The Best Golf Courses in Tenerife

Tenerife is a paradise for golfers whatever the time of year and because of this I am sometimes asked about the courses. I’m not a golfer, so the following is based on what my friend Peter told me about his favourite pastime.

Apparently, all the courses not only offer spectacular views but also a variety of challenges. They are listed below, in no particular order, other than starting in the south and ending in the north of the island.

ABAMA GOLF – The newbie of courses. Built in 2005, this beautiful course is set amidst a creek and several lakes. It offers 18 holes and is the most expensive with Green Fees: 9 holes from 78€, 18 holes from 123€ – 200€. Each Spring, they organise a pro-am event. Visit Abama Golf Website

AMARILLA GOLF – In 1989, Donald Steel was given the task of creating the world’s best golf course, the result is Amarilla Golf. Set against the volcanic landscape of southern Tenerife, a major obstacle is to tee off from one cliff, and cross the ocean to reach the green on the next cliff. Green Fees: 9 holes from 14€, 18 holes from 20€ Visit Amarilla Golf Website

GOLF LAS AMÉRICAS – Situated in the heart of Playa de Las Américas. This championship course meanders through lakes, rivers, and ravines and is considered ‘a pure joy to play’. Green Fees: 9 holes from 34€ – 54€, 18 holes from 58€ – 97€ Visit Golf Las Americas Website

GOLF COSTA ADEJE – this 27-hole course opened in 1998 and takes advantage of the natural landscape, a former banana plantation. Apparently, the course is challenging but the views players can enjoy across the ocean to La Gomera are amazing. Green Fee: 9 holes 35€ – 45€, 18 holes 59€ – 96€ Visit Golf Costa Adeje Website

GOLF DEL SUR – Consists of three 9-hole courses. GdS has been the venue for international PGA tournaments. The undulating course has wide fairways and elevated greens, with striking black volcanic sand bunkers and some tricky water hazards. Green Fees: 9 holes 35€ – 51.50€. 18 holes 57€ – 87€ Visit Golf del Sur Website

REAL CLUB DE GOLF DE TENERIFE – Tenerife’s oldest golf course, also known as El Peñon opened in 1932. In the north of the island, with scenic views across the Atlantic. Its 18 holes and are known to be challenging. Green Fees: 18 holes 50€ – 75€ Visit Real Club Website

BUENAVISTA GOLF – Designed by Severiano Ballesteros and opened in 2003. The views are spectacular with the Teno Mountains on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Players are challenged to hit the ball along the coastline, and hopefully not into the sea. Green Fees: 9 holes from 34€, 18 holes from 57€  Visit Buenavista Golf Website

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Callao Salvaje – Costa Adeje

Today we called into the small, mainly residential, resort of Callao Salvaje. It is part of what is known to tourists as ‘Costa Adeje’ and is located 8km from Playa de las Americas.

Originally a small village, it has undergone rapid transformation over the past few years, most noticeable is the addition of Playa Ajabo. To maintain the enhancements, and continue the modernisation plan, improvements to the beach access road have been made and in the longer term, the walkway between Callao Salvaje and Playa Paraíso will be finished. Unfortunately, the work gives some areas the feeling of a building site.

The beach is ground rock rather than sand and can be sharp on the feet particularly, those of children but it is now a pretty area and the beach bar offers the nice touch of providing drinks to your sun lounger while you relax and listen to the waves lapping the shore.

For those not looking for the highlife but prefer a quiet holiday Callao Salvaje is ideal. The majority of visitors use the village as a base from which to explore the island as the position and access to the motorway is excellent.

There are a couple of hotels, unfortunately only one, on the edge of town, looks modern, the others appear dated, but only from the outside, because according to reviews facilities are excellent.

For those on self-catering breaks the resort has a small shopping centre and a SPAR type supermarket, which in recognition of British visitors stocks familiar UK brands, although in most cases the prices are considerably higher than you would expect to pay at home. The reality being unless you are prepared to travel to the large supermarkets, you have to pay the village shopkeepers prices. On a more positive note, the resort has a good selection of reasonably priced restaurants and a variety of bars…..And some of the best ice-cream around 🙂

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Head to the hills, Vilaflor – Tenerife

Close to the south of Tenerife is the quaint village of Vilaflor. Surrounded by pine forests it is the highest village in Spain, located at 1,500 meters above sea level.

It has been a long time since we last visited but the views remain as magnificent as ever.

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The main economy, apart from Fuente Alta mineral water, is agricultural, although these days a bit of rural tourism is thrown in for good measure.

The main street has a number of shops, bars, and restaurants but if you arrive during the heat of the afternoon, it is eerily quiet. The walkers are well into their treks, the villagers are indoors behind closed shutters.

There is, however, more to see than just admire the orange trees and potted plants from a shady roadside bench. Once you reach the small but well-kept centre there are several historical buildings close together.

Vilaflor is the birthplace of the first Canarian saint. Brother Pedro was born in here in 1626 and his presence is everywhere, from the statue as you enter town, the plaques outside the houses and the town centrepiece, the village church the Iglesia de San Pedro Apostle. There is also the Batlemita convent building began in the 18th century, and finally finished in 1980 it now houses a museum.

Check out the remains of the old water mill, built in 1664 and used until 1915, and you can still see where the grain was ground. A few yards down the road is Los Lavaderos where in the past poor families did their washing. You can also see the old steam pump used to provide water to the town laundry.

The Casa de Los Soler is one of the most important examples in the south of traditional Canarian architecture. The Marquis of Soler built it in the 17th century.

La Huerta Grande is a bakery very similar to the one in Casa de Los Soler. It is located inside a private property opposite the Fuente Alta bottling plant. Access is from the Plaza de San Pedro. The oven made up of two parts has been abandoned for many years and while one part is in reasonable and recognisable condition the other has crumbled.

Located just outside the village there is a large carpark, where you should pull in to admire the views. Across from this, a small path will take you to El Pino Gordo a spectacular Canary Island pine that is said to be more than 800 years old, is 60m high and more than 3m in diameter. On a hot day, it is the perfect place to sit on one of the small benches and enjoy the shade from the tree.

Vilaflor is not only worth a visit for its historical sites it is surrounded by exceptional landscapes that make it a paradise for walkers. The best way to visit is by car but public transport, (TITSA Line 482) can whisk you from Los Cristianos in a little over 30 minutes.

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Corazones de Tejina (Hearts of Tejina) – Tenerife

The fiestas in honour of San Bartolomé last approximately 15 days culminating in the Corazones de Tejina that usually takes place on the last Sunday in August in Tejina. The program covers all kinds of events, cultural, sports, art, folklore, and is a time of fun for all who attend.

Offerings of flowers and fruit are common in celebrations by people involved in agriculture, not only in Tenerife, but throughout the Canary Islands. The origins can be traced back to the pre-Hispanic inhabitants who used flowers to decorate places to honour important people, and especially at their annual harvest festival, called Beñesmén. However, no celebration is as quirky as the Hearts of Tejina.

Three village streets “Arriba”, “Abajo” and “El Pico” compete with each other for the most beautifully decorated heart. The hearts measuring about 12 feet long and weighing about 1000kg are intricately adorned with ribbons and fruits. In each quarter is placed a cake (represent different agricultural customs). They are crowned with a large bouquet and Spanish flags and finally paraded, on the shoulders of the men to the church to be ritually offered to St Bartholomew the patron saint. All the while fireworks and rockets accompany groups of dancers and singers attending the celebrations. The entire village gets involved, and everyone is motivated by local pride and a love of the land.

Afterwards, the hearts are hung on a cross like structure and left until Monday at 6pm when the people eagerly await the moment they are dismantled and the fruit and cakes thrown to the public.

Experience Tenerife as you’ve never seen it before and soak up the fun at the most unusual summer fiesta on the island.

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Navigating our way around Portugal

I said previously, when talking of the Algarve, that Portugal isn’t our favourite country. This time my thoughts are on non-resort places, including Lisbon.

Starting with Coimbra once Portugal’s capital and home to one of the world’s first universities, its biggest attraction.

Our hotel had spectacular views of the old town. Coimbra stands on a steep hill and in the narrow streets are plenty of cafes, shops, and numerous historical sites. There is an old and a new convent, not satisfied with that, the city brags two cathedrals, the old “Sé Velha” and the new “Sé Nova”. However, the name is a bit misleading, since the new has been around since 1598. Close by, are the ancient houses called “Republicas” where university students live, just as they did centuries ago.

After climbing the hill, we needed a coffee in what was once a chapel. It is a great place to absorb the atmosphere, with its vaulted ceiling, stained-glass windows, and wood panelling. Behind the café, a delightful garden and lake, ‘Santa Cruz Park’ (easy to remember). I imagine, the peace and quiet in the midst of the city, makes it great for a picnic. We had lunch at a popular hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a back alley. It had only a few tables, but the walls were plastered with numerous messages from visitors from around the world.

Coimbra although a provincial town is big on history. We spent two days there but coach parties can take in the highlights in just a couple of hours.

We continued our journey to Fatima by way of the Gothic masterpiece Batalha, built in the 15th/16th centuries. The outside is covered in gables, pinnacles, buttresses, and small columns. The interior justifies a visit in its own right. It is vast and the stained-glass windows exceptionally beautiful. In the Founder’s Chapel are several tombs including that of Prince Henry the Navigator.

Naturally, this ex-convent girl knew about Fatima, a shrine for those who believe the Virgin Mary appeared to three children in 1917. It attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world. On one side of the plaza the basilica, with the tombs of the three children, two died in 1919 and 1920, and Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005.

Across the plaza an ultra-modern chapel and a number of shops selling religious articles. We bought a Jesus, when next seen, he’d been converted into a pilot complete with goggles, and flying helmet, well he was the right size for the model plane.

Having visited Lisbon before, the grim exterior of our hotel, although clean and modern inside, surprise us. The area is supposedly good, but what it lacked in simple charm was made up for by ´scruffy´ apartments; however, we slept well and forgot the tat beyond the door.

Lurching and rumbling across the hills on which Lisbon stands, our city tour took us to St George’s castle, for a bird’s-eye view over Alfama, the city’s medieval neighbourhood. Then by sharp contrast, to Parque das Nacoes, with its contemporary architecture, and Europe’s longest bridge.

No visit to Lisbon is complete unless it includes the impressive monument to Henry the Navigator, and the Belém Tower. Like many places visited by coach parties, we didn’t have to walk far, and being a Sunday it was quiet when we were dropped at the waterfront and Portugal’s “Age of Discoveries”.

Our first stop was the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Built in the 1500s it is huge, and while built in honour of Henry the Navigator, it is also the resting place of Lisbon’s second favourite explorer Vasco da Gama. Its cloisters are considered among the most beautiful in the world no surprise it is a World Heritage Site.

Across the road is the Monument to the Discoveries, that depicts Henry gazing dreamily across the Atlantic, at its base a mosaic compass showing routes sailed by Portuguese explorers. Mythical beasts, ships, and mermaids add colour and a little fantasy.

Next the iconic Torre de Belém. This squat tower has had a mixed past, having been a prison, a customs house and a lighthouse.

The final stop in Belém and a different kind of journey. Statue of the Santa Cruz Seaplane used by Coutinho and Cabral in their attempt to be the first to fly across the South Atlantic.

For us a day was enough to experience Belém. We had been inside the Monastery viewed the Torre, taken the obligatory photos of Henry’s monument and were totally cultured out. Despite the old terracotta tiled buildings that line Lisbon’s maze of streets, we found the city timeworn and lacking charm. We like ‘old’ and Lisbon is one of Europe’s oldest cities, nevertheless, for us something is lacking and three days was just one too many.

Check Queenie’s Daily Snippets for Tenerife news & for daily weather updates Everyone’s Favourite Blog
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