If you’re looking for things to do in Tenerife, you’ve come to the right place, because the island offers a host of activities.
Starting with Mount Teide, the island’s main attraction, the highest peak in Spain from its base in the ocean, and the third largest volcano in the world. Mount Teide is a wonder of nature in its own right, and even more so with the fantastic views afforded from its peak.
Apart from the extraordinary natural landscapes in the area around the volcano, no visitor to Tenerife should miss the island’s beaches of black sand, its starry skies, and its colonial cities, where time seems to have stood still.
Here you’ll find a rundown of the finest attractions of Tenerife, to help you fall in love with the island of forever spring.
- The Teide National Park: an absolute ‘must’ in Tenerife
- Hiking through the Roques de García: a landscape wrought by the volcano and the winds
- A visit to the Teide Observatory: a first-class stargazing experience
- The Drago Tree in Icod de los Vinos: the chance to see a specimen unique to the world in Tenerife
- Visit the Cueva del Viento: a journey to the centre of the Earth in Tenerife
- Whale and dolphin spotting in Adeje: a ‘must’ on any trip to Tenerife
- Hiking through the ancient forests of the Anaga Rural Park
- Descending the Masca Gorge: a hike that’s also a geology lesson
- Discover the majestic Los Gigantes Cliffs
- Tenerife’s picturesque lighthouse: Punta de Teno
- A tour of San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s historic quarter
- Hiking inTenerife with a waterfall included: the Barranco del Infierno
- A charming town in Tenerife: La Orotava
- Explore Garachico: the town that defied a volcano in Tenerife
- Puerto de la Cruz: a city with much to offer in Tenerife
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife: the city packed with things to do in Tenerife
The Teide National Park: an absolute ‘must’ in Tenerife
A visit to the Teide National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007, is a ‘must’ on any trip to Tenerife.
Should you visit by day or at night? Should you go for hiking or star gazing?
Why not do both, and benefit from a variety of experiences? Whether you visit by day or by night, on your own or on an organised excursion such as the ones we offer, the Teide National Park never disappoints!
A daytime ascent of Mount Teide by cable car
One of the main things you can do in Tenerife is take a cable car ride up Mount Teide which, at a height of 3,718 metres, is Spain’s highest peak.
You can ascend the first 3,555 metres in comfort with the cable car, and walk the free-to-access paths leading from the upper cable car station. However, if you want to go all the way up to the crater, you will need a permit from the Teide National Park.
For further information, we recommend this article on how to ascend Mount Teide.
If you’re planning to make this amazing trip during the daytime, we advise that you travel by some form of shared transport. By doing this, we can all contribute to reducing overcrowding in the National Park’s car parks.
Ascending Mount Teide to watch Tenerife’s most beautiful sunset
Among Tenerife’s most impressive natural spectacles are the shadow of Mount Teide projected onto the sea at the horizon and the sunset from the Pico Viejo viewing point.
Watch how the scenery changes as the sun sets, and the shifting, ombre effect of the colours as night falls.
Round off your visit with some stargazing using high-range telescopes and with the help of Starlight guides, on our Sunset & Stars excursion.
Stargazing from Mount Teide—a Starlight Destination
Without a doubt, stargazing from Mount Teide is another not-to-be-missed experience to add to your list of things to do in Tenerife..
Did you know that from Mount Teide it is possible to see 83 of the 88 officially recognised constellations? Moreover, the sky above the Teide National Park is a ‘Starlight Destination’ in the Starlight Foundation’s ‘Tourist Destination’ category.
This certifies that stargazing in the Teide National Park complies with all the criteria and procedures established for both the protection of the sky and the natural and cultural assets associated with it.
Hiking in the Teide National Park: nature as you’ve never seen it before
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss exploring Tenerife’s hiking trails, where enjoyment of nature in its purest state is guaranteed. As this article will show, there are hiking trails to suit everyone.lo.
The Teide National Park’s network of hiking trails contains no fewer than 41 trails, offering a plethora of options for hiking in Tenerife—and those offering the most spectacular views start from the cable car upper station:
- The trail to the Pico Viejo Viewpoint (free access), which you can undertake with a guide—book your ticket for the cable car with a guided tour to the Pico Viejo Viewpoint.
- The trail to the La Fortaleza Viewpoint (free access), which you can follow independently with an audio guide by booking a cable car ticket with audio guide.
- The trail to the crater of Mount Teide, or the Telesforo Bravo trail, which requires an access permit. You will find all the information you need to access the crater here.
Hiking through the Roques de García: a landscape wrought by the volcano and the winds
On your list of hiking trails to undertake in Tenerife, you should include a circular route through the Roques de García, part of the Teide National Park which is open to the public, and full of strangely shaped rocks.
The rocks are formations produced by volcanic debris which has been eroded by the winds, chiselling them so that they present an extraordinary sight; the landscape resembles that of the surface of the Moon, with the rocks sticking up.
The Roque de Chinchado is the most spectacular. Make sure you grab the chance of a photo from the viewing point, with this majestic rock in the background.
A visit to the Teide Observatory: a first-class stargazing experience
The Canary Islands are an undisputed paradise for those keen to study the Universe, thanks to the excellent quality of their skies, their unique climate, and their unparalleled geography.
That is why the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands —the Teide Observatory in Tenerife, and the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma— are international flagships in the field of astronomy.
The Teide Observatory is, moreover, the biggest solar observatory on Earth.
The Dragon Tree in Icod de los Vinos: the chance to see a specimen unique to the world in Tenerife
A visit to the Icod de los Vinos Dragon Tree, or Drago Milenario, is a highlight of any trip to Tenerife because of the tree’s history, beauty and uniqueness.
This specimen of the Dracaena draco species, the oldest one of its kind in the world, stands in the Parque del Drago, in the town of Icod de los Vinos, from which the tree takes its name.
On your visit to the park, you really need to go up and get a close look at this huge specimen, an emblem of Tenerife’s nature and culture, which is, incredibly, around 800 years old, and 18 metres tall.
As you explore the area, you will discover this, and other species endemic to Tenerife, as you enjoy the views of Mount Teide in the background, and learn about the legend surrounding the Millennial Dragon Tree.
Visit the Cueva del Viento: a journey to the centre of the Earth in Tenerife
In Tenerife, you get the chance to journey to the centre of the Earth, thanks to the extraordinary Cueva del Viento (Wind Cave). Why extraordinary? Because it is a volcanic cavity with unusual features that make it a genuine treasure.
- It was formed 27,000 years ago from lava that flowed from the first phase of the eruption of the Pico Viejo volcano, close to Mount Teide.
- It is the longest volcanic tunnel in Europe, and the sixth longest in the world.
- It has been ascertained to stretch for 18 kilometres, but further exploration may discover that it is even longer.
- Its network of subterranean galleries is unique in the world, as three overlapping levels have been identified.
- The cave is home to 92 known underground animal species.
Without the shadow of a doubt, a visit to the Cueva del Viento is something unique you can do in Tenerife.
Whale and dolphin spotting in Adeje: a ‘must’ on any trip to Tenerife
Spotting cetaceans such as bottlenose dolphins or pilot whales is an activity well worth including on your list of things to do in Tenerife.
The feeling you get when you see these seldom-spotted creatures emerge from the ocean waters; and watch them hunting for food, playing, observing how their activities depend on the time of day and the weather—all this is indescribable… and it’s different every time!
Remember that, even if you’re staying in the south of the island, there is more to Tenerife than just the beach. It is easy (and involves no inconvenience), to visit another wonder of Tenerife: Mount Teide. We can pick you up from Costa Adeje and take you to the National Park so that you can enjoy the Teide Tour Excursion, with or without an ascent on the cable car—the choice is yours.
Hiking through the ancient forests of the Anaga Rural Park
Escape to one of the oldest parts of Tenerife, and a Biosphere reserve since 2015: the Parque Rural de Anaga, home of Europe’s highest number of endemic species and a veritable paradise for hiking enthusiasts with its beautiful and impressive ancient forests.
To get the most from this rugged, mountainous landscape, the best plan is to follow its many hiking trails and then make for one of its beaches of black sand to go for a swim.
On your hike through Anaga, you will see the most abundant growth of native laurel trees on the island, as well as remarkable geological formations and rocks.
Descending the Masca Gorge: a hike that’s also a geology lesson
We make it easy for you. Check this comparative table of all activities which include a cable car ride and make a decision.
A highly popular option with visitors to Tenerife is the descent of the Masca Gorge Trail, a pleasant hike leading to a wild beach that lies between the famous Los Gigantes cliffs.
This deep stone gorge has been sculpted by the water over the past 5 million years, to reveal the different horizontal layers and vertical fissures left across the ages.
Take advantage of your hike through this gorge in the heart of the Teno Rural Park to visit the hamlet of Masca, in the picturesque village from which it takes its name. The sight of these remarkable buildings helps visitors to appreciate the heroism that was required to build on such an inhospitable landscape.
Discover the majestic Los Gigantes Cliffs
Another wonder of nature that you can see in Tenerife are the Los Gigantes cliffs, whose name (The Giants, in English) reflects their size and grandeur.
Whether viewed from land, sea or air, Los Gigantes are equally impressive; these immense, dark, volcanic walls reach a height of 600 metres at some points, a sight that cannot fail to impress.
A visit to Los Gigantes, in the Teno Rural Park, will be an essential highlight of your stay on the island, just like your trip to the Teide National Park. You can even combine these two marvels very easily by booking the Teide Tour Excursion with a pick-up at Los Gigantes.
Tenerife’s picturesque lighthouse: Punta de Teno
We stay in the Teno Rural Park to visit one of Tenerife’s lesser-known sights, a quality that only adds to its charm: Punta de Teno.
At the island’s most westerly point, this natural enclave is home to a lighthouse the like of which you normally only see on a postcard. Painted in a startling red and dazzling white, it is a balcony from which to admire the vastness of the ocean, and offers stunning views.
This protected area includes a cove from which you can enjoy panoramic views of Los Gigantes cliffs and the island of La Gomera. Can you really afford to miss it?
A tour of San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s historic quarter
This city, a neighbour of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the island’s former capital, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, and has preserved its colonial style buildings almost entirely intact.
For centuries a cradle of the illustrative arts and of the Canary Islands aristocracy, San Cristóbal de La Laguna will steal your heart with its carefully preserved historic quarter, where you can admire its fifteenth-century streets and edifices.
On your tour, make sure you don’t miss its most emblematic buildings:
- The Plaza del Adelantado with its typical edifices such as the Palacio de Nava, the Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena and the Town Hall.
- The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, a Baroque church with a tower from which you can enjoy views over the entire city.
- The Palacio Salazar or Palacio Episcopal, one of Tenerife’s most magnificent buildings.
- Ancestral mansions such as the Casa del Corregidor or the Casa de los Capitanes Generales, which recall the city’s most glorious years.
Would you like a full-day visit to Mount Teide? We can make it happen: if you book the Teide Tour Excursion, we will collect you in La Laguna and take you directly to the Teide National Park.
Hiking inTenerife with a waterfall included: the Barranco del Infierno
For those who love the mountains, the Special Natural Reserve of the Barranco del Infierno (Hell’s Gorge), in the heart of Adeje, is one of the best excursions that Tenerife can offer.
Don’t let its name put you off, because the trail is actually very accessible. You really cannot afford to miss its natural beauty. Such is its value in geological terms that every day, admission is limited to 20 people per half hour.
All you need is suitable footwear for the walk, slightly over three kilometres, to the final waterfall—which is over 200 metres high!
A charming town in Tenerife: La Orotava
La Orotava is, without a doubt, one of Tenerife’s most delightful towns: stroll through its streets, enjoying its aristocratic air, and admire its well-preserved buildings. The town was deservedly declared an Asset of Historic-Artistic Importance in 1976.
This is the island’s largest municipality, and in addition to its buildings with their fascinating heritage, it has beautiful gardens and a charming, sedate lifestyle.
If you can, visit the town during Corpus Christi, when its balconies, pavements and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento are carpeted with sand and flowers.
Part of the essence of this town is the Teide National Park and for good reason: 78% of the Park lies within the municipality of La Orotava. If you would like to go up Mount Teide during your visit to the north of the island, we can pick you up in Puerto de la Cruz and take you on the Teide Tour Excursion.
Explore Garachico: the town that defied a volcano in Tenerife
Garachico is one of those places in Tenerife that is worth seeing because it shows how the volcanoes have affected this land and its people.
This pretty town on the island’s north-western coast was almost completely destroyed in 1706 when the Trevejo volcano erupted, but it re-emerged from the devastation with even greater charm, if that is possible.
Garachico, upon which King Alfonso XIII conferred the title of Villa y Puerto (Burg and Port), has it all: an extraordinary landscape with a cliff that separates the historic quarter from the rest of the town, large and small banana plantations, wooded areas planted with Canary Island pine trees, a historic quarter and beaches of black sand.
Something else which is well worth doing in Tenerife is taking a dip at El Caletón de Garachico, an area with natural swimming pools, looking out onto a colossal rock just off the coast.
Puerto de la Cruz: a city with much to offer in Tenerife
If you’re fond of going out on the town, you can have a great time in Puerto de la Cruz, as this city has accommodation, restaurants, bars and terraces to suit all tastes—one of the reasons why it is one of Tenerife’s favourite tourist destinations.
Little now remains of the tiny fishing village that Puerto de la Cruz once was. Nevertheless, it still bears traces of its seafaring character, for example in its cuisine. Have you ever tasted fried moray eels? It’s a dishthey make to perfection in Puerto de la Cruz.
Apart from what it has to offer in the way of leisure, the city has other options for activities. Here are some of the highlights:
- The Botanical Garden, a gem created in the eighteenth century to acclimatise species from other parts of the world.
- The San Amaro Hermitage, a dazzling white parish church dating from 1591, making it the oldest church in Puerto de la Cruz.
- The La Paz viewing point, from which you can marvel at the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Surfing on Playa Martiánez, a beach with a spacious square next to it, perfect for sitting to gaze at the sea.
- A stroll along the Paseo de Las Palmeras, something that every visitor to the town enjoys.
- The Conjunto Histórico de Puerto de la Cruz, where you can immerse yourself in the seafaring ambience that we mentioned earlier.
And obviously, we can pick you up in Puerto de la Cruz for the Teide Tour Excursion, another unmissable activity in Tenerife.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife: the city packed with things to do in Tenerife
We complete our rundown of the best things to do in Tenerife with another great city that is also the choice of many tourists as their base from which to explore the island: Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Located in the far north-east of the island, the city offers a wide range of things to do and see, with something for everyone. Possibilities range from water sports activities to a broad cultural offer of art exhibitions and concerts.
Whether you are staying in the city or not, don’t forget to visit the Parque Marítimo de Santa Cruz, a posthumous work of the renowned artist, César Manrique. There, you can go for a refreshing dip in an exquisite architectural masterpiece that will leave you open-mouthed with wonder.
Another architectural work worth seeing in Tenerife is the Auditorio Adán Martín, an exciting creation of Santiago Calatrava, located close to the sea shore, and known as the Tenerife Auditorium..
This is a ground-breaking performance venue that hosts residencies by the Tenerife Symphonic Orchestra and by Ópera de Tenerife, in addition to a full programme of music and dance of the first order.
And speaking of the performing arts, if you love the theatre, you should include in your plans a visit to the Teatro Guimerá, the Canary Island’s oldest theatre built, as you would expect, in a much more classic style.
Continuing to explore the cultural possibilities available in the capital, here is a varied assortment of options:
- The TEA ―Tenerife Espacio de las Artes [Tenerife Arts Space]―, where you will find exhibitions of contemporary art.
- The Museum of Nature and Archaeology, which will take you on a journey into the aboriginal past of the Canary Islands, and you can admire the museum’s collection of mummies.
- The Casa del Carnaval, a museum which traces the history of Tenerife’s Carnival—a Festival of International Tourist Interest.
And lastly, why not immerse yourself in the capital’s green spaces? There are so many of these in Tenerife. Stroll among the palm trees, sculptures and abundant trees in the Parque García Sanabria and admire the park’s photogenic flower clock.
You could also visit the Palmetum, Europe’s largest botanical garden specialising in palm trees. Once a rubbish dump, this place is now one of the island’s most important spaces dedicated to leisure and to botany.
And, of course, we have pick-up points in the capital, so that you can join a Teide Tour to the Teide National Park with departure from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with or without the cable car ride. Book this excursion, and enjoy a tour with expert guides, and the finest views of Tenerife and its neighbouring islands.
And that concludes our rundown of things to see and do in Tenerife:
All you need to do now is choose where to start!