Tenerife may have become synonymous with package holidays and last-minute deals, but this volcanic island floating in the bright blue oceanic waters off the coast of West Africa has a lot more to offer than lively bars and budget-friendly hotels. Tenerife is a holiday destination that has it all. Whether you’re looking for an exclusive luxury break, you’re keen to get out and about and explore, you want to dance the night away, or you long to escape it all, you won’t be disappointed when you touch down in Tenerife. If you’re planning a trip, or you’re looking for holiday inspiration, here’s your ultimate guide to the island that has it all.
Sights and attractions: the highlights
Tenerife is dominated by Mount Teide, an active volcano, which stands more than 3,000 metres tall. The volcano is impressive in itself, but ride the cable car to the summit, and you’ll enjoy even more staggeringly beautiful views. From this enviable position, you can enjoy vistas over Teide National Park and appreciate the beauty of the island. Black sand beaches contrast with vivid blue waves, and dramatic rock formations rise out of the scorched land as the golden sun beats down. You could stop and stare for hours, but there’s so much to see and do in Tenerife. If you are keen to learn more about the park and its intriguing history, it’s well worth taking a guided tour.
If you’re travelling with children or you’re keen to enjoy a fun-packed day out, head to Siam Park, a Thai-themed amusement centre, which guarantees thrills and spills. Meander along the Mai Thai river and test your nerve on the Power Slide, which boasts a spine-tingling 90-metre vertical drop.
Animals lovers will adore the famous Loro Parque. Set up in the style of Jurassic Park, this wild theme park is a great spot for a family-friendly day out. Pose with parrots to have your photo taken and watch the sea lions and dolphins performing in the pool.
Whale watching and dolphin spotting
Daily tours depart from Los Gigantes and Los Cristianos and offer the chance to catch a glimpse of Earth’s most majestic creatures flipping in and out of the waters between Tenerife and neighbouring La Gomera.
Tenerife is blessed with a stunning coastline, and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a beach. Playa Tejita boasts a beautiful secluded cove and is an attractive alternative to bustling manmade Las Teresitas for those looking for a more sedate pace of life. El Duque is an exclusive spot in upmarket Costa Adeje while Masca is an idyllic stretch, which lies off the beaten tourist track. If you’re looking for bars, restaurants and all the water sports and activities you could possibly imagine, you’ll struggle to beat Las Americas and Torviscas Beach. Here, you can try everything from parasailing and jet skiing to flyboarding, paddle boarding and of course, banana boating.
Partying, nightlife and eating out
Tenerife is famed for its nightlife, and you won’t struggle to find clubs and bars if you head to the right resorts. While much of the island is tranquil, there are certain areas that rarely sleep. Playa de las Americas is the place to be if you’re looking to hit the dancefloor until dawn. There’s a glittering array of clubs and bars, many of which stay open until the sun comes up. For those looking for a few cocktails with a view rather than all the free shots you can handle, Costa Adeje has a selection of chic bars and beach clubs. You’ll also find plenty going on in Los Gigantes, which is an ideal base for families, and Los Cristianos.
Tenerife is a haven for foodies, especially if you’re a fan of traditional Spanish cuisine and fresh seafood. Beachfront restaurants serve mouthwatering platters of clams, crab, mussels and prawns and you can also enjoy rustic barbeques, authentic tapas and fine dining experiences. Look for places that are packed with locals, as this is always a sign that the food is top notch.
Getting around and airport transfers
The airport can get very busy during peak times, so it’s a good idea to look into airport transfers in Tenerife before you travel. Many tour operators offer transfers as part of a package deal, but if you don’t have transfers included, there are various options. You could book a private or shared transfer online before you fly, take a cab from the airport to your hotel or use public transport. Buses run to the popular resorts of Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje and Santa Cruz on a regular basis. To beat the queues, save time and potentially save money too, it’s wise to shop around for a transfer online in the weeks leading up to your departure. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to hire a car in Tenerife, but the local bus service is excellent if you don’t fancy driving. Local taxis are also widely available.
When to visit
Tenerife is a year-round destination mainly due to its exotic climate. Holidaymakers tend to crowd the island’s beaches in the summer months, but temperatures rarely fall below 15 degrees, so if you’re looking for winter sun, this beautiful island is an excellent choice. Spring and autumn are quieter, prices are lower, and you won’t have to fight to get a sunlounger or find a stretch of sand to lay your towel down.
Carnival is a highlight, so if you’re planning a visit, February is a fantastic time to explore the island and learn more about the culture. Carnival is a festival that is celebrated in every town and village, and the island really comes alive. You’ll see decorations everywhere you go, people will be dressed up, and there will be singing and dancing, street processions and celebrations that last until the early hours. The most spectacular events take place in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your next holiday, look no further than Tenerife. Whether you’re dreaming of golden sands and blue skies, you’re planning to hit the town with a group of friends or you’re eager to indulge your tastebuds or spend quality time with the family, this is an island destination that has something for everyone.