18 Things To Do And See In Tenerife You Should Not Miss
Are you looking for where to travel this year? We found a perfect place for you. Tenerife is s Spanish archipelago near West Africa’s coast and one of Spain’s largest Canary Islands.
We won’t lie. Tenerife was not nearly at the top of our destinations to visit. But after several flights were cancelled or we would have to do gazillions of tests, the only doable destination were the Canary Islands. Before setting off, I (Tjasa) was prepared for nothing special but beaches and drinks. How wrong was I.
Tenerife has a rich cultural heritage, one-of-a-kind landscape and stunning greenery. And you will get to experience it all with our list of 18 things to do and see in Tenerife.
Part of the five islands that constitute the Canary Islands, it’s easily accessible from Europe. The mild and consistent weather make visiting Tenerife a great choice all year round.
10 days in Tenerife
It might not seem like it, but there is so much to do in Tenerife. From relaxing at the beautiful black or white sand beaches, snorkelling and watching whales and dolphins to driving epic mountain roads and exploring picturesque villages. Break up the car journey by trekking hundreds of different hiking trails or climbing Spain’s highest mountain, which is also an active volcano.
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18 best things to do and see in Tenerife
Putting the below top things to do and see in Tenerife on your list, you’ll be able to explore every corner of the island and have a fantastic week. You can completely customize the list to fit your travel style best. To help you do this, we provide you with alternative options to add it to your Tenerife itinerary.
To visit all of the places on our 10 day Tenerife itinerary, we recommend renting a car. If you are ready to pack your bags and head off on an adventure, let’s dive in 🙂
South Tenerife Itinerary
South Tenerife is home to the most known touristy resorts and white sand beaches. You can complement the relaxing days with spotting dolphins, admiring the cliffs or swimming in a natural pool. It’ll make your experience much more memorisable.
Day 1: Arriving at the airport in the morning, San Miguel de Tajao, Playa de la Tejita, Playa Montana Amarilla, Los Cristianos with Playa de las Vistas
Day 2: Los Gigantes, Charco de Isla Cangrejo, dolphin and whale watching tour, sunset watching at Playa de Las Americas
Go naked at Playa de la Tejita
This beach is a 1 km long golden sand beach surrounded by the volcano Montano Roja. Due to the constant wind, it’s popular with kite surfers. Also, be prepared for a cold water.
The quiet and peaceful nature makes it an excellent choice for people trying to escape the touristy crowds. There aren’t many amenities so you should bring some snacks and drinks with you. Due to this fact, the beach is nudist-friendly.
Parking spaces are available next to the road or by the nearby commercial centre. There is only a five-minute walk down to the beach.
The Travel Momento insider tip: For beach surrounded by restaurants and bars cross to the other side of the volcano to El Medano.
Take your breathe away by Playa Montana Amarilla
Montaña Amarilla is an old volcanic crater that erupted thousands of years ago. When lava reached the seawater, it created an unusual formation along the coastline. Over the years, waves carved their contribution and finalised the outlook of this unique landscape. Playa Amarilla is the most unique place among the things to do and see in Tenerife and also the Natural Monument.
Being honest, it’s stunning to see it but it isn’t much of a beach. You can enjoy the views or sunbathe on the cliffs. We came at high tide when the sea is wild and crashes into the rocks—not made for swimming. Although, if you arrive at low tide, it should be much easier to swim. The beach is easily accessible by foot from Ten-Bel or you can park nearby at Amarilla Bay apartment.
Admire cliffs of the giants
Above is the direct translation of original name. Los Gigantes are located on the west side of the island. A giant cliff formation formed by volcanic rock stretches between 500m to 800m. The nearest beach offering the best view is Los Guios Beach. A small beach, only 180 m long, is rarely crowded. The sun hits the beach only in the afternoon when you can experience strong waves.
You can also admire the cliffs by boat tour, kayak tour or viewpoint on various hiking trails around the areas. Finish the day by snorkelling and dolphin and whale watching trip around, one of the must-do activities in Tenerife.
The Travel Momento insider tip: If you come early in the morning, majority of the cliff will still be in shadow. Try to come late in the morning or in the afternoon.
- Los Guios Beach
- Mirador Archipenque de Los Gigantes (not worth stopping by as you will have rooftops in your photos)
- Acantilados de Los Gigantes
- From boat
Take a dive in Charco de Isla Cangrejo
Charco is a word for a natural swimming pool that Tenerife doesn’t lack. This one is set in a beautiful corner on Santiago del Teide’s coast near the Los Gigantes Cliffs. Visiting it in February, we were unlucky with high waves and not able to enjoy swimming. Make sure to come at low tide and make the most out of it. However, strolling around this area is always pelasant and offers great views.
Watch the dolphins and whales in their natural environment
The south coast of Tenerife is one of the best places in Europe to watch whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. No trip to Tenerife would be complete without this experience. Out of 80 known species, around 20 have been seen in the water of the Canary Islands. You can spot them all year long. However, if you are interested in a specific species, you should check the best times.
We booked a 6 hours catamaran tour from Costa Adeje to Los Gigantes and back. We were lucky to see the whale in the distance and a group of dolphins completely next to the boat. Other options include kayaking and a sailing boat tour.
Other activities and things to include to your Tenerife itinerary?
- The pyramids of Guimar
- Los Cristianos
- Playa Abama
- Golf playing
South-West Tenerife Itinerary
Escaping the beach vibes to greenery scenery and crazy mountain roads.
Day 3: Santiago de Teide, Masca, Punta de Teno
Day 4: Hiking Mount Teide (Paseo del Chinyero)
Day 5: Cable car to the summit of Mount Teide, Roques de Garcia, Paseo de Lunar, sunset at Costa Adeje
Formula kind-of-driving to Masca
Claim to be one of Tenerife’s most beautiful villages is justified already on the way toward this small gem. Part of the ‘wow’ effect is driving through the narrow road and crazy turns while the fantastic landscape slowly unfolds in front of you. It’s a great place to escape from the crowd and beaches for a day. Take a walk through the charming streets and refresh yourself with cactus juice and cactus cake in La Fuente restaurant.
What’s the charm? A remote hilltop white houses nestled along a ridge that finishes with a mini copy of Machu Pichu.
The best time to visit is at midnight or late afternoon when sunset colours the sky above. There was a popular hiking trail from Masca Gorge to Masca beach, which is currently temporarily closed. And it’s not due to the Covid situation.
- Mirador de Cherfe
- Viewpoint on Masca (3rd turn, not the one marked on Google Maps)
Catching sunset at Punta de Teno
Many itineraries exclude this point, but we always try to see everything there is. And we would absolutely recommend it.
The westernmost point of Tenerife is a bit out of the way. Incredible cliff views compensate for the time spent to reach them. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Los Gigantes. Take a promenade around the lighthouse and refresh yourself in the natural pool or sea. We recommend coming in the afternoon and stay to admire the sunset.
Currently, it’s not possible to reach Punto Teno by car. You need to rent a bike or take a bus (1 EUR each way per person) in the city centre.
Tour Mount Teide and come back at night for stargazing
At 3718 meters high, Mount Teide represents the highest volcano in Spain and the third tallest in the world. Therefore it comes with no surprise that it’s also the main attraction in Tenerife. The easiest way to come close to the summit is by cable car. In only 7 minutes, you will be at 3500 meters. To reach the peak of the summit, you need to walk from here. Regardless of whether you hike from the Teleferico del Teide or any other starting point, you need to have the permit or book a tour. We got it directly by booking the cable car here. On hazy days you won’t see much, but the sea of clouds is just as stunning and worth the visit.
While visiting the peak, make some stops along the drive through the national parks. One of the best photo spots and the most instagrammable one is the final few kilometres between the Roques de Garcia and Teide cable car starting point.
One of the most memorable best things you can do in Tenerife, even if you come only for a few days, is to admire the stars. Tenerife is the only place where you can see 83 from 88 recognised constellations. We booked an astronomer to explain them and showed them up close. Combined with the sunset, you’re looking at the incredible romantic things for couples to do in Tenerife.
Other interesting things to do and see in west Tenerife?
- La Ruleta Vista Point
- Barranco del Infierno (hiking)
- Paisaje Lunar En Teno Alto (hiking)
- Alto de Guamaso (hiking)
West Tenerife Itinerary
It’s time to put our legs to rest and get spoiled in the wine region of the island. Moving towards the West, we also change our accommodation and stayed in Puerto de la Cruz.
Day 6: Charco El Diablo, Garachico, Icod de los Vinos, Puerto de la cruz
Day 7: Charco La Laja, Mirador de San Piedro, Castro beach, Rambla de Castro, Playa de el Bollullo, sunset at Mount Teide and stargazing
Wander the street of Garachico and taste a cigar
Garachico might be a small town, but it’s the one that you will not want to leave. Charming houses and colourful streets will take you for a pleasant morning walk. In the summer months, take a dip in the popular charco named the Caleton. A trendy and free thing to do in Tenerife.
If you are a fan of cigars, you need to stop at Tabacos Arturo. A small shop has on display a wide variety of cigars, boxes, and tabacco leaves.
From the direction of Santiago del Teide take TF-421 to Garachico and admire the city from above by stoping at the viewpoints: Mirador de Atalaya and Mirador de Garachico.
Visit the oldest Dragon Tree at Icod de los Vinos
Home to the national symbol of the island, the Drago Milenario or Dragon Tree. The name comes from its red resin, which looks like a dragon’s blood. With 1000 years, it’s the oldest ones in the Canary Islands and one of the main tourist attractions in Tenerife.
You can admire it from Marco Square or go more up-close by visiting Parque del Drago Gardens. We read there is an entrance fee to the park. However, when we visited it in February 2021, it was free of charge.
Taste volcanic wines
If you are a wine lover, then you need to stop at the Museum Malvasia. You will hear about the history and business but don’t expect a proper museum. However, the staff is friendly and will explain to you all about each wine served they served. Sitting in a relaxing garden, we decided to go with the combination of 5 glasses of white, red and dessert wine matched with homemade Mojo sauce and toast.
Are you short of time? Pop by for a glass of the best malvasia or the typical dragon blood liqueur.
Hike to the hidden waterfall on the Castro beach
One of the most isolated beaches in Tenerife is cover with fine black sand and only a short walk from Mirador de San Piedro. Fine-tuning wh walk along palms is a beautiful waterfall coming from the cliffs above and mixing with the sea. This place is such a wander and getting there is certainly worth the hassle. Make sure to check when the low tide is to cross the rocks and stand under the waterfall.
Get lost amongst murals in Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz was a second location where we station to explore the Western side of the island. It’s known for an old centre with colourful old fishermen cottages and urban art. The district, also called La Ranilla, has become sort of an open-air gallery. Take time and get lost amongst huge murals and decorative figures on the buildings that charm your heart.
The city also hosted the famous Agatha Christie 90 years ago, and in her memory, you can find today multicoloured stair with her book titles written on them. To find them in Google Maps you need to look for Paseo San Amaro, Escaleras Agatha Christie.
Sunbathe at Playa de el Bollullo
Dark sand beach away from tourists requires driving through a narrow downhill street where two cars cannot meet. Parking is available next to the restaurant and costs 3 EUR for the whole day. From the parking slot, you still need to walk around 5 minutes. The dogs are now allowed at this beach. At the time of our visit in February, swimming was also forbidden.
Additional points of interest in Tenerife?
- Charco de la Laja
- Rambla de Castro hiking trail
- Santa Ursula
North Tenerife Itinerary
Completely different landscape, so much more greenery, forgotten villages, stunning coastline and the home of the capital of Tenerife.
Day 8: La Rambla, Orotava, Baranda de Saluzal, Mirador de Jardin, Mirador Cruz del Carmen, Las Carboneras, Chinamada, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Santa Cruz
Day 9: sunrise at Mirador de Jardin, Taganana, Roque de Las Bodegas, Playa de Benijo, Playa de las Gaviotas, Playa de las Teresitas
Day 10: Santa Cruz (morning), flight
Tour the heart of island's history - La Orotava
La Orotava is the most traditional town you can visit in Tenerife. It’s great colonial history is still present today. Most known are beautifully carved wooden interiors and balconies that you can admire at the Casa de Los Balcones. Other remarkable buildings are the 19-century neoclassical town hall and 18th century baroque Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion Church.
Discover hidden paths of Anaga park
Driving through the Anaga park feels like you have arrived on a different island. No wonder the park is known as the Enchanted Forest. There are numerous hiking trails, excellent viewing points over Mount Teide. You can easily access the main point by car as well.
One of the best attractions in Tenerife is home to three forgotten villages that will seem like an oasis in the middle of the volcanic landscape. The drive to Chinamada and Las Carboneras is quite demanding with twisting driving but workable. Another tiny hamlet is Taganana, where life was cut off until the 1950s. The road from Taganana towards the Benijo beach was an absolute highlight of the ride for us. Make sure to stop at Roque de Las Bodegas to watch the waves hitting over the rocks.
Driving around make sure to stop and admire view of the whole of Tenerife and Mount Teide:
- Mirador Cruz del Carmen
- Mirador de Jardin
Watch people in San Cristobal de la Laguna
There is nothing like taking time to wander around the city that speaks Spanish colonial architecture like no other. Feeling like you travelled across the ocean to Cuba, La Laguna (San Cristobal de la Laguna) will definitely impress you. The authentic vibes created by old buildings and rich balconies make this city one of Tenerife’s prettiest towns. No wonder UNESCO declared it the World Heritage Site. Take some time to wander the colourful street and watch people at one of many outdoor cafes.
Stand and amire the landscape at Playa de Benijo
Benijo beach is usually described as a wild beach with a unique black coloured sand. It’s accessible through a steep mountain road, but the views are so worth it. From here, you can admire the Roques de Anaga, Scotland looking cliffs and gigantic waves. If you plan to sunbathe and swim, make sure to check when is the low tide. We came in the afternoon and the tide was so high we were not able to get down. Benijo beach is another popular nudist beach. Keep in mind that you won’t find any amenities here so bring some snacks with you.
The road from Tagnana to Benijo beach is pure heaven. There are so many gorgeous viewpoints to take landscape photography, admire greeny cliffs and waves crashing over big rocks.
Additional points of interest
- Charco Verde
- Costa de Acentjo
- Piscina Natural de Bajamar
- Punta del Hidalgo
- Sendero de los Sentidos (hiking trail – reserve in advance)
Summary of captivating things to do and see in Tenerife
Maybe you thought there are not many things to do and see in Tenerife. So did I. But once you start exploring the island, you see how diverse and unique it is. If you are a hiking fan, you can add some additional days to explore other hiking trails. If not, you can shorten this 10 days Tenerife itinerary or spent those days relaxing.
Let us know which place on our list of 18 things to do and see you like the most in the comments below.
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We are two travel passionistas, who are always in the minds of planning their next travel trip and creating memories. Get honest tips and all the details, learn from our mistakes and enjoy our travel guides so you can have the best time!