The Best Of: Tenerife

There's no excuse for a banal postcard from Tenerife. The largest of the Canary Islands offers impossible architecture, extreme sloping vineyards, tropical forest walks and dark forays into the arteries of a volcano. It remains a haven for sun worshippersbut to spend all your time concentrating on sun protection factors is a serious oversight. Culture lovers can enjoy the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts; musical interludes at the phenomenal Auditorium; and tales of conquest along the Santa Cruz historical trail while Gore-Tex groupies can be found under the leafy canopy of the Anaga Mountains or horse-riding through volcanic badlands.

Best hotel

For a truly plumped-up pillow, rest your head at the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort, Costa Adeje (00 34 922 746 900; www.bahia-duque.com). Nicknamed Camelot by onlookers, it's a million miles from subtle, but indulgent to the highest degree. Top-end suites are butler-inclusive, but any of the 482 rooms provide enough plush and swish for the regally aspirant. Doubles from €252 (£180) per night, including breakfast.

For a more intimate feel, downsize to the chic boutique Hotel San Roque, Garachico (00 34 922 133 435; www.hotelsanroque.com). The 20 rooms and suites marry Bauhaus and Baroque within a 17th-century manor. Doubles from €163 (£116) per night, including breakfast.

For a rural retreat, try the elegantly indulgent than the 10-bedroomed Villa Nati, La Boruga 20, La Orotava (00 34 922 321 316; www.villanati.de/english/), where b&b in a double costs from €163 (£116) per night.

Best restaurant

For the finest in island produce and a plate with a view, locals swear by Méson El Drago, Calle Marqués de Celada 2, El Socorro, Tegueste (00 34 922 543 001), where Carlos Gamonal and his two sons produce innovative Canarian cuisine in one of the most scenic parts of Tenerife. Three courses, without wine, from €40 (£29) per head.

La Tasquita de Nino, Calle Estanco 3, San Miguel de Abona (00 34 922 700 463) is a gem. There are only eight tables in this converted village post office which serves impeccable local fare. Three courses, without wine, from €25 (£18) per head.

The fishing village of La Caleta has four fish restaurants. For lunch with a healthy dash of salty sea spray, Restaurante La Caleta, Carretera General, La Caleta, Costa Adeje (00 34 922 780675) offers the best value. Three courses, without wine, from €13 (£9.30) per head.

Best cultural attraction

The Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, Calle Jose Murphy 12, Santa Cruz (00 34 922 244 358) contains works from the Prado in Madrid plus paintings from Canarian artists such as Oscar Dominguez. Free admission.

Tenerife's showcase museum is the modern Museum of Man and Nature, Calle Fuente Morales, Santa Cruz (00 34 922 535 816), a brain-bending amalgam of natural science and archaeology in what was once the civil hospital. Admission €3 (£2.15).

Best shopping

Not all the craftwork on display is from Tenerife but you'll find some pretty impressive pieces fabricated from local resources at Arte y Diseño, Calle Esteban de Ponte 3, Garachico (00 34 922 133 497; www.artegarachico.com). In Santa Cruz, the pedestrianised Calle Castillo is the hub of lacework, fashion and cheap electronics. To sample increasingly popular Canarian wine, take your wallet to Casa del Vino La Baranda, El Suazal (www.cabtfe.es/casa-vino; 00 34 922 572 535).

Best sightseeing

This should definitely be done on foot. In Santa Cruz, take the free historical trail through the cobbled streets (00 34 922 531 107). Likewise in La Laguna, make your way to the Plaza Adelantado at 10.30am and 12 noon (not Sundays) to join a complimentary walk hosted by local guides (00 34 922 631194). Adventure specialist Patea Tus Montes offers caving, canyoning and rock climbing for the outward bound (00 34 922 335 903; www.pateatusmontes.com).

Best nightspot

Sydney Opera House lookalike, the Auditorium, Avenida Constitucíon 1, Santa Cruz (00 34 922 270 611; www.auditoriodetenerife.com) is home to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and is the venue for most fly-by stars. Neon seekers are drawn to the hotspots of Las Américas. Metropolis (00 34 922 792 359; www.discoteca metropolis.com) is the pick of the bunch. In the north, the university town of La Laguna has a lively bar scene.

How to get there

British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com) operates a summer schedule from London Gatwick three times a week to Tenerife South from £99 return. Monarch Schedule (0870 040 5040; www.flymonarch.com) flies daily from Manchester and four times a week from Luton to Tenerife South from £186 return in July.

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