Tenerife is becoming more popular with tourists every year, usually heading to bustling holiday towns such as Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos located on the south side of the Island. However, there are so many things to do in Tenerife outside of these small tourist towns to make the most of your holiday to the largest of the Canary Islands.
Home to many different microclimates and an incredible landscape including black beaches, lava fields, banana forests and even Mount Teide, the 3rd largest volcano in the world (the peak reaches 3,718m above sea level), Teide also casts the longest shadow over the sea in the world.
Once a pine rich island until Spanish invasion harvested them to build their naval feet there’s so much more to the island than €1 beers on the seafront and the market in the town every other Tuesday. We explore the top 9 things to do in Tenerife to explore the island.
Arguably the largest tourist attraction and highest rated things to do in Tenerife, Siam Park is a huge water park with slides, drops, wave machines and even a man-made beach. It is not only a fun-packed day out for everybody, but Siam Park also holds two impressive records, one being the largest Thai building outside of Asia and secondly, it is home to the world’s largest statue of a dragon.
Playa de Las Teresitas
If you’re expecting bright white beaches on the island of Tenerife, you may arrive and feel extremely disappointed. A volcanic island, the sand on the beaches around the island are more gritty and feature black lava sand. If a bright white beach is essential then you’ll want to head to The Playa de Las Teresitas which is an artificial, white sand, tourist beach located north of the village of San Andrés.
Fun fact: Tenerife shares their flag with the Scottish flag and the patron Saint, Saint Andrew, which in Spanish translates to San Andrés.
No visit to any small island is complete without a trip to the capital city and Tenerife is no exception when looking for things to do in Tenerife. Santa Cruz, located on the north east of the island is simply stunning. The port city boasts well-preserved buildings in its old town which include the colonial Church of the Immaculate Conception. The 1700s Palacio de Carta which has its original baroque and neoclassical features. In the Old Civil Hospital, the Museum of Nature and Man showcases many interactive displays about the Canary Islands.
Home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands Auditorio de Tenerife and Torres de Santa Cruz there are plenty of cultural and historic elements to visit in Santa Cruz. It is also bustling with restaurants and bars, day clubs and little shops. It is notably cooler in the North with a wind usually always present on an evening, much like Lanzarote.
Puerto de la Cruz
Not to be confused with Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz is located at the very north of the island. Well known for its dark, volcanic sand beaches and the huge Loro Parque zoo, which is situated to the west of the port town. Enjoy a day trip down to the seafront where you can visit the Lago Martiánez which is a saltwater pool complex designed by architect César Manrique. The old harbour is home to a 17th-century customs house and Batería de Santa Bárbara, which is a crumbling 18th-century fort. The old town is distinct with fabulous Canarian character and cobbled streets.
Visit The ‘End of the Road’ Village
One of the most amazing things to do in Tenerife is to take a trip to Anaga Rural Park especially to the tiny hamlet of Taganana, which is a juxtaposition of the Tenerife you already know. The hamlet was cut off from the rest of the island until the 1950s when a read built. Still, today, getting to Taganana isn’t an easy feat, get ready to endure the winding roads if you want to see the village cut off from the world for so long.
It is also known that some of the best beaches in the whole of Tenerife are hidden in the lower crevices of Taganana.
Pyramids of Güímar
The Pyramids of Güímar are six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures which have been built from lava stone without the use of any mortar. They are located in the district of Chacona, part of the town of Güímar to the east of the island. These structures have been expertly dated back to the 19th century AD and they may originally have been a byproduct of contemporary agricultural techniques as other pyramids employing the same methods and materials of construction can be found in various sites on the island. In Güímar originally there were a total of nine pyramids, only six of which survive.
Visit Mt Tiede via Cable Car
We briefly mentioned Mount Tiede at the beginning, but seriously adding trip to Tiede on your list of things to do in Tenerife is a must. It is incredible and something everybody should visit when in Tenerife. The volcano is accessible by foot on a series of mapped out paths (you can also request a pass for route 10 which gives free access to the peak).
The beauty of Tiede is that it is never the same, with sunrise and sunset being most emblematic, that’s why it is recommended to visit early morning for the most impressive views. Spring is also a wonderful time to visit as flowering broom and tajinaste blanket the vast landscape in an explosion of red and white. The weather is also milder which experts claim to be just right for enjoying routes and trails. Of course, it is also impressive when the winter snows cover the lava flows and badlands in a mantle of white.
The cable car allows you to make it to the peak of the volcano with ease. It is relatively easy to get to by road and runs usually 9am-5pm all year round. Prices are around €27 return for adults and €13.50 for children.
Visit Teide National Park
Mount Teide is situated in Teide National Park, however, that’s not all that the park has to offer. Of course, Mount Teide is the jewel in the crown and trails and the cable car to the summit, however to the west Pico Viejo has crater views.
Explore the unusual rock formations of Roques de García which includes the iconic Roque Cinchado column. Or to the Southwest of par a traditional shepherd’s home has now become the Juan Évora Ethnographic Museum. If you’re into exploring then the National Park is more than just a volcano.
Enjoy Traditional Tenerife Cuisine
When in Rome….I mean Tenerife. Wherever you are I wholeheartedly believe that you should always try the traditional cuisine and Tenerife is no different. Wherever you go you’ll be faced with choices and different dishes from around the globe but make sure that you try and tick off as many as possible including;
- Mojo – Comes in both red or green colours and is the ‘unofficial’ sauce of Tenerife. Made from peppers, olive oil and garlic. It is not spicy and makes a tasty addition to cheese and potatoes.
- Papas Arrugadas (Canary Potatoes) – is a very typical side dish in Tenerife and usually accompanied by Mojo sauce. As the Canary Islands has over 90 different varieties of potatoes, this dish has always been an important dish on the island. Usually, this dish is particularly salty.
- Gofio – The first settlers on the Canary Islands used this as a main dish and is made from corn, wheat or other toasted cereals. It’s used in different recipes to accompany meat and fish but can also be used in desserts too.
Other articles about things to do in Tenerife you might be interested in;
- Cost Adeje – What to do when the weather isn’t good
- Why Tenerife is the best place for Winter Sun
- The best meal in Tenerife at Oliver’s
There you have our 9 top things to an alternative holiday to Tenerife. I’d love to know have you visited any of the places we’ve raved about? Or do you have any suggestions of other places to visit or things to do in Tenerife? I’d love you to leave them in the comments section below.
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