As you know I am a fan of Tripadvisor, however, the aspect that surprises me most is when people ask for recommendations of things to do and see around Puerto de la Cruz.
I have a reasonable knowledge of the north, although I admit unlike some on TA I wouldn’t dream of calling myself an expert. However, when someone asks for suggestions of things to do, it always the same old list that is proffered. I agree Loro Parque should be mentioned, although these days, I have a bit of a conflict with performing animals, so not top of MY list. The Botanical Gardens are a plant lovers’ heaven but I am astonished that regular visitors, never mention spending time at Casa Del Vino La Baranda less than 10 minutes in a taxi. I am now going to add yet another attraction but wonder whether anyone else will recommend Artlandya or whether they have even heard of it.
This really is a ‘hidden’ attraction, it is located in the small, but pretty village of Santa Bárbara in Icod de los Vinos and although you need to take a bus or car to get there it is still only 20 minutes from the centre of Puerto de la Cruz and 8 minutes from the famous Drago tree, that often hits the must-see lists.
Artlandya is the brainchild of George and Ingrid Taupe. Originally from Austria the couple moved to Tenerife and transformed the ruins of an old finca into what it is today, a beautifully restored 11,000 square metre farm with views sweeping down to the sea on one side and across to Mount Teide on the other.
Separated on different terraces you can wander through what can only be described as a tropical park of exotic plants, lush ferns, fruits and colourful blossoms. There are fragrantly sweet smelling corners, shaded from the sun by swaying palm trees where the only sound you hear is insects as they buzz and hover over the fish pond or the bubbling waterfall as it cascades through the rocks. This reclaimed oasis really is an idyllic setting.
But this is not just a picturesque garden of peace and serenity; it is also a museum albeit a museum with a difference. The restored outbuildings are home to more than 600 teddy bears and beautiful handmade dolls from all over the world. They live in a number of small, typically Canarian converted stables and represent artists from across the globe.
Ingrid started the doll collection in 1992 and when she moved to the island transferred the collection from a similar museum that she and George had in the south of Austria. While the bears are friendly and cheeky the dolls are exquisite. They are made by some of the best known international artists in the world from porcelain, vinyl, wood and are so life-like you sometimes need to take a second look to make sure they aren’t breathing.
Some dolls are made from cloth and papier-mâché and the museum has a collection of moulds and a small kiln where the staff are happy to demonstrate how the dolls are assembled from the various limbs, hair and eyes that are scattered around the small workshop
For the avid enthusiast the dolls include both numerous unique and valuable items as well as collections from artists such as Gerlinde Bartelt-Stelzer, R. John Wright, Renate Höckh, Christa Canzio, and Regina Reuter, Hella Hoffmann and the lovely dolls by Annette Himstedt that George and Ingrid have gathered over the years.
So if you want a treat while staying in Puerto de la Cruz I would suggest you allow yourself to be enchanted as you take a stroll through a tropical garden and a dream world of dolls. This is not just for children or collectors; it is for anyone who wants to relive memories and be transported back to their youth.
Before your visit ends enjoy a refreshing drink and cakes in the terrace cafe or perhaps mooch around the shop where far less expensive but equally adorable teddy bears and dolls can be bought.
So if you’re looking for somewhere a little different that not every tourist knows about, then visit Artlandya it is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Camino el Moleiro, 21
38430 Icod de los Vinos,
Santa Cruz de Tenerife,
+34 661 32 63 79
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday 10-18 each day except on December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st. There is also free parking.