Is Tenerife Worth Visiting?

Tenerife is an island I visit regularly for some sunshine and well-earned rest. If you wonder if Tenerife is worth visiting, here are a few reasons why I love it.

The weather is warm for most of the year. I’m not talking about sizzling unbearable heat; it’s pleasantly warm. The majority of beaches are soft golden sand; there are scenic hiking trails, national parks, characterful villages, and delicious food to enjoy.

In this article, I’ll share why you should consider planning a vacation in Tenerife. I’ll detail what to expect from local culture, plus what to do and where to stay on this sun-soaked Canary Island.

Hi, we’re Timon & Filipa!

We travel across Spain in our motorhome, Speedy, and update TravelSpain24 with fresh content, practical tips, and personal stories from the road. Our goal is to help you experience Spain beyond the typical tourist trails.

My Journey to Tenerife: First Impressions

On my first trip to the Canary Islands, I booked a stay on the recommendation of Spanish friends in Puerto de la Cruz. On arrival, I was surprised at how mountainous the landscapes were and how blue the ocean was. It was during this journey I instantly connected with the island.

I loved the pastel-colored houses in the cities, the palm-lined roads dotted with paveside restaurants and cafes, and the scenic landscapes of the north and interior.

I’ve returned since, visiting Adeje and Los Cristianos in the southwest. There’s a lot for families and groups with waterparks and vibrant nightlife, but my fondest memories are always of that first trip. Walking the promenade, inhaling the salty sea air, and sipping wine at sunset while listening to live music. 

15 Reasons to Make Tenerife Your Next Destination

Playa Jardin, Tenerife, Spain

Compared to the Spanish mainland, something about Tenerife just feels different. Each region of the island is unique. In the north, you have the main cities, verdant forests, hiking trails, and a dramatic coastline.

Charming towns and fishing villages thrive in the east, and in the south and west, the beaches, family-friendly activities, and luxury hotels attract visitors year after year.

In the island’s center, Parque Nacional del Teide is home to Spain’s highest peak, a volcano. Bring your camera, as the views from the summit on a clear day are outstanding. If you’re still asking, “Is Tenerife worth visiting?” Let’s take a closer look!

1. It’s Sunny All the Time

Ssnd beach at Adeje Tenerife Spain

Tenerife residents spend most of their time in the great outdoors. The weather rarely dips below 15ºC (59°F) in winter; in summer, it reaches enjoyable highs of 24ºC (75.2°F), which isn’t overbearing thanks to the trade winds.

There are microclimates on the island, but overall, the weather is sunny and warm. The vitamin D boost encourages visitors to partake in activities ranging from boat excursions, hiking, cycling, swimming, surfing, and visiting cultural attractions.

If you’ve ever considered moving here, it’s also one of the cheapest places to live in Spain!

2. Lots of Different Beaches to Check Out

Best beaches of Tenerife - Las Teresitas near Santa Cruz. Canary island

Tenerife has dozens of soft white sand beaches, many of which can be found in the southwest and to the east of the island. One of the most popular is Playa de las Vistas in Los Cristianos – a delightful beach with amenities and shallow waters suitable for children.

In Costa Adeje, Playa del Duque, Playa Fañabé, and Playa Torviscas are favorites, set aside promenades with cafes and fine restaurants. Playa de las Teresitas in the northeast near Santa Cruz is positively tropical, hemmed between mountains in a half-moon bay with soft sands and palm trees.

Check out the unusual black sand beach at Playa Jardin in Puerto de la Cruz for something a little different. It’s surrounded by pretty parkland with exotic flowers.

In my recent article, you can also discover more of the best beaches in Costa Adeje.

3. Having a Blast at Siam Park, a Super Fun Water Park

Water slide in jungles, Tenerife in Canarian Islands

This waterpark is Europe’s largest, covering a vast 46 acres in Adeje. The park’s waterslides sit amid Thai-themed temples and buildings. It’s a great trip for anyone seeking a fun-packed, thrill-induced day or simply wishing to soak up the sunshine on Siam Beach next to the world’s largest artificial wave pool.

For a nail-biting experience, plummet down the (almost vertical) 28-meter-high Tower of Power or take the kids to The Lost City, connected with slides, waterfalls, and bridges.

My favorite attraction was hurtling down the Mekong Rapids with friends in a rubber dinghy. It was a thrilling experience, although if you’re looking for something tamer, the Mai Thai lazy river is much more relaxing!

If you fancy visiting Siam Park, it can get busy, particularly in peak season. I advise booking tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

4. The Natural Majesty of Mount Teide

Volcano Mount Teide

One of the highlights of Tenerife for any visitor is taking a trip to Mount Teide. The dormant volcano can be seen for miles around – don’t worry, it hasn’t erupted for over a century!

The otherworldly landscapes attract travelers in their millions each year. In fact, Mount Teide National Park is the most visited in Europe. You can take a self-guided tour; however, I would recommend going with a guide to gain the most from this epic adventure.

One of the best trips I’ve been on is the Mount Teide and Masca Valley Tour. It takes in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Park highlights and includes a trip to one of the highest villages in Spain, Vilaflor.

Another tour to mention is the Night Sky Star Safari, which includes a delicious dinner followed by a stargazing experience and a glass of cava.

5. Joining the Big Party at Carnival Time

Carnival in Tenerife

The month of February is carnival time on the island. Head for the capital Santa Cruz for a fun-packed fiesta filled with flamboyant performances, dancing, sparkling costumes, and live music.

The origin of this lively festival dates to the 15th century, and today, it attracts over 250,000 people each year. In fact, it’s often compared to the vibrant Mardi Gras in Rio or New Orleans.

The festivities and uplifting vibes ricochet throughout Tenerife, with smaller events being held in towns and resorts. With non-stop parties, concerts, masquerade balls, and lots of food and drink, this is one winter festival you won’t want to miss!

6. Looking at Stars in the Clear Night Sky

Night sky with shiny stars above volcano El Teide. Milky Way. Night in the Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife has low light pollution, making it the perfect place for stargazing. There’s no better feeling than peering through a telescope high up in the mountains, trying to spot the various constellations.

Observe the stars and planets from Earth and instantly sense the vastness of the universe. This experience can be enjoyed on a Mount Teide Stargazing with Dinner tour, or for a more detailed look into the night skies, book a Sunset & Stargazing with Telescopes trip to learn more about astronomy from a professional guide.

7. Trying Out Tasty Local Food

Tables at restaurant in Tenerife

If you’re sitting in one of the best sea-view restaurants in Costa Adeje, you may be searching for inspiration regarding the best foods to try.

I love sampling new cuisine when I travel, and in the Canary Islands, there are a few dishes I recommend ordering. The first is a simple dish called ‘papas arrugadas.’ It’s basically wrinkled potatoes roasted and served with a side of mojo sauce (served with almost everything).

Tenerife is also known for its creamy goat’s cheese. It’s available in most restaurants and is delicious and deep-fried. Also sample the Canary Island’s version of ‘ropa vieja’. This traditional Cuban dish replaces rice with chickpeas, and it’s paired with sausages, beef, or chicken sprinkled with herbs and spices.

You can discover more tapas and Spanish foods in my article about Spanish food facts.

8. Surfing on Spectacular Waves

Surfers surf on the waves, bright sunset on the coast, Tenerife

Unknown to many visitors, the island of Tenerife is a surfer’s paradise. There are several popular surf areas on the island, and it’s possible to participate in the sport year-round, although the swell is better during winter.

If you want to learn how to surf, I recommend the Group Surf Class in Playa de Las Americas. It’s great for beginners and caters to more experienced surfers who may be out of practice. The expert instructors show you how to paddle and ride the waves, plus you’ll become familiar with all the safety features too.

If you’re a seasoned surfer and want to go it alone, some of the best spots on the island are La Izquierda in Playa de las Américas, Punta Blanca near Los Gigantes and La Fitenia in Los Cristianos. For a wilder surf experience, venture north to Los Realejos. The Blue Flag El Socorro beach is excellent for surfing all year.

9. Learning About the Local Culture and History

Guimar Pyramids

Tenerife was formed around three million years ago – a merging of three islands that came together following an eruption of Mount Teide.

The Guanches were the early indigenous people that lived on the island. It is thought that they arrived from Africa, and there’s evidence to show that they planted wheat, peas, and vines. They continued to thrive until the 1400s.

When the Spanish arrived on the island, Tenerife became a trading post at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean for those sailing to the New World. To learn more about the island’s storied history, I recommend visiting the excellent History Museum of Tenerife in the capital Santa Cruz.

If you want to visit the Pyramids of Güímar, purchase your entry tickets here.

10. Visiting Cute Old Villages

One of the aspects I love most about traveling is heading off the beaten path and exploring new destinations by car. On my last visit to Tenerife, I used to book a rental vehicle. I found their website easy to use, plus they compared prices of all providers on the island to ensure I obtained the best deal.

During this trip, I used the rental car to visit Vilaflor, the village that sits above the clouds. It’s a great starting point for hiking in the region. I also discovered the beautiful coastal village of Taganana. It sits like sugar cubes on a rugged mountainside surrounded by pristine beaches, and the village restaurants serve mouthwatering fresh seafood dishes.

I also recommend visiting Garachico in the north of the island. It’s home to an Old Franciscan Monastery, and the waterfront has incredible natural pools formed by the 1706 volcanic eruption.

11. Meeting Friendly Local People

Spain, Canary islands,Garachico

The people of Tenerife are friendly and hospitable, particularly when you depart the tourist resorts. Many small villages on the island are community-driven – places where everyone knows everyone, and help is always at hand.

People gather in local bars, and they are not averse to a friendly face, often inviting you to join them for a chat over a drink. They are keen to learn more about your background and your life, making for an exciting cultural exchange.

12. Seeing the Huge Los Gigantes Cliffs

Majestic giant volcanic Los Gigantes cliffs on Tenerife, Spain

Los Gigantes cliffs are a popular tourist attraction in Tenerife – a natural wonder, with some cliffs towering 800+ meters high. The giants rise from the ocean and can be seen from nearby villages and beaches. However, I recommend taking a boat trip to capture an up-close perspective.

On a small group trip, you will have the opportunity to observe marine life up-close, visit secluded coves and beaches, swim, and photograph the cliffs from the ocean.

There are many different boat excursions to choose from, but you can check out the best boat trips in Costa Adeje in my article.

13. Whale and Dolphin Watching Excursions

Whale watching in Tenerife

While in Tenerife, I recommend taking a whale and dolphin watching trip. Many marine excursions on the island are highly rated and fun experiences for all ages.

Marvel at the majestic mammals in their natural habitat, watch them frolic in the ocean, learn about the different species, and even listen to their calls with sonar!

On these exciting boat trips, departing from various locations on the island, you can also scuba to seek out turtles, enjoy a delicious lunch on-board and swim in crystalline waters.

14. Having Fun at Night – Bars and Clubs

Night illumination of luxury hotel during sunset and Playa de las Americas at background, Tenerife island, Spain

Tenerife is a paradise for night owls. Around Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje, and Los Cristianos, you’ll find a plethora of happy hour pubs, sports bars, stylish beach lounges, and nightclubs where famous DJs spin their tunes.

Further north in Puerto de la Cruz, there are cocktail bars, cabaret clubs, and even the odd Irish pub. But for a more authentic Spanish night out, head for Santa Cruz, where you can find tapas bars, bodegas, and beachfront chiringuitos with live music.

15. Hiking in the Green Anaga Park

Anaga Rural Park, Northern Tenerife

This picturesque UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in northern Tenerife is like a world of its own. It has everything you need to connect with nature amid mystical mountains and ravines, from remote beaches and flora and fauna to hiking trails, mountain landscapes, and even a laurel forest.

A permit is required to visit Anaga Forest, and therefore for ease of access, I recommend booking a guided trip. On the Anaga Biosphere Reserve VIP Tour, enjoy a visit to Playa de las Teresitas for photographs and marvel at birdlife in the world’s oldest laurel forest. Alternatively, hike the trails with a guide while learning about the area and discovering rare plant species en route.

Practical Information for Tenerife Visitors

Hiking Tenerife

When visiting Tenerife (at any time of the year), pack a jumper, jacket and hiking shoes or sneakers, particularly if you plan to visit Mount Teide. On evening tours at high altitudes, the weather can be significantly cooler.

The weather can be deceiving on this island. The sun is strong even when it’s cloudy – always wear sunscreen with a decent SPF when out and about.

My final tip is not to put expensive belongings like jewelry, purses and watches on display when visiting busy places such as markets, cities, festivals, and nightclubs. The crime rate is low, but it’s advisable to leave high-ticket items in the hotel safety deposit box to be on the safe side.

How Long Should You Stay in Tenerife?

If you’re inspired to book your vacation, one of the questions I often get asked is, “How long should I stay in Tenerife”? The answer depends on what you want to see and do and whether you wish to travel around in a rental car or stay in one resort for the duration.

Ideally, I recommend five days to a week as a minimum so that you have the opportunity to enjoy the highlights, food, activities, and culture on a first-time visit. 

Things to Keep in Mind When You Visit Tenerife

Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Tenerife.

  • I always recommend carrying a few euros in cash as some of the remote villages and markets still prefer paper money as opposed to credit cards.
  • If you’re thinking about transportation, while services like Uber exist in parts of Spain, they’re not as common on islands like Tenerife. Given this, it might be better to rent a car.
  •  In Tenerife, they drive on the right-hand side of the road – just in case there is any confusion!
  • You need a permit to visit Mount Teide’s summit. It’s better to book an organized tour.
  • Check the weather, as the micro-climates may catch you off-guard. It’s best to research each area and pack clothing accordingly.

Tenerife Tour and Activity Recommendations

View of Pilot whales on Tenerife

When booking a tour in Tenerife, always check the 5-star ratings and book through a reputable supplier. The feedback and reviews on their website and more detailed descriptions of what to expect on the tours are good signs of whether the activity is worth the money. 

Top Experiences in Tenerife

Whichever part of the island you’re staying in, there are incredible tours and experiences for all ages to enjoy. From cruising along the coast to spot whales and zipping around the countryside on a quad bike to tandem paragliding and kayaking with dolphins, there’s a fun tour for everyone. 

Pick-up in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Tenerife: Quad Adventure Teide Tour

Santa Cruz de Tenerife ★★★★★

Private Tour: Teide National Park and North Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife ★★★★★

Pick-up in Los Cristianos

Fishing harbor of Los Cristianos at dusk

Whale & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour

Los Cristianos ★★★★★

Tandem Paragliding Flight in South Tenerife

Playa de la Enramada ★★★★★

Where To Stay In Tenerife

Most large hotels and all-inclusive resorts can be found around Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas, and Puerto de la Cruz. Many of these are near the beach, featuring sparkling swimming pools and good amenities for families.

In Santa Cruz’s capital, discover small and friendly establishments – guest houses in the city center brimming with character and charm. Out in the mountain villages, fincas and bed and breakfasts are ideal for a culturally immersive stay.

Best Stays in South Tenerife

Los Cristianos beach in Arona Tenerife south

Barceló Tenerife Royal Level

San Miguel de Abona ★★★★★

Hotel Las Madrigueras Golf Resort & Spa

Playa de las Americas ★★★★★

Best Stays in North Tenerife

Panorama of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at sunrise

Hotel Las Águilas Tenerife

Puerto de la Cruz ★★★★

Iberostar Heritage Grand Mencey

Santa Cruz de Tenerife ★★★★★

AC Hotel by Marriott Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife ★★★★★

Final Thoughts: Is Tenerife a Must-Visit?

I love Tenerife – all aspects of the island. The beaches and nightlife in the south and the lush landscapes, forests, and mountains of the center and north. If you’re still undecided as to which area is for you, try a two-center vacation and divide your time into different areas.

Is Tenerife worth visiting? It’s a resounding yes from me! The island weather is pleasant and warm all year, the people are friendly, the food is delicious, and the abundant activities cater to all ages. What’s not to love!

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