Your Total Guide to a Dream Holiday in Vibrant Tenerife
Soak up the Sun, Sand & Much More in Beautiful Tenerife
With idyllic temperatures and over 900 miles of spectacular coastline, the Canary Islands offer the ideal opportunity for soaking up sun, sand and a whole lot more. Tenerife, the largest of the islands, also throws in lush mountains, scenic hikes and a vibrant nightlife.
And did we mention the abundance of marine life? Over 20 types of marine mammal species swim just off Tenerife’s shores, from dolphins to orcas to sperm whales. Here’s everything you need to know when planning your Tenerife holiday.
What to Expect
While Tenerife has developed a reputation as a place for people who want to spend their days lounging beside the pool without ever leaving their all-inclusive hotel, that’s not the best way to experience it.
The island is large enough that you could spend each day of your holiday exploring a different area. If you’re able to rent a car, you really should, as you’ll need it to discover some of the more remote parts of the island. There’s much to be discovered outside the confines of your hotel!
Where to Stay
Many of the younger tourists tend to hang out on the south side of the island. The south side is known for its nearly always perfect beach weather with little to no wind. While it can get a bit cool in the winter, most days will still be sunny. The most popular tourist spots here are Los Cristianos, Playa de la Americas and Costa Adeje,
The north side of the island offers a more authentic feel, with many families and more mature tourists often staying here in Puerto de La Cruz. It’s quite lush and green, and has an especially vibrant local culture. The weather is more spring-like throughout the year, bringing more clouds and rain.
Things to Do
Hit the Beach
The most obvious thing to do in Tenerife is head to the beach. You’ll find black volcanic sand beaches on the northern part of the island, while in the south you can enjoy golden sand beaches sitting at the edge of crystal-clear, azure waters.
Water and Wildlife
In Puerto de la Cruz, go around the harbor wall to view incredible volcanic rock formations. In Las Galletas you can feed stingrays. Some of the amazing creatures you might see include trumpet fish, sea turtles, barracudas and parrot fish.
The island is also a favorite destination for diving and snorkeling and just about every other type of water sport imaginable is available too, including wind surfing, surfing and jet-skiing. Whale- and dolphin-watching boat tours are available from the south side.
If you like to hike, be sure to visit the Masca Valley, one of the most scenic areas on the island. The Masca Walk involves a 2.8-mile descent through Masca Gorge that’s renowned as one of the world’s most breathtaking sky-to-sea hikes.
Another one of the most stunning destinations on the island is nearby: the cliffs of Los Gigantes. Then take a drive to the tiny village of Masca, hidden away in the folds of the ancient Teno Massif. Its main center runs along a ridge underneath a pinnacle, while steep ravine walls rise on either side.
Get a View from the Top
Another one of the most popular attractions on the island is the Mount Teide Cable Car in Teide National Park. The cable car will take you to the top of Spain’s tallest peak, the barely dormant volcano El Teide, which soars over the landscape at 12,198 feet. You’ll be able to fly over a true geological treasure, enjoying mesmerizing views of much of the archipelago.
Cultural attractions are numerous, particularly in the capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which is home to nearly half of Tenerife’s population. Despite its popularity with the locals, you won’t see many sun-worshiping tourists.
Set within the former civil hospital, Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre is the most popular museum in the Canary Islands. Its focus is on archaeology and natural science, and the highlight is the Guanche mummies and skulls.
If you’re looking for nightlife, Veronica’s Strip in Playa de las Americas is the place to go. For some, stargazing is all the nightlife they need, and that’s fabulous here too, due to low pollution levels and the island’s proximity to the equator. Teide National Park has been recognized as one of the premier stargazing sites on Earth.
Tenerife is considered a bargain destination for middle-class Europeans. It’s especially popular for Brits, with some outstanding package deals available that include hotels and airfare. With the U.S. dollar fairly strong against the euro currently, it can be a good bargain for Americans too.
Things here are generally cheaper than on the European continent, and even those on a tight budget can find good rates on hotels as well as reasonable food prices. Of course, for those looking for a luxurious holiday, that’s easily found as well.
- The main concern when visiting Tenerife is the sun, as the island is located so close to the equator. It’s essential therefore to bring sun protection, including a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
- There are no snakes, scorpions or the like on the island. While you may get bit by a mosquito, they don’t carry malaria.
- As it is in most places, walking alone late at night is not a good idea. Take a taxi — they’re widely available — or drive yourself.
- Simply using common sense will serve to keep you safe in most situations — don’t leave your items unattended or flash large amounts of cash.
- That said, pickpockets have been a concern, so don’t put your cell phone or your wallet in the back pocket of your pants where it can easily be taken. If you’re carrying a purse or other bag, avoid wearing it on your shoulder; instead, put it over your head with the strap lying across your body to avoid having a bike or motorcycle snatch it while passing by.