A break from politics in an EU paradise
2018-09-01 17:18:30 -


By Michael McGowan


It was an opportunity for a week’s summer holiday in August in a place where the sun shines almost every day of the year. Plus the chance to spend time with grandchildren ages three and five as an additional bonus. And the chance for a break from politics, especially most things EU.

When we arrived in Tenerife, the air was relaxingly hot, with a refreshing breeze which cooled the cheeks and blew the remnants of Brexit and Brussels from the mind.

Although nearly 2,000 miles from Brussels, we were still in the EU and in the largest of the Canary Islands, in a remote spot in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Africa, opposite Morocco and 900 miles south of Europe.

Tenerife is essentially a volcano that rose out of the sea but which has not erupted since 18 November 1909. Although hot throughout the year, the Atlantic trade winds make it an ideal place to relax.

Besides the relaxation, we learnt only a little about the election of the new socialist prime minister of Spain, but learnt a lot about how General Franco had made his plans in Tenerife to take over Spain which led to the Spanish Civil War in 1936. After his time as a popular military officer in Morocco, Franco moved to take charge of the Canaries, where he held a meeting with senior military officers and planned the coup that overthrew the second republic of Spain.

While in Tenerife my family and I stayed in an apartment for a week on our first visit to the coastal village of San Andres, just five miles north of the capital Santa Cruz. Besides an impressive collection of quality fish restaurants, San Andres has an amazing beach of golden sands — shipped from the Sahara Desert, just across the water.

San Andres appeared to have seen little change over the years, which is rather surprising being so close to Santa Cruz, and it has the atmosphere a small village. We were fortunate in being introduced to this very special part of Tenerife because of close family connections in the village.

The Playa de Las Teresitas, which is attached to San Andres, is a popular beach often crowded at holiday times but not overwhelming like some beaches in the south of the island, which are the choice of many foreign tourists. The beach is long, with a backcloth of volcanic rock, and a wave break has been built just off the coast which makes it safe and comfortable.

A visit to San Andres really is a banquet for fish lovers. In mainly small eateries, both food and service is excellent and at very reasonable prices. As pescatarians, we certainly relished these dishes and dream of enjoying them again.

When in Tenerife, even for a brief or return visit, the experience of making the journey to the summit of Mount Deide is a must. The access to the summit involves travelling through several climate zones, passing through the clouds, and there is a cable car to reach the very top of the summit.

Mount Teide dominates the whole of Tenerife and can be seen from all parts of the island. Its crater is about 80 metres in diameter — and at 3,718 metres, it is the highest point in the whole of Spain.

What a fantastic holiday break it was. So why not give it a go?


Michael McGowan is a former MEP and president of the Development Committee of the European Parliament.

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