Top 8 Things to Do in Tenerife
April 24, 2020
I bet you can spend the entire month in Tenerife exploring, and you will still have something to do. So, here is my list of top 8 things you should definitely do when visiting Tenerife.
Tenerife is the largest of the eight Canary Islands, which forms the Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of north-western Africa.
With its beautiful sandy beaches, magnificent landscape, fantastic coastlines, the highest mountain in Spain, and the “eternal spring” climate, Tenerife attracts millions of people every year. With that said, there is no wonder Tenerife is one of the most important tourist destinations in Spain.
Whether you are planning a fun week with friends, escape on a romantic getaway with your loved one or relaxing vacation with family, visiting Tenerife is a perfect choice.
Due to volcano Teide, there are several of micro-climates on this relatively small island. That makes a significant impact on Tenerife’s incredible landscape diversity. The weather in the north of the island is cooler with more rain while the weather in the south is hot and dry, more desert-like. You can wander along the sunny beaches in the south wearing only a bikini, hike on the north side in a jacket and a raincoat or hike to the pick of the Teide in a winter jacket and boots all on the same day.
I must say Tenerife left a big impact on me, and I am definitely visiting Tenerife again.
Top 8 things to do in Tenerife
1. Loro Park
Loro Park is a zoo located in Puerto de la Cruz. It houses an extensive and diverse reserve of animal and plant species. Initially created as a paradise for parrots, Loro Park has become one of the most respected zoological institutions in the world. In addition to that, the park had achieved the prestigious “Travelers’ Choice” award for two years in a row.
Thanks to the hard work of Loro Park employees, 9 parrot species have been saved from extinction. Currently. They are currently working on plans for the protection of cetaceans and marine species.
Several times in a day park hosts Dolphins, Sea Lions and Orcas shows as well as amazing Loro Show with parrots. Because of this shows, some organizations were concerned about animal rights. But Loro Parque is the first European Zoo to receive “American Humane Certification of Approval” and “Animals in Tourism, 100% Criteria Compliance” for animal safety and well-being.
How much time you should spend in Loro Park is hard to say. We spent about 5 hours in the park and were able to see all the shows except the one with Sea Lions (due to construction work shows were not held). The shows take place at different times, so if you plan your visit, you may be able to see them all. But believe me, it would not be easy.
2. Climb the highest peak in Spain
Tiede National Park is located in the middle of the Island, at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level. Except for being the highest mountain in Spain (3,718 m), Mt Tiede is the highest volcano in the Atlantic Ocean and the third highest volcano in the world from its base on the ocean floor (7.500 meters high). Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
After mentioning all these things, the fact that Teide National Park is the most visited national park in Europe doesn’t sound like a surprise.
While hiking or even just driving with a car through the park, you can observe how the landscape changes. You will be impressed by the craters, vents, vast rivers of petrified lava and colossal dimensions of this place. On a clear day, you can see a breathtaking view of the Canary Islands archipelago.
You can hike to the top, or you can choose a more relaxing option and use a cable car. Then you just have to walk 40 minutes to the top. Make sure to apply for the permit to access the Teide crater if you want to hike all the way to the peak without booking a tour. The permit is free, you just need to register online, choose a date and a time and fill in a form. But there are a limited number of permits for each day. So be aware that you have to do it months in advance. You can get your Mount Teide permit here.
I wish we had more time to explore this place. Hiking from the base to the top must be a unique experience, and I regret not doing that. Well, at least now we have a great reason to come back.
3. Visit Teide Observatory and do the Astronomic tour
The Canary Islands is one of the three best spots in the world to observe the sky, along with Chile and Hawaii. If you are a fan of astronomy or you just love to watch stars, Mt Teide is a perfect place for you.
Teide Observatory began to operate in 1964, and today is the world’s largest solar observatory. Here you can find solar, nocturnal and microwave telescopes owned by more than 60 institutions from 19 countries. Here you can also learn all about different telescopes in the observatory and how they work.
The peak of Mount Teide is away from light pollution and above the clouds, which makes it a perfect place for stargazing. By using long-range telescopes, you can explore the mysteries of the sky over Mt Teide.
What do you think how many days in the year is the peak of Mt Teide cloudless? Well, our guide told us the answer is about 350 days a year. Imagine now how “lucky” you have to be to visit this place on a cloudy day.
Well, on the day of our astronomical tour was cloudy, and we couldn’t do the stargazing. Apparently I’m not the right person to talk about luck.
Nevertheless, in situations like this, the stargazing takes place in a small planetarium. In the end, we’ve seen the stars above the Mt Teide in a warm planetarium. So, that’s not so bad, don’t you think?
4. Explore the Anaga Rural Park
The Anaga Rural Park lies on the north-eastern part of the island. Park is protected by UNESCO since 2015. This park is home to mountains with sharp peaks and more than 800 endangered species of flora and fauna. In other words, Anaga Rural Park is a real haven for nature and hiking lovers.
On your way, you can choose between numerous hiking trails of distinct difficulties and lengths. Every hiking trail will take you to different corners of the park. Some of the trails will lead you through villages like Chinamada and Taganana, where you can feel the rural life of the Canary Islands. Other trails lead to lovely volcanic black sand beaches.
The most popular hiking path in Anaga is the one that leads to Taganana village and ends with a walk along the beaches. It is a perfect trail to explore both the mountains and the cost.
Make sure you bring suitable clothes because the weather here can be unpredictable. Believe me summer dress and Converse are not for this place. Of course, I had to learn that the hard way.
5. Find a hidden village in the Teno mountains
Masca is the most beautiful village in Tenerife, located in the northwest part of the island. Houses built on the edge of the rocky mountain, dramatic views, surrounding vegetation, it all gives this place a mini Machu Picchu look. This location is a dream come true for every photographer. It is a little challenging to reach this village, but it’s worth it.
Masca village is small, and it can be really crowded in here. So, don’t surprise if the locals seem to be a little grumpy.
From Masca village, you can take a three-hour walking trip to Playa de Masca, a small bay, which was very popular among the pirates. Here you can continue your journey with a boat to the coast of resort town Los Gigantes.
6. Be amazed by the giants
Los Gigantes is a resort town in the Santiago del Teide. Its main feature are the giant rock formations Amontillados de los Gigantes or literally translated “cliffs of the giants.” The cliffs offer an impressive view of the Atlantic Ocean. They stretched from Punta de Teno, which is the most westerly point of the whole islands, to the port of Los Gigantes.
This rock formation is rising from the sea to a height of 600 meters and plummeting straight down 30 meters into the sea. With its rich marine life, Los Gigantes offers an alternative to visitors that want something more than sand and sun.
There are few ways to explore these giants:
- from Mirador Archipenque (Archipenque viewpoint) you can enjoy in the breathtaking panorama of Los Gigantes Cliffs, town and marina
- you can take a boat trip to explore the cliff from the sea, this experience offers the opportunity to see whales and dolphins
- kayaking, scuba diving and jet-skiing are just a few of opportunity for those who are seeking a different, more exciting way to explore this wonder
7. Do a city tour
When it comes to nature, Tenerife has a lot to offer. Still, there are plenty of exciting cities which may catch your interest to.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna
San Cristobal de la Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife, is located in the northern part of the island. With its historical old town, awarded with World Heritage status, La Laguna is considered to be the cultural capital of the island. Walking through La Laguna’s old town is like taking a step back in time. Its historical buildings and palaces are a perfect example of colonial layout.
This city is home to the University of La Laguna, the oldest university on the Canary Islands. Lovely streets in the city center are therefore always full of life. So if you want to see how does the nightlife in Tenerife looks like, La Laguna is a perfect place for that.
Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz is a city in the northern part of the island. Previously, this was a fishing village, and one of the city’s main attraction is the old harbor, which the local women have used as a fish market.
While strolling along Puerto de la Cruz’s promenade, you can overlook the ocean on one side and watch the mighty volcano on the other. Just a perfect combination. Despite being the most visited city in Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz has preserved the traditional Canarian charm.
If you are in a mood fore some cocktails and live music, I would recommend Compostelana Club Café.
What to see in Puerto de la Cruz:
- Lago Martinez
- Playa Jardin
- Botanical garden
- lots of street art
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital city of island Tenerife. It is located in the northeastern part of the island. Additionally, Santa Cruz is the capital of the Canary Islands too.
This city has many jewels that are mostly overlooked by tourists. Whit its blend of modern architecture and old town colonial charm, Santa Cruz is without a doubt worth visiting. Especially if you’re visiting in February when it hosts the second most popular carnival in the world (first is the one in Rio de Janeiro).
The most iconic landmark of the city is Auditorio de Tenerife, which is often compared to Australia’s Sydney Opera House.
8. Swim in the ocean
In conclusion, a trip to Tenerife wouldn’t be complete without visiting some charming sand beaches. After hiking and exploring the adventures landscape of Tenerife, everyone needs a relaxing day on a sunny beach.
Some of the best beaches in Tenerife:
- Jardín – in Puerto de la Cruz
- Las Teresitas – in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- Benijo – in Anaga Rural Park
- El Medano – in El Medano
- Camisón – Playa de las Americas
- Los Cristianos – in Los Cristianos