Things to Do in Tenerife
Characterized by rugged cliffs, forested trails, and waterfalls, the wild landscapes of the Masca Valley are among Tenerife’s most beautiful. The remote gorge offers a thrilling backdrop for a hike—the trail winds down through the gorge and finishes at a black-sand beach.
The largest and oldest national park in the Canary Islands and home to Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, Teide National Park (Parque Nacional del Teide) is one of the top attractions on Tenerife. The rugged landscape of the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is magnificent—a geological wonder featuring an expanse of rugged lava fields, ancient calderas, and volcanic peaks.
At 12,198 feet (3,718 meters) above sea level, Mt. Teide (El Teide) is the highest point in the Canary Islands and all of Spain. The towering peak in Tenerife allows visitors to stand atop a volcano and look out over nearby islands including La Palma and Gran Canaria — if the clouds cooperate. Adventurous travelers opt for an intense five-hour hike to the summit, while other visitors prefer to ride the cable car to the observation deck just shy of the mountain's highest point.
Stretching out from the shadows of the Teide Volcano and framed by the rolling peaks of the eponymous mountains, La Orotava Valley is home to some of Tenerife’s most scenic landscapes. With its lush banana plantations and vineyards, steep cliffs and pine-clad mountains, this is prime hiking terrain and a number of well-known trails run through the valley.
Highlights include the Mirador del Humboldt viewpoint, which offers an expansive panoramic view over the valley below; the historic town of La Orotava, famed for its unique architecture and botanical gardens; and the volcanic sand beaches of El Bollullo, Martín Alonso and El Rincón.
The town of Santiago del Teide sits near the western coast of the island of Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands.
Santiago del Teide is in the foothills of the Macizo de Teno mountains, not far from the historic mountain town of Masca. On the coast, the imposing Acantilados de Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants) drop from the mountains directly into the ocean. There are several beach resort towns in the area along the coast.
The town itself is rather small, with only a few restaurants and shops, though there is a museum and a good visitor’s center. Most travelers use Santiago del Teide as a base from which to explore the excellent walking and hiking trails in the area.
Another popular draw for visitors is the village of Masca itself, home to about 90 people who have maintained its historic appearance and agricultural independence. The mountains around Santiago del Teide and Masca have many challenging, though scenic, hiking trails.
Perched on a rocky plateau at 1,400m, Vilaflor is Tenerife’s highest village and it’s a scenic spot, encircled by pine-covered mountains, rugged lava plains and fields of wildflowers. Located in the foothills of the Teide National Park, Vilaflor makes a popular starting point for hiking and climbing treks, as well as being famed for its local wineries and vineyards.
Regional highlights include the Paisaje Lunar (lunar landscape), an unearthly lava valley, where unusual rock formations have been sculpted out of striking white tuff. Nearby, the mineral springs of Fuente Altam, the Sanctuary of the Santo Hermano Pedro and El Pino Gordo (the Fat Pine), the largest tree in the Canary Islands, are also worth a visit.
Los Gigantes (The Giants), are cliffs that extend along a stretch of Tenerife’s western shore, towering up to 2,000 feet (more than 600 meters) above the sea. The seaside town of the same name, perched along the shore, in the shadow of the cliffs, maintains a quieter, more relaxed vibe than the bigger resort areas further south.
A cluster of uniquely shaped rocks lying in the shadows of the notoriously volatile Teide volcano, Los Roques de García are among the top attractions of Tenerife’s UNESCO-listed Teide National Park. Formed by years of ancient volcanic activity, the pyroclastic rocks are best known for their impressive stature and peculiar shapes, some appearing to defy gravity and others taking on an otherworldly presence.
The most famous rocks include the ‘Roque Cinchado’, known as ‘God’s Finger’, now one of Tenerife’s most iconic landmarks, and the imposing La Catedral, the tallest at 200-meters high and a popular challenge for climbers. Each rock has its own unique moniker, including ‘El Queso’, ‘Roques Blancos’ and ‘Torrotito’, and the best way to enjoy the views is hiking the circular trail around the valley, which takes around 2 hours.
Discover the Canary Islands’ viniculture traditions at Monje Winery (Bodegas Monje) in scenic La Hollera on Tenerife. Sample the reds, whites, and rosés; wander the vines; and learn how traditional methods and modern innovation come together. Then, enjoy some of the best views on the island from the terrace at the on-site restaurant.
The main draw for Drago Park (Parque del Drago) in Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife, is its towering 800-year-old Dragon Tree, the oldest of its kind in the Canary Islands. It’s a sight best enjoyed from inside the botanical garden, which also features an extensive collection of endemic fauna, birds, caves, and viewing platforms.
More Things to Do in Tenerife
The sweeping coastal winds and long sandy beaches of El Médano provide some of the best conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing on Tenerife. Perched along the southeast coast, the traditional Spanish town offers a laid-back alternative to the island’s busiest beach resorts, making it a popular spot for both families and adrenaline seekers.
Do more than just see Spain’s highest volcano from afar—float to the top on the Teide Cable Car (Teleférico del Teide). This smooth-moving ride transports you to the summit of Mount Tiede, a jumping-off point for hikes among the otherworldly landscapes of UNESCO-listed Teide National Park or stargazing from Teide Observatory.
Las Águilas Jungle Park on Spain's largest Canary Island, Tenerife, is a treasure trove of exotic birds, big cats, lemurs, primates, penguins, reptiles, and more. Explore the park, marvel over daily flight and feeding exhibitions, get adventurous on toboggan runs, and then refuel at the onsite snack bars.
With its wave-like silhouette and futuristic architecture looming over the waterfront of Santa Cruz harbor, Tenerife Auditorium is one of the capital’s most recognizable landmarks. The sculptural marvel doubles as a prestigious entertainment venue, where you can enjoy music concerts, operas, and dance performances.
Built in 1498, the Tenerife Church of the Immaculate Conception is Tenerife’s oldest church and one of Santa Cruz’ most prominent landmarks. Legend dictates that the original church was erected under order of Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, commander of the Spanish conquerors, making it a key site in the founding of the city.
Serving as Tenerife’s capital up until the 18th century, the lively student town of La Laguna—or San Cristóbal de La Laguna—is the historic heart of the island. Visitors come to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, where the cobbled streets and colonial architecture afford endless photo opportunities.
Explore the world of doll art and teddy bears at Artlandya, an unconventional museum unlike any other in Europe. Wander through a traditional Canary Island house filled with over 600 dolls and teddies made from porcelain, felt, wood, and other materials, then stop by the adjoining workshop for a crash course in porcelain doll-making.
Pine trees, volcanic geography, and views upon views are what you’ll find when exploring Tenerife’s La Caldera and the region that surrounds it. A volcanic crater, La Caldera is situated in La Orotava Valley, which spans the northern part of the island’s central coast. La Orotava is packed with more than just pretty scenery but also trails, including those around La Caldera and its recreation area.
Easily accessible, the La Caldera crater is where you’ll find picnic tables and a playground, along with other facilities, including a restaurant. But it’s the woodland wonderland that surrounds all of this that you may be more keen to explore, particularly the loop that circles the crater and ventures off into the mountainous landscape beyond. The roughly 3-hour excursion, which begins from the recreation area, passes through the region’s mossy, fern-filled terrain, and offers impressive views of Tenerife, including El Teide.
At Pyramids of Güímar Ethnographic Park and Botanical Garden in Tenerife, uncover the history of the six mysterious lava-stone pyramids and explore the Canary Islands’ only poisonous plant exhibit in the Poison Garden. Then, learn about Polynesian culture, visit the Casa Chacona Museum, and wander the themed gardens.
This scenic mountain range on Tenerife is the oldest natural spot on the island. Formed more than 7 million years ago by volcanic activity, today the mountains welcome hikers from around the world. The recognized biosphere reserve and protected park is one of the most biodiverse forests in all of Europe.
The mountains are remote and known for their wilderness. There are many native plant species unique to the area. Several paths wind throughout, all reaching different viewpoints and parts of the forest. The coastline is particularly beautiful from many of the hiking trails as you go higher up. Small streams and pools add to the scenery along the way.
Many small, isolated villages with limited access also exist along the mountain, as do archaeological sites that have discovered the remains of ancient settlers here. Guided walks and tours to the small villages are what most visitors will do on the mountain. The range’s highest point is Cruz de Taborno, at just over 1,000 meters tall.
Tenerife’s unique landscapes—sculpted over centuries of volcanic activity—and anthropological history—inhabited by the Guanche people since the 6th century BC—are the focal points of the Museum of Nature and Archaeology (MUNA). Located in Santa Cruz, it’s a fascinating deep-dive into the history and cultural heritage of the Canary Islands.
If you’ve ever dreamed of lifting up a car with a single finger or being parted from your own shadow, you’ll likely be in your element at the Museum of Science and the Cosmos (Museo de las Ciencias y el Cosmos). The innovative museum is filled with fun interactive exhibitions and hands-on sciences experiments to challenge curious minds.
The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife and its year-round sun, unique volcanic topography and endless sandy beaches draw more than 1 million cruise passengers to the island each year, making it Spain’s second-busiest cruise port after that of Barcelona.
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