The Canary Islands are the perfect winter holiday destination to enjoy some quality time with your family, take part in adrenaline-filled activities or relax with a cocktail in hand while soaking up the rays.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and with its grandeur comes a sizable list of excursions, activities and sights to get your teeth stuck into! No matter what you’re interested in, there’s plenty to keep you busy during your holiday.
But with so much to see and do, what are the best things about this exciting island that you just have to experience?
Tenerife is home to several golf courses which have been designed by some of the best professionals in the world. These world-class courses aren’t short of facilities either and have the perfect mix of amenities to support players of all levels.
Despite the fantastic courses, one of the biggest pulls to Tenerife’s holes has to be the jaw-dropping views surrounding the luscious greens. Picture yourself perfecting your swing with the mighty Mount Teide in the background.
Though Tenerife has beautiful weather all year round, spring, autumn and winter tend to be the favoured seasons for golf lovers to take advantage of the perfect, ambient temperatures. Some of the favourite courses across the island include Golf Las Americas, Golf del Sur and Amarilla Golf and Country Club.
Golf Las Americas is in the heart of Tenerife’s tourist hotspot, Playa de las Américas. The course is nestled amongst majestic woodland and stunning mountains which creates a beautiful setting for a spot of golf.
Golf del Sur is just minutes away from Tenerife airport, and the club boasts three sets of nine holes all of which are unique, making exciting rounds of golf!
Amarilla Golf and Country Club dons a clifftop location with outstanding views of Mount Teide. The course was designed by Donald Steel, who is a former golfer himself and has designed many courses in his time.
If all the excitement of world-class golf courses has you yearning for relaxation, Tenerife isn’t short of beaches to relax on and put your feet up. Thanks to the island’s volcanic origin, many of Tenerife’s beaches have black sands which are a beautiful contrast to many other beaches you see on a sunny holiday.
Playa La Arena is one of the best and most popular black sand beaches in the south of Tenerife. Here you can lounge on the black sandy beach all day with the sound of the waves lapping in the background. Sometimes it’s not deemed safe to paddle in the sea, so make sure to check the life guard’s flags before giving it a go.
Playa La Arena is lined by palm trees and has a fantastic view of La Gomera, and thanks to its popularity, there are many amenities close by such as bars, restaurants and cafes.
Dolphin and Whale Spotting
Tenerife’s waters are just as enticing as land, so take to the waves on a boat or catamaran to get the chance to spot some beautiful sea creatures like whales and dolphins. Dolphins live in the waters close to the southwest coast of Tenerife, and the area is also visited by blue whales and orcas.
This sanctuary is very precious, therefore it is super important that everyone does what they can to protect it. For this reason, boats must be authorised and comply strictly with regulations that guarantee that these stunning animals and their habitat are treated with respect.
According to the Canary Islands Biodiversity Data Bank (BIOTA), there are a total of 32 species of marine mammals living around the Canary Islands. Some of the most common species you will spot during your visit are bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales and pilot whales.
Climbing Mount Teide
One of the most iconic views of Tenerife has to be Mount Teide. Teide is a volcano in Tenerife, and its summit is the highest point in Spain. It is also the highest point above sea level in the Atlantic.
Teide is an active volcano, however its last eruption was in 1909 and seismologists don’t expect it to erupt any time soon. You will definitely need to have your walking shoes at the ready to explore the volcano’s magnitude.
There are plenty of trails which allow tourists to explore the volcano safely, but if climbing isn’t your style, then you can still enjoy the volcano from its base. Make sure you take lots of snaps on your way up, Mount Teide is the world’s third largest volcano so your friends and family will definitely need proof of your trek!
Mount Teide is found in Teide National Park, which is in the centre of Tenerife. It is the largest and oldest of the four national parks in the Canary Islands, and is around 18,990 acres.
Teide National Park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason. The site is a fabulous display of a volcanic system and is a significant site of history. Along with the infamous volcano, there are plenty of things to do in Teide National Park that will truly open your eyes to the natural wonders of Tenerife.
To take in the area in all its glory, we recommend taking a ride in the Teide Cable Cars. From your car you will have a panoramic view of Teide National Park as well as views of the nearby islands of La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma and Gran Canaria on clear days.
Corona Forestal Natural Park is another fantastic outdoor, natural attraction, perfect for those who enjoy hiking and biking amid mountains, valleys and ravines with native wildlife. The nature reserve extends over an area of 46,613 hectares and is mostly a forest area with plenty of pines and vegetation.
The area offers endless opportunities for wildlife spotting and there are plenty of species native to the area, so keep your eyes peeled! Some of the islands’ native and unique species include the Teide blue finch and the Canarian warbler.
Though the tourist resorts in Tenerife are beautiful and grand, the quaint and historic smaller towns are spectacular in their own right. It is said that some of Tenerife’s best restaurants are hidden in the outskirts of smaller towns, the so-called ‘Guachinches’, so it’s definitely worth the trip.
Candelaria is located on the eastern coast of Tenerife and enjoys very good weather all year round. We recommend you take a walk by the promenade and end by the beautiful Basilica of Candelaria. In the same square, you will find nine big statues of the aboriginal Guanche kings which ruled the different pre-Hispanic kingdoms of Tenerife.
You can drive to the town of Garachico from the northern part of Tenerife or from the Los Gigantes area through a curvy small road that crosses the Teno Massif. There is no main road leading to this town, which makes it less accessible and, therefore, more quiet and special.
Though more bustling than some of the smaller villages, the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, boasts its fair share of history. Busy city life is paired with a historic quarter bordered by a triangle of streets and squares, lined with fascinating buildings including the Old Civilian Hospital.
Siam Park is made for kids, and we don’t just mean youngsters. This exciting water park has something for all ages – even the big kids who haven’t grown up yet, you know who you are! Siam Park is easily accessible from most of Tenerife’s main resort centres, some even providing public transport to get you there.
In 2020, Siam Park was voted ‘Best Waterpark in the World’ by Tripadvisor reviewers for the sixth year running, how’s that for an accolade?! That title should definitely fill you with hope for a fantastic trip filled with laughter, fun and adrenaline rushes!
The park is Thai-themed throughout and has plenty of rides and attractions whether you’re looking for a hair-raising adventure or relaxing dip.
For true adrenaline junkies, you will love the Tower of Power – a 28m high waterslide that you can reach speeds up to 80km/h. The ride finishes by passing through a huge aquarium full of sharks and rays, how exciting!
Mai Thai is Siam Park’s lazy river, perfect for those who want to kick back, take a break and enjoy the exotic views of the park. The Mai Thai River is a tropical river running through the park with slow and fast sections, and a relaxation area to complete the experience.
The peaks of Tenerife are one of three Starlight Reserves in the Canary Islands so you can imagine how stunning the view is when night falls. For one of the most breathtaking views, head to Narices del Teide viewing point and as the night draws in, the true show begins.
From Teide you can see 83 of the 88 recognised constellations, so there are plenty of organised stargazing tours that congregate here, meaning you can find plenty of experts to help you make the most of your trip.
The Teide Cable Car runs past daylight hours, so for a real spectacle, hop into one of the gondolas and enjoy the beauty of the night sky while suspended above the ground. Tenerife is also home to the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics which has a fantastic learning centre and an eye-opening observatory.
Tour operators also offer special trips which provide a super romantic setting for you and your other half – picture a candle-lit dinner under the night sky with beautiful constellations twinkling above you. If you plan an evening here, you’re sure to win some brownie points!
The Canary Island cuisine is not to be ignored and Tenerife has countless restaurants to enjoy the delights of the island. From small, family run establishments to luxury Michelin star bites, Tenerife has something even the harshest of food critics will love.
When visiting Tenerife, you can enjoy many local delights including mojo, which is a traditional Canarian sauce that comes in two types – red or green. Green mojo often accompanies fish thanks to its blend of parsley and coriander. Mojo rojo (red) uses paprika and is the perfect pairing for meat dishes.
As you would expect, in the many seaside towns of Tenerife, freshly caught fish is a speciality. A typical snack in the Canary Islands is lapas grelhadas – otherwise known as grilled limpets. They are often flavoured with lemon to give them a juicy kick, and have just the right amount of ocean flavour to them.
Loro Parque is a 13.5-hectare zoo on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz and is home to an extensive list of animal and plant species. The park has lots of activities and entertainment for the whole family, including dolphin shows, a penguin enclosure and even sharks.
The park is famous for its many parrots which you can view and enjoy as you move around Loro Parque. It is also a sanctuary for a wide selection of endangered species from around the world.
The park covers 135,000m2 and there are some great places to eat and drink throughout to keep tummies full and faces smiling. Some of the favourite pit stops are Restaurant Casa Pepe, serving traditional Canarian cuisine, Grill and Bar Patio de Loro, for freshly cooked chicken, steak and kebabs, and Bar Thai, serving sandwiches, donuts and drinks in the ambiance of Thailand.
Tickets to the park are available to purchase online or at the gate, and the park is super easy to find – there’s signs all throughout Puerto de la Cruz!
Let’s Go, Go, Go!
There’s our top 10 reasons why we think Tenerife is an amazing island to visit, but we want to know yours too! If you have any recommendations and want to share your top ten Tenerife tips (try saying that after a cocktail!) with us, then let us know on social media!