The north-western area of Tenerife is fascinating to explore. The Teno Mountains are absolutely beautiful and the charming towns such as Garachico and Icod de los Vinos are well worth a visit, especially if you want to see the genuine side of the island.
Garachico is a small fishing port that was almost totally destroyed by lava flowing down to the sea in 1706. The lava solidified and formed a small peninsula upon which parts of Garachico were rebuilt. The most well known survivor of this volcanic outburst is the beautifully preserved Castillo de San Miguel (Castle of St. Michael). At the foot of the castle several lava rock pools have formed and many people cool off in them.
If you like to wander around cobbled streets taking in the traditional Canarian plazas and architecture, then you will enjoy visiting this lovely town — it is a far cry from the vibrant seaside resorts on the south coast and demonstrates that Tenerife is about much more than just sun and sea.
In the main square, Plaza de la Libertad, there are two beautiful ornate churches that were rebuilt after the volcanic eruption. The Iglesia de Santa Ana (Church of saint Anne) and the Iglesia de San Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), which has an elaborate Mudéjar decoration, a blend of Muslim and Christian architecture.
Among the many wonderful places to explore along Tenerife's north coast is the quaint town of Icod de Los Vinos. This is one of Tenerife's oldest towns, with a famous dragon tree (Drago Milenario) as the main attraction. This tree is believed to be over 1,000 years old. Although its real age remains a mystery experts put it at about 300 years. Beware, there is a charge to see this tree but it can be viewed better from the terrace of the church that overlooks it. No matter what, the important thing about this tree is really its beauty. Another striking natural attraction is the Cueva del Viento (Wind Cave) a complex lava tube, one of the largest in the world, which visitors can walk through and explore.
Besides several attractions such as the Convento de San Agustín (Convent of Saint Augustine), the Iglesia de San Marcos (Church of Saint Mark) and the Mariposario del Drago (a tropical garden with butterflies), as you would expect, just a few kilometres outside the town you will find a wonderful little beach – Playa San Marcos.