General features

Mountainous terrain is Tenerife's trademark and you could cross the whole Island by simply going from one mountain to another. But there are exceptions, such as the Island's two great valleys: Güímar and La Orotava.

Originally, they too were huge mountains standing as high as 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) tall, but one day those mountains collapsed under the sheer weight of tons of volcanic material that piled upon them after repeated eruptions, dragging everything down the mountainside and into the sea.

Although they were formed in similar circumstances, these two valleys represent two very different ways of living as they lie at opposite ends of the Island and the weather is naturally different. La Orotava Valley in the north is humid and mild. Güímar valley in the south is much drier.

The undeniable beauty of these settings has always attracted a variety of visitors, including famous personalities: the writer Agatha Christie spent several spells in Puerto de la Cruz, while the naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt marvelled at the Island, particularly the Orotava Valley. "Nowhere in the world seems more able to dissipate melancholy and restore peace to troubled minds than Tenerife.", said Von Humboldt when he first came to the Island in 1799, and he wasn't exaggerating!

Don't leave the area until you have taken the unique trail around Mount Guamazo and, when you visit Teide National Park, drop into one of its visitors centres where the staff will tell you about the incredible theory of gravitational sliding.

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