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What to do

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is a destination that offers a surprising variety of activities and experiences for all types of visitors. From its dramatic volcanic landscape to its Atlantic-bathed beaches, through its picturesque villages and vibrant cultural life, Tenerife is a place that never ceases to amaze. Here is an extensive guide on what to do on this fascinating island.

The activities we will show below are the most representative of the island, however, we also talk about other less known but more impressive excursions, if you want to do them click on the link, incredible excursions in Tenerife.

Explore Teide National Park

Teide is not only the highest peak in Spain but also the heart of one of the most visited national parks in Europe. You can ascend the peak by cable car or, for the more adventurous, by hiking. The lunar landscape around the volcano offers hiking trails that reveal impressive rock formations and spectacular views.

El Teide con el roque

Visitor tips

  • Preparation: Given the high altitude and possible low temperatures, it is crucial to be well-prepared with appropriate clothing, sunscreen, sufficient water, and food, especially if you plan to do extensive hiking.
  • Weather: Weather conditions on Teide can change rapidly. It is advisable to check the forecast and be prepared for unexpected changes.
  • Environmental Impact: Teide is a protected national treasure, and it is essential to follow all guidelines to minimize environmental impact, including not leaving trash and not taking rocks or plants from the site.

Exploring Teide National Park is undoubtedly one of the most enriching activities you can undertake in Tenerife. It not only offers the opportunity to admire an active volcanic landscape of unparalleled beauty but also to experience nature in its most majestic and powerful form.

Relax on the Beaches

Tenerife has beaches for all tastes, from the volcanic black sands of Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz to the golden and lively beaches of the south like Playa de Las Américas and El Médano, the latter famous for being a paradise for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Medano Beach

Visitor tips

  • Sun Protection: Regardless of which beach you choose, it’s crucial to apply high-protection sunscreen, as the sun in the Canary Islands can be very intense.
  • Environmental Respect: Tenerife is famous for its natural beauty and biodiversity. It is important to keep the beaches clean and respect marine life and local regulations.
  • Tide Schedules: Some beaches may have tidal conditions that affect the availability of sand and safety for swimming. It’s always a good idea to check the tide conditions before planning your day at the beach.

Exploring Teide National Park is undoubtedly one of the most enriching activities you can undertake in Tenerife. It not only offers the opportunity to admire an active volcanic landscape of unparalleled beauty but also to experience nature in its most majestic and powerful form.

Discover History in San Cristóbal de La Laguna

La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city with cobblestone streets and impressive colonial architecture. A walk through its historic center will transport you back in time, and you can visit its churches, convents, and ancient palaces.

La Laguna

The urban design of La Laguna, dating back to the 15th century, was innovative for its time and served as a model for many colonial cities in Latin America. Its orthogonal planning, a novelty at the time, facilitated an orderly and coherent urban development that can still be appreciated today. As visitors stroll through the historic center, they are fascinated by the harmony of its streets, squares, and buildings, which retain an old-world charm and an aesthetic cohesion rarely seen in modern urban destinations.

Visit Loro Parque and Siam Park

Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz is globally recognized for its diversity of animals and commitment to conservation. Siam Park in Adeje is a Thai-themed water park with some of the most thrilling attractions in the world, including the highest water slide in Europe.

The park houses a wide range of carefully designed habitats that replicate the natural conditions of its residents, including gorillas, tigers, jaguars, flamingos, and a variety of tropical birds. One of the main attractions is ‘Planet Penguin,’ a gigantic artificial iceberg that is home to hundreds of penguins from various species, maintained at cold temperatures to simulate their natural Antarctic environment.

Loro Parque orca

On the other hand, Siam Park offers a completely different experience in Adeje, in the southwest of Tenerife. This Thai-themed water park has been recognized as one of the best in the world for its innovative design, thrilling water attractions, and spectacular setting.

Take a Hiking Route through the Anaga Massif

This rural park at the northeastern tip of the island offers some of the most beautiful and pristine landscapes in Tenerife. Its mountains, laurel forests, and remote villages are ideal for hiking and discovering the local flora and fauna.

Anaga boasts an extensive network of trails that cater to different levels of ability and endurance. Here are some of the most notable:

Chamorga
  • Sendero de los Sentidos: This path is relatively short and easy, specially designed for leisurely enjoying the rich biodiversity of the laurel forest. Throughout the route, there are informational panels and sensory stations that invite visitors to touch, smell, and listen to the natural surroundings.
  • Sendero Cruz del Carmen – Punta del Hidalgo: This route is more challenging and covers a variety of landscapes, from dense forests to rugged coastlines. It offers panoramic views of the ocean and the opportunity to pass through several charming villages, providing a comprehensive view of Anaga’s diversity.
  • Camino de la Cumbrecilla: Starting from the village of Chamorga, this trail leads hikers through spectacular ravines to the coast. It is ideal for those looking for a moderate challenge and wanting to experience both the mountains and the sea.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Tenerife is a paradise for food lovers. From guachinches (rustic family-run restaurants) where you can try local dishes like papas arrugadas with mojo picón, to haute cuisine restaurants exploring the fusion of Canarian flavors with modern techniques.

Gofio

In a guachinche, you can taste dishes such as «papas arrugadas» (potatoes boiled in salt water and served with mojo picón, a spicy sauce made from garlic, red peppers, cumin, and olive oil), «conejo en salmorejo» (rabbit in salmorejo sauce), «carne fiesta» (marinated and fried pork), and «queso asado» (grilled local cheese served with green mojo sauce). The experience is complemented with local wines, offering a true taste of the land. fusion of Canarian flavors with modern techniques.

Experience Local Festivals

Participating in one of Tenerife’s many festivals is a perfect way to experience its vibrant culture. The Carnival of Santa Cruz is one of the most spectacular in the world, filled with music, dancing, and elaborate costumes.

The Carnival of Santa Cruz is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Tenerife’s festivities. Considered one of the largest and most spectacular carnivals in the world, it rivals the famous carnivals of Rio de Janeiro and Venice in terms of magnitude and splendor. Each year, for several weeks in February, the city transforms into a dazzling spectacle of music, dance, and color.

Romerías and Bailes de Magos are two of the most important festivities in Tenerife. These celebrations reflect the rich history and traditions of the island and offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Canarian culture. From the Romería de San Marcos in Tegueste to the Baile de Magos in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Bajada de la Virgen del Socorro in Güímar, each festivity has its own charm and appeal. So, if you are planning a visit to Tenerife, don’t miss the chance to experience these unforgettable romerías and enjoy the enchanting Bailes de Magos.

Explore Los Gigantes Cliffs

These impressive cliffs drop vertically into the ocean from heights of up to 800 meters and are a breathtaking sight from the sea. A boat trip in this area will also offer you the chance to spot dolphins and whales.

Los acantilados de los Gigantes desde la playa de los Guios

One of the best ways to fully appreciate the grandeur of Los Gigantes is by taking a boat tour. These tours not only give you a unique vantage point of the cliffs from the sea but also provide the opportunity to encounter an array of marine life. The waters around the cliffs are known for their rich biodiversity, making them an ideal spot for whale and dolphin watching. Species commonly seen include bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot the elusive sperm whale.

Discover Heritage in Museums and Cultural Centers

Tenerife hosts numerous museums and cultural centers that offer everything from contemporary art to natural history and archaeology. The Museum of Nature and Man in Santa Cruz is particularly fascinating.

Located in Santa Cruz, the Museum of Nature and Man is one of the most renowned museums in Tenerife and a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural sciences and archaeology. Housed in the historically significant Old Civil Hospital building, an example of neoclassical architecture, the museum provides an in-depth look at the natural environment of the Canary Islands and the history of its inhabitants.

In addition to the Museum of Nature and Man, Tenerife hosts several other cultural institutions that cater to a variety of interests:

  • TEA Tenerife Espacio de las Artes: Also located in Santa Cruz, this contemporary art museum and cultural center combines visual arts, film, and literature. Designed by the renowned architect Herzog & de Meuron, TEA houses the Óscar Domínguez Institute (dedicated to the international Tenerife-born surrealist artist), a library, and a cinema. It regularly hosts temporary exhibitions featuring both local and international artists.

  • Museum of History and Anthropology of Tenerife (Casa Lercaro): Situated in La Laguna, this museum tells the story of Tenerife’s past through its collections that depict the development of the island from the time of the Castilian conquest up to the 20th century. The museum is located in Casa Lercaro, a beautifully preserved 16th-century mansion that is itself a piece of the island’s history.

  • Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz: This small museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Hispanic history of the Canary Islands. Its exhibits focus on the Guanche culture and include mummies, pottery, and tools that have been discovered on the island.

  • Centro de Arte La Recova: Located in the heart of Santa Cruz, this art center not only hosts exhibitions of contemporary art but also serves as a vibrant venue for workshops and cultural events that encourage community engagement with the arts.

Participate in Water Sports

The warm climate and good sea conditions make Tenerife an ideal place for surfing, diving, and sailing. There are numerous schools offering courses for all levels, from beginners to advanced.

  • Surfing in Tenerife: Tenerife is a surfers’ haven due to its varied coastline which offers different types of waves, suitable for every skill level. The island’s north coast, especially around Playa de las Américas and El Médano, is renowned for its consistent wave conditions.
  • Diving in Tenerife: The crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life of Tenerife make it a fantastic place for scuba diving. The island’s volcanic origins create a  fascinating underwater landscape of caves, tunnels, and overhangs that are teeming with life.
  • Sailing in Tenerife: With its favorable winds and beautiful coastline, sailing is a popular activity in Tenerife. The island’s geographical position makes it an excellent starting point for sailing trips and regattas.
  • Additional water sports: Beyond surfing, diving, and sailing, Tenerife also offers opportunities for other water sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).
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