The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Tenerife in The Canary Islands, Spain
Tenerife, the largest and most populated island of the Canaries, is particularly well known for its grandiose carnival of Santa Cruz. But beyond its festive streets, a stay on the island at any time of year is ideal for any traveler seeking sunny weather, delicious cuisine and friendly people. What activities will you find in Tenerife? What are the best beaches to relax on? What are the unmissable visits? In this blog post, we reveal the reasons to go to this Canary Island as we take a look at the ultimate guide to visiting Tenerife.
When traveling, many people look for adventures far from their everyday life. On land or at sea, Tenerife is an ideal destination for adventuring and is just a short hop from major European cities.
Hiking in Tenerife
The island of Tenerife has over 1,500 km of forest trails. Choose your route according to your desires, your level, and the landscapes you want to discover. To help you make your choice here are our three favorite routes:
- Stroll through the Malpaís de Güímar Nature Reserve , a 6 km loop starting from El Puertito de Güímar . Between volcanic and coastal landscapes, hikers particularly appreciate the richness of the flora.
- Departing from the village of Vilaflor, complete a 12 km loop to admire a surprising lunar landscape: the Los Escoriales belvedere.
- Our last trail is for seasoned hikers. It will take you from El Socorro beach to the highest point on the island: the peak of Teide. This course of nearly 28 km and a drop in altitude. If this ascent does not scare you, know that to cover the last 600 meters and reach the top, you need special authorization.
If you prefer to discover the flora and fauna of Tenerife on horseback, many riding schools offer rides. Some trails are also suitable for mountain bikers.
Tenerife’s Natural Parks
Teide National Park breaks all records:
- The largest park in the Canaries with its 19,000 hectares
- Most visited natural park in Europe
- The highest point in Spain
Besides hiking, you can discover this privileged natural space on a road trip. Take the time to observe the endemic species of the island. Flowers, birds, or even Corsican mouflon are the pride of the park.
To get to the Teide peak lookout, take the 8-minute cable car ride which will leave you speechless. The cable car is accessible by car or bus. From the belvedere, there are only 600 meters left to climb to reach the summit. The ascent is difficult, but the effort will be rewarded with an incredible view of Tenerife and the 4 neighboring islands. Authorization is required to go to the top, book your ascent.
Between land and sea: the rural park of Anaga
Located near Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital, the Anaga Rural Park covers a large part of northern Tenerife. The mountain range plunging into the Atlantic seduces many hikers. Travel the trails of a thousand-year-old subtropical forest, a true Eden for flora and fauna, take a break on a black sand cove and cool off in the waves of the Atlantic. Ornithology enthusiasts go there to see species such as the Scopoli shearwater or the common kestrel.
The Joys of the Ocean
Surfing in Tenerife
Surfing, kitesurfing, bodyboarding, windsurfing … whatever your favorite board sport, you can practice it all year round in Tenerife! There are many spots for all levels. Know the difficulty before you start! Here are our favorite places to enjoy the swells:
- Spots for beginner and intermediate level: Almáciga (surf), Martiánez (surf), El Roquete (surf)
- Spots for intermediate and expert level: El Socorro de Güímar (surf), La Caleta (surf), La Tejita (kitesurf, windsurf)
- Spots reserved for experts: La Derecha (surfing), El Cabezo (kitesurfing, windsurfing)
See Dolphins and Whales
Have you always dreamed of observing large marine mammals in their natural habitat? In Tenerife, more than 20 species are visible! At any time of the year, you have an 80% chance of seeing pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. To see other species, you maximize your chances by traveling to Tenerife during the months of May and June. Some companies have signed a quality charter thus committing to offering outings that respect the environment and animal welfare. The list of these companies is available on the website of the tourist office.
Historical and Cultural Heritage of Tenerife
To travel is to dive into another culture. And when you travel, you like to discover the history, gastronomy and the traditions of the visited country.
The Unmissable Historical Sites
The best way to soak up the culture of Tenerife is still to stroll through its streets to discover the historic buildings. The colonial-style present in the architecture testifies to the past of the island which was incorporated into the crown of Castile in 1496. The list of sites to see is long, among them, we can mention in particular:
- The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Built-in 1959, the basilica is a place of pilgrimage for the inhabitants of the island every August 15.
- The Casa Fuerte in Adeje, this building, built in the 16th century to cope with pirate attacks, was classified as an asset of cultural interest in 1986.
- The Castle of San Juan de Bautista in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the best-preserved castle in Tenerife. Take a stroll along the ocean to admire it.
- The Guimerá Theater, built in honor of the writer Angel Guimerá in 1851, is the oldest theater in the Canary Islands.
Tenerife Culinary Specialties
On the gastronomic side, your taste buds will be delighted during your stay in Tenerife. Among the most typical dishes, you will find the mojo, a sauce served on potatoes made with peppers and coriander, the puchero , a stew of vegetables and meats, and the gofio, preparation of cereals that can accompany breakfast as well as puchero. It can be served in different forms (cake, mousse, soup, etc.). To accompany your dishes, taste the wines of Tenerife. The island’s climate and geology make the grape varieties unique. Wine lovers, we recommend that you visit the island’s wine cellars. Historically, the wine produced with the Malvasia grape was particularly appreciated by European royal families and was notably mentioned in a work by William Shakespeare. Finish on a sweet note by savoring the exotic fruits of Tenerife.
To eat well in Tenerife, we advise you to go to a Guachinche. A typical island tavern, simple in appearance but where you can enjoy the best homemade dishes.
Events in Tenerife
Tenerife is bustling with festivals and events all year round. The most emblematic is undoubtedly the carnival! The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is today the 2nd most popular carnival in the world attracting more visitors every year. For several weeks confetti, crazy costumes, and dancers invade the streets of the capital of the Canaries. The highlights of the carnival are the election of its Queen at a colorful gala and “el Centro de la Sardinia” (the burial of the sardine) which marks the end of the celebrations. In 2021, the carnival is scheduled for the month of July
A stay in Tenerife is also the perfect excuse to relax and be idle. You
could book exotic villas near the beach to enjoy your vacation with luxury.
The Best Beaches in Tenerife
With an average of 22º all year round, there are no bad times to visit Tenerife and enjoy the beaches and coves of the island. And there’s something for everyone.
If you want to enjoy the beach while being close to a city, we recommend several beaches:
- Las Vistas Beach in Los Cristianos, the perfect destination to enjoy the beach during the day and party in the San Telmo district at night.
- El Camisón beach, perfect for families thanks to the shallow waters and palm trees providing shade in the hottest hours
To end a day on the beach in style, what could be better than admiring the sunset over the ocean? For a romantic
evening or to create unforgettable memories, these Tenerife beaches are the best places to admire them:
- Benijo beach, the most legendary spot in the Anaga nature reserve
- El Medano beach, to combine kitesurfing and sunset
- El Duque beach, a quiet paradise in the heart of a seaside resort
Natural Pools and Stars
On one side the mountains, on the other the waves of the Atlantic colliding with the rocks, swimming pools, and natural pools are great places of relaxation! Created by volcanic activities, there is a multitude of more or less developed basins on the island. What to enjoy the benefits of saltwater as you wish.
Stargazing seems like a doable activity anywhere. But did you know that the island of Tenerife and more specifically the Teide National Park has obtained the Starlight certificate? This means that natural light, or rather at night, makes it a privileged place on the planet for observing the stars. Companies offer outings to scan the sky using the latest technology or with the naked eye. Take a blanket, lie back and lose yourself in the contemplation of an endless starry sky.
As a couple, with friends or with family, Tenerife is a destination of choice. In one stay you can combine relaxation, disconnection in the heart of nature, and lively evenings. Ready to go?
About The Author: Julien Chbib is the founder of Julius Homes His interest in hiking, skiing, and adventure holidays made him bring together the choicest accommodations around the globe to make holidays relaxing and comfortable.