Circuit of the Island
Puerto de la Cruz, Spain
Puerto de la Cruz lies in northern Tenerife, at the mouth of the famous Orotava valley. Within a few decades it has passed through a lightning course of development from a small fishing town into an internationally known tourist resort, the largest on Tenerife. The main attractions for holidaymakers are undoubtedly the bathing enter designed by the Lanzarote architect and artist César Manrique and the seafront promenade on the Avenida de Colón.
Orotava Botanic Garden
There are a large collections of araucarias, figs, tropical fruit trees, brightly colored foliage plants, palms, daturas and plumerias.
La Orotava, Spain
The road running east from Puerto de la Cruz joins N 820 in 4km/2.5mi, and 1km/0.75mi along this to the west is a side road signposted to La Orotava. One of the most attractive and most typical of Canarian towns, La Orotava enjoys a climatically favored situation which makes possible a highly productive agriculture. Its central feature is the flower decked Plaza de la Constitución, from which there is a superb view over the roofs of the town to the coast which has earned the square the name of the "balcony of La Orotava".
Nuestra Señora de la Concepción
Some 300m/330yd west of the square in La Orotava is the church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (1768-88). With its high dome and two small towers, it is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, with some Rococo features.
Casas de los Balcones
A little way south of the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción are the Casas de los Balcones, two houses with beautifully decorated balconies of traditional Canarian type.
Los Realejos, Spain
From the center of La Ortava a minor road runs through La Perdoma to Los Realejos, a long straggling little town, at the far end of which, in Realejo Alto, it joins N 820, which continues west, parallel with the coast, to San Juan de la Rambla and Icod.
Dating back to 1498, the Church of Santiago is one of the oldest churches on Mallorca.
Nuestra Señora de la Concepción
A Baroque retable and jasper font are the highlight of this church.
Icod de Los Vinos
The coast road continues from San Marcos for another 6km/4mi to Garachico, with its beautiful old town center.
From the far end of Garachico a road winds its way up to Tanque and soon after this joins N 820. For the next part of the route plenty of time must be allowed, as the road pursues a tortuous course, with innumerable curves and bends, through the lonely mountain world. The next place of any size is Santiago del Teide, a good base for walks in the rugged Teno Hills to the west; the place which attracts most visitors is the hill village of Masca.
The coast road continues south from Los Gigantes, passing through Alcalá and San Juan, and then turns inland to Adeje, 30km/19mi from Tamaimo.
Gorge of Hell
Immediately northeast of Adeje is the canyon-like Barranco del Infierno, through which a narrow path runs down along a little stream. At the end of the gorge are cliffs over 1,000m/3,300ft high, with a waterfall plunging down from a height of 80m/260ft.
Los Cristianos, Spain
From the unspoiled little town of Adeje it is only a short distance on N 822 to the great tourist centers on the south coast, Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos. While Playa de las Américas is a totally new resort, Los Cristianos has grown up around an old fishing village, which has preserved much of its original character. It has no buildings of particular consequence, but the pedestrian zone with its shops and restaurants and the square by the harbor have a character of their own.
Montañas de Anaga
From Candelaria it is 18km/11mi to Santa Cruz, from which the route continues northeast past the extensive port installations to the fishing village of San Andrés, with the palm shaded beach of Las Teresitas. There a road goes off on the left, signposted to El Bailadero.
A signpotsed road winds its way uphill, with many bends, through scenery which becomes steadily greener, and at last reaches the crest of the hills and the viewpoint of El Bailadero, 11km/ 7mi from San Andrés.
Bosque de las Mercedes
The road from El Bailadero continues west along the crest of the Anaga range and crosses the Bosque de las Mercedes, a dense forest of laurel-trees, with frequent views of the imposing Montañas de Anaga, the best all-round view being from the Pico del Inglés mirador. The laurel forest continues to the village of Las Mercedes.
La Laguna, Spain
From Las Mercedes there are two roads to La Laguna, the largest town on the island after Santa Cruz, with the only university in the Canaries. Often thought to be the most Spanish town in the islands, La Laguna has preserved its original checkerboard plan, with many handsome burghers' houses and noble mansions and a number of interesting churches. The most notable of these are the Cathedral (founded 1515, rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century) and the church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the oldest church in the town.