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Top Things to Do in Tenerife – Canary Islands

Top Things to Do in Tenerife – Canary Islands

My family on my dad’s side is from this little island off the coast of Africa near Morocco called Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. Most of the people that I mention it to here in the U.S. have never heard of it. Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. They’re all volcanic islands.  Tenerife is also home to  “El Teide” which is the third largest volcano is the world and the highest point in Spain (3718 meters or 12,198 ft).

The island is subtropical making it a popular destination among Europeans wanting to soak up the sun and sunbath on its famous black volcanic beaches.  It’s considered the Caribbean of Europe. The island has a diverse selection of landmarks and natural areas.  These are 14 of the Top Things to do and see when visiting Tenerife.

 

Canary Islands
View of the island Tenerife, Canary Islands, from the plane.

 

1.  Teide National Park

Every traveler needs to visit Teide National Park and Mount Teide. The park has a number of trails and a unique landscape. One of the main attraction is the cable car ride that goes from the main parking lot to the top of Mount Teide.  The views from the top are spectacular. Visitors can see the entire landscape of Tenerife from the top of Mount Teide. Unfortunately, the final few hundred feet leading to the actual summit is not open to visitors.

 

El Teide (photo credit: exposingthemoment)
El Teide (photo credit: exposingthemoment)
Trail on top of Mount Teide, Tenerife
Trail on top of Mount Teide, Tenerife

2.  Teide Observatory

Tenerife’s Mount Teide National Park is not only home to a dormant volcano, you will also find Europe’s finest solar telescope at Teide Observatory.  The observatory is located at 2390m above sea level, it’s the home to telescopes and other instruments belonging to over 60 scientific institutions from 17 different countries. A great deal of fundamental research in astrophysics is performed here.

 

Teide Observatory, Tenerife
Teide Observatory, Tenerife
Teide Observatory, Tenerife
Teide Observatory, Tenerife

3.  Los Gigantes Cliffs

The Los Gigantes Cliffs are a natural landmark and the most stunning backdrops of any town in Tenerife. The ancient and dramatic mountain range which rises from the sea beside the resort and after is named – ‘The Giants’.  They attract many visitors every year. The cliffs have sheer faces that run vertically almost 1,600 feet up from the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can take a boat ride into the ocean to see the cliffs up close. It is also possible to see them from a number of oceanfront restaurants and bars in the nearby town.

 

Los Gigantes Cliffs, Tenerife
Los Gigantes Cliffs, Tenerife
Road to Los Gigantes, Tenerife (photo credit flickr: Pedro Szekely)
Road to Los Gigantes, Tenerife (photo credit flickr: Pedro Szekely)

4.  El Medano

El Medano is a seaside resort nestled on the south coast of Tenerife. It has been host to international windsurfing contests over the years. With its fine golden sand, a buzzing Saturday morning market, a promenade, numerous friendly bars and restaurants, and lots of live music, it possesses a quiet beauty.

 

El Medano, Tenerife
El Medano, Tenerife
El Medano Beach, Tenerife
El Medano Beach, Tenerife

5.  Parque Rural de Anaga

The Parque Rural de Anaga occupies most of the northeastern part of Tenerife. The park is very large and includes dense jungle areas as well as sparsely populated mountainsides. Visitors can hike through the trails to see some of the over 100 endangered native animals in the area.

 

Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife
Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife
Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife
Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife

6.   Playa de Las Teresitas

The Playa de Las Teresitas is a manmade beach that sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Sand from the Sahara was used to form the beach. The Playa de Las Teresitas is the only beach in the Canary Islands that does not have black sand. Visitors can swim in the ocean, sunbath or take in the calm scenery. The beach has amenities like bathrooms, outdoor showers, changing cabins and food stands.

 

Plaza de Las Teresitas Beach, Tenerife
Playa de Las Teresitas Beach, Tenerife
Playa de Las Teresitas, Tenerife
Playa de Las Teresitas, Tenerife

7.  Candelaria

The town of Candelaria is located 17 kilometers from Santa Cruz de Tenerife.  Along. the seawall are giant statues of the Guanche leaders that overlooks the main square and the Basilica of Candelaria.  The Basilica of Candelaria is a large church builded to house the Virgin of Candelaria statue, which is said to have been found by shepherds on the beach.

 

Candelaria Guanche Statues, Tenerife
Candelaria Guanche Statues, Tenerife
Candelaria, Tenerife (photo credit flickr- <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/liferfe/2069377257/" target="_blank">Jose Mesa</a>)
Candelaria, Tenerife (photo credit flickr- Jose Mesa)

8.  Punta de Teno

Punta de Teno is the west most point on Tenerife.  There is a light house on it and is a remote area where some locals go to sunbath. The road is extremely dangerous and it’s closed during windy or raining days.  The lighthouse, on a cliff on the Natural Park of Teno, was built in 1897.

 

Punta de Teno, Tenerife
Punta de Teno, Tenerife
Punto de Teno Beach, Tenerife
Punto de Teno Beach, Tenerife

9.  Icod de los Vinos

The town is located in an area of vineyards and famous wines. The small Plaza de La Pila is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Canary Islands and is surrounded by some marvellous old homes.  The “Drago Milenario” in the town is rumoured to be 1,000 years old and is recognized as a symbol of the island.  The longest lava tube cave outside of Hawaii, is also located in Icod de los Vinos called Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind).  It has over 17 km of passages mapped and there’s more to explore!

 

Drago in Icod de Los Vinos, Tenerife (photo by exposingthemoment)
Drago in Icod de Los Vinos, Tenerife (photo by exposingthemoment)
Plaza de La Pila, Icod de los Vinos
Plaza de La Pila, Icod de los Vinos

 

10.  Garachico

The town of Garachico today a beautiful fishing village with natural pools formed by the lava of the 1706 eruption that are used today by locals and tourists for bathing. The town displays typical canarian buildings with beautiful wooden balconies and cobbled streets. Among the most interesting places to visit in Garachico are the Castle of San Miguel, from where you will enjoy fabulous views over the ocean.

 

Garachico, Tenerife
Garachico, Tenerife
Castle of San Miguel, Garachico
Castle of San Miguel, Garachico

11.  La Orotava

The town of La Orotava was home to many of the island’s wealthiest families who settled here after the Spanish conquest.  One of my favorite places to visit is Casa de los Balcones where you can  marvel at the ornate balconies and wander around the inner courtyards.  In early June, streets are covered in flower carpets and the town hall provides the setting for a breathtaking tapestry of flowers  and volcanic sand extracted from El Teide National Park to mark the Corpus Christi religious festivity in La Villa de La Orotava.

 

Casa de los Balcones, La Orotava
Casa de los Balcones, La Orotava
La Oratava Corpus Christi Religious Festival in La Villa de La Orotava.
La Oratava Corpus Christi Religious Festival in La Villa de La Orotava.

 

12.  Puerto de La Cruz

Puerto de La Cruz was an old fishing port and a harbor. The city offers a wide range of accommodations, and is full of narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional colonial-style cafes and bars.  The coastal area contains several of the city’s main attractions: Loro Parque is an animal adventure park with shows. Lago Martiánez a complex of swimming pools. The sandy beach of Playa Jardín, and the beautiful Jardin Botánico.

 

Puerto de la Cruz (photo credit flickr by pedrosz)
Puerto de la Cruz (photo credit flickr by Pedro Szekely)
Muelle Puerto de La Cruz (photo credit: exposingthemoment)
Muelle Puerto de La Cruz (photo credit: exposingthemoment)

13.  Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The capital of the island is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.  The city is a bustling port with shops, interesting art galleries, museums, fountains and greenery throughout.  If you’re into shopping, check out Avenida Castillo which is lined with stores, and restaurants.

 

La Rambla de Santa Cruz de Tenerife
La Rambla de Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands

14. San Cristóbal de La Laguna (La Lugana) 

La Lugana was Tenerife’s capital up until 1821.  It was founded in the late 15th century on an inland plateau 550 m above sea level next to an insalubrious lagoon.  The historic town centre, is a gem, with narrow streets lined with colorful buildings, grand old villas and idiosyncratic small shops.  La Laguna was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage sites. The town has a youthful energy and possibly the island’s most determined marcha (nightlife).

 

Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife
Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife
Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife
Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife

 

Tenerife has it all, a sunny climate, tapas, local seafood and a rugged terrain that make it a popular destination. The island has so much to offer that I can write endlessly about all there is to do.   It’s one of my favorite places to visit!
 
 

 

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

11 Comments

  1. This is a great round up, Carmen – I’d love to visit Tenerife. It looks like those statues in Candelaria are perched on volcanic rocks

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • Carmen

      Suze,

      Yes, that’s a good observation they are perched on volcanic rocks. Tenerife was divided into nine kingdoms, each was governed by a king. The huge bronze sculptures represent the last nine kings. Tenerife is a short trip from London, definitely worth a visit.

  2. How cool for your dad to have grown up on an island with such diverse landscape! It looks like a mixture of so many different islands (caribbean, Hawaiian) put together. Great photos!

    • Carmen

      Visitors to Tenerife are often surprised by the variety of rugged landscapes. In just a short drive you can find yourself surrounded by a pine forest, or sunning yourself on a beach. The island that a lot to offer and I’m lucky that my family is from there.

  3. A woman
    Reply

    I came again to Tenerife because we love the island and the friendly people and it is the only place in Europe to go on the beach for Christmas.
    I would like to ask to add no.5: Masca village and the road. Google to see why ☺. And a small correction: all the beaches are manipulated by men, with sand from Sahara (all the big beaches are like this) and the small ones with black sand.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Will definitely check out Masca Village next time – thanks!

  4. I already visit Canary Islands for so many times especially Tenerife. The reason why I always came back to this place it’s because of the good and calming weather. Very relaxing and full of adventures. I really love this place. A highly recommended place for everyone.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Sounds like you love it as much as I do, thanks for sharing!

  5. Lerroy Wick
    Reply

    Hi Carmen,
    This is nice. My wife and I are excited on a vacation we’ve booked in Spain and definitely we will go to the canary. Tenerife is one of our eyeing place for our first stop 🙂 There are so many things e want to do from a page we’ve read canaryislandsinfo.co.uk/tenerife/things-to-do/. is there anything else you could recommend aside from that page?

  6. We love Tenerife. Recently we spent our Holiday in Las Palmas. It is one of our favorite Holiday place.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Ours too!

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