During my life, I have been lucky enough to travel to several exotic locations around the world—Tenerife being one of them.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco. Even though they share a close proximity with Morocco, they are actually owned by Spain.
Because of Tenerife’s Spanish connections (even though the islands are an autonomous community, meaning they can make their own laws), the Canary Islands are a popular tourist destination for Europeans.
Spanish, English, German, and French visitors make up the bulk of the tourists on the island.
What is Tenerife Famous For? Tenerife is a great travel destination for the whole family. Tenerife is Famous for its exotic nature, great beaches and family friendly resorts among many other things. Whether you want a relaxed holiday by the pool or beach or maybe an active one traveling in the mountains then Tenerife is a great place to visit!
There are so many things to do on the Canary Islands, and it would take much more than one blog post to fit in all of the fun things to do and see, this post will simply focus on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands.
Without further ado, here are some of the best travel facts, things to do, and places to see in Tenerife.
Let’s start off this list with something that covers it all! Even though Tenerife is a large island, tourist companies do provide island-wide tours. Because these tours go all over the island, they usually take about eight hours—making it more or less an all-day event.
Believe it or not, these all-day excursions are actually very affordable. Many of the tours range from about $30-45 USD per ticket. Considering these tours often take most of the day, it is a competitive price.
Teide National Park
To get a little more specific with the Tenerife travel destinations, one great place to visit is the Teide National Park. When visiting Tenerife, it might be difficult to avoid going to this park, as it takes up about 10% of the island’s total land area.
Even though this National Park is far from continental Europe, it is the most visited “European” National Park, with over 4 million visitors each year.
The Teide National Park is also the oldest national park on the Canary Islands, as it was officially protected in 1954.
Why is Teide National Park so popular? Not only is it covered in beautiful plant-life, but it also plays host to not one, but two, active volcanoes! These are the El Teide and Pico Viejo.
Not only is El Teide an active volcano, but it is one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world (ranking in the top 20). It is also the tallest mountain on Tenerife. These things, along with its beauty, can’t help but draw tourists to it.
Dolphin and Whale Sight-seeing
With Tenerife being something of a tropical island, as tropical as an island in the Atlantic Ocean can be, there are many amazing opportunities to enjoy playing in the water both inland and just outside of the boarders of the island.
One of the many wonderful things to do in the waters around Tenerife is to take a pleasant boat-ride to enjoy the ocean waves, and, if you’re lucky, see dolphins and whales swimming freely—not in some giant fishbowl.
Perhaps the only thing better than seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is knowing that they are safe, as the tours are done ethically.
The animals are not taught any tricks and the boat captains stay out of the animals’ way so they do not get hurt.
One of the best places to go to see these animals is off the shore of Loro Parque, a city on the northern edge of the island. Here, tourists can find boat tours that run often all year round.
TIP: It’s best that large parties try to make reservations ahead of time.
With the El Teide and other mountain ranges in Tenerife, there are dozens of places for hikers to visit. Experienced hikers can try their luck at climbing tall mountain or hiking along paths. What tourists need to bring with them on these hikes depend on where they are planning to go.
Some places expert hikers might want to try their hand at include Barranco del Infierno, along with both the El Teide and Pico Viejo. For these hikes, its best to wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.
Casual hikers are likely to feel more comfortable traveling to Punta de Teno or Bosque de Esperanza. These hiking trails have easy to follow paths. While hiking shoes are not required for these walks, tennis shoes should be worn. Bringing water is always a good idea, no matter how far you are hiking!
Loro Parque Zoo
We dicuseed earlier that visitors can see whales out in the wild off the coast of Loro Parque. However, if you’re nervous about setting sail on the ocean waves, you can still see some exotic marine life at the Loro Parque Zoo.
This zoo is famous for its water attractions. Each day, the zoo puts on several shows. A sea lion show occurs five times a day, dolphins dance in pools four times a day, and visitors can even be entertained by orcas three times each day!
If marine animals aren’t for you, there are other shows as well. The Loro Show, which features talking parrots, shows six times every day. Much of the zoo is themed after these beautiful birds. There is a whole section of the zoo designed to look like the bird’s natural habitat.
There’s much more to this zoo than just the animals in the pool and in the air. Other animals at the Loro Parque Zoo include gorillas, sloths, alligator, penguins, otters, jaguars, hippos, and lions.
Once visitors are done looking at animals, they can sit back and relax at one of the zoo’s many restaurants and cafes.
RECOMMENDATION: Enjoy Thai food at the Bar Thai, let kinds play at the Bambu Bar, enjoy dinner at the Restaurant Casa Pepe, and finish off with desert at the Café Bar el Punete.
Even though Tenerife is a fairly small island, it is home to three full-sized waterparks. These include Siam Park, in Costa Adeje; Aqualand Costa Adeje, also in Costa Adeje; and the Paraque Maritimo Santa Cruz, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The Siam Waterpark is the #1 waterpark in the world, according to Trip Advisor. This park has a little something for everyone. It prides itself in having relaxing rides, rides for both children and adults, and adrenalin rides for thrill seekers.
Aqualand has a few tricks that help to set it apart from the average waterpark. Like the Siam Waterpark, Aqualand also has rides and attractions for family members of all ages. It’s bonus feature is that is also is the home to several dolphins.
These dolphins put on shows every day for visitor’s entertainment.
The last waterpark in this list is the Paraque Maritimo Santa Cruz. However, this isn’t a park for dare devils. Instead, this is a place for adults to come and relax. The “water” part of the waterpark includes two saltwater pools. Yet, the park is most famous for its spa areas, bars, and even children’s areas. This is the perfect place to unwind after a long day.
One thing visitors need to note when going to Tenerife is that many businesses and attractions are closed on Monday. There is no official reason about why this is the case. To gander a guess, it could be because so many places are open on the weekends, including Sunday.
Because so many attractions are closed on Mondays, if you are planning to visit for less than a week, it’s best to avoid going on a Monday. This way, you can be sure you will be able to do all the things you want to do.
TIP: If you are already planning a trip with one of the traveling days being Monday, make sure to call the venue in advance to make sure they are planning to be open.
It would be a disappointment to plan to go to fun places only to find out that they are closed when you get there.
Languages to Know
Spanish is the primary language spoken on all of the Canary Islands. For this reason, it is the language that locals and venue staff are most likely to speak fluently.
However, it should be noted that the people of Tenerife have a unique Spanish accent/dialect.
They pronounce certain words differently. Of course, they should be able to understand anything said to them in a standard Spanish accent/dialect.
If you do not know Spanish, you can still visit Tenerife without many problems. Some of the other languages spoken on the island include English and German.
This is in part due to the high volume of tourists from England and Germany. A small amount of the population can also speak Italian.
When speaking a language other than Spanish, a tourist is most likely to find someone who can understand them when they are traveling in a big city. Employees working in hotels will likely know some English.
However, the further from a big city you get, the less likely it is that someone will speak anything other than Spanish. Make sure to keep this in mind while traveling.
According to the Teide Observatory, the height of the mountains in Tenerife make the Canary Islands one of the best places to go to observe the night sky.
This is part of the reason why the Teide Observatory, famous for being the largest observatory in the world, was built here.
Luckily for all star-lovers out there, this observatory is open to the public. Tour guides show tourists around the facility, showing them the newest astronomical technology and old star maps.
The languages available for these tours include Spanish, German, English, Russian, or French.
Something that has next to nothing to do with Spain but still provides hours of fun is the Viking boat ride and activities aboard a replica Viking ship. Like the other dolphin and whale boat rides, there is a chance of seeing marine life while on the board. However, that is not the main objective of the trip.
With one of the Viking ship tour options, visitors set sail for a three-hour long cruise. While onboard, both children and adults can practice traditional Viking activities, like sword fighting, making coins, and more.
They can even dress up! Adults on the ride can also enjoy free drinks that are available throughout the entire cruise.
The ship takes off from Los Cristianos, in Santa Cruz each day [that the voyage takes place] ay 11am. The round trip takes about three hours.
NOTE: When the tour is over, the ship drops off its passengers in the same place the tour began.
Light and Music Fountain
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key that you can do without a reservation, take a trip to Playa de las Americas to see the Light and Music Fountain.
This fountain looks best when viewed at night. That’s when the lights shine the brightest and the water dances the highest.
There are a variety of bars and restaurants surrounding the fountain. With many of these venues having outdoor seating or balconies. Because of this, customers can enjoy a drink outdoors and take in the beautiful sight of the fountain. Throw in a coin and make a wish!
The Tenerife Auditorium (Auditorio de Tenerife)
The Tenerife Auditorium is one of Tenerife’s most recognizable architectural feature. It has some features that are similar to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It’s arching design can’t help but draw the eye to it.
As the name of the building implies, the auditorium serves as a musical venue most of the time. Some of the most popular types of music played here include drama, jazz, pop, rock, and even opera.
INFO: The auditorium is open from 10am – 7pm, every day, except for Sunday. To visit this building, whether for a show or a tour, just head to Santa Cruz.
San Cristobal de la Laguna
History fans are sure to have a great time when they visit San Cristobal de la Laguna. This is one of the most historic cities on the entire island. This city is about a 20-minute drive from Santa Cruz. It’s the perfect place to go when you want to spend a day wondering the streets and shopping.
Tall, but old, buildings line the streets. The streets are wide enough to drive on. The city itself is compact enough that walking from place to place is also simple—for both adults and families with children.
Other than enjoying the historic sites of San Christobal de la Laguna, visitors can check out small shops and restaurants. A family could easily spend an hour between scheduled events or a whole day in this classic city.
The pleasant climate of Tenerife make it the ideal spot for growing a number of fruits and plants that some would consider tropical. The island used to be famous for its banana-growing operations. However, in recent years, the island has become famous for much more than yellow fruits, as shown already in this blog post.
If you’re at all interested in plants, going to the Aloe Park can be fun. As the name implies, this large-scale green house specializes in growing aloe. Visitors who come to the park can see where the plants are grown, how aloe vera gel is harvested, and learn about how it is used.
Outside of aloe, the park also continues to grow bananas, oranges, papaya, guava, cacti, avocado, and other plants which are native to Tenerife.
To visit this farm and get a guided tour (which lasts about six hours), head to Camino Bananera, Arona.
Pack Your Bags!
The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife, is full of a variety of places and activities that people of all ages and with all interests are sure to enjoy. The island’s hundreds of years old history, influenced mainly by its Spanish heritage, makes it is a wonderful vacation spots for Europeans.
Whether you want to hike along the mountainous trails, sail in the Atlantic Ocean on a Viking ship and see wild dolphins and whales, or spend your days wondering the cities, checking out zoos, shops, and waterparks, you are sure to find something to do to enjoy your time in Tenerife.
The next time you are looking for a somewhat tropical island vacation, either for a romantic getaway, solo backpacking trip, or a family holiday, consider visiting Tenerife. Everyone is sure to have a good time on this one of a kind island.
Read More: What Is Gran Canaria Famous For?