Although Adeje started out as a small village near the mountains, the tourism boom during the second half of the last century turned its coast into one of Europe's most important holiday destinations. Adeje combines its charm as a little country enclave, full of trails and fascinating natural landscapes, with a range of top notch 4 and 5 star hotels. Theme parks, beaches and leisure options such as whale and dolphin watching make it an all-encompassing holiday resort.
The municipality of Adeje is located in the south-west of the Island and covers a surface area of 105.94 km2 (40.9 sq miles), making it Tenerife's sixth largest municipality. It is here that some of the Island's most ancient geological materials have been found, and the erosive force of the wind has carved such impressive sculptures as the Roque del Conde rock formation or the summit of Pico de Abinque. Also worthy of mention is the Barranco del Infierno (Hell's Ravine), which has been designated a Special Nature Reserve, as well as the phreatomagmatic crater of Caldera del Rey. More than 45% of the municipality's land is covered by protected nature areas.
Moreover, the town of Villa de Adeje is steeped in history, dating back to before the Spanish conquest. As proof of the historic legacy it has built up over the years, its historic quarter is home to significant architectural monuments such as Casa Fuerte and the Church of Santa Úrsula.
In recent years, the municipality's coastal area has undergone considerable development. Known as Costa Adeje, it boasts a top quality hotel industry and plenty of leisure, nature, relaxation and sports options (with special mention to be made of its golf course).
Adeje also has 14 beaches made of different colour sand where visitors can swim all year round thanks to an average annual temperature of 24 ºC (75 ºF), with roughly 300 days of sunshine a year.
Another great asset is its wealth of sea life, housing one of the world's most important colonies of cetaceans: pilot whales, dolphins and other species of sea mammals can be seen swimming placidly in its waters. This makes for a great natural show that you can watch from one of the boats that head out specially.
The beauty of Adeje's ocean floors, inhabited by over 500 species, makes this municipality a favourite destination for divers. Adeje has a great network of diving centres that give lessons, organise diving trips and sell or rent out diving equipment. Adeje also has the Tenerife Top Training centre for the keenest and more proficient divers, equipped with some of the most modern facilities in Europe, attracting divers from all over the world to the municipality. The centre has an Olympic swimming pool, a warm-up pool and the only hydrodynamic flow channel in Spain.
Adeje's beautiful and jolly traditional celebrations are very much enjoyed by visitors. The festivities in honour of the Patron Saint, for instance, gather hundreds of people wishing to pay homage to San Sebastián, Santa Úrsula and La Virgen de la Encarnación, with adorned wagons, street dancers and pageants.
Costa Adeje, which goes from Playa de Troya to Callao Salvaje has a golf course, Siam Water Park, the Magma Congress Palace and a marina from which boats set sail to watch whales and dolphins. There are lots of interesting places to see in Adeje.
Here are some examples:
One of the great pleasures you will find in Adeje is the chance to go out hiking. All it takes is a pair of walking boots and the energy to set out on one of its many trails that lead to stunning and hidden places. The south-west of Tenerife comprises seven protected nature areas that will welcome you to roam through its unique landscapes. One of the trails sets off from Boca del Paso and leads hikers to the old hamlet of La Quinta, which dates back to the 16th century and reveals what is left of the area's vital agricultural tradition.
The trail of Roque del Conde is a little more demanding, but rewards hikers with breathtaking views over the south of Tenerife from atop the rock formation that the trail is named after, which stands 1,000 m (3,280 ft) above sea level. The more traditional trail of Ifonche combines stretches of pine forest with some of Adeje's traditional farmland on its way through three Protected Nature Areas, covering a distance of 6.4 km (4 miles).
For those in search of a challenge, the trail of Teresme takes just over six hours to walk and climbs 1,951 m (6,400 ft) in altitude from the bottom to the top. The trail starts at the gateway to the house of Casa Fuerte and passes along the path that allowed the movement of people and goods from the coast up into the hills in times gone by.
The trail of La Encarnación or La Virgen traces the journey that the people of Adeje would historically take as they transported the figure of the Virgin from La Enramada to the chapel of Santa Úrsula de la Villa. The reason was to protect this religious figure from pirates in the 16th century, but today the sculpture is symbolically transported to the chapel as a tribute to this tradition. From there, the trail heads down to the coast, near the area of Tosca Colorada, where hikers will see etched into the ground the ruts left by old carts and wagons. The path passes a place known as El Humilladero, which is where the figure of La Virgen de la Encarnación was first worshipped, and it ends by the old chapel of San Sebastián.
There are several companies that organise outings on horse back for amateurs and accomplished riders, with a variety of trails along the coast or through the hills in Adeje. With options to suit all age groups, they also offer horse riding and jumping lessons.
Mountain Biking routes
Whether you come equipped with your own bike or decide to hire one here, Adeje has a range of roads and country tracks for all levels, making for a lot of fun and exercise in the countryside.