Fancy a seaside walk with salty breeze, mild climate and fantastic views? This trail in Buenavista del Norte in northwestern Tenerife is a real insider tip. On your way you meet only few tourists and explore the rural surroundings of Buenavista del Norte.
Point of departure is the historic city center from where you walk along the rough coast to an unspoiled beach with a panoramic restaurant. You follow an idyllic path through (almost) untouched nature alongside a green golf course, with beautiful views especially over the wide ocean and the Teno Mountains.
Trail in Buenavista del Norte with 18 sights
This pleasant circular route is 5.4 km long and more of a leisurely stroll. It takes about one and a half hours, but if you want to take great nature shots along the way and enjoy the breathtaking scenery, you will probably need two hours. The coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte is an interesting short trip into the past and presents an ideal opportunity to gain insight into the fascinating geology and natural history of Tenerife. We explain you the 18 most important natural and cultural sights of this self-guided trail.
Starting point of the trail: Buenavista del Norte
Buenavista del Norte is located in the northwesterly-most-point of Tenerife, between a mountainous area with lush vegetation and the rugged Atlantic coast. A peaceful village far away from the overcrowded tourist areas, where it is easy to get in contact with the locals and their traditions. Thanks to its remoteness, a rich cultural heritage within an original landscape have been preserved.
The green and white trail in Buenavista del Norte is signed with Playa Las Arenas. Starting point is just next to the tourist office in the town center, at the market square Plaza de los Remedios (1) with its church and the typical Canarian houses from the 16th century. All the buildings around the plaza consist of old masonry and tiled roofs. Two floors are arranged around a central courtyard, which gives access to the rooms and premises of the house via a wooden staircase. Sliding windows made of wood are typical, some of which are arranged asymmetrically. In 1983 the entire old town of Buenavista del Norte was declared a historical complex.
Enjoy the Canarian way of life
Before you start the coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte, we recommend you a short coffee stop at the plaza. Beneath huge laurel trees you can sit relaxed and experience the local life of this beautiful Canarian village. The Canarios are warm, open-minded and communicative people. In addition to the natural beauty of Buenavista del Norte, the contagious serenity of its inhabitants contribute to making the village a very special place.
Do you know where the name Buenavista comes from? Stories tell that the Spanish conquerors were so impressed by its situation between the mountains and the ocean that they spontaneously gave it the name Buenavista, which means “beautiful sight”.
Historic sites on the trail in Buenavista del Norte
Right behind the plaza you cross the Triana Gorge, a green oasis with barbecue places and the former wash houses Los Lavaderos (2). The building is rectangular and consists of fourteen stone wash basins, each of which with a water inlet and outlet. After this, you will pass partly abandoned, partly actively cultivated banana plantations. At the La Visitación chapel (3), the path branches off to the right on a small staircase, past the historic 16th-century building Hacienda de La Fuente (4), manor house and former residence of the founder of Buenavista, Juan Méndez.
On a narrow stony path you walk along the golf course of Buenavista del Norte towards the Atlantic.
Important crop in the Canary Islands: the banana
This idyllic part of the trail in Buenavista del Norte is lined with colourful bougainvillea, opuntias, agaves and aloe. You can see the nice tropical banana trees from the very proximity and without any disturbing fence (5). Did you know that around 140,000 tons of bananas are harvested every year in Tenerife? In short, more than 35,000 Canarios live from the cultivation of this delicious fruit and only about 10% are exported to other European countries.
Playa de Los Barqueros viewpoint
After that, the coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte leads you above the Triana Gorge. At its mouth into the ocean you reach the viewpoint (mirador) Playa de Los Barqueros (6) with a small chapel. It is worth taking a detour down to the picturesque bay which was once the boat dock of the village. But be careful: signs warn of the risk of falling rocks. When the sea is calm you can swim or snorkel here, but bathing shoes are needed because of the slippery stones.
Basalt columns on the cliffs
On the opposite cliff of the bay you can see vertical basalt columns and even a stone daisy (7). These bizarre rock formations made of lava rocks are striking and geologically very interesting. Admire how nature created spectacular landscapes out of rocks reminiscent of the work of a sculptor! The cooling process of the lava is crucial for the formation of these basalt columns which always arise when the lava flow cools very slowly.
Green massif of the Teno Natural Park
Further, the coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte is paved with individual lava stones and meanders along the rugged rocky coast. Hardly anywhere else on Tenerife can you feel as close to the Atlantic. Roaring surf, smell of iodine in the air and sea birds in the sky are balm for the soul. Certainly, walking shoes with a rigid sole are the best choice for this path.
Similarly, the bright green of the golf course designed by the famous Severiano Ballesteros forms an amazing color contrast to the dark lava landscape. In the distance, you see the mountains and deep gorges of the Teno Mountains (8), the oldest part of Tenerife, which was formed by volcanic eruptions about eight million years ago. On days of good visibility you can make great photos from Spain’s highest mountain, the Teide volcano (3,718 m).
Moreover, this stretch of coast once played an important role in feeding the local population. Numerous concheros (parts of shells) lying on the golf course are evidence of this. After collecting the mussels, the guanches (Canarian natives) separated the shell from the edible part to make the goods easier for transport.
Isla Baja – a volcanic platform
Isla Baja stands for the lower island that lies at the foot of the Teno Mountains (9). It originated from recent volcanic eruptions near the coast, where lava masses spread out like a fan. The Buenavista mountain or Taco volcano played an important role in shaping the relief of this part of the island. It underwent different eruptions, both underwater and aerial, that formed the lower island where the town of Buenavista del Norte currently sits.
Likewise, further eruptions at more than 700 meters over sea level took place and lava streams flowed through the mountain gorges forming this extensive platform over 300,000 years ago. As a result, the former Teno cliffs have been pushed back from coast. The newly formed Isla Baja is composed of the villages of Buenavista del Norte, Los Silos, Garachico and El Tanque.
Salt pans on the coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte
In an extended left curve you can see on your right several flat holes in the rocks (lajas) that were used to extract salt in summer: the salt pans of La Tablada (10). The Atlantic floods the salt flats with water, crystals form on the surface and the finished product can be collected. To accelerate the evaporation process, the water was scooped by hand from the deeper holes. Certainly, salt was a valuable commodity for the inhabitants of Buenavista del Norte, not only for direct consumption, but above all for the preservation of fish. On the Canary Islands there were once 56 salt pans for the production of marine salt.
During your walk you will encounter a very interesting geological phenomenon, the so-called accretion ball or volcanic egg (11), a large lava stone that formed exactly like a snowball. As it rolled over the liquid lava flow from the higher El Palmar valley, it grew in size until it finally reached the coast of Buenavista del Norte where it solidified.
Plants on the coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte
Being the largest and highest island of the Canary Islands, Tenerife provides an impressive variety of plants. In just a few hundred meters, the vegetation changes radically, because different altitudes and microclimates create different vegetation zones or ecosystems. On your walk you will cross the following two of them.
Firstly, you will find the so-called coastal zone at approximately 50 meters above sea level. Salt-loving plants grow there, because they have adapted to the high salt content in the air (halophiles). Sea lettuce, sea parsley and sea fennel are typical plants. Secondly, appears the dry bush zone of about 50 to 400 meters with shrubby plants defying strong wind and sun. Typical shrubs from the spurge family are the tabaiba and the cactus-like Canary Island spurge or Cardón (12), both are endemic plants. If you want to learn more about the tabaiba plant, read our blog post “How we came up with the name Tabaiba Guesthouse”.
Typical plant on the entire coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte: the Tabaiba
Typical trees and shrubs of the Buenavista del Norte coastline
Anyone who has ever travelled to the Caribbean also knows them: the sea grape or uva de playa (Coccoloba uvifera), an evergreen bush or small tree that also withstands salty sea air and near-desert conditions. Its ripe dark red fruits are edible and are sometimes processed into jam or fruit juice. On the short beach promenade at the end of the trail in Buenavista del Norte you can find particularly beautiful specimens.
Another typical plant is the Canary tarajal or taray (Tamarix canariensis), botanically also known as tamarisk. The dense shrub or small tree grows on coastal salt soils or in the lower part of the ravines. Deep roots keep it firmly anchored in the ground even during storms. Its bark contains tannin (a tannic acid) and coloring, which was formerly used for medicinal purposes. The Tarajal is a very robust plant that is able to adapt to changing and even difficult living conditions.
What to do at the end of the trail in Buenavista del Norte
Do some sport with sea view
The coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte ends at the heated public swimming pool (26 degrees Celsius) with gym and sauna (13). Athletic swimmers can swim in the 25 meter sports pool with seawater at any time of the year. Entrance is 4 euros per person. Open Monday to Friday from 10am to 10pm, Saturday from 10am to 2pm and closed on Sundays. The use of the sauna is by appointment and costs 3 euros per person (tel. 0034 922 12 81 01). To the right of the entrance, visitors are provided with some open-air exercise machines which can be used for free to train in the sun and with views of the Atlantic in front.
Try Canarian cuisine
Just opposite the swimming pool there is a nice restaurant that specializes in fresh local fish and seafood. It has a large terrace from which you can enjoy a romantic sunset over the neighboring island of La Palma while listening to the sound of crashing waves. You can eat very well here or just enjoy a coffee or sundowner. Opens daily from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you prefer an outdoor picnic, the coast of Buenavista del Norte is the perfect place.
Lava pools for a unique swimming experience
Swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic is always a pleasure, but the experience turns into something unforgettable when you swim in one of the natural pools of the Canary Islands. These charcos are huge puddles of sea water that were formed naturally between the lava stones. Because of the tides, they always fill with fresh water. Next to the beach, there are numerous charcos of different sizes where you can take a quiet bath protected from the waves (14). However, be careful when you get into the pools, because the lava is very slippery and sometimes sharp-edged.
Beach day in black volcanic sand
The coastal trail through Buenavista del Norte ends at Playa Las Arenas (15). Although meaning “sandy beach”, the sand on this beach varies with the seasons: only from May to November the tides bring the volcanic black sand on the shore. During these months, mainly locals spend their days off on this supervised beach, which is very popular with bodyboard surfers. Watch out for the strong currents and mostly very high waves! In winter, the tides carry the sand away and the bay turns into a wild stone beach. All year round, tis unique setting affords unforgettable sunsets.
Continue on the trail in Buenavista del Norte to a remote beach
If you want to keep on exploring the coast, you can hike some 500 meters more to El Fraile beach, an enchanting bay with strong waves and spectacular views. We do not recommend bathing on this lonely beach. The path to Playa El Fraile begins at the end of Las Arenas beach, at a picturesque stone-wooden bridge (16) behind the beach kiosk.
Way back to Buenavista del Norte
You can walk back either on the same coastal hiking path or along a little-used asphalt road. This starts about 20 meters in front of the beach restaurant at the roundabout (17) with parking space for campers, and continues uphill along the golf course to the Melià Hacienda del Conde hotel (18). In terms of architecture, the 5-star hotel is reminiscent of a magnificent palace. The spa belonging to the hotel offers a thermal circuit, a sauna and a Turkish bath. Massages can also be booked here by non-guests.
At the end of the street, turn left and follow the cobblestone path down to the Hacienda del Conde mansion (4). After a few meters uphill, you will pass the La Visitación chapel (3) and shortly afterwards meet again on the signposted hiking trail to Buenavista del Norte.
Trail in Buenavista del Norte for download
We invite you to discover this pleasant walk on your next visit to Buenavista del Norte and hope that our description helps you. If you are looking for some peace and seclusion, this is the ideal path for you!
Don’t be afraid to get lost and download the complete route map with the main points of interest.
Tabaiba Guesthouse offers you the right accommodation to explore the green northwest of Tenerife. Book your stay with us for an authentic holiday experience. Further, we know other wonderful trails in the surrounding areas, which we will present you in this blog. If you want to discover them with our in-house professional mountain guide, contact Sergio Walking Tours
See you soon!
Karin and Sergio