Love running but hate groups? Why not make up your own running break this year? We went to Tenerife to check out what the trails are like…
It’s not the most obvious of running destinations – an incredibly rocky terrain and year-round heat don’t really make for a comfortable route. But when Running was invited to the volcanic island of Tenerife to cover the Bluetrail ultra marathon, which crosses from one side of the island to the other, it got us thinking about how quick and easy it is to get there, and how thoroughly satisfying a week’s running on this beautiful island could be.
As it happened, the ultra was cancelled just hours before it was due to start, because there was too much ice in the mountains (hard to believe as we paddled in the shore on a scorching beach), so we were left to explore the island’s possibilities for ourselves. Our verdict? Tenerife is a lot more than karaoke caterwauling and tequila shots at the bar – it’s a diverse, beautiful and fascinating island, perfect for designing your own active holiday. Here are our best bits:
Definitely pack your trail shoes, even if you’re sticking to designated coastal paths. We tried a couple of different ones and the trend seems to be that the path will just suddenly stop, leaving you to climb an incline of rubble or sand to pick it up again a few hundred metres on. It’s tough work and slow going but, hey, you’re on holiday – what’s the rush? Make sure you stop and get some snaps of the dramatic coastline along the way. We ran along a few different paths in the south.
Did we say the coast was slow? The mountains are basically just fast hiking. The views are absolutely breathtaking, though, so you’ll be stopping all the time anyway, and if you’re worried about the heat in Tenerife, the mountains are for you – there’s nothing more refreshing than running through a cool cloud… If you’re looking for a bit of cross training, sign up for a trek with a local company; we enjoyed the running but learnt loads about the place from a guide on the trek, so it was well worth doing both.
Another good option to try to keep a bit cooler is forest running, and there are some excellent pine forest trails in the north of the island, so we’d recommend perhaps hiring a car and travelling up there if you happen to be staying in the south.
The island is famous for dolphin watching and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see them if you go out on a boat trip. At some times of the year, you might glimpse a pilot whale or sperm whale too, if you’re lucky! For the thrill seekers amongst you, how about a bit of para-gliding? There are myriad companies offering all kinds of sports to try, on boats, beach or mountain tops, plus plenty of golf courses dotted about the island, if you want something with a slower pace.
Getting there: We flew to Tenerife with Monarch. Monarch operates scheduled flights to Tenerife from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £49 one way.
Accommodation: We stayed at the Hotel Vincci Tenerife Golf
With thanks to the Tenerife Tourism Corporation, webtenerife.co.uk, who helped organise our trip.
For hiking trips, try Anaga Experience.
For kayaking trips, try Abeque.
The next Bluetrail ultra takes place on 11 June 2016. Find more details at tenerifebluetrail.com.