Sun, sea and sangria is definitely the name of the game on this balmy Spanish isle! Part of the Canary Islands, which offer almost all-year-round sunshine, Tenerife is a fab option for a family getaway, couple’s retreat or friends’ trip thanks to its golden coastlines and lively resorts packed with amazing amenities.
Spending a week lounging around on the beach not quite your style? Why not venture beyond the resorts to Tenerife’s rural gems? From magnificent volcanos and underground caves to stunning forests and idyllic coves, there’s so much to soak up on this impressive island!
You like to live life on the wild side
What could be wilder than standing right next to a volcano? Tenerife is one of many volcanic islands in the Canaries, with Mount Teide being its largest peak. It sits within a UNESCO World Heritage National Park and is an absolute corker if you’re after spectacular scenery and awesome walking trails.
Worried about being engulfed in clouds of ash and rivers of magma? Who wouldn’t be? But don’t worry Mount Teide has actually been dormant for over a century. One of the best things to do on the peak is take the Teide cableway all the way to the summit where you can marvel at panoramic views across the whole island!
Top tip: Head to Mount Teide National Park after dark on a clear night and look up to see hundreds of twinkling stars scattered across the sky. The park is also home to the impressive Teide Observatory which is open for tours during the daytime.
You can’t take the Spanish heat
We’re not going to lie; Tenerife can get pretty toasty in the summer months! While taking a dip in the sea is a sure-fire why to cool off, there’s also another – much more fun – option. And it involves taking a trip to Thailand. Yes we know we said Tenerife was hot, but we’re talking about Siam Park, the island’s famous water park.
Stepping through its gates is like being transported to rural Thailand thanks to peaceful temples, lush vegetation and plenty of water features. In fact, Siam Park claims to have the largest number of Thai buildings outside of Thailand! Ok, but what about the rides? We’re getting there don’t worry.
There’s loads of adrenaline-rushing water slides – whoop! What do you expect for somewhere voted the best waterpark in the world on TripAdvisor?
But that’s not just it. There’s also a floating market and beach lined with Thai eateries. Yum. Book your tickets in advance to see what all the fuss is about…
You can’t stand busy crowds
Determined to return home with some killer tan lines? Tenerife has no shortage of beautiful beaches. But if lining up like sardines on sun loungers isn’t your thing, go further afield in your rental car to one of the island’s more secluded coves.
Quiet Bollullo Beach, 4km east of Puerto de la Cruz, is widely considered one of the most beautiful bays in Tenerife. Like many Canary Island beaches, it features dark volcanic sands and is backed by rugged cliffs which plunge down on either side of the bay into the sea.
Free from shops or water sports kiosks, it’s very peaceful and can be reached by foot from a carpark above or along a stunning coastal path from Puerto de la Cruz (the walk takes about 40 minutes). Peckish after all that walking? Wind back up the cliff to a small restaurant serving up simple tapas with sea views.
You’re craving an adventure
Island getaways don’t just have to be about getting some much-needed R&R. Tenerife is also teeming with heart-racing, one-of-a-kind activity options! You have to check out Cueva del Viento, an amazing underground cave system near the north coast.
The huge tubes were formed by lava flow from the nearby Pica Viejo volcano and the entire 18km-long system is thought to be the largest in Europe! Book a guided tour, pull on a hard hat and delve down beneath the Earth’s surface to discover fossils, stalactites and lava lakes. The mesmerising caves are also home to numerous unique creatures which have adapted to living in complete darkness over the years. A bit creepy, but very cool.
You’ve always wanted to go to Peru
Nestled just inland of Tenerife’s west coast, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d suddenly been transported to Machu Picchu. The remote mountain village is often described as a mini version of the Peruvian landmark thanks to the fact it’s laid out along a ridge with a large rock looming over it.
Got a head for heights? The road up to it meanders through the dramatic peaks of the Teno Massif and is not for the faint of heart! Once you reach Masca itself, you’ll feel like you’re travelled back in time. Cobbled streets lead off to local homes, and various viewpoints – including the Mirador de Masca – offer up incredible views of the surrounding area.
Ready to dust off your walking boots? Trek the Masca Barranco trail through a magical ravine that’s lush with palm trees all the way down to Playa de Masca. The route takes over three hours, but the beach is stunning and well worth it.
It’s also inaccessible by car, so you’ll have to catch a boat to Los Gigantes and then arrange transport back to Masca afterwards to pick up your car! It’s worth it though.
You want to impress your other half
Holidaying with your better half? Take them on a date they’ll never forget by packing up a picnic and heading for the Las Lajas forest. Found at the very heart of the island and far away from its busy beaches, the leafy area is covered in fragrant pine trees and boasts some epic views of the countryside.
Park up near the Las Lajas barbecue area (it’s roughly 10km above Vilaflor along the TF-21 road) and settle down for a tasty lunch at the picnic tables. If you’re not too full afterwards, why not pull on some comfy trainers and set off hand in hand along one of the forestry walking trails? You can admire the landscape and spot native bird species like the vibrant blue chaffinch.
Getting around Tenerife
If you’re venturing out to rural Tenerife, a car is a must. Pick up a rental car when you touch down at either of Tenerife’s airports or arrive at one of the major resorts like Playa de las Americas. The island’s roads are relatively well maintained, although you’ll want to be careful in more remote areas where they can be very windy and often just a dirt track.
Want to explore other islands on a driving holiday? Check out our guide to stunning Sao Miguel or discover the best beaches in Sardinia and Sicily.