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Tenerife Must-See: 15 Awesome Things To Do & Places To See In Tenerife

Tenerife is one of my favourite places in the world. The island offers a huge variety of landscapes and activities, ranging from tropical beaches lined with palm trees to lunar volcanic deserts.

When I was asked to participate in the #SpainOnMyMind campaign I was thrilled at the opportunity of writing about Tenerife. I spent two months living on the island, and would love to return one day.

There is more to Tenerife than the tourist resorts you might be thinking of. Tenerife is actually a very exciting destination, where you can go surfing, paragliding, whale watching, hiking and many other outdoors adventures.

In this article I put together a compilation of all the most awesome things to do in Tenerife, which made me fall in love with this Spanish island. If you love spending time outdoors, Tenerife is the perfect destination for you.

So without further ado, read on to discover all the beauties that Tenerife has to offer!

Exploring the beautiful landscapes of Tenerife

Exploring the beautiful landscapes of Tenerife

15 awesome things to do in Tenerife

Explore Teide National Park

Mount Teide is an active volcano in Tenerife. Its peak is at 3,715 metres, making it the highest post in Spain and one of the tallest volcanoes in Europe. No visit to Tenerife would be complete without a visit to Mount Teide.

Teide National Park covers a surface area of 190km squared, and encompasses a vast variety of landscapes. If you love hiking, you need to dedicate at least a couple days exploring the beauty of this volcano.

Teide tours worth checking out:

Mount Teide: Cable Car Ticket – This is the standard cable car entrance for those who want to see the peak of Mount Teide.

From Playa de las Americas: Full-Day Teide Jeep Safari – For the most adventurous who want to properly explore all of Teide National Park!

Tenerife Teide National Park Stargazing – When you’re 3,700m above all light pollution sources, you can rest assured that the night sky views are incredible!

Hiking in Teide National Park, Tenerife

Hiking in Teide National Park, Tenerife

One of the most popular hikes is without a doubt Roque de García. This is a 3.5km circular trail, with a 170m elevation change.

The trail is well marked and easy to walk on, making it a fairly easy hike for all levels. It will take maximum 2 hours to do.

Sitting at 2,000 metres, this hike has excellent views of the summit of Mount Teide, as well as the surrounding rocky landscape. There are unique rock formations dotted all alongside the trail, which ensure the views never get boring.

The start of the Roque de Garcia trail, with the Teide peak in the back, Tenerife

The start of the Roque de Garcia trail, with the Teide peak in the back, Tenerife

The incredible rocky landscapes of Teide National Park

The incredible rocky landscapes of Teide National Park

Another must-see hike is the one at Mirador de Sámara. Despite being at a similar height as Roque de García, the landscape and views here are completely different.

This hike is famous because of the distinctive view of the pine trees growing out of the black lava field, with the summit of Mount Teide on one side and the view over the sea on the other.

The trail is around 10km long, with an elevation change of 400m and takes around 2.5 hours. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and one of the things that fascinated me most about Tenerife.

On almost every Spain bucket list you will also find visiting the summit of Mount Teide. Standing at 3,700 metres, high above the clouds with views of the sea and surrounding islands is an experience like no other.

The Teide summit from the Mirador of Samara hike

The Teide summit from the Mirador of Samara hike

The distinctive views of the Samara hike

The distinctive views of the Samara hike

Go hiking in the Parque Rural de Anaga

The Parue Rural de Anaga is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Tenerife. The natural landscape here is completely different from the south of the island and from the areas surrounding Mount Teide.

Here you will find a jagged green coastline, with dramatic peaks and cliffs directly over the sea.

I spent much of my time exploring Anaga playing the soundtrack of Jurassic Park in the background, and once you get here, it will be easy to see why.

Click here to book a hiking tour in Anaga Forest!

The panoramic views and mountains of Parque Rural de Anaga

The panoramic views and mountains of Parque Rural de Anaga

The panoramic views and mountains of Parque Rural de Anaga

The panoramic views and mountains of Parque Rural de Anaga

There are lots of hiking trails in Anaga, which will allow you to thoroughly explore this part of Tenerife. My personal favourite is the one leading to the Semaforo of Igueste.

Starting at the small town of Igueste, this 4.5km trail has spectacular views everywhere you look. The hike is very steep (470m gain) and will take around 2.5 hours.

During the hike you will be able to admire the steep green mountains on one side, and the sea on the other. The white houses of Igueste are perched along the mountainside, creating a beautiful contrast with the lush green vegetation.

Enjoying the view while hiking at the Semaforo of Igueste

Enjoying the view while hiking at the Semaforo of Igueste

There are lots of gorgeous hikes also on the northern coast of Tenerife, such as the ones at Roque de Taborno and Benijo. You can find all the hike specifications on the official Tenerife tourism website.

Whatever hike you choose, make sure to pack your hiking essentials and be ready for a fun day exploring stunning natural landscapes!

The northern coastline of Tenerife in the Parque Rural de Anaga

The northern coastline of Tenerife in the Parque Rural de Anaga

Relax at Playa de las Teresitas

There are many beautiful beaches all over the island, but Playa de las Teresitas was without a doubt one of my favourites.

Located in the north of the island, beyond Santa Cruz de Tenerife and nestled along the coastline of Anaga, it’s one of the most scenic beaches I’ve ever seen.

Playa de las Teresitas is 1.3km long and 80m wide, meaning there is plenty of space to go around! The beach is characterised by white sand, turquoise water and the dramatic cliffs of Anaga that surround it.

There is a viewpoint over the beach that I highly recommend visiting when you go there, as it will allow you to really admire the beauty and size of Playa de las Teresitas.

You can pair a visit to Playa de las Teresitas with one of the hikes in the Parque Rural de Anaga. After spending a few hours hiking and observing the beautiful views, you can relax on this white sand beach and cool down in the clear turquoise sea.

Playa de las Teresitas from above

Playa de las Teresitas from above

Enjoy the waves at Playa de Benijo

On the northern coast of Tenerife, also nestled amongst the cliffs of the Parque Rural de Anaga, you will find Playa de Benijo. Playa de Benijo is a black sand beach, surrounded by steep cliffs.

This beach is famous for its scenic surrounding and huge waves. You can usually find children (and adults alike) jumping in the waves, and others relaxing and tanning on the black sand.

It has a wilder and more rugged feeling than Playa de las Teresitas, and it’s the perfect place for a relaxing stop after a hike on the northern side of Anaga.

Exploring Playa de Benijo in Tenerife

Exploring Playa de Benijo in Tenerife

Learn to surf in Las Americas

Surfing in Tenerife was one of my absolute favourite things to do. I had previously been surfing in Bali, Fuerteventura and Costa Rica, but the surf in Tenerife was especially good.

Here you can find consistent waves for all levels. Playa Las Americas is the main surf spot, but as a beginner, I often found it too crowded and too close to the rocky reef for my liking.

I took regular classes with Surf Life Tenerife, and I loved that they always take you surfing to a different spot just along the coast. Here the waves are smaller, the reef isn’t as close and it’s nowhere near as busy.

Me surfing in Las Americas, Tenerife

Me surfing in Las Americas, Tenerife

Me surfing in Las Americas, Tenerife

Me surfing in Las Americas, Tenerife

Admire the view from Mirador Cruz del Carmen

As you may have guessed there are many gorgeous views all over Tenerife, but Mirador Cruz del Carmen deserves a special mention. Located on the outskirts of Anaga, you can combine this viewpoint with some easy hiking trails.

From the main parking area and tourist information desk you can do two easy trails that go through the surrounding laurel forests, and admire the view over the valley below.

On clear days you can see also the Teide summit. When I was visiting it had recently snowed on the Teide peak, which created the beautiful contrast you see in the photo below!

The view over Tenerife from Mirador Cruz del Carmen

The view over Tenerife from Mirador Cruz del Carmen

Discover the village of Masca

Masca is one of the most unique places in Tenerife, and one you simply must visit while you’re on the island. This small mountain village is nestled amongst the Macizo de Teno mountains, and offers views like no other.

It was originally a Guanche settlement, before Spain took conquered the Canary Islands, and is now home to around 90 inhabitants.

The road to reach it is very narrow and with numerous bends, but the view while driving are well worth the slight motion sickness you might get!

There are a number of viewpoints that you can stop at while driving, to better admire the surrounding mountains and small town of Masca.

Once you reach the town itself you can spend some time walking around, soaking in the calm beauty of Masca.

The village of Masca and surrounding mountains

The village of Masca and surrounding mountains

Explore the Teno mountains

Located on the north-western side of the island, the Teno mountain range often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Here you will find many incredible hikes, views and cute towns.

We did a hike with Anaga Experience in the Teno mountains and despite the cloudy weather, it was a great experience.

Starting in Teno Alto we hiked for 10km all the way down to the Punta Teno lighthouse, crossing all sorts of different landscapes throughout the hike. The Punta de Teno hike has an elevation change of 900m, but it’s mostly all downhill.

Once we reached the bottom we even went for a swim in the sea, it was much needed after the long trek! Other popular hikes in Teno are those surrounding Masca.

For the proper trekking lovers, you can do an awesome Teno Mountains half-day hike to Masca.

Hiking in the Teno mountains in Tenerife

Hiking in the Teno mountains in Tenerife

Hiking the Punta de Teno trail in Tenerife

Hiking the Punta de Teno trail in Tenerife

Admire the cliffs of Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes is a town on the west coast of Tenerife, famous for the huge cliffs that surround it. The Acantilados de Los Gigantes are giant rock formations that reach up to 500-800 metres in height, towering above the sea and town.

Los Gigantes means “The Giants”, an apt name! There is a beautiful viewpoint just before reaching the town, where you can enjoy the view over the cliffs and sea.

There is also a small beach in town, where you can relax while enjoying the surrounding scenery of Los Gigantes.

A popular way to admire Los Gigantes is from the sea; there are many boat tours that will take you sailing along the coast of Los Gigantes. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some whales and dolphins!

Los Gigantes & boat tours worth checking out:

Los Gigantes Whale Watching Cruise by Sail Boat with Pick-Up – Combine whale watching with a relaxing sailing cruise and admiring these beautiful cliffs!

Dolphin & Whale Eco-Cruise with Food & Drinks – An environmentally friendly experience with dolphins, food and drinks, what more can you ask for?

View over the town and cliffs of Los Gigantes

View over the town and cliffs of Los Gigantes

Admiring the cliffs of Los Gigantes from Punta Teno Lighthouse

Admiring the cliffs of Los Gigantes from Punta Teno Lighthouse

Visit San Cristobal de la Laguna

San Cristobal de la Laguna, commonly known as just La Laguna, is a city in the northern part of Tenerife. It used to be the capital city of the island, and even if it no longer holds that title, it’s still a must-see in Tenerife.

The historical centre of the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. You can easily spend a few hours walking around the historical centre, admiring the colonial architecture and feeling like you stepped back in time.

Some of the iconic architecture in San Cristobal de la Laguna

Some of the iconic architecture in San Cristobal de la Laguna

The historical city centre of La Laguna in Tenerife

The historical city centre of La Laguna in Tenerife

Go paragliding!

For the real adrenaline junkies out there, this is a must-do bucket list activity! The mountains of Tenerife make for excellent set off spots, and the views are second to none.

You set off from the tall Jurassic Park style mountains, soaring high above the trees and rock formations, flying towards the sea. Paragliding is always a thrilling experience, but with such a gorgeous landscape it becomes even more special.

Click here to book your paragliding experience in Tenerife!

Paragliding in Tenerife

Paragliding in Tenerife

Go to a beach bar for sunset drinks

While the stunning natural landscapes and fun activities are what made me fall in love with Tenerife, the sense of normalcy that comes with enjoying drinks on the beach at sunset is one of the things I’m craving the most, and can’t wait to go back to.

The west coast of Tenerife is lined with fun beach bars, for all sorts of budgets and tastes. Some have a more club and dancing vibe, while others have a more laid back and chilled surfer vibe.

Some of my favourites were Roca Negra Sunset Club and Coqueluche Beach Bar. Here you can sip on a mojito while nibbling tasty snacks, and watching the sun set in the ocean.

Enjoying some sunset drinks with my friend Ari at Coqueluche Beach Bar in Tenerife

Enjoying some sunset drinks with my friend Ari at Coqueluche Beach Bar in Tenerife

Taste the local cuisine

Spanish cuisine is amongst my favourite in the world, and in Tenerife there are plenty of restaurants where you can taste it. I especially love tapas and pinchos, since with their little dishes they allow you to taste lots of different plates in one meal.

Some of my favourite restaurants in Tenerife were El Jardin de la Abuela and La Cuevita del Mar. You can try all the traditional Canarian dishes like papas arrugadas, pimientos del padron and almogrote cheese.

Eating delicious Canarian food after a long day of exploring Tenerife, hiking or surfing is the perfect ending for a day in Tenerife. I can’t wait to go back to Tenerife and taste the flavoursome Canarian cheeses again.

An awesome platter of fresh fish that we had at Delicias del Mar in Tenerife

An awesome platter of fresh fish that we had at Delicias del Mar in Tenerife

Hike the Rambla de Castro trail

This coastal walk was amongst my favourite trails in Tenerife. With its steep cliffs and palm trees, Rambla de Castro will give you some serious Bali vibes.

You can also hike down to Playa de Castro, a black rock beach surrounded by tall cliffs. Here you will also find a waterfall that you can stand under and cool down, it’s easily one of the most scenic waterfalls I’ve ever seen!

There isn’t much elevation and the path is well kept and easy to walk along. It’s a fairly easy hike with stunning coastal views, which I think should feature on any Tenerife bucket list.

Enjoying the coastal views during the Rambla de Castro hike

Enjoying the coastal views during the Rambla de Castro hike

Playa de Castro seen from the Rambla de Castro trail

Playa de Castro seen from the Rambla de Castro trail

Visit the natural pools of Garachico

Given the rocky coastline and powerful sea of Tenerife, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are countless natural pools all over the island. My personal favourites were the natural pools of Garachico.

Located in the town of Garachico, the Piscinas Naturales de El Caleton are natural salt-water rock pools that you can swim in. There are also man made additions where you can sun bathe and chill between swims.

Personally I really enjoyed these pools as we were visiting on a day when the sea was very big, and we spent the afternoon diving in the huge waves and playing in the current.

The Piscinas Naturales de El Caleton in Garachico, Tenerife

The Piscinas Naturales de El Caleton in Garachico, Tenerife

Where to stay in Tenerife

When deciding where to stay in Tenerife, you need to take into account your personal preferences. Tenerife is an incredibly varied island, which can accommodate many different type of travellers.

If you’re a young traveller looking to party and meet new people you would have more fun staying in Las Americas, if you’re a family looking for a peaceful beach holiday you will prefer Costa Adeje, or if you’re a hiking fan you would probably prefer staying in Puerto de la Cruz or La Laguna.

However it’s always handy to remember that Tenerife is a small island, and regardless of where you’re staying you can easily drive around the whole island in around one hour.

So while you might prefer staying close to the lively nightlife of Las Americas, you could be hiking up Mount Teide after just a 1.5 hour drive. I listed below some accommodation options for every budget in different parts of the island.

The sunset view from my apartment at El Dorado Residence in Las Americas, Tenerife

The sunset view from my apartment at El Dorado Residence in Las Americas, Tenerife

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.

Click here to book your stay at Banana Surf House!

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.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability for apartments in El Dorado residence!

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.

Click here to book your stay at Hotel Rural La Correa Del Almendro!

The pool at Hotel Rural La Correa Del Almendro in Arona, Tenerife

The pool at Hotel Rural La Correa Del Almendro in Arona, Tenerife

Final thoughts on the top things to do in Tenerife

There you have it, the ultimate compilation of best things to do in Tenerife! I hope you find this guide useful in planning your trip to Tenerife, and that it has inspired you to head straight to the island once we’ll be able to travel freely again!

Spain has always been one of my favourite countries in Europe. I spent time in Barcelona, Seville and many of the Canary Islands, but Tenerife has a special place in my heart.

Thanks to the huge variety of landscapes and things to do, you never run the risk of being bored. Even after spending two months living there, I always found a new hiking trail or surf spot I hadn’t yet explored.

With its warm temperatures it’s one of the best winter sun spots in Europe, and a place that I absolutely adored living in for a winter.

So while Spain is without a doubt on my mind, it’s mostly Tenerife I’m thinking about, and I can’t wait to go back there!

This post was brought to you as a result of the #SpainOnMyMind campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with the Spain Tourist Office. Greta’s Travels maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

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Photo collage of the cliffs of Los Gigantes, Anaga Rural Park, Playa de las Teresitas from above and the sunset over Costa Adeje with text overlay saying "13 awesome things to do in Tenerife"

Photo collage of a blonde girl with arms open overlooking Anaga Rural Park and the sunset over Costa Adeje with text overlay saying "13 awesome things to do in Tenerife, Spain"

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