Located in the Canary Archipelago, just off the coast of Morocco, this Spanish island will steal your heart. Tenerife offers a huge variety of awesome things to do, stunning landscapes and comforts for travellers.
If you’re planning a trip to Tenerife, you’ve made an excellent choice! After spending four months on the island I put together this ultimate Tenerife itinerary, to ensure you make the most of your trip.
Tenerife is so much more than just a tourist resort destinations, where retired Germans or young British party-goers go in search for some European winter sun.
It’s a beautiful island that should feature on everyone’s Spain bucket list!
In this guide I have put together some sample Tenerife day-by-day itineraries, outlining how to spend 3 days, 5 days or 7 days in Tenerife.
The longer itineraries are built up on the shorter ones, starting with the main attractions in Tenerife and expanding to lesser-known spots.
Feel free to adapt the itineraries to fit your personal interests. One of the things I love most about Tenerife is the variety of things to do, and how it can suit different types of travellers.
Whether you’re an avid hiker, a keen surfer or a professional beach bum, Tenerife has something for all of you! So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the ultimate Tenerife itinerary!
- 1 Where to stay in Tenerife
- 2 How to travel around Tenerife
- 3 Tenerife itinerary: 3 days
- 4 Tenerife itinerary: 5 days
- 5 Tenerife itinerary: 7 days
Where to stay in Tenerife
The best place to stay in Tenerife will depend on your personal interests. The island is extremely varied, which different types of travellers will find themselves more at home in different regions of the island.
For example if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday you might look at staying in Costa Adeje, if you’re looking for fun nightlife you will want to stay in Las Americas, or if you love hiking you might stay in the north of Tenerife.
If you want to do a bit of everything you might choose to start your Tenerife itinerary in one location, and then change accommodation to a different town. That said, Tenerife is a fairly small island.
You can cross the island in around one hour, and can easily drive to and back from most places within the day.
I’m usually a big supporter of on-the-road itineraries, but in this case you could select one place as base, and from there explore Tenerife on day trips.
I listed below some cool accommodation options around the island for every budget.
Budget: Banana Surf House – This cute surf house is perfect for those looking for a cosy stay in a great location, without breaking the bank. It also has a huge rooftop with great sea views.
Mid-range: El Dorado Residence – I spent my first two months in Tenerife in an apartment in this residence, and loved every day of it. My apartment was spacious, in a great location (close to both the beach and supermarket) and had awesome sea and sunset views. I can highly recommend it.
Luxury: Hotel Rural La Correa Del Almendro – This hotel is set in a traditional Canarian barn from the 1720s, and it still retains the rugged look, while having modern comforts like a pool. Located in Arona, it’s perfect for those who want to be close to Las Americas, without being in the heart of the party town.
How to travel around Tenerife
The easiest way to get around Tenerife is to rent a car, as it will give you the most flexibility. You can find very cheap rental deals with Plus Cars.
Tenerife also has a fairly good public transport system. The public buses connect all the main cities and towns, as well as doing stops also along the road in remote locations, and they’re also very cheap.
However the buses don’t run that regularly, and if you want to do some of the awesome hikes in Tenerife, they might not take you all the way to the trailhead.
If you want to make the most of your Tenerife itinerary, make sure to rent a car.
Tenerife itinerary: 3 days
Three days is the absolute minimum you should spend in Tenerife. While it won’t be enough to see the whole island, it will give you the opportunity to see the main sights and to get a feel for Tenerife.
These are the places I believe you should visit if you only have three days in Tenerife.
Day 1: Explore Teide National Park
With its 3,715 metres, Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain, as well as one of the tallest volcanoes in Europe.
Hiking to its peak features on many Europe bucket lists, so it’s only natural that it should feature in this Tenerife itinerary.
Teide National Park covers an area of almost 200 square kilometres, and is home to a huge variety of landscapes. From pine tree forests to volcanic desert expanses, it’s guaranteed to leave you breathless.
Besides the actual hike (or gondola ride) to the peak, there are also many beautiful hiking trails in the Teide National Park. Some of the most famous are Roque de Garcia and Samara.
These trails give you the opportunity to experience the beauty of Teide, while admiring the stunning natural landscape. There are also many viewpoints around the national park, which you can both hike or drive to.
Depending on what hikes you choose to do and what miradors to stop at, you can easily spend a whole day exploring Teide National Park.
There are many awesome tours that you can do exploring Mount Teide, I have linked below some of the best ones:
- Mount Teide Summit Hiking Tour
- Mount Teide Sunset Cable Car Tour
- Romantic Sunset & Star Gazing Experience At Mount Teide
Day 2: Masca & Los Gigantes
Visit the town of Masca
On your second day in Tenerife, you have to visit Masca. Masca is a small town of less than 100 inhabitants, nestled amongst the Teno Mountains on the western corner of the island.
The town is surrounded by the tall mountains, and is extremely scenic. The drive down to Masca is very winding so make sure to take it easy and steadily.
You can spend a few hours wandering around the cute town, exploring the cobbled side streets and admiring the beautiful views.
For the more adventurous and active travellers you can also do the Barranco the Masca hike. It’s a 3-4 hour return hike with considerable elevation change, since it starts in Masca and goes all the way down to the sea.
Relax in Los Gigantes
After visiting Masca you can head to the nearby Los Gigantes. Los Gigantes is a town on the west coast of Tenerife, named “The Giants” because of the imposing cliffs that tower over the town.
The cliffs range from 500m to 800m in height, and are quite the spectacular sight. Close to the town there are both a beach and some beautiful natural pools, where you can relax and swim in the sea after your hike.
From Los Gigantes you can also do a dolphin and whale spotting tour. The best time to do this is late afternoon, since the golden hour light over the tall cliffs is meant to be simply magical.
Day 3: Explore Anaga National Park
Anaga National Park is possibly my favourite place in Tenerife. Located in the north of the island, this national park is home to the most gorgeous green landscape.
Here you will find dramatic cliffs over the sea, a jagged green coastline, black sand beaches and sweeping views that will give you serious Jurassic Park vibes. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I picture it looking somewhat like Anaga.
There are many awesome hiking trails in Anaga, spanning a wide variety of difficulty levels and durations. That makes it the perfect destination for all types of travellers and hikers.
My personal favourite hike is the one to the lighthouse of Igueste. This hike is relatively short (2 to 3 hours) but very steep. You will go from pretty much sea level up to around 600m, enjoying the stunning views all throughout.
Close to the Anaga information point you will find Mirador Cruz del Carmen.
This viewpoint offers incredible views over the surrounding valley all the way to the peak of Mount Teide. Here there are also some very picturesque hiking trails in the local forest.
Depending on how much you feel like walking, you can easily spend a whole day in Anaga National Park, admiring the beautiful green coastlines, conquering challenging hikes and relaxing on black sand beaches.
The hiking trails in Tenerife are usually well marked, but if you prefer a guided experience you can also do an organised hiking tour of Anaga.
Tenerife itinerary: 5 days
For those who are planning to spend 5 days in Tenerife, here are some suggestions of awesome places to visit during your extra two days.
Day 4: Northern coast of Tenerife
Your fourth day is dedicated to the northern coast of Tenerife. Here you will find a combination of panoramic hikes, cute colonial towns and stunning natural pools.
Hike in Rambla de Castro
Start your day nice and early with a hike, so that you can do it before the sun gets too high and hot. Rambla de Castro is a 10km hike with a gradual 380m elevation change, which usually takes around 3 hours.
This trail is part of a very popular Tenerife shore excursion for cruise travellers, and you’ll soon see why!
It’s a casual coastal hike on a well-marked and beaten path, lined with palm trees and with stunning views over the sea and cliffs.
I loved this hike because it felt different from other parts of the island, and was giving me some serious Bali vibes.
You can also hike down to Playa de Castro. The beach is rocky and isn’t the most comfortable for relaxing or tanning, but with the steep cliffs surrounding it it’s incredibly scenic.
There is also a small waterfall at the end of the beach that you can get up close to. If you want to get close to the waterfall make sure to visit at low tide, as it can be very slippery and dangerous when the tide is high!
Swim in the natural pools of Garachico
After your hike you will probably want to relax a bit, preferable somewhere where you can actually lie down and swim in the sea! So why don’t you head over to Garachico, a cute town just a short 30-minute drive away.
The pools are natural but there have been some man-made additions around them, so that there are flat surfaces that you can lie on and sunbathe.
You can spend some time here relaxing and cooling down in the natural pools.
On the day I was visiting there were strong waves washing into the pools. In these situations be careful as it can be dangerous, although it also made it super fun and similar to a natural water park.
Discover the town & Dragon of Icod de los Vinos
After hiking and relaxing on the beach, it’s only fair to end your day with a bit of city exploration. Close to Garachico you will find Icod, a beautiful colonial town in Tenerife.
Besides displaying some traditional Canarian architecture, Icod is home also to the Drago Milenario de Icod de los Vinos. This is the oldest and largest living specimen of dragon tree, and is said to be over a thousand years old.
You can see the tree as you drive into Icod and from the nearby park, or you can enter the Parque del Drago for a small fee to get up close to this impressive tree.
The Parque del Drago is also a botanical garden that you can walk around and explore.
Day 5: Relax in the south coast of Tenerife (and maybe try some water sports?)
After such a jam-packed itinerary, I figured you might want at least one day to relax.
While I always stress that there is more to Tenerife than just beach resorts, there is a reason why it’s such a popular European winter destination.
The southern most tip of the island is home to Costa Adeje, Las Americas and Los Cristianos, three areas that while very touristy, are home to some gorgeous beaches. Here you can also learn to surf!
It’s one of the best surfing spots in Tenerife, where I personally spent four months surfing. You will have to wear a wetsuit if you’re visiting Tenerife in winter, but the water is temperate enough to go for a dip without one.
If you want a slightly less busy spot you can also go to El Medano, another town only 15-minute drive away from Las Americas.
El Medano is much quieter, and a popular windsurf and kitesurf destination, as it’s always windy!
Given how popular Tenerife is amongst water sports lovers, I figured no Tenerife itinerary would be complete without a day of beach chilling and little bit of either surfing or windsurfing.
Tenerife itinerary: 7 days
For those who can spend one week in Tenerife, here are some suggestions of awesome things to do in Tenerife for your two additional days.
Building on all the awesome spots we’ve already seen, these additional activities will make your Tenerife itinerary even more unforgettable.
Day 6: La Laguna & Playa de Las Teresitas
Personally what I love most about Tenerife is the wild nature, but there are also many beautiful cities and towns to discover.
San Cristobal de La Laguna is a city in the northern part of the island, which should feature on every Tenerife itinerary.
The historical centre of La Laguna was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Here you will find houses built in the traditional Canarian style, with wooden balconies and quaint colours.
You can easily spend a few hours wandering around La Laguna, admiring the Canarian architecture and tasting delicious local food. Just remember the weather here is much colder than the south, and bring a sweater!
Playa de Las Teresitas
If you’re anything like me, you probably won’t want to spend a whole day exploring a city. So after soaking in the chill vibe of La Laguna, head to Playa de Las Teresitas, one of the most famous beaches on the island.
Playa de Las Teresitas is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife, and it’s easy to see why.
With its pristine white sand, turquoise water and the scenic cliffs that surround it, it makes for a stunning beach.
You can get a sunbed for as little as 2 EUR for the whole day, a worthy investment if you ask me! Here you can sit in the sun, relax, swim in the beautiful sea and work on your tan.
Day 7: Teno Mountains
After a few days of beaching, relaxing and visiting cities, how do you feel about taking back out the hiking boots? Another awesome hiking spot you are yet to discover is the Teno mountain range.
These are the mountains located in the north-western most corner of Tenerife, which are also part of the range surrounding Masca.
Here you will find dramatic green cliffs similar to those of Anaga, but more rugged and wild (if that’s even possible)!
The Punta de Teno hike, starting high up in the mountains and heading all the way down to sea level at the Punta Teno lighthouse, is one of the most popular hikes in the Teno Mountains.
It’s a 10km hike with 800m elevation change (descending) where you will see an incredible variety of landscapes, as well as an interesting flora change.
Once you reach the lighthouse you can also swim in the sea, and refresh after your hike. From Punta Teno lighthouse you can then take the public bus back to Buenavista.
It’s a one-way hike (unless you want to hike 10km back up) so make sure to plan and coordinate with your car and public transport accordingly.
Final thoughts on the ultimate Tenerife itinerary
There you have it, the ultimate guide to planning a perfect Tenerife itinerary! The sample itineraries I included are designed to take you to all the best spots in Tenerife, both famous attractions and local secret spots.
I started with the shorter itineraries going to the absolute must-sees, and then building on day-by-day with attractions that aren’t as essential, but still worthy of a visit.
Obviously feel free to mix and match days based on your personal travel interests. Have you been to Tenerife before? Are there other places in the island that you think should feature in this itinerary? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you find this Tenerife itinerary useful in planning your time on this beautiful island. From beaches to volcanoes, Tenerife has it all, and it deserves to be explored.
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