Masca & Los Gigantes

Your guide to Masca & Los Gigantes in Tenerife. Insider information from people who live there.

A popular western resort is Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants). This quiet town has a spectacular setting beside the huge cliffs from which it gets its name.

The resort is based around providing holiday accommodation and services to visitors, offering a more modest and low-key resort to Playa de Las Américas, which is 30km away.

There is a collection of shops and tiny pedestrian plaza, however most people head for the sea front which is lined with cafés and restaurants and has a small marina housing many different leisure and fishing boats. It is from here that you can get you can get an excusion boat to see the dolphins.

The town also has a nice lido that overlooks the sea and a small black sand beach that the cliffs (Acantilados de los Gigantes) encircle. These cliffs were formed by lava squeezed under high pressure through multiple parallel cracks and now rise a staggering 500m from the Atlantic ocean. They also mark the abrupt edge of the northwestern Tenerife's Teno Massif.

A neighbour to the resort of Los Gigantes is Masca, which is one of the most awe-inspiring places you could visit. Set in the midst of the Teno, Masca is a remote picturesque village nestling in a stunning gorge.

The village only became accessible by road thirteen years ago and since then the 600 strong community has dwindled to about 100 and those that have stayed have mainly done so for the tourism alone. The area is covered in lush green flora and dotted with palm and orange trees. These oranges are now sold to the tourists that visit here daily.

The walk around the village offers some beautiful views and also a chance to see some of the pretty old stone houses that look out over the gorge to the Atlantic Ocean. Some of these houses have now been turned into restaurants and cafés for tourists and offer some good traditional local food and homemade lemonade.

For hikers there is a magnificent walk from the village down the narrow, steep sided barranco to the coast. At its narrowest the gorge is only 20km wide and the sides of the ravine reach as high as 600m above sea level. The views on this trail are outstanding, ending at the beach surrounded by staggering cliffs, the acantilados de los gigantes (cliffs of the giants). The walk to the beach takes about three hours but remember to allow the time to hike back up again.

The road to Masca has many hairpin bends so unless you are a confident driver it would be advised to get the bus. The bus, number 355 runs infrequently from Buenavista del Norte on Monday to Friday, as there are only about two return journeys per day, ensure you check the return times.

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