Travel

Discover the Hidden Paradise with Black-sand Beaches and Volcanoes

A few years ago, I left my home in Athens and settled on the Greek island of Tínos, where I fell in love with the harmonious way islanders live and the influence of nature in everyday life. Recently, I became fascinated by the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago known for its geological and biological diversity. The islands offer a range of landscapes, from rocky deserts to tropical beaches, each with its own microclimate and unique energy.

Intrigued by the stereotypes surrounding the Canary Islands, I decided to explore Tenerife, the most populous island. I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Abama, a luxurious resort that served as an excellent base for my explorations. Driving through the lush hills, I stumbled upon Fukuoka Farm, run by Federico Negrisolo and Romina. They left Italy for Tenerife, seeking a more intentional lifestyle connected to nature. They use Masanobu Fukuoka’s “do-nothing” farming methods to grow their own vegetables, contributing to a more sustainable agricultural approach.

I continued my journey towards the island’s centerpiece, Teide, a dormant volcano. The Guanche, the indigenous people of the Canary Islands, believed that Teide was home to the devil, Guayota. Around the volcano, I encountered gigantic pieces of dried lava, creating a geologist’s dream. I also explored Anaga, a wild area with bright-green laurel trees and moss-covered branches. Moving on to El Hierro, the smallest of the main islands, I experienced a sense of solitude as I drove through volcanic cones and discovered Hotel Puntagrande, a fabulous hotel perched on a wave-battered outcrop of volcanic rock.

El Hierro offers natural seaside pools called charcos, carved by ancient volcanic activity. I swam in Charco Azul, resembling a smaller version of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, and marveled at the camouflaged black crabs covering the rock face in Charco Manso. El Hierro’s food scene has been transforming, with restaurants like 8Aborigen showcasing local ingredients and reinterpreting the island’s culinary heritage.

Lastly, I visited Lanzarote, known for its natural wines and unique volcanic features. I stayed at Alava Suites, influenced by César Manrique’s vision of preserving the island’s natural beauty. Manrique’s works, such as the Volcano House and LagOmar, captivated me with their architectural marvels. Exploring Teguise, the former capital of the Canary Islands, I wandered through its empty streets, admiring the whitewashed buildings with colorful wooden doors.

The Canary Islands, with their diverse landscapes and deep connections to nature, challenged the mass tourism stereotypes associated with them. From Tenerife to El Hierro and Lanzarote, I discovered a world of geological wonders, intentional farming practices, tranquil hotels, and culinary delights rooted in the island’s heritage. These islands offer an opportunity to escape into a harmonious coexistence with nature and experience the unique energy that defines each place.

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