Tenerife: 8x the most beautiful places & fun activities

(This article is also available in Dutch)

Tenerife is much more than sun, sea and sand. It is an island where you are constantly surprised with different landscapes. Want to make the most of your holidays to Tenerife? Read our 8 must-dos, where we tell you all about the best activities, the most beautiful places, nature and sights.

Want to see some atmospheric images too? Check out the video at the bottom of this blog.

Pics via Envato Elements

Tip #1 Go stargazing

Tenerife is one of the best places in the world for stargazing.

For this, it is best to go to a place without light pollution. El Teide National Park or Mount Guajara are the best dark spots on the island. Avoid the period around the full moon so that the moon does not give off too much light. And of course, it should not be cloudy, so pick a clear night.

Spotting the Milky Way?

The best time to spot the Milky Way is summer. This is when the Milky Way is visible above the horizon. In winter, the best part of the Milky Way is just below the horizon. But even if you go in winter, there are plenty of stars to see!

Professional equipment

If you want to use professional equipment, you can book a tour. You can find a good tour here. The tour includes dinner, cava at sunset and stargazing with computerized telescopes. You will also receive free photos and time-lapse of the stars. No car? You can be picked up from the south. The tour can be canceled free of charge up to 24 hours in advance.

👉 Stargazing in El Teide National Park with telescopes

 

Tip #2 Admire the volcanic landscapes of El Teide

Please don’t leave this island without visiting El Teide National Park!

You can hike one of the many trails, or drive through the park by car. The national park covers a whopping 189.9 km² and has incredibly diverse volcanic landscapes. It is really crazy how the view is completely different at every spot. It is also immediately the largest national park in the Canary Islands.

Teleférico del Teide

You can take the cable car to the top of the volcano. In just eight minutes, you’ll be 1,199 metres higher. Don’t forget to bring a jacket because it’s a lot cooler at the top. After all, you are at 3,555 metres above sea level!

If you arrive by cable car, you have a choice of two relatively short hiking routes. We did them both, but if you only want to do one, we recommend the westernmost route (to the left as you face the crater). The hike is easy and takes about one hour in total.

We can really recommend the cable car, it is a cool experience to be so close to the crater and walk so high above the clouds.

👉 You can book individual tickets here

👉Tickets + transfer can be found here

Hiking to the crater?

Note that if you want to hike to the crater itself – some 200 metres up – you need to ask permission 3 months in advance.

Don’t want to hike on your own or avoid the long procedure? Then you can book an organized hike. The tour operator already has the necessary permits and permissions, you just need to book and hike with them to the crater!

You can cancel the hike up to 24 hours in advance for free.

👉 You can find the organized tour to the crater of Pico del Teide here.

Tip #3 Spot dolphins and snorkel with sea turtles

In Tenerife, you can very easily spot whales and other marine life. You can do so in Los Cristianos, among other places, thanks to the fish farms off the coast. Dolphins find fish easily here, so hang around constantly.

You can book a boat trip where you can watch the dolphins (and maybe other whales). But you can also book a kayak trip, which is actually much more fun. With the kayak, you may get a little closer to these fish farms.

Due to strict laws to protect marine life, you are not allowed to rent a kayak yourself. However, you can do so with an organized tour. With a group, you kayak to the fishing nets and watch the dolphins regularly surface.

Then they lead you to a snorkelling spot where you can swim with sea turtles. A super fun experience!

They also take a kayak photo that you will receive a few hours after the excursion.

👉 You can book the kayak excursion with dolphins and turtles in Los Cristianos here.

Tip #4 Hike through the Anaga Mountains

Hiking fanatic? Then the Anaga Rural Park is your paradise. With more than 115 hiking trails, you are sure to find your perfect hike in these verdant mountains.

Thanks to the volcano, this island has two climates – this is also known as the rain shadow effect. As a result, the north-eastern part of the island is much greener than the southern part. It is also a few degrees colder, making it the perfect place to cool off.

We did two hikes here, the Monte Taborno hike and the Las Vueltas forest. Both hikes were beautiful. But there is much more to choose from. The Anaga Mountains are full of marked hikes, so there is something for everyone.

For me, the Anaga Mountains are one of the most beautiful places in Tenerife. It’s also a side that not everyone seems to know about.

Most hikes are just free. But for some hikes, you have to book and/or pay. This is the case for the hike ‘El Bosque Encantado trail’ and ‘Monte Aguirre’ and can be done via this website.

📍 Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Tip #5 Visit the mountain village of Masca

This cute village is located in the Teno Mountains. From Santiago del Teide, you follow a road full of hairpin bends for about 5 kilometres. You will then arrive in Masca, a small mountain village with just 90 inhabitants known for its photogenic gorge.

Although quite touristy, it is a view you don’t want to miss. In Masca itself, you’ll find a few tourist shops and restaurants. You can walk through the village up to the gorge and there are several vantage points where you can take stunning photos. Masca is among the most beautiful places in Tenerife.

Masca is most beautiful during golden hour and sunset. Definitely don’t bring out your drone, as they are strictly forbidden here.

Fancy a long, scenic hike? The ‘Masca Gorge Trail’ is a 7-hour total trail that takes you through the Masca valley all the way down to the beach. You do need to book this hike in advance, as only a limited number of people are allowed per day. 

👉 You can book the Masca Gorge Trail here.

📍 Masca, Tenerife, Spain

Tip #6 Chill during sunset on Playa de los Morteros

On the beach with a drink in your hand watching the sunset. That sounds perfect. Most sunset spots tend to be very crowded, which is usually very cosy. But sometimes you want to enjoy the peace and quiet too, right?

We found a beautiful spot just off Adeje where we were almost completely alone. This bay, Playa de los Morteros, is ideal for a nice walk or to just chill out.

From here you can also walk to La Caleta de Adeje. But you can also sit on the beach itself, or along the bay and admire the most beautiful sunset.

Playa de los Morteros is a nice place to enjoy the setting sun without any crowds or noise. And if you want, you can take another dip in the warm seawater.

📍 Playa de los Morteros, Adeje, Tenerife, Spain

You won’t find any shops or bars on Playa de los Morteros, so bring your own drinks. Make sure you get back to civilisation before dark, or use your torch to find your way back. There are no lights on the trails.

Tip #7 Sunbathe on a black lava beach

Did you know that the golden beaches in Tenerife are not natural? Often called the most beautiful beach in Tenerife, Playa de las Teresitas is one of the artificial beaches. In the 1970s, the government imported 270,000 tonnes of sand from Western Sahara to give the original lava beach a new look.

Not only Tenerife imports Saharan sand, by the way. The Canary Islands extract some 200,000 tonnes of sand from the Sahara every year to maintain beaches. And countless other countries do the same.

Personally, we find the natural, black lava beaches in Tenerife much more beautiful. Near Los Gigantes, for instance, you can enjoy some black beaches and also have stunning views of the dark mountains.

While you might like the golden, fine sand beaches more for sunbathing, you really should visit a volcanic beach at least once!

We can highly recommend the beaches Playa de los Guios and Playa de Santiago. Do you like surfing? Then there is a perfect surf spot next to Playa de Santiago.

Playa de Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz, in the north of Tenerife, is also a beautiful, volcanic beach.

Still not a fan of those lava beaches? Playa el Médano is one of the few ochre-yellow, natural sand beaches. Other than that, of course, you just have to enjoy the golden beaches. After all, that’s what they are made for 😉

Tip #8 A city break to La Laguna

San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the former capital of Tenerife. It is a fun city to spend a day wandering around or shopping.

Built in the old Spanish colonial style, La Laguna has a very colourful, historic centre. It reminded us a bit of places like Valladolid in Mexico or Curaçao. It all felt like we were far outside Europe! There is a lovely vibe here.

Located in the north-east of the island, it is the ideal place to stay if you want to do a lot of hiking in the Anaga Rural Park. From La Laguna, you can also easily drive to the island’s other hotspots.

👉 Hotel tip: La Laguna Gran Hotel

Prefer to stay in the south? Even then, La Laguna remains fun for a short city break.

Next to San Cristóbal de La Laguna you will find Tenerife’s current capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Santa Cruz also has some nice spots, but La Laguna really stood out – as far as we are concerned – in terms of atmosphere and architecture.

If you want to shop extensively in (large) shopping malls, we do recommend Santa Cruz. For example, Europe’s largest department store chain, the famous El Corte Inglés, has a seven-storey shopping centre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In the Canary Islands, there’s no VAT, but they do have a consumer tax of only 7% instead of the 21% Spanish VAT. So shopping is even cheaper in Tenerife than on the Spanish mainland!

📍 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

Foto via Envato Elements

Bonustip: Siam park

In need of a day of water fun? This well-known and large Thai-themed water park has more than 20 attractions, slides and relaxation areas. Named ‘Best water park in the world’ by Tripadvisor no less than twice, Siam Park offers fun for the whole family.

It is the perfect day out on a summer’s day! Siam Park is open 365 days a year.

👉 You can easily book tickets for Siam Park here.

Did these tips help you or do you have any additions? Let us know in the comments!

Watch the video

Get a good impression of the places and activities in Tenerife we recommend on this page? Check out the video!