Take a scenic drive through the ancient Anaga Mountains which coat the north eastern tip of Tenerife and you’ll discover tiny hamlets clinging to sheer rock faces and tucked into the emerald folds of valleys, none more picturesque than the village of Taganana.
A couple of weeks ago we followed our own Island Drives route of ‘Peaks Into The Past’ and stopped off at this beautiful spot to enjoy a coffee and marvel at the scenery.
The name ‘Taganana’ is derived from the original Guanche name for the settlement and means ‘surrounded by mountains’, a simple and indisputable truth that quickly becomes evident as you enter the heart of the village. Dating back to 1501, the area was originally known as the valley of Santa Maria de las Nieves and its little church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves dates back to 1515 and is the fourth oldest on Tenerife.
Isolated from the capital city and much of the rest of the island until 1968 when the road was built, the Tagananeros have survived on agriculture throughout their history, beginning with sugar cane planted by the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century and later vines. Today its terraces are still planted with vines, along with sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions and the villagers still mainly survive on subsistence farming, younger generations being forced back into the family farms as a result of the economic depression.
Prior to the construction of the road, the only communication between the Tagananeros and their capital city was by way of the camino real known as Las Vueltas which links the hamlet to the TF12 road. The path, which remains a popular route for walking on Tenerife, has so many twists and turns that it’s said there’s a bend for every day of the year.
However you find your way to it, Taganana is one of Tenerife’s true hidden delights and taking an hour or so out to enjoy a coffee or a traditional Canarian lunch in the presence of all that simple beauty is a tonic for the soul.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+