TOP 10 Best of the Ca­naries

The ev­er­green Ca­naries are in for an­other bumper win­ter. Avoid the crowds with this se­lec­tion of in­sider tips that shows the is­lands at their best...

Irish Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL - BY AN­DREW EAMES


GOMERA: DRA­MATIC LUNCH Mains from €12.50 This steep, lemon-squeezer shaped is­land has arid bar­ran­cos (ravines) around the sides and lau­rel wood­land in the mid­dle. Most visi­tors are here for the hik­ing in the mossy woods, which are car­peted in fra­grant wild flow­ers, with reg­u­lar stops at view­points or mi­radors. For a par­tic­u­larly spec­tac­u­lar post-walk re­fresher, head for Mi­rador de Abrante, a new sky­walk res­tau­rant/ bar high above the vil­lage of Agulo, where it sticks out over a cliff. The view is stu­pen­dous – if you have a head for heights. You need good nerves for the ac­cess road too, and to come here af­ter 3pm, when the day-trip­pers from Tener­ife have gone. Ex­pect to pay €30 for a two-course lunch with drinks.­rador-de-abrante


GOMERA: PRET­TI­EST VIL­LAGE B&B from €68 per night Get

into the groove of is­land vil­lage life by stay­ing in the heart of Agulo, “Gomera’s pret­ti­est vil­lage”, si­t­u­ated on the is­land’s north coast with views to Tener­ife. The vil­lage’s multi-coloured houses are ar­ranged like eggs in a nest, with Tener­ife’s Mount Teide ris­ing in the dis­tance. Sev­eral of the old houses have be­come restau­rants – seek out the old school­house, for ex­am­ple – and you can also now stay here in the unas­sum­ing Casa Lugo. It’s sim­ple and au­then­tic, gath­ered around an in­te­rior court­yard, and it has a lovely break­fast room. Dou­bles with break­fast from €68. hotel­ru­ral­


LAN­ZAROTE: RU­RAL RE­TREAT B&B from €106 per night Casa To­maren is the best (most dis­creet) ad­dress on the is­land, which is why David Cameron and family stayed here when he was PM. Other places may be flashier and more ex­pen­sive, but these self-ca­ter­ing suites in the heart of ru­ral Lan­zarote have been con­verted from an 18th cen­tury farm­stead, us­ing a mix of Span­ish and In­done­sian in­flu­ences – with bud­dhas ris­ing out of the sur­round­ing cacti. The suites are tiled, adobe-walled and filled with heavy wooden fur­ni­ture. Break­fast is pro­vided and the

swim­ming pool is a sunken oa­sis among palm trees. Dou­ble stu­dios from €106 a night with break­fast, for a min­i­mum stay of three or four days, de­pend­ing on the sea­son. to­



Cac­tus burger from

€6 Avoid the mod­ern is­land cap­i­tal, Ar­recife, where the cruise ships and fer­ries dock. In­stead head in­land for the is­land’s orig­i­nal cap­i­tal, Teguise, a sleepy, pretty place, with low white­washed houses. On Sun­days, the town hosts a huge street mar­ket, with over 400 stalls sell­ing leather, wood­crafts, chif­fon, sil­ver, lace and more. The mar­ket is aimed at tourists, for sure, but it has a real buzz to it, with lots of the restau­rants host­ing live mu­sic, so the lo­cals come too. The mar­ket is a good place to graze on un­usual food stalls, from Tran­syl­va­nian pas­tries to cac­tus burg­ers (€6).


TENER­IFE: COBBLES AND LAVA B&B from €114 per night The fast au­topista has vir­tu­ally com­pleted its stran­gle­hold on overde­vel­oped Tener­ife, but Garachico, the cob­bled for­mer port in its north­west cor­ner, is still be­yond its reach, and re­mains a sleepy place. The big at­trac­tion here is the salt­wa­ter pools stud­ded with lumps of lava, reached via path­ways and bridges. There’s el­e­gant tea­room Le Patissier on dry land, in a tra­di­tional Ca­narian court­yard with a sump­tu­ous cake dis­play on an old wooden dresser. A bit fur­ther back from the sea stands the Quinta Roja ho­tel, on Garachico’s sleepy cob­bled square, also with a tra­di­tional court­yard at its heart. Dou­bles from €114, with break­fast. quin­



from €38 You can spend a lot of money on a quite av­er­age meal in the tourist ar­eas of Tener­ife. Bet­ter to head up the hill from pop­u­lar Puerto de la Cruz to just short of the au­topista, to find Res­tau­rant Larena 53, a con­verted finca with a ter­race sur­rounded by ba­nana plan­ta­tions. Cui­sine here is Ca­narian/euro­pean of ex­cep­tion­ally high qual­ity, beau­ti­fully pre­sented. If it is warm enough, eat out on the deck, with a chill-out zone for di­ges­tifs un­der the stars. On cold evenings they’ll light the wood-burn­ing stove. Four cour­ses for €38.


LA PALMA: RU­RAL COT­TAGES From €45 per night Lo­cals call this big, green, ru­ral is­land the Isla Bonita, the pretty is­land, but a short­age of beaches has kept mass tourism away. Its main claims to fame are its ba­nana plan­ta­tions, vol­canic land­scapes and the huge vol­canic crater, the Caldera de Taburi­ente, with lots of good hik­ing trails. Above all, this is a place to go lo­cal, and stay peace­ful. The is­land has a wide range of stone-walled lo­cally owned cot­tages, sur­rounded by flow­ers and fruit trees, for rent. Puente Roto (sleeps five) by Ti­galate in the south­east, with sea views to Tener­ife, is ex­cel­lent value at €50 a night (€10pp). is­



from €25 The rim of La Palma’s huge crater hosts Europe’s top space ob­ser­va­to­ries. Up here at the Roque de Mucha­chos the skies are per­fectly clear. There are daily tours, but to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the uni­verse join a cou­ple of

Do you have the nerve for heady Gomera views?

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