It had been a wonderful week on Tenerife once more, hiking some magnificent trails as part of the Tenerife Walking Festival. I had a day for downtime before my flight back home so it was time to explore more of the city I was staying in, Puerto de la Cruz.

Most people, I imagine, think of Tenerife as places like Playa de las Americas etc of Tenerife South. A very touristic part of the island, bars, hotels and more sandy and bare. Around to the North of the Island there is such contrast. A lot greener, a lot quieter, a lot…. more real, and perfect to either stay and explore from or to visit even if you are staying in the South.

Puerto de la Cruz was originally known by its English translation of Port of the Cross. In the 1500s it was an important port and fishing village. In those days the biggest port was further along the north coast called Garachico. A volcanic eruption destroyed Garachico in 1706  and Puerto de la Cruz became the most important of its day. In fact prior to 1772 it was known as Puerto de La Orotava being a port in the municipality of Orotava.

At the end of the 19th century and through the 20th, tourism took off and hotels came to the city. As I walked around I could see that this was done a whole lot more gracefully than packed tourism hotspots elsewhere in Spain and Tenerife. The walk showed me a charm and vintage side that complimented perfectly a sense of holiday.

It does not take long at all to be away from the centre, or the front, to be within the, very quiet, side streets and narrow secret alleyways. The colour on all the buildings was immense and under the sun was spectacular to walk amongst.

Puerto de la Cruz is a street art hotspot on the island and evidence of this was around many corners I turned.

Little cafes and tapas bars tucked away along secret streets, so far removed from the trappings of commercialism. Cuisine and drinking secrets to be discovered. I loved that.

As well as colour on all the houses I saw little pictures and symbols by people’s doorways. Apparently this symbolises the family nicknames/surnames and a bit of history who lives there. I saw trucks, animals, work symbols and more.

Away from the side streets the walk along the front and the sea walls are truly panoramic. The volcanoes rising up from the city inland, full of green you do not find in the south, then the seascapes the other, a sea spray beneath your feet as you look out at blue above blue.

I enjoyed walking around so much I think I ended up walking the city at least twice, discovering new things each time.

The next time I come to Tenerife it will certainly involve exploring more of the charm of the North of the island. It is terrific!