomera is populated with one of the most important colony of pilot whales (calderon) in the world together with bottlenose dolphins

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British Guild of Travel Writers 2010 - Annual General Meeting 26th to 29th January

• The Canary is endemic to the Canary Islands and is where these colourful birds got their name from and it’s common to see and hear them in fields, pine forests, ravines and in bush and thicket areas

Tenerife Tourism Corporation For more information visit or contact Raquel Fonseca Email: Tel: (0) 20 8334 7026