After living on Lanzarote for two months and exploring my first Canary Islands, including a short stop on Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, it was time to visit the largest and greenest Canary Island: Tenerife! Even though Tenerife hadn’t been on my bucket list as it felt like a touristy place for a holiday, I became quite excited after diving into all gems the Spanish island has to offer a bit more. Tenerife is the perfect match between beautiful and local towns to visit, lush and green national parks, the volcanic landscape near Mount Teide and amazing Spanish food. Combine this with the opportunity to relax at a beach and your holiday is complete! In this Tenerife Travel Guide, I’ll show you the best things to do in Tenerife including the bars and restaurants I liked best.
The best time to visit Tenerife is in the shoulder season (March-May and September-October), however, Tenerife is the perfect all-year-round destination with temperatures around 20 degrees in winter. Something that is striking about this Canary Island is the difference in climate between the north and south of the island. When we visited in May/June, the weather on the South Coast was great, while there was quite a bit of rainfall at the Northern end. This is something to take into account when booking your accommodation.
Furthermore, I would advise visiting Tenerife for a minimum of 7 days. The island has a lot to offer! If you want to have more time to relax and build in some days at the beach while still exploring the full island, I would recommend a visit of 10 days.
The best way to get around the island is by renting a car. If you would like to explore all the different parts, actually the main way to get around is by car. Public transport is limited and if you don’t want to be bound by organized tours, I can highly recommend you book a car. Rental cars on the island were pretty affordable.
Masca is a beautiful city in the South West of Tenerife and is seen as the Machu Picchu of Tenerife. You can drive up to Masca by car, however, you need to be quite confident in the car. The road up to Masca is continuous switchbacks on a relatively small road. Alternatively, you can take the bus up to Masca, however, I don’t know if that would take the fear away. Generally, the drive up there was quite doable.
From Masca town (arrive early as parking spots are limited) you can walk up to Mirador de la Cruz de Hilda, a great viewpoint overlooking the Masca Valley. There are also options to hike down from Masca to the beach, but I would only advise this in case your transportation is different than your rental car so you can make your trip to Masca a round trip.
Lastly, something you have to do when in Masca is to have lunch at Casa Requelme, a great place with amazing views of the Masca Valley. There is a set menu with local dishes.
Mount Teide and its national park are one of the main sights of Tenerife and are worth a visit. We visited on a cloudy day, which was the perfect decision as the National Park is located at 2000 meters, which meant for us that we had a lovely sunny day above the clouds. In Mount Teide National Park, you can take up the funicular to Mount Teide (which we didn’t do) or do several hikes in the park. We decided to go for the latter and drove around to take in the amazing views and scenery. The Samara Loop Hike and Roques de Garcia trail can easily be combined during a one-day visit to Mount Teide National Park in Tenerife.
La Laguna is a smaller town located near Santa Cruz de Tenerife. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Tenerife’s capital (even though we had a nice lunch at Hierbita), so if you are looking to visit a local town, I would go for La Laguna. La Laguna is more of a student city, giving a more relaxed vibe.
Anaga National Park is the area in the North of Tenerife, and the part of the island that is the most green and lush. When visiting Tenerife, I would recommend driving for a minimum of one day up to the north to explore the beautiful surroundings.
Some places we visited by car for a quick stop were: Mirador Batan, the short walking route across Sendero de los Sentidos (which I think you can spare. It is very tourist and not too special), Tagana and Benijo. Unfortunately, when we visited the road to Benijo was closed. Initially, we were planning to do a, from what it seemed, beautiful hike: Benijo to Faro de Anaga Circuit Hike. If you have the chance, and the roads are open, I would recommend going on this hike, using the guide from Moneyhoontravelers. It is something I would go back to Tenerife for!
In the afternoon, we visited Playa Terisitas which is also located in the north of Tenerife. If you have an additional day in the area, you can also visit the Chinamada and Las Carboneras.
Playa Terisitias is a man-made beach and the only large sandy beach in this Tenerife Travel Guide. You will find a nice white sand beach with sand imported from the Sahara Desert. You can rent a beach bed for the day and enjoy the fresh seafood at the beachfront restaurants and beach bars.
Other smaller sandy beaches can be found in Los Gigantes and Costa Adeje.
Another natural wonder to be found in Tenerife is the abundance of natural pools across the island. Even admiring them for a day is worth it, but if the weather allows (it can’t be too windy), the natural pools are a great place to have a dip and cool down. In my guide on the 7 best natural pools in Tenerife, you can find a full overview of where to go.
Even though “wine” might not be the first word that comes to mind when visiting Tenerife, there are quite some nice bodegas around the island. I always love visiting wineries and tasting some of their local wines, and I can highly recommend to so during your travels. We have visited Bodegas Frontos (in the southeast) and Bodegas Monje. I liked Frontos better, as this felt a bit more local. If you want to be sure you can do a little tasting, just give them a quick call before you arrive.
Dabeke was a restaurant that was high on my list after doing some research on the best restaurants in Tenerife. With a 5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, this had to be a great place and should therefore have a big shout-out in this Tenerife Travel Guide. We headed here for lunch, and actually, it was not busy at all! To be sure, you can always make a reservation and do so when going for dinner. They had amazing seafood (squid) and steak tartare!
Also, if you are in the area, pay a visit to La Orotava itself, a cute little town for a quick stroll.
During our trip to Tenerife, we were staying in the Royal Sun in Los Gigantes. Los Gigantes is one of the main tourist places in Tenerife and you will find quite some larger hotel chains here. For me, this was a great place to stay to explore more of Tenerife. However, generally, this meant we ended up for dinner in Los Gigantes. Tas-k, a lovely tapas restaurant, was our place to be! The staff was beyond friendly, the food was great, the menu changed daily (and even during the night) and the atmosphere was lovely. We came back here multiple times.
Having lunch at Casa Riquelme in Masca was one of the most special experiences during our trip. As described above, Masca is a beautiful place that you can’t miss out on when in Tenerife, and when you can combine this with an amazing lunch with the most stunning views your day is complete. We were planning on having lunch at Casa Riquelem straight when it opened at 13:00, but the place is very local and the owner wasn’t there yet. At 13:20, we decided to give them a ring and ask if they would open for the day, after which the owner quickly arrived and opened the restaurant. There is a set menu and food is just served to your table. We had a lovely wine and cheese platter and some local chicken and potatoes that we enjoyed in this wonderful garden with views over the Masca Valley.
There are many more restaurants that are worth visiting in Tenerife, however, the best places to visit also depend on your location. The 4 described above were most striking to me, however, the Tenerife Travel Map and this article on the best bars and restaurants in Tenerife gives an overview of all places we’ve visited.
Even though you can easily get around Tenerife by car, the drive from South Tenerife to North Tenerife takes approximately 1,5 hours. Therefore, if you are down to explore the island, I could recommend you take two different accommodations throughout the week to limit travel times. On the other hand, there are many companies offering package deals to Tenerife. If this allows you a better price, definitely go for it, because that will be worth the additional travel time.
I will give you an overview of my favourite locations in the North and South of Tenerife, so you can easily combine them.
I would stay away from the most touristy place which is Los Christianos. You can easily visit this beach and the surrounding beaches such as Playa de la Americanas and Costa Adeja from any other place in the south. I would feel you don’t miss out on these places when skipping them at all.
Personally, when staying in the south I would opt for La Caleta (here you are close to the hidden beach called Diego Hernandez) or Los Gigantes.
During our visit to Tenerife, we stayed in the Royal Sun Resort. A pretty decent resort that can be found in Los Gigantes, with a great breakfast buffet with sea views. They have a great pool and large rooms, including a huge balcony and a little kitchen. The price per night is ~€ 150, however, they do have occasional deals.
TIP: Another great place to stay in Los Gigantes is the Klayman Diamond Apartments. They have a beautiful pool area, overlooking the sea and decent rooms. A night costs you ~€125.
If you would like to stay in La Caleta, H10 Costa Adeje Palace is a great option. This is a more luxurious hotel with a wonderful pool area in a good and quiet location. There is also a spa area available. A room costs ~€200 a night.
Last but not least, if you want to splurge on a good resort, Adrian Hoteles Colon Guanahani towards Costa Adeje might be for you. This is also an adults-only hotel. This luxury hotel is the resort type of accommodation you might want to go for when heading on a beach holiday. A standard room costs ~€210 per night.
A great and central place to stay in the North of Tenerife is Puerto del la Cruz. A smaller fisherman’s town with plenty of restaurants and an easy connection to the north. If you want to stay even closer to Anaga national park and Playa Terisitas and don’t mind having accommodation that is not located near the beach, La Laguna might be the best location to stay.
El Sol in La Laguna is a beautiful and neat little hotel with co-working rooms. This makes it the perfect location for a workcation in Tenerife, as they mainly offer apartments including a kitchen. No direct access to the beach as it is located in La Laguna, but a perfect place to settle in the centre of Tenerife. Rooms are approximately €80 a night for a 2-person apartment.
Another option in La Laguna is La Laguna Gran Hotel. A beautifully styled hotel with a gym, rooftop terrace and a pool. If you don’t mind being a bit further from the beach (which in my opinion doesn’t matter too much in Tenerife) but are fine with pool access and a central location to explore Tenerife, this is a great place to stay. Rooms are ~€120 a night for a 2-person bedroom.
TIP: In Puerto de la Cruz, a great option to stay in Puerto Azul. The hotel is located at a 10-minute walk from the beach and offers a gym and a rooftop terrace including a little jacuzzi. All this can be found for less than €60 a night! My recommendation when you are looking for a good value-for-money option.
TIP: Another great option in Puerto de la Cruz is Hotel Best Semiramis, a 5* hotel. The hotel has a buffet a-la-carte restaurant and 2 pools. You might expect a pretty high price, however, this hotel can be booked from ~€85 a night.