Books

Insight Guide to Tenerife and the Western Canary Islands (Insight, pounds 13.99); Insight Pocket Guide to Tenerife (Insight, pounds 6.99)

Until Lonely Plant's recent launch of its first guide to the Canaries, travellers have had to turn to the Insight Guides for information about these much-visited islands.

Good for people who need visual stimulation and general inspiration rather than nitty gritty detail, the new edition of the Insight Guide to Tenerife and the Western Canary Islands covers unique topics such as the Canarian dog, Canarian combat sports, carnival, topics of bar gossip and paintings by Marianne North, a Victorian artist and traveller inspired by Tenerife. With so much background information and beautiful photographs to whet your appetite, the book is probably of more use as a good read prior to your trip or as browsing material for on the beach.

It is certainly less useful as a practical guide. The travel tips section is quite small in relation to the rest of the book. Hotels are listed at the back and not interspersed within regional section chapters, which would have been more reader-friendly. The guide also only lists hotels in main urban centres, which is not of much use if you are interested in visiting villages off the main tourist trail.

The Insight Pocket Guide to Tenerife has a range of day itineraries to help tourists explore the island's volcanic scenery, sea cliffs and Anaga mountain range. The guide also lists various short walking tours which lead visitors around Tenerife's cities.

Insight Guides are aimed at tourists who are able to afford expenses such as car rental and relatively upmarket hotels. The pocket guide lists only three or four-star hotels, leaving tourists with less money to spend to their own devices by stating that cheap accommodation lists can be obtained from the tourist office. To be fair, this focus on big hotels is just a reflection of what is (largely) available on the island. I look forward to reading the Lonely Planet guide for a list of the cheap and cheerful pensions which undoubtedly lurk in the backstreets of Tenerife.

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