Holidays to Tenerife in the Canary Islands have the potential to be a relaxing beach holiday all year round, as the temperature rarely dips below 18C (65F) even in winter months. With excellent nightlife, an action packed activity holiday with every sport and water sport that you could wish for, Tenerife is the ideal winter getaway. A nature lover’s paradise, with its own micro climate and unique landscape, this volcanic island truly has something for everybody.
Only a short four hour flight time from the UK, Tenerife has all of the benefits of a long haul destination, year round warm weather and cultural influences from Africa, at the price of a short haul. Here are the top 10 things not to miss –
1. Teide National Park
A visit to this National Park is a must on a holiday to Tenerife, home to the highest mountain in Spain it is also one of the 12 treasures of Spain and a World Heritage Site. The best way to experience Mount Teide is to get the cable car which takes you most of the way up the mountain. This does not take you to the top as only a certain amount of people are allowed to the summit per year, and a permit must be obtained from the National Park. If you are feeling more active there are guided walks, which last around 6 hours and remember you will need slightly warmer clothes at this altitude. Once you reach the higher areas you can enjoy breath taking views across La Gomera and Gran Canaria and look down upon the clouds below you.
2. Guimar Pyramids
Located in a small Eastern town in Tenerife, you will find six mysterious square pyramids, which are step pyramids, not like the Egyptian ones. Nobody really knows the origins of this fascinating site, although a Norwegian explorer conducted extensive research and concluded that they were built by the Guanche, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands. There is a museum to explore and an auditorium showing films about the pyramids. Of course there is your obligatory café and gift shop too.
3. Icod de los Vinos
This town is one of the oldest on the island, and the 16th century houses with beautiful balconies transport you to another age. However, the main attraction of this pretty town is the world’s oldest and biggest dragon tree, El Drago. Another attraction of the town is the annual festival of St Andres, celebrated on November 30th. During this festival, the new wines of the season are celebrated and the strange tradition of sliding down hills on trays begins…
4. Loro Parque, Aqualand, Monkey Park, and Siam Park
The theme parks and water parks of Tenerife are a tourist staple, and are an excellent day out, with well-planned out parks, exciting rides and good facilities. If you have beach fatigue then Siam Park and Aqualand water parks are a fun alternative to cool down in the sunshine. Younger children will love the Monkey Park, which is a great way to spend a morning feeding the monkeys, make sure you take some grapes with you! Loro Parque has a famous parrot show is another popular day out, has the largest dolphin pool in Europe.
5. Dolphin and Whale Watching
The south coast of Tenerife has crystal clear waters and over 21 species of whales and dolphins, with an almost 100% success rate of seeing the pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins that live permanently in the area. There are a wide variety of boat trips that will all try and lure you in as they walk past, so make sure that you haggle to get the best price with them.
The sub-tropical climate of Tenerife allows divers to enjoy the underwater world year round, with resident turtles, stingrays and colourful fish to see. The landscape underwater is just as varied and impressive as above ground with giant underwater cliffs, volcanic caves and ship wrecks to explore.
7. Visit La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro
The smaller islands of the Canaries are the perfect day trip when staying at one of the larger islands. There are frequent boat trips, to all of the smaller islands from Tenerife, with many offering day trips. La Palma is unspoilt by tourism and is perfect for walking and hiking. La Gomera is the smallest of the islands, the picturesque forests, ravines and natural springs, it is crying out to be explored. El Hierro, popular with divers, has clear shallow waters and natural pools. The impressive cliffs and look out points have stunning views, the perfect place for a picnic.
In the north of the island, this is commonly thought of as one of, if not the, prettiest town in Tenerife. The cobbled streets and traditional churches, alongside the natural seawater pools set the scene of a traditional Canarian settlement. There is an excellent seafood restaurant here, perfect for refreshment after a long day of rock pooling.
9. Masca Valley Trek
The tiny village of Masca is situated high up the mountains of Tenerife, with an impressive gorge leading towards the sea, located near the crater of a volcano which provides breath taking views and vistas. If you enjoy nature, walking and photography then this is one walk not to be missed.
There is an abundance of golf courses on Tenerife, with resorts all over the island offering excellent courses, and with year round good weather and stunning views, as well as plenty to do for those in your party that may not like golf, this is the perfect destination. With one whole resort, Golf del Sur, dedicated to golf you can’t go wrong.
About The Author: Emma Frost is a destination marketer, looking after the Canary Islands for lowcostholidays.com. She writes features for many travel sites and promotes the less touristy side of the islands.