It is not often these days you can be truly surprised by a holiday destination.

In the modern age where the internet has given us an insight into even the most remote places there are few hidden gems left to discover.

Tenerife can hardly be described as a hidden gem. Brits have been flocking to the Canary Island for decades to enjoy its year-round sunshine.

But when most people conjure up an image of Tenerife it will probably be of the tourist hot-spots of Playa de las Americas and Los Christianos with their bustling beaches and gaudy bars packed with stag and hen parties.

Having never visited before I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but found there is another side to the island which is so far removed from stereotype that you would think you were on a different island altogether.

It took us 90 minutes to get there. We drove past the built-up beach resort into the mountains which dominate the geography of the centre of the island and down the other side to the north west of the island.

Going over the top of the mountains is akin to stepping through a door into a totally different place. Suddenly the hotels and bars are gone and there is lush greenery everywhere compared to the arid, rocky land in the south.

We descended - via a narrow road with hairpin bends not for the squeamish - to a little coastal village called Buenavista del Norte and the stunning Meliá Hacienda del Conde hotel.

There is very little in Buenavista itself but for those just looking to get away and relax there does not need to be. The hotel has that chilled-out feel that a lot strive for but few actually achieve and the views from the pool out over the rocks headland to the open ocean are to die for - especially with a chilled beer in hand!

Adults only may mean something else in the south of the island but the Hacienda del Conde excludes children to ensure the aura of tranquility is not disturbed.

Kids would probably get bored here anyway. Apart from the pool the only real attraction at the hotel is the spa which boasts a range of hydrotherapy facilities from a heated dynamic pool to Turkish bath, ice and bi-thermal showers, hydro massage and sauna.

There is another treat down the road for golf-lovers, however, in the shape of an 18-hole Seve Ballesteros designed beauty.

The great Seve did not put his stamp on that many courses - around 30 in total - before being taken away from us prematurely but it is easy to see why he was attracted by the picturesque charms of Buenavista Golf.

Running along the shoreline with the Atlantic Ocean crashing into rocks just metres from several green - I lost a few balls into the frothy water along the way - it is a simply stunning way to spend a few hours. There are better course around in terms of quality and the challenge they present but few can rival the views.

You could happily spend your mornings playing golf and afternoons lounging by the pool at the hotel but this particular area of Tenerife has much more to offer if you know how to find it.

We had a guide ( take us to an amazing place called Masca which is arguably the most beautiful village on the island and it is easy to see why. Hidden in the folds of the Teno Massif the awe-inducing views - including a bullet shaped pinnacle which has been dubbed a mini Machu Picchu.

The scenery is simply stunning but for those of feeling a bit more energetic you can hike down into the valley and through the Masca Barranco to the ocean and a waiting boat.

You can do the trek independently but using a guide brimming with local knowledge from the excellent El Cardon company makes it so much more enjoyable and educational.

Our guide even arranged a demonstration from a goat shepherd on how he used a ten foot stick to move around the rocky mountainside to herd his animals.

After acrobatically swinging about on his pole for 15 minutes Grigor had one more surprise from the lesser-known part of Tenerife - he was 74!

Getting there: Monarch fly from Gatwick to Tenerife South every day from £82 return.

Where to stay: Double rooms at the adult only Hacienda Del Conde cost from £108 per night. Go to for more details.

Where to play: Green fees at the Seve Ballesteros designed Buenavista Golf cost from 75EUROS for 18 holes and 42EUROS for nine holes. Details at