What to see in Puerto de la Cruz?

Puerto de la Cruz is a ‘cosmopolitan town full of culture‘ the phrase often used on TripAdvisor when trying to convince tourist the north of the island is where they should be. The words “Tenerife” and “culture” are not natural bedfellows. What normally springs to mind when most people think of Tenerife is sun, sand and sangria.

So what is Puerto de la Cruz?

In my opinion, Puerto has retained a flavour seen in many fishing villages on Tenerife. It is constantly trying to adapt to tourism thereby, losing a certain authenticity but in return, it gains with improved facilities such as hotels and restaurants.

When there I enjoy the different areas. I often start in Plaza del Charco with a coffee, in the shade of the trees. It has entertainment in the evening but it is quite awful. Dotted around the edge are a number of bars and restaurants not only local but pizzerias, burgers and German food. We never eat here, despite the best efforts of the PRs to entice us in – they try hard and are on commission so you can’t blame them. For something a little more to our taste we dive deep into the Ranilla district and C/ Mequinez. In this charming area, you’ll find old premises dating back from when the town was nothing but a port.

Plaza del Charco

Leaving the square I head to the Plaza Europa, old harbour and popular little beach. On the harbour side is the Customs House founded in 1620 – it is the oldest building in Puerto. Today it is an art museum, there is also a café. At the rear, the remains of the Batería de Santa Bárbara still exist with steps leading down to the water. The Batería was a small fort that centuries ago defended the city from attack by sea. It housed four canons but unfortunately, hardly anything remains although it is a good place to watch the harbour activity.

From Plaza Europe walk to Paseo San Telmo, the promenade that links the old town to the new. It is very touristy with its array of ice cream parlours, electrical stores, jewellery and gift shops that the town is full of. If anything it is more touristy since the renovations, but it retains a unique beauty as the turbulent sea washes the rocks below.

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You pass the Chapel of San Telmo, before heading to Lago Martiánez, a nice addition for people who don’t have access to a pool or don’t want to use the black beaches. In the lido are waterfalls and a giant fountain. The pools are filled from the sea, that is just over the wall, and levels rise and falls with the tide. It is all extremely clean, you can hire sunbeds and sunshades and there are places to buy food but you can’t take your own in.

lido

What else is there to do?

I would recommend Taoro Park for the best views. It is above the town but for many, the walk up could be difficult so unless you have a car take a taxi, which is cheap. There are plenty of plants and trees to see as you saunter down the steps and walkways, it takes about 15 minutes to walk down and enjoy the view.

Taoro Park (2)

There are also the Botanical Gardens naturally Loro Parque everyone’s favourite and at one time a favourite of mine too, and El Monasterio for a meal with a difference.

So that’s my take on Puerto, not a lot of culture, quite a lot of tourist trappings but tourists are the lifeblood of the island – like all of our resorts, it is far from perfect, but then where is?

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What is a Romeria?

Islanders look forward to their ‘romerias’, they are part of Canary culture, a time when colour and joy fill the streets of towns and villages. They are usually in honour of some saint who has either helped the locals with the harvest, or delivered them from a plague, or some such. These festivities succeed each other throughout the entire year, and each municipality has its own ‘romeria’ so you are sure to enjoy one wherever and whenever you are staying in Tenerife.

Everyone is dressed in their local Canarian costumes to celebrate an event they have been looking forward to all year and spend a day full of local music, tradition, and religious fervour.

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Carts roll by laden with papas arrugadas, boiled eggs, and other traditional foods even joints of pork and beef, all washed down with local wines that are happily shared with locals and visitors alike. However, you can´t be shy you have to push your way to the front like a veteran partygoer.

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During the festivities, there are demonstrations of the old traditions such as threshing, folk sports like Canarian wrestling, and plenty of handicrafts, which include wickerwork, pottery, embroidery, and lace, work.

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A few of the most popular romerias are Our Lady of Candelaria (Candelaria), Romería de San Sebastián (Adeje Town) , Fuegos de Mayo, (Los Realejos) with its famous firework and of course, the Fiestas de San Juan  that take place across the island to celebrate Midsummer’s Eve.

A romeria is an important part of the ‘real’ Tenerife, the perfect blend of tradition and devotion, so when you are on the island, join in the fun and experience something different.

 

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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Lucas Maes – Puerto de la Cruz

We first went to Lucas Maes shortly after we had moved to the island and long before I had a blog. So while having a short break in Puerto de la Cruz and being influenced by fading memories and good reviews we decided to have lunch in what is often described as “a magical secret corner on the island”. Owned by husband and wife team, Lucas Maes trained in some of the best Michelin star kitchens in France and Belgium and Susana Gallardo, is in front of house.

The Canary-Belgian restaurant is in a restored mansion on a slip road off the busy junction of the TF-5. Once inside the subtle lighting, high ceilings and original woodwork give it an old-fashioned charm making it feel elegant and relaxed. By contrast, the artwork is pretentiously modern.

We had booked a late lunch on the terrace because we had our two dogs with us. From here you can enjoy the views over banana plantations and down to the coast of Puerto de la Cruz. We were one of only two couples eating. The menu is interesting, featuring local produce and I was looking forward to seeing the shapes as well as tasting the innovative culinary offerings.

We munched on the spreads and different coloured breads, while we waited for our food.

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I had crispy langoustine salad. I was not overly impressed, the seafood tasted as expected but there was such a heap of leaves although they were well seasoned and the salad dressing was good it was just ‘too much green’. OH had the prawn, lobster and mushroom ravioli. It was a little cold and whilst I’m not usually a tough food critic, after pinching a forkful, I found the pasta strangely sweet but overall a tasty combination.

If we had had slightly more attentive service we may have gone for dessert, I rather fancied the banana, toffee mousse but we didn’t have all day to linger over lunch.

So the good and the bad. We were, to say the least particularly underwhelmed with the service. With so few people, I felt it could have been considerably better. The staff were rather aloof and their demeanour gave the impression they had better things to do (like pinging their braces) than wait on a couple of tables. The food presentation was lovely but some of it didn’t quite hit the mark I had anticipated. I doubt for the price I will be rushing to return.

Since our visit, I have learnt that Lucas Maes is no longer at the restaurant although his wife is. It has a new name, and possibly a new owner. I just hope that whoever has it now will give the waiting staff the sharp kick up the backside that they need.

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Fish Pie

This recipe takes a little longer to  prepare than most of my supper dishes, but it is worth it.

Ingredients – Serves 2
Small piece of fresh salmon fillet, skin on.
Kipper fillet
Milk to cover, approx. ½ pint
1 small onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Few peeled prawns
1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
knob butter
1oz flour.

Topping
Floury potatoes, peeled and boiled (I find 4 small to medium enough for 2 of us but you may like more)
butter and milk for mashing

Method
Lay the salmon and kipper in a pan. Add the milk, onion, bay leaf and a couple of peppercorns. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes. Lift out onto a plate and reserve the milk.

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When cool enough to handle, pull off the skin and flake the fish, removing any bones. Transfer to a bowl and add the prawns.

Melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour, and gradually add the flavoured milk (I like to add a pinch of saffron just for the appetising colour). Whisk well and simmer gently until thick and a little reduced, taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the fish.

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Boil the potatoes in salted water, drain well and mash, then spoon evenly over the top of the fish.

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Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the potato is golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.

Served with french beans this makes a delightful supper dish – easy and tasty.

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Something a Little Different in Arafo

For a nice surprise, head along the TF1 towards Santa Cruz and take the Arafo exit, number 20. Just 1km from the junction, and located on the corner of the TF281, in the middle of nowhere, you will find the lovely Finca Granja El Carretón.

The Finca is an ecological fruit farm producing figs, mangos and avocados amongst other fruit and the seasonal crops are sold each Wednesday in a market from 11:00 to 16:00.

In addition to being an organic farm, El Carreton also has numerous animals native to the Canary Islands including rabbits, chickens, cows, donkeys, goats, pigs, sheep, as well as various types of sheep dogs and hunting hounds. They also have small ponies like Shetland ponies that children can ride. For me, this was the best part, and I could see kiddies loving, it.

You are given a map to find your way around, and each area is labeled.

It was purely by chance I stumbled upon it as someone was asking for advice on doing ‘something different’. It turns out that for the past 20 years the Finca has offered educational visits, summer camps, and demonstrations of organic farming techniques, often to schools but also to the public and providing you phone ahead you will be welcome.

It is open Tuesday to Friday 9:00 to 14:00 and weekends 10:00 to 15:00. There is a restaurant for the all-essential cuppa and in my opinion, whether you are old or young you will enjoy a visit

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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