A difficult but beautiful road leads you to the village of Artenara, which at an altitude of 1270 m (4167 ft) is the highest village of the island and also one of the oldest. A Christ statue with widespread arms, reminiscent of the famous Rio de Janeiro figure, welcomes visitors.
Clinging to the mountainside, this peculiar village is doubtless the most spectacular of the island with many of its houses built in the solid rock of caves dating from prehistoric times. Although some of them – with their painted façades – look almost like ordinary houses, and most of them are equipped with all modern amenities.
You shouldn’t miss seeing the cave church La Ermita de la Cuevita, which houses the statue of the Virgen de la Cuevita, who is celebrated from the 15th August with a big fiesta. If it weren’t for the bell above the entrance, you would have difficulty recognising it as a church. The more conventional church of the village is the Iglesia de San Matías.
Near Artenara, about 12 km to the west (7.5 miles) – and worth a visit even when the weather is misty – starts the natural reserve of Pinar de Tamadaba, the largest pine forest of the island. After travelling around the Pico de Tamadaba (1444 m/4738 ft), you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Caldera de Tejeda, the west coast and Tenerife’s Teide. On misty days the pine forest changes into an enchanted fairytale scene with enormous boulders lying between the trees and the lichen, which hang down from the branches like greenish-yellow veils. This nature park is a true paradise for all walkers and nature lovers.