Sensational sunsets and cool cocktails

Tenerife is a beautiful island
Tenerife is a beautiful island

I stood in the 27 degree evening heat, smiling as I took in the sight of the famous Veronica’s Strip, that legendary feature of Playa de las Americas, and remembering the last time I had been here.

I was 19 years younger, and had a considerably higher tolerance for alcohol than I do now, as the trip to the famous Canary Island in 1997 had been made with seven of my school pals, embarking on our first ever ‘girls’ holiday; two weeks of sunbathing, gossiping, and dancing into the wee hours.

My memories were fond and certainty not fuzzy; I was a sensible schoolgirl, and amongst the many things I remembered were the blisteringly hot days spent lying by the pool, the gloriously long, busy beaches, and the atmosphere of fun and friendliness that seemed to permeate the whole island.

Needless to say, when I returned to the resort with my husband a few weeks ago, a good deal older and wiser, I was thrilled to discover that the area has retained its most charming features, and improved on what some might describe as its less appealing ones.

But more about that later; let’s talk first of all about the logistics of travelling to Tenerife, which thankfully, couldn’t be more straightforward.

We had booked our flights with Jet2, which turned out to be a first class experience. The combination of friendly staff and comfy seats made the four-and-a-half hour flight seem relatively quick, and our departure time of 2.30pm meant we had the whole morning to do any last minute packing and panicking.

The popular airline flies to a total of 66 destinations, mainly across Europe, and if you want to depart from Belfast, you have the choice of a number of destinations besides Tenerife, including Zante, Dubrovnik, Faro and Malaga.

For us, Tenerife was an obvious one, as our needs were simple; sun, sun, and more sun.

We had opted to go self-catering, and our privately owned, one bedroom apartment in the centre of Playa de las Americas (Apartamentos El Cortijo) was a three minute walk from the beach at Playa de Troya, and all the bars, restaurants and shops that make up the centre of this lively resort.

We were also a short shuttle bus ride away from the world famous Siam Park, a Thai-themed waterpark which, with its whiteknuckle rides and purpose built beach, is the perfect place to visit, if you feel the need to drag yourself away from your sun lounger for the day, and make your holiday that little more action packed.

There are numerous supermarkets within walking distance, allowing you to stock up on all you need, and we enjoyed breakfasts and lunches on our sun-soaked terrace, which were well earned following our daily walks and runs along the seafront.

We ate out every evening, and I have to admit we were truly spoiled for choice.

Given our central location, we were within easy access of not only the bustling bars and eateries of Playa de las Americas, but also those of the neighbouring resort of Costa Adeje, which some describe as Americas’ slightly more ‘upmarket’ rival.

Allegedly a favourite with the Beckhams, this part of the island boasts an assortment of luxury villas, five star hotels, designer shopping and waterfront restaurants.

It has a more laid back vibe and air of sophistication than Playa de las Americas, and we enjoyed a day at one of its most beautiful beaches, Playa de Fanabe.

We also enjoyed a particularly wonderful meal at Blue Beach restaurant in Costa Adeje, sipping cocktails whilst watching one of Tenerife’s famous sunsets.

In terms of budgeting, we found meals and drinks to be a little more expensive in Adeje, although Americas also boasted a number of trendy bars and eating spots, where a cocktail could set you back 13 Euros.

Most of these establishments were located along the seafront, and you were ultimately paying for the setting as well as the beverage, but it’s well worth it.

Head over to the Papagayo Beach Club if you fancy cool tunes, luxurious white leather seating, and views of the Atlantic that are to die for.

In fact, I noted that a number of the former clubs that were part of Veronica’s Strip in the late 90s are now gone and have been replaced with slightly more ‘hip’ beach bars; think the uber-coolness of Marbella, rather than the alcohol-soaked beats of the BCM, the world famous club in party capital Magaluf.

As well as great nitelife, plenty of watersports, and soaring temperatures to take advantage of, a shoppers’ haven awaits at Los Christianos, which is the main port on Tenerife’s south coast. Yachts, ferries and glass-bottomed boats await to take you on trips to neighbouring islands such as La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canaries, and just a 70 minute journey away.

Running behind the two main beaches in this resort - Los Cristianos Beach and Playa de la Vistas - is a long promenade boasting a plethora of cafes, bars and shops, but it was beyond these again that we discovered true shopping paradise, with long streets of boutiques boasting all manner of gorgeous clothes and goods.

The one thing we had intended on doing but sadly ran out of time was hire a car to explore the more northerly resorts of the island, including Puerto de la Cruz, as well as take a trip to the famous Mount Teide, the 12,000 ft high volcano which dominates the skyline from every viewpoint, and is not only the highest point in Spain, but highest above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic.

These adventures - and more - are on the agenda for next time.