The Best Things to Do in Tenerife

Tenerifes Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain
Tenerife's Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain | © Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
Charlie Bush

Located off the west coast of Africa, Tenerife is the sun-drenched Canary Island that attracts the most tourists annually. The island has far more to offer than just luxury resorts and holiday apartments, however. It is home to spectacular natural features such as Spain’s highest mountain, a rich local culture and world-renowned attractions. Whether you are visiting Tenerife for its volcanic beaches, uninterrupted sunshine or wild nightlife, don’t miss these unparalleled opportunities.

1. Mount Teide National Park

Park

A red car travelling along the Cumbre Dorsal road towards the Mount Teide National Park with the peak of Mount Teide rising up against a blue sky beyond
© AA World Travel Library / Alamy Stock Photo
Mount Teide National Park tops most lists of recommendations for things to do in Tenerife and it’s not hard to understand why. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited national park in Europe. An alien landscape of craters, rivers of petrified lava and volcanic rock is crisscrossed with roads so visitors can enjoy the entire park. Mount Teide itself is both an active volcano and the tallest peak in Spain. At 3,718 metres (12,198 feet) above sea level, the views afforded from the top are spectacular, with other islands in the Canary archipelago clearly visible. You have the option to hike or take a cable car to the base of the final cone summit. To climb to the very top you will need to obtain a permit in advance. Two visitors’ centres shed light on Mount Teide National Park’s geological past and a bar and restaurant area are also on hand for refreshments.

2. Siam Park

Amusement Park, Aquarium, Park

Siam Park is a huge Thai-themed water park, voted the best in the world for six years running. Taking advantage of the steep terrain on the Costa Adeje, all of its attractions are built into the natural landscape. The sprawling site is a treasure trove of rides to try and whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, seeking a relaxing time out or seeking family-friendly attractions, you can spend hours at Siam Park. Even the park’s Thai-inspired look is a curiosity in its own right, with towering monuments, ornate pathways and colourful statues. If you are staying on the Costa Adeje the park is easily accessible either by walking or a short ride on public transport. It has plenty of parking on site, as well as shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.

3. Loro Parque

Zoo, Aquarium

Dolphin show, Loro parque, Tenerife, Canary islands
© Antonia Iva / Alamy Stock Photo

The Loro Parque foundation aims to protect and conserve endangered animals. Subsequently, it is home to over 300 species of parrots and the largest penguinarium in the world. Animals from all over the globe can be seen here, including mammals, birds and reptiles. You can also watch live shows performed by dolphins, orcas and sea lions. Winding pathways take you through the exotic world of Loro Parque, leading you under the sea in the aquarium and through tropical aviaries. Loro Parque is found to the north of Tenerife in Puerto de la Cruz. Many companies offer excursions here from the south, including coach hire and entrance fee. Alternatively, it is easy to drive and park at Loro Parque at your leisure.

4. Beaches

Natural Feature

Wherever you find yourself on Tenerife, there will always be a picture-perfect beach nearby. The island continues to entrance visitors with its many golden and black-sand beaches, set against sheer cliffs and bookended by rugged coastline. To the north of the island, beaches tend to be smaller and more secluded whereas in the south, the beaches often slope gently into a sea tamed by breakwaters.

5. Whale and Dolphin-Watching

Natural Feature

Dolphins and whales off the coast of Tenerife
© Tony Roberts / Alamy Stock Photo

Tenerife is one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin-watching. Trips depart from most of the island’s resorts and tend to last 2-3 hours. It is a fascinating opportunity to see magnificent marine life in a natural environment. Prices for whale and dolphin-watching trips vary broadly, with some as low as €20 per person. Most expeditions can be booked online, though you may be able to negotiate a better deal if you wander the harbours.

6. Masca Village

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

6. Masca Village
© Michele Falzone / Alamy Stock Photo

Masca is often hailed as the most beautiful village in Tenerife and even the Canary Islands. The tiny hamlet is perched among the Teno Mountains, on the western side of the island, and is home to around 100 inhabitants. Surrounded by deep ravines and lush vegetation, it’s an idyllic spot. Until 1991, there wasn’t even a road leading up to Masca, but it has slowly become more popular with tourists thanks to its incredible views and tiny village charm. It’s just a 5km (3.1 mile) drive up to Masca from Santiago del Teide, along a narrow twisting road. From the village, intrepid hikers can walk down the Masca Gorge to the beach, from which you can either climb back up or take a boat to Los Gigantes.

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