The sunny island of Tenerife, also known as the island of eternal spring, has been attracting numerous travelers for years with its mild climate, wonderful beaches, and great nightlife. But if you take a closer look at the island, you will quickly realize that it has much more to offer. About 5 million vacationers come to the largest Canary Island every year because of its wonderful variety; Tenerife offers an impressive mountain and animal world, an exciting nightlife, history and culture, festivals, and much more.
Located about 100 kilometers west of Morocco, the island delights with warm temperatures all year round. Due to the strong trade winds of the Atlantic, Tenerife is a paradise for surfers and windsurfers, and the (dormant) volcano Pico del Teide in the middle of the island offers a unique variety of landscapes. Tourists can start the day leisurely on the beach or explore one of the hidden mountain villages and try the delicious papas arrugadas – the wrinkled Canarian potatoes are a specialty of Canarian cuisine.
A magnificent view of the landscape can be enjoyed paragliding from a snowy peak, a tour by kayak can explore the coastline, and a dive can be made to admire turtles. After a cocktail on the beach, vacationers can then celebrate exuberantly in a bar and shake a leg. What are the best places to visit on the island and the best things to do; let’s find out!
Pico del Teide
At nearly 4,000 meters, Pico de Teide in Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world. From three vantage points, vacationers can enjoy a magnificent view of Tenerife and the neighboring islands. Those who get up early and are there in time for sunrise will be rewarded with a fantastic view as the day breaks.
Even in bad weather, Pico del Teide is fascinating; as it offers a beautiful view of the sea of clouds. Guided hikes, which last about 6 hours, are great for the adventurous, and if you prefer something a little less strenuous, you can get to the top by cable car (€13.50 for children; €27 for adults). All information on online tickets for the Teide cable car can be found on the official website. Those who wish to venture to the volcano’s maw must first apply for a permit at the national park’s office in Orotava.
Teide National Park is a must-see for any traveler who wants to experience a beautiful getaway on the island. The most visited national park in Europe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From lush forests and the lava fields of La Esperanza to the Roques de García volcanic rock formations, Tenerife offers one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. There are various activities to choose from too, from hiking and jeep safaris to club and wine tours, dusk excursions, and stargazing.
The Peninsula of Punta de Teno
This small, rugged peninsula of volcanic rock is located ten kilometers from Buenavista. It is the westernmost point of the island and a beautiful place for those who want to enjoy fresh sea air far from the tourist crowds. Here visitors can admire the lighthouse, relax by the bay and enjoy a wonderful view of La Gomera, La Palma, and the Teno Mountains. However, if you want to go there, you should check the weather forecast beforehand, because in bad weather the road gets closed.
The Cliffs of Los Gigantes
The cliffs of the Los Gigante’s district rise from the sea at a height of 500 to 800 meters. The indigenous people of the Canary Islands, the Guanches, also called the monumental cliffs the walls of hell. A day trip to the village is a great way to explore the landscape, go snorkeling, kayaking, paddling, or to watch dolphins and whales near the cliffs.
Hiking Tours in the Anaga Mountains
For those who tend to avoid crowded places, the Anaga Mountains in the northeast of the island are just the thing. Formed 7 to 9 million years ago by volcanic activity, this prehistoric mountain range is the oldest part of the island and exudes a very special, unique charm. There is also a village (El Bailadero) named after a coven of witches rumored to have once danced around the fire there.
Here you can hike from Benijo to the Roques de Anaga, two geologically and ecologically important rock formations in the sea, or explore the community of Roque de Bermejo, which can only be reached by a three-hour hike.
Drago Milenario Dragon Tree
What would a trip to Tenerife be without a trip to the island’s landmark Drago Milenario dragon tree? The magnificent tree got its name because its red resin, which is said to have healing properties, and looks like a dragon’s blood.
For centuries, the tree, which is said to be 1,000 years old and the oldest of its kind on the island, has been revered by the local community. It can be seen – along with numerous other plant species – in the Parque del Drago. A good view is also offered from the square next to the church of San Marco.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The pleasantly temperate, crystal clear waters and fascinating volcanic rock formations make Tenerife a true paradise for divers. There are plenty of diving schools on the island offering various excursions and courses. Whether beginner courses for children, PADI diving courses for professionals, or simple boat tours – there is something for everyone. Night dives are also entertaining, and snorkeling tours in Los Gigantes allow you to observe turtles. There are also caves and shipwrecks to explore underwater.
Loro Parque (or Loro Park), located in the north of Tenerife, is an extremely popular animal park. It covers an area of 13.5 hectares and delights with an aquarium with seven themed exhibits, with a Thai village, an orchid garden, and an adventure playground for children.
There are also shows featuring marine animals such as dolphins, orca whales, and sea lions, and visitors can admire birds from Asia and Australia in the Katandra Treetops aviary. Loro Parque is open daily. Admission for adults is €35 and tickets for children are available for €24.
Tenerife’s Siam Park won the Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Water Park in 2015. The Thai-style park is located in the south of the island and offers plenty of recreational fun. Europe’s largest water park also boasts the highest man-made waves (over three meters high), a man-made beach, slides, and an island with sea lions. Adult tickets start at €35 and children pay €24 admission.
Las Águilas Jungle Park
If you are having a vacation in Costa Adeje and looking for things to do, you should plan a day at the Jungle Park. The amusement park features various species of animals such as big cats and monkeys, and it holds a course of suspension bridges, tunnels, and caves.
Regular shows feature birds of prey, macaws, talking parrots, and hornbills, and you can see sea lions up close. You can also make reservation and have your photos taken while relax and enjoy the day in the park. The park offers lots of fun for the whole family.
The Lago de la Costa de Martiánez
Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Beatles already spent a relaxing day at the fascinating Lago de la Costa de Martiánez complex, which stretches for a kilometer. Here, there are man-made seawater pools, three beaches, green areas, and terraces. Martianez, who comes from Lanzarote, has created a unique complex that reflects the dynamic natural landscape of Tenerife and even delights with extras such as a water volcano and a geyser.
Every part of the complex has been carefully thought out and is beautiful to behold. The park offers curiosities like eucalyptus trees growing upside down (“Las Raíces Al Cielo” or also “The Roots of the Sky”) and wave-shaped structures made of concrete as a tribute to the Atlantic Ocean (“Monumento al Mar o a las Olas” or also “Monument of the Waves and the Sea”). Admission for adults is €5.50 and children 10 and under pay €2.50, though discounts are offered at many hotels in the area.
The Garachico and Bajamar Natural Swimming Pools
Just the thing for a pleasant refreshment is the Garachico Natural Swimming Pool in El Caletón. The lava rock pools were created after a volcanic eruption in 1706 and offer the opportunity to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean without being exposed to the waves.
In the pools of crystal clear water, accessible through different paths and steps, you can go snorkeling wonderfully or just drift and enjoy the view of the cliffs of La Culata and the fortress of San Miguel, built in the 16th century. However, in spring and fall, when the tide comes in, the pools are closed.
The Bajamar natural swimming pool, especially suitable for families, with two man-made salt-water pools, is located directly on the beach and sea but offers protection from strong swells. Admission is free and lifeguards watch over safety.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna
The city of San Cristóbal de la Laguna is one of many places in Tenerife that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It boasts a large number of historical and cultural attractions. The old town inspires by beautiful well-preserved buildings and in the Museo de Historia y Antropología de Tenerife, the history of the island is documented (on Fridays and Saturdays the entrance to the permanent exhibition is free).
You can also get a very authentic impression of Tenerife at the farmer’s market at the Plaza del Cristo. San Cristóbal de la Laguna has a large student population and is known for its lively nightlife and tapas bars. The shopping street Calle Herradores, lined with stores, bars, and restaurants, is a popular meeting place, especially in the evenings.
The Golf Course Golf Del Sur
If you want to play golf on vacation in Tenerife, the Golf del Sur Tenerife golf course is just the place for you. The 27-hole course is located between Las Cañadas National Park and the Atlantic Ocean and offers excellent views of the sea, the island of La Gomera, which can be reached by ferry, and the mountains around Adeje.
The golf course offers a driving range, putting green and bunkers filled with black volcanic sand. In addition, there are tennis courts, a store and a restaurant – just the place to enjoy a few rounds of golf with friends. An 18-hole round costs 58 to 90 euros and a 9-hole round costs between 36 and 52 euros.
The Auditorio De Tenerife
Reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House in terms of architecture, the Auditorio de Tenerife has become an architectural landmark on the island and is one of the most photographed buildings in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The design, with a curved, undulating structure that almost seems to defy gravity, is the work of architect Santiago Calatrava Valls. The building is particularly impressive at night, when it is bathed in white light. The Auditorio de Tenerife is home to Tenerife’s symphony orchestra, ballet and dance performances, musicals, operas, comedy shows, and gospel concerts. Tickets are available for 5 euros.
Calle de la Noria in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The Calle de la Noria in Santa Cruz de Tenerife enjoys great popularity. It almost seems as if you have crossed the Atlantic and would be in Havana because the streets in the pedestrian zone are lined with palm trees and houses in very different colors.
The area from the Plaza de la Iglesia de la Concepción offers numerous cafes and restaurants with excellent local specialties and is especially busy after work. You can easily spend the whole evening here, watching street performers and hitting the bars until the wee hours of the morning.
The Playa De Las Teresitas In Santa Cruz De Tenerife
Located just a 20-minute drive from the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Playa de Las Teresitas is the ideal retreat for those looking for some relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is one of the few beaches on the island with yellow sand and is quite busy on weekends. On weekdays, it is less busy, and you are guaranteed to find a place to sunbathe. On the beach, visitors can also play volleyball, take yoga classes or simply visit one of the restaurants that offer fresh seafood.
Best Beaches To Visit at Tenerife
Tenerife have some of the most magnificent beaches, or playas in Spanish, in the world, to name a few:
- El Médano Beach
Due to the strong trade winds of the Atlantic Ocean, El Médano beach is one of the best beaches in the world for surfing and windsurfing. Several international competitions have been held here. It is located on the two largest natural beaches on the island – Playa Tejita and Playa Grande – and is considered the coastal resort of Tenerife with the most relaxed atmosphere.
Those who are new to surfing can participate in courses of varying difficulty offered by numerous schools. At Red Rock Surf, a GoPro camera is even attached to the surfboard to capture the moment you conquer the approaching waves.
- El Bollullo Beach in La Orotava
It may not be as easily accessible as other beaches on the island, but El Bollullo beach is also the perfect place for those looking for peace and quiet away from the crowds. By car, the beach can be reached from Puerto de la Cruz, on foot you can get there by a 40-minute walk along the coastal path, passing a banana plantation. Once there, you can refresh yourself with a cool drink at the beach bar and fortify yourself with a snack at the restaurant.
- The Playa de las Americas
Playa de las Americas delights the visitors with abundant sunshine all year round and, as a result, has quickly become one of the most popular coastal resorts on the island. The four beaches of Playa de Torviscas, El Camisón, La Pinta, and Playa del Bobo are well-connected to the resort and offer great facilities.
With yellow sand and calm waters, they are best for sunbathing and splashing around. While there, you can also go scuba diving, windsurfing, jet-skiing, whale and dolphin watching from a boat, and even take a submarine tour to the bottom of the sea.
- El Duque Beach in Costa Adeje
Lined with boutiques and elegant tapas bars, Playa del Duque is considered one of Tenerife’s classiest beaches. The beach offers a quiet, cozy atmosphere, and the resort is home to 4- and 5-star hotels. So if you like it a little more upscale, this is the place for you. If you spend the night in a vacation apartment or finca in Tenerife, you can rent a car and easily reach Playa de las Americas in just 15 minutes.
- The Playa Paraiso in Costa Adeje
The clear waters on the rocky coast of Playa Paraiso are ideal for snorkeling and diving. A visit to the seawater pool is also worthwhile. Admission costs 6 euros per person, and a family ticket is available for 12 euros.
- The Playa la Caleta in Costa Adeje.
This pretty pebble beach is next to a quiet fishing village with several bars and restaurants. It is especially suitable for children, as the calm water invites snorkeling. The sea is accessible by ladders at various points.
Playa de la Caleta can be reached on foot from Playa de las Americas and a walk along the coastal path continues to several quiet coves, sandy beaches, and Hippy Bay.
- The Playa de Benijo in Anaga
There are no sunbeds or umbrellas at this remote, wild beach on the Anaga Mountains Natural Park, which is under special protection. This beach on Tenerife’s northeast coast may not be at the top of your list for day trips, but it’s definitely worth a trip.
Surrounded by cliffs, Playa de Benijo, with its black sand and gigantic waves, is accessible only by a winding mountain road. The secluded beach offers a magnificent view of the Roques de Anaga. Here, you can experience Tenerife authentically like the locals.
- Papagayo & Monkey Beach in Las Americas
Playa de Las Americas is Tenerife’s Ibiza, it is the city’s most amazing beach bar. The bar with white sofas and palm trees exudes an elegant ambiance, where cocktails and dancing are on the agenda. Here, you can easily spend the day and leave the beach to the left because during the day the bar offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere and at night it becomes a lively party location.
Just 300 meters away is another nightlife highlight on Playa de las Americas, the Monkey Beach. After a relaxing day in the sun, the bar offers a magnificent view of Playa Troya and La Gomera. It is undoubtedly one of the best places in town to enjoy the sunset.
- Blanco Bar & Limbo in Puerto de la Cruz
“Like Alice in Wonderland after a sip from the bottle labeled Drink Me” – that’s how Tenerife’s newest nightlife address has been described. Puerto de la Cruz was not always known as a top party location, but it has developed its very own party scene with hip clubs, which clearly stands out from the drinking bouts on specially rented party boats.
The Blanco Bar is a great place to start the evening to the sounds of live bands, theatrical performances, or comedy shows, and finally continue the party at Limbo, a bar on a rooftop terrace accessible via a colonial-style courtyard. The bar is especially popular with younger crowds as an exciting party venue.
Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Rio de Janeiro is world-famous for its carnival – but the carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife also has a lot to offer. Performances and parades take place here, delighting with outlandish costumes, and exuberant parties are on the agenda day and night.
Visitors can immerse themselves in a unique world and be enchanted by the special atmosphere. The carnival has a different theme every year (previous years’ themes have included Bollywood, circus, a space odyssey, and magic) and offers a lively celebration with lots of color and creativity. It takes place every February for almost three weeks – and if you can’t get enough of it, be sure to join in on the piñata weekend, as it offers the last party opportunity until next year.
The Festival Romeria De La Orotava
The La Orotava – Romeria festival, with a Corpus Christi parade, is one of the largest of its kind in the area. In the Corpus Christi festival, the entire community gathers and creates traditional flower carpets to decorate the streets and line the parade. In the Plaza del Ayuntamiento there is a huge carpet to admire, which covers an area of more than 900 square meters.
It is made of volcanic sand of different colors and shows three different scenes from the Bible. Locals wear Canarian costumes for the occasion and hand out free food and wine. The wine glasses “vaso de romería” are often worn around the neck and you can always get refills.
The festival is not to be missed, as it offers the chance to learn about traditional cultural customs and gain an authentic insight into the lives of the locals. More information about the above activities can also be found on Web Tenerife, and on Hello Canary Islands you can also find Tenerife tips and interesting facts about the other Canary Islands.