Today I’m on a very special mission: to tell you about all the things you can do in Tenerife, making the most of your visit to the island, travelling from one end to the other and doing what you most enjoy.
This Mini-Guide includes recommendations for you if:
- Strolling and wandering are your favourite ways of getting to know the places you visit
- Getting a tan on Tenerife’s beaches is something else you have in mind
- You’ve heard how breathtaking and ever-changing Tenerife’s natural landscape is, and you don’t want to leave without exploring it
- You’re travelling with children, and you’d like to know what activities you can enjoy as a family in Tenerife
- Your friends and acquaintances have told you about Tenerife’s whales and dolphins, and you’d like to go on a boat trip to see them
- You want to know about everything you can do in Tenerife so that you enjoy your holiday to the full
The best thing about holidaying on an island is that everything is just a stone’s throw away, so you can expect my list to include recommendations for every corner of the island.
I recommend that you take a stroll, at the very least, through the streets of the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. You can also tour the city on the tourist bus, getting on and off at your leisure so that you have time to see absolutely everything in one day.
Santa Cruz is home to such architectural delights as the Maritime Park, a posthumous work by César Manrique; the Adán Martín Auditorium, the work of Santiago Calatrava; Teatro Guimerá, the oldest theatre in the Canary Islands, and the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, the city’s most visited art gallery with its contemporary aesthetic and the best exhibitions of modern art in the city.
Other highly recommended visits include the Museum of Nature and Man, where you can immerse yourself in the indigenous past of the Canary Islands, and see the collection of mummies; the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África, a market housed in a colonial-style building where, as well as doing your shopping, you can enjoy fresh fish cooked to order - and, of course, the García Sanabria Park, where you can wander among landscaped footpaths, palm trees, sculptures and luxuriant trees. Then there’s the Palmetum, a former rubbish dump which has been converted into the biggest botanical garden in Europe, specialising in palm trees.
¡Ah! And if you’re travelling with children, why not take them to La Casa del Carnaval (The Carnival Museum), a temple to partying like no other.
Tenerife has a large number of beaches scattered around its entire coast. That’s why I can assure you that wherever you go, there’s a beach for you.
Whether you’re looking for a beach to explore, such as Playa de Benijo, secluded and unspoilt, with the vast sea playing on its black sand; a beach where you can dive or surf such as Playa de El Socorro in the Puerto de la Cruz area; a beach where you can play in the sand and paddle with your children, like Las Teresitas in Santa Cruz; a romantic beach like Playa del Conquistador, where you can stroll with your better half enjoying the beautiful views of La Gomera; or a beach where you can relax, such as Playa de La Jaquita, where the sun slowly warms your skin and the sound of the waves are a constant reminder that you’re on holiday.
Unspoilt Nature. Did you know that 48.6% of the surface area of Tenerife is protected? Immerse yourself in unspoilt nature on your holiday, walking through forests and along charming footpaths which allow you to break free from your everyday routine and reconnect with yourself.
Essential hiking trails
Head into the Parque Rural de Anaga, a true mecca for hiking enthusiasts who are keen to explore its incredible, beautiful, ancient woods. I recommend the guided tour of the Anaga Rural Park which also features a demonstration of the traditional Shepherd’s Leap.
Hike through the deepest ravines in Tenerife in the Parque Rural de Teno. The guided hike from Teno Alto to Punta de Teno is highly recommended. It includes a visit to the area’s cheese-making dairy (with a chance to taste the local goats’ cheese), as well as demonstrations of local traditions. The guided hike through the Masca ravine is another excursion not to be missed. It starts at the Hamlet of Masca and finishes on the beach, to be rounded off with a boat trip and the possibility of spotting cetaceans.
On Tenerife’s Mount Teide, in addition to an unbeatable volcanic experience, you can enjoy the biggest lava tunnel in Europe - and one of the biggest in the world. Why not grab your chance to visit it? Your tickets for the Cueva del Viento, suitable clothing and footwear, and your spirit of adventure are all you need to tour the Wind Cave’s 18 km of stunning yet mysterious underground passages.
Other nature-focused excursions and activities to think about
If heights don’t bother you and you’d like a bird’s-eye view of Tenerife’s countryside, coast and towns, I can highly recommend the helicopter flight over Southern Tenerife,
Since the Canary Islands are famous for bananas, why not pay a visit to one of the biggest banana exporters in the world? An agricultural estate where you can learn all about bananas - and taste them!
I can also recommend the Guided tour of the highlights of Tenerife: Santa Cruz, La Laguna, Anaga and Taganana if, as well as strolling through Santa Cruz and La Laguna and exploring their streets, you’d like to see the Macizo de Anaga mountain range and some traditional Tenerife hamlets. An excursion to discover why Tenerife inspires such great interest from all over the world.
And if you’d like do a little island hopping, you can’t beat a Jeep Safari tour of La Gomera with departures from Tenerife. An excursion that gives you the chance to explore one of the stages in Columbus’ journey to the New World.
A wonderful way to spend quality time with your family is a visit to one of Tenerife’s leisure parks.
So I suggest visiting Loro Parque or Siam Park, to experience a thrilling encounter with the animal kingdom at the best zoo in the world, or to have the time of your lives in the best water park in the world. If you’ve decided you’d like to take your family to both these attractions, may I suggest the Twin Ticket, which combines entry to both worlds of fun.
For the most daring of you, my best recommendation is Forestal Park, the most famous zip wire and leisure park in the Canary Islands, offering endless fun activities among the trees.
And finally, you must not miss the Pyramids of Güímar for a journey back into the past in this 64,000 m2 ethnographic park and botanical garden.
The shores of Tenerife are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. This mini-guide to the best of Tenerife would not be complete without recommending a couple of excursions on the open sea, enjoying the sea breeze and the smell of the sea that gives you that genuine holiday feeling.
The Costa de Adeje is simply breathtaking. Enjoy it on a 2-, 3-, or 6-hour boat trip, or watch the whales and dolphins off the south-west coast of Tenerife on a 2-, 3-, or 4.5-hour cetacean-spotting excursion along the Cliffs of Los Gigantes.
Apart from the recommendations in this mini-guide to help you make the most of your time in Tenerife, the island has much more to offer, including food and wine experiences, water sports and other visitor attractions.
So I strongly suggest having a look at our Tenerife activities listings to see at a glance everything the island has to offer so that you can get the most out of your holiday.