Hotel Boutique San Diego sits on a peaceful tree-lined residential avenue in north-east Tenerife, 10 minutes’ stroll from the cobbled lanes and colourful colonial architecture of San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s old town.
International flights are mostly served by Tenerife South–Reina Sofía Airport, around 45 minutes from the hotel. Tenerife North, 15 minutes away, deals primarily in domestic flights. Transfers can be arranged and cost €70 and €18 respectively, one-way.
It’s worth renting a car at the airport for the coastal drive to Hotel Boutique San Diego alone, all sweeping sea views and sleepy coastal fishing villages. You can also arrange a vehicle on arrival in La Laguna, where a car is all but essential for exploring the picturesque mediaeval towns, volcanic beaches and wild terrain of the mountainous north. Parking is available at the hotel, but is limited and subject to availability.
Ferry services operate from the Spanish mainland and other Canary Islands to ports at Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the north-east coast and Los Cristianos in the south-west.
Worth getting out of bed for
Don your floppiest, most fetching sun hat and get ready to strike a few poses against the many achingly photogenic backdrops of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, whose old town dates back to mediaeval times. It’s not easy to get lost in the pedestrianised streets here, thanks to their radical (by 15th-century standards) grid-like layout. Yet get lost you must. Achieve this by taking a mapless wander through atmospheric cobbled lanes, pausing to admire the merry jumble of architectural styles – colonial, modernist, Mudéjar, neoclassical – the latter of which is perhaps best exemplified by the grand façade of La Laguna Cathedral. Step inside to check out the elaborate baroque-style altarpiece and monolithic marble pulpit.
More eye-catching still are the intricately carved wooden ceilings inside the Iglesia de la Concepción, and its Gothic tower, which contains the largest bell in the Canary Islands. You can climb to the top to gaze across the old town’s rust-red rooftops but, unless you fancy some souvenir tinnitus, perhaps avoid getting caught up there when the clock strikes noon.
There’s plenty of natural eye candy in the Santa Cruz de Tenerife province, too. Take the slow, scenic route north through the verdant valleys and precipitous peaks of the Anaga Rural Park where, close to the island’s northernmost tip, intrepid explorers willing to make the final steep descent (on foot) are rewarded by the wild volcanic sands and imposing craggy bluffs of Benijo Beach. Stick around for evening when the reddish glow of the setting sun hits the black sands and twin sea stacks of Benijo and La Rapadura, turning the landscape almost martian.
Slightly more down-to-earth, but no less dramatic in its own way, the more easily accessible Punta del Hidalgo offers the twin joys of a natural swimming pool in the bay and a cool, angular, late 20th-century lighthouse that looks more like a space shuttle preparing for lift-off than any lighthouse you’ve ever seen.
Tenerife’s mountainous terrain is manna for hikers and hill walkers, and Mount Teide is the big kahuna that many come here to conquer. This monster volcano is hard to miss and even more challenging to ascend. You’ll need to obtain a permit to go it alone or you can book a guided climb that takes you all 12,198 feet up to the edge of the crater – that’s the highest point in Spain, fact fans. Those who fancy the views without the exertion can take the electrifying cable car ride from base station to the sky-high terminal just a shade short of the summit.
El Jinete sin Cabeza – the headless horseman – is way less frightening than its unusual moniker would suggest. Instead, homey interiors with wood panelling, framed paintings and chalkboard menus promise comforting platefuls of pork knuckle, Argentine steak and freshly caught seafood. Indeed, the grilled octopus here may actually be worth losing your head over. It’s only a 10-minute stumble from the hotel too, meaning you can confidently order that third bottle of wine, safe in the knowledge that bed is never far away.
Rakaposhi is a simple but effective concept, splicing Pakistani flavours of the Himalayas with Spanish tapas in La Laguna’s old town. It’s the mash-up you never knew you needed, but one taste of the walnut and apricot croquettes, lamb pie or spiced chicken karahi will make you an instant convert.
So cunningly concealed is El Rincon de Tintin that you might require the help of the titular Belgian adventurer to locate it. This cool little bar – all flagstone floors and Belgian beers – stands in the shadow of the Iglesia de la Concepción’s Gothic belltower, near a fountain in La Laguna’s old town. It sounds like a riddle but it isn’t. Come for the joy of finding it, stay for the fine selection of craft ales and cocktails.
Have a blast in the cool, neon-lit surroundings of Atomic! where old vinyl records find a new lease of life as ceiling decorations and the cocktails are as colourful as the decor. Follow the hip crowd until you spot the theatre-style backlit sign promising ‘drinks, food and fun’ inside.