Walking in the Teno Mountains in Tenerife: Talavera
The Teno Mountains of Tenerife
The Teno Mountains are in the northwest of Tenerife and wonderful for walking if you have a head for heights and enjoy the beauties of nature. There are rugged rocky cliffs, steep climbs, deep ravines and also large areas of Canary Pine and evergreen laurel forest. All of these can be experienced while walking to Talavera. Way down below, and I mean way down below, are the coast and the towns of Los Silos and Buenavista del Norte.
Teno, by the way, is often referred to as “La Isla Baja” (the Low Island), and it is very different to any other part of Tenerife. The “low” description may be a good one for the coastal plains but certainly doesn’t apply to the mountains above which are very high and offer some really spectacular views over the countryside below and out over the sea.
View over Los Silos
Los Silos is a good starting point for walks
The town of Los Silos, which has a very laid back atmosphere and glimpses of the past with its cobbled streets, makes an excellent starting point for several walks with pathways that lead high up into the mountains and ridges above it. One of the destinations is Talavera, a tiny settlement of now ruined houses perched high up on the volcanic hillside. Before you begin your trek it is easy enough to find a place to park your car or you can get a bus that will drop you off in Los Silos.
Flora and fauna on the way to Talavera
There is a side turning off the main road through Los Silos and a signpost for Talavera. This is where your climb begins. The pathway zigzags its way up the mountain and goes past a small building with a cross on top. You can see this from the road below.
There is all sorts of interesting vegetation, endemic to the Canary Islands, along the way including the Canary Island Spurge or Cardon (Euphorbia canariensis) which is a succulent but looks more like a cactus.
As the path gets higher you are likely to see and hear Buzzards (Buteo buteo) soaring on the air currents above the ravine. On the actual path in spring you may well find the strange Oil Beetle (Meloe tuccius) slowly crawling. The females of this insect are very big and their fat bodies are full of eggs. The larvae are parasites of bees and gather on flowers in the hopes of grabbing on to a bee that lands to collect nectar and pollen. Oil Beetles are very rare in the UK now but holding their own in the Teno Mountains. Also watch out for the bright yellow butterfly known as the Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra). This pretty insect’s caterpillar only feed on species of Buckthorn (Rhamnus).
The views down over the coast are breathtaking and you will want to stop to enjoy them and take photos. You are likely to want a break from climbing too because the ascent is a steep one at times and on a hot day can be challenging.
Ayto Villa de Los Silos - Sendero de Talavera - Los Silos natural...
Abandoned farmhouse in Talavera
Eventually you will reach the ruined farm buildings that are known as La Talavera. There are also two threshing circles or “eras” where the people who once lived at this remote spot threshed their crop of wheat.
After you have reached Talavera there is a choice of routes you can take. The easier option is to take the pathway that leads down the mountainsides into the village of El Palmar in the valley above Buenavista. There are bars and restaurants there and buses that run between Buenavista and Santiago del Teide.
Palo de Sangre
More experienced walkers can take the other route which climbs even higher up through the laurel and heather forests and brings you into the Monte de Agua (“Mountain of Water”) area. The evergreen woodlands are really beautiful and cooling after a hot climb earlier. From there you will find a footpath signposted for Las Moradas, which is another abandoned settlement high on a Teno mountainside
Along this path you will see plenty more interesting wild flowers and shrubs found in Tenerife, including the St John's Wort species Hypericum reflexum and the Palo de Sangre or Stick of Blood (Marcetella moquiniana) which is quite rare and gets its name from the red colour of its upper stems.
This pathway is long but all downhill and will eventually bring you back to Los Silos and the main road through it. Here you can catch a bus to take you home or get back in your car after a very rewarding and memorable walk in the mountains of Teno