WHAT TO DO IN TENERIFE
Tenerife’s best attractions, chosen by Andrea Montgomery, our resident expert.
Tropical gardens, architecture and historic towns are all to be found in the north of the island, while most of the theme parks and sea-based activities are in the south. Other attractions include golf courses, rural villages and the extraordinary world of volcanoes.
Teide National Park (Teide Cable Car)
World Heritage Site comprising 10 miles of volcanic crater that dominates the center of the island. At the top of the Teide volcano it rises to 3,718 m above sea level, making it the highest peak in Spain. It has a cable car that takes visitors 1,200 m (3,937ft) above the crater floor to fascinating views over much of the Canary archipelago.
-Address: Teide National Park
-Contact: 00 34 922 010 440; telefericoteide.com
A Thai-themed water play area of slides and adrenaline rides. Siam Park is Tenerife’s latest and largest theme park. From a ride down the Mai Thai lazy river in a rubber boat to a white tower that plunges in a near-vertical 90-foot drop, Siam Park offers thrills and adrenaline for the whole family.
-Address: Siam Park, 38670 Costa Adeje (behind the bus station).
-Contact: 00 34 902 060 000; siampark.net
The sister complex to Siam Park, this is the longest established theme park in Tenerife and boasts the world’s largest collection of parrots. Endowed with a Jurassic Park setting with a dense forest of tropical palm trees, parrot shows, dolphins, killer whales and sea lions ensure the park’s enduring popularity.
-Address: Avenida Loro Parque, Puerto de la Cruz.
-Contact: 00 34 922 373 841; loroparque.com
Dolphin and Whale Watching
About 28 species of resident and migratory whales and dolphins feed in the warm waters between Tenerife and the neighboring island, La Gomera, making it an excellent place for observing cetaceans in their natural environment. Daily departures from Los Cristianos and Los Gigantes guarantee sightings.
Address: Muelle de los Cristianos and Los Gigantes marina.
Balancing on a rocky plateau in the Teno Mountains, the village of Masca was isolated from the rest of the island until the 1970s. Accessed via one of Tenerife’s scariest roads. It includes in its highlights a small museum, a handful of good restaurants and an endurance test hike through the gorge of the ravine.
Address: Masca, Buenavista del Norte, Tenerife
Once the richest town in Tenerife, Garachico was engulfed in lava by an eruption in 1706. Today it is one of Tenerife’s most popular day trips, where swimming in rock pools carved out of the lava is a unique experience.
Clear warm waters all year round and underwater volcanic columns teeming with marine life make Tenerife an excellent destination for divers. The best places for diving are Las Galletas, Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz.
-Tenerife Scuba, Las Galletas (00 34 922 785 584 – Divingtenerifeifescuba.com).
– Atlantik, Puerto de la Cruz (00 34 922 362 801 – Tenerife-diving.eu)
– Ocean Dreams Tenerife, Los Cristianos (00 34 922 752 362 -oceandreamstenerife.com)
– Los Gigantes Diving Centre (00 34 922 860 431 – divingtenerife.co.uk)
Tenerife has some excellent hiking trails – but as they are not well known, you can often walk for hours and not run into another person. The best hikes are in the Anaga massif, in the Teno National Park and in the Teide National Park itself, where the ultimate challenge is to ascend the Teide peak on foot.
Once the capital of the island, this university town was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, where well-preserved convents and palaces dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries sit cheek by jowl with tapas bars, antique stores and bookstores.
Cave of the Wind
The largest volcanic tube in the European Union and the fourth largest in the world. The Cueva del Viento has a duration of 11 miles in a labyrinth of three levels of tunnels below Icod de los Vinos. Guided tours with an excellent commentator in English.
-Address: 51 Calle Los Piquetes, Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife.
-Contact: (00 34 922 815 339; cuevadelviento.net).
From Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo and the Anaga Mountains.
A well-marked trail leads from the heart of the forest of Las Mercedes to the coastal town of Punta del Hidalgo. Passing through ancient rainforest that pre-dates the ice age, through a troglodyte village where you can enjoy traditional cuisine in a cave restaurant, and along vertiginous paths that skirt abysmal ravines between rocky pinnacles where humidity rises in torrid columns of dense foliage, this is a side of Tenerife untouched by the hand of tourism. A million miles away from the resorts of the southern west coast, a walk through the Anaga Mountains is breathtaking.
-Contact: Book a guided walking tour in the Anaga Mountains with Anaga Atrapiés (anagaatrapies.com)
Playa del Duque
Tucked into the shelter of a small bay, the southern coastal developments hidden from view by a rocky promontory, the pale sandy beach of Playa del Duque wears a designer label. Its manicured sands, thatched umbrellas and blue-and-white striped changing booths are more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the Canary Islands. Backed by chic cafes, high-end stores and the luxury developments of five-star hotels and overlooking the neighboring island of La Gomera, this sandy enclave is Tenerife’s luxury playground. Perfect for swimming in the calm waters or just soaking up the winter sun.
Tenerife has a splendid climate all year round and the mountainous shape of the island makes it a paradise for paragliding, as there are flying areas all over the island. The most common area is in the southwest of the island (Taucho) where you can enjoy a tandem paragliding flight together with an instructor and enjoy this adventure through the skies with the most spectacular views in the world.
-Contact: Tenerife Top Paragliding (00 34 652594544 – www.tenerifetopparagliding.com)