Masca, up in the Teno Mountains in north-west Tenerife, is in strong contention for the title of the island’s most beautiful village. The road between Santiago del Teide and Masca rivals many of the most beautiful places on the planet, and where even small tourist buses can have trouble making some of the turns. What’s more, two of the finest hikes on Tenerife are in this area – one down to the sea through the narrow and desolate Barranco de Masca, the other out onto the narrow and pointed ridge just south of the village.
Getting to Masca, Tenerife
Masca is located approximately 50 kilometers from the Tenerife South Airport and can be reached by car, taxi, or bus.
Many visitors choose to rent a car to make the scenic drive to the village, which takes approximately 1 hour. The road to Masca is winding and can be narrow in some places, but the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys make the drive well worth it.
Many people have discovered Masca, and if you come during the day you won’t be alone here. Santiago del Teide is 5 kilometers from Masca, and further north to Buenavista is 17 kilometers.
Masca is reached by winding roads. Masca is one of those adorable mountain villages that all visitors fall in love with. Masca is located northwest of the island in the heavily eroded Teno massif, one of the oldest mountain formations in Tenerife.
The terrain is often wild, inaccessible, and rocky, cut through by steep ravines. Here and there, pointed peaks rise up, remnants of the ancient formations that erosion has failed to pulverize. The mountainous landscape around Masca was one of the last refuges of the Guanches during the Spanish conquest.
The story of Masca
For a long time, Masca was a completely isolated village that could only be reached by horse, donkey, or on foot. Anyone who was ill and needed medical attention or hospital care had to be carried down on a stretcher. The very first tourists in the 1970s arrived on donkeys. It was only in the early 1980s that Masca was given roads.
Because of the long isolation, much of the traditional architecture has been preserved. The village houses are surrounded by flowers, and orchards balanced on narrow, longitudinal terraces on the ravine slopes where potatoes, onions, and fruit trees are grown for everyday needs.
Today, around 100 inhabitants make their living from tourism. You can learn about their history, crops, food, and crafts in the small museum in the village.
Things to do in Masca
While Masca is not located directly on the coast, there are several nearby beaches that are worth visiting. Playa de Los Gigantes is a black sand beach that is located just a short drive from the village. The beach offers stunning views of the nearby cliffs and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.
Masca is also known for its traditional Spanish cuisine, which is characterized by fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Here you can enjoy a range of dishes, including grilled seafood, paella, and local cheeses. Don’t miss out on these!
From Masca you can hike through the Masca Valley to the sea, a distance of 5 kilometers. Some parts here are very steep and can be quite a strenuous walk for the unaccustomed hiker.
If you continue hiking here, you should also stop at Mirador de Baracán, which is just over 5 kilometers north of Masca. From the turn, there is a path marked Teno Alto up to the top. It passes the summit of the 1003-metre Baracán and ends in Teno Alto. The path from the south is an easier route than the ascent from the north if you are an experienced hiker. The latter takes about 3 hours round trip.