Tenerife travel guide
Sun, sea and sand…Tenerife is the perfect place for it. But between exploring beaches and water parks, there are plenty of interesting sights to see if you know where to look.
If you’re on a family holiday, Siam Park is unmissable. The water park is full of fun, slides and rides – perfect for the kids. If you don’t fancy swimming, there’s also a sea-lion enclosure, beach and selection of bars and restaurants.
Volcan el Teide
Spain’s highest point is well worth the trip. Take a cable car up to the top of Volcan el Teide and experience a live volcano like you’ve never seen one before. For the best possible views, go early in the morning – not only to avoid queues, but also to experience the volcano at the height of its beauty.
Loro Parque showcases some of the most endangered and beautiful creatures the world offers. Not only does the park house the most penguins in captivity, but it’s also home to orcas, dolphins, sea lions and more. It’s a great day out, especially if you’ve got kids to entertain and want a break from the beach!
Playa del Duque
This beach in southern Tenerife is perfect for a relaxing day in the sun. With an array of hotels, bars and restaurants lining the shore, there’s no excuse not to stay right by the beach for the perfect in-the-sun-holiday. Relax on the sand with a book or take a swim in the sea.
If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, embark on a trip to Masca Valley and take a walking tour. The 7km walk passes through Masca village, and also showcases an array of stunning cave structures and waterfalls. If you go with an organised group, there’s also opportunities for snorkelling! If you take the trip, it’s advised you wear sturdy footwear, water, and of course sunblock.
Los Roques de Garcia
Aside from the volcano itself, Los Roques de Garcia is the main attraction in the Teide national park. An unusual rock in the structure, is rather unremarkable at first sight, but up close, it’s strange shape makes it very much photo worthy.
Though it’s dubbed one of the unluckiest towns on the planet (due to its battles against plague, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions) it’s still a beautiful place to visit. Its cobbled streets, hotels and picturesque churches make it a beautiful location to stop for a few days. The water pools located there are also an amazing place to stop and see an array of tropical fish.
Casa de los Balcones
For a taste of Tenerife history, head to Casa de los Balcones. The mansion turned museum dates back to 1632, and holds artefacts such as art, pottery and other relics of the island. The building also has opportunities for buying gifts, and you can get some great views from the house balconies.
Los Gigantes is a pretty seaside town in the Santiago del Teide municipality on the west coast of the Tenerife. Its main attraction is the giant rock formations that rise from the sea to a height of 500-800 metres after which the town has been named. Los Gigantes means “The Giants”. There is a small beach in Los Gigantes.
Artlandya Doll Museum
The Artlandaya Doll Museum is a beautiful theme park that showcases over 350 life-size and normal size dolls produced by 45 prominent artists. The collection made from different materials like porcelain, papaermaché, vinil, cotton and wood, among others. This theme park also has a magnificent garden that will make you hold your breath..
Cueva del Viento (Lava tube)
Cueva del Viento-Sobrado (“Wind Cave”) underground complex is the largest lava tube in the European Union and the fifth largest in the world, behind a series of lava tubes in Hawaii. It was created by lava flows from Pico Viejo, next to Mount Teide. The cave is located in the town of Icod de los Vinos in the north of the island of Tenerife. It extends more than 17 kilometres and contains three different levels of passageways, each full of geomorphological phenomena such as lava pits and terraces.
Parque del Drago
The Dragon Tree (El Drago) is the symbol of Tenerife. The tree is very old – estimates vary from 650 years to 3,000! There are claims that it is the oldest tree on the planet. The Dragon tree stands at 17 metres high and a 6 metre trunk circumference.
Food to taste in Tenerife
Typical food of the Canary Islands tends to be simple: dishes of grilled meat and fish with papas arrugadas and vegetable or salad accompaniments are not the most imaginative in the world. Here`s some food you should try:
Rancho canario – This is a soup made of chicken, pork, chick peas, thick noodles, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. The dish also can be prepared as a creamed soup.
Ropa Vieja (“old clothes”) contains beef, chicken or pork, or a combination of any of the three mixed with potatoes and garbanzo bean just one of many stews.
Pollo al salmorejo – A delicious chicken dish marinated with garlic, black pepper, cumin, salt, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, white wine, paprika and thyme.
Conejo al salmorejo – Same as the pollo al salmorejo, but uses rabbit instead of chicken.
Papas arrugadas – (wrinkled potatoes) – Small jacket potatoes boiled in salted water and served to accompany other dishes.
Mojo – A piquant sauce which may be orange, red, or green depending on its ingredients that is eaten with fish or meat or potatoes and is the most typical food of the Canaries.
Pan fried fish – All types of fish are served grilled (a la plancha) and this may include tuna, swordfish, and sea bass, the parrot fish, vieja, is particularly good.
Baifo – This is the Guanche word for a young goat marinated in an elaborate mixture made with bay leaves, garlic, thyme, oregano and whatever else the cook chooses to add and is popular for Christmas.
Adobo de cerdo – Pork that has a slightly piquant sauce made with vinegar and garlic, and maybe chili pepper.
Queso de cabra – Goat milk cheese. This cheese is very good. Queso Palmero comes from La Palma and Queso Majorero comes from Fuerteventura. Both of these cheeses have a denomination of origin. Or to be totally authentic while in Tenerife buy a wheel of smoked goat’s cheese from Arico. It is smooth and smoky with a subtle flavour. Serve it in salads, drizzled with honey or wrapped in Serrano ham.
Fruits – These include the small and yellow Canarian banana, figs, mangoes, papayas, juicy lemons, custard apples, paraguayo or doughnut peach and avocados. Bananas can be fried or served flambed. Tip: Buy green bananas in supermarket, not in airport duty free. In the airport, green bananas will cost 3-5 times more expensive than in in the supermarket.
Souvenirs in Tenerife
Besides traditional key chains, shots glasses and “I Heart Tenerife” T-shirts, consider bringing one of things below as keepsakes from the Canary islands:
That honey rum at the end of meals may have tasted like the best thing ever, but once back home it’s destined for the dark depths of the kitchen cupboard. Buy something classier like a bottle of Tenerife wine. Viña Norte is one of the best, but whether you’re staying in Los Cristianos, Santa Cruz or Puerto de la Cruz you can pick up local wine flavoured by a volcanic landscape.
Gift from the Guanches
Good gifts are T-shirts and jewellery bearing designs from Tenerife’s original inhabitants the Guanches. However, anyone hoping for a daughter-in-law to provide them with grandchildren should buy the stubby figurine called Tara, a Guanche fertility symbol.
Tenerife produces cracking cheese, Gromit. One was voted the best cheese in the world a couple of years ago. Most supermarkets stock Benijos, one of the best from La Orotava, but you can pick up exceptional local cheeses at farmers’ markets across Tenerife.
Whether you actually make it to the volcano or not, this semi precious gemstone, born in fiery lava, is a must-have keepsake from your Tenerife trip. Ranging in colour from olive-green to yellow-brown, it is usually available as pendants or bracelets. It can allegedly benefit your health and wellbeing by helping your liver and kidneys remove toxins from your blood.
Everybody loves herby verde and picante rojo mojos (sauces) that accompany papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) in Tenerife’s restaurants. Choose from a head numbing selection in Tenerife’s supermarkets.
There are honeys made from flowers, chestnuts and the tajinaste (the striking flower that blooms in Teide National Park in spring). Not only do they taste good on toast, they help burns to heal. The best selection is at the Casa de Miel (honey museum) in El Sauzal.
Goatskin Wine Bottle
Tenerife’s wine making traditions are centuries old and so is the practice of consuming it out of goatskin bottles, still massively popular during Tenerife’s afternoon siestas, as it keeps the wine cool even during the most blistering of temperatures. Goat skin was a very popular material among Guanches – the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands, who also used it in their garments, as well as in burial traditions.
Said to have grown from blood spilled by the mythical dragon slain by Atlas, the drago tree is eye-catching, and a packet of seeds won’t take up space in the suitcase. Whoever gets them will have to wait a 1000 years if they want a specimen like the millennium drago in Icod de los Vinos.
If you would like to share the sound of Tenerife, pick up a CD. One of the most popular local singers is Pepe Benavente . Or maybe buy a CD of The Sabadeños, Tenerife’s most popular folk group.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get a glimpse of what places look like in real time. Click on the image to see live webcam.
Playa de Los Cristianos
Playa De Fanabe
Playa De Troya – Las Americas
El Medano kite and surfkite