What to Do in Tenerife
Other than relaxing on the beach, you may be wondering what to do in Tenerife beyond the lure of the sands. We recently found out for ourselves…
The Canary Islands are the champions of short-haul sunshine. Known for their year-round mild climate, it’s easy to understand the appeal. However, many people underestimate the true diversity of Tenerife. This volcanic island boasts some of Europe’s most important spots, from its stunning night skies, to the hoards of whales that flock through its waters. Read on to discover what to do in Tenerife and be inspired to explore this Canarian gem for yourself…
What to do in Tenerife
The Atlantic waters of Tenerife are one of the best places to spot whales. Around one third of all whale and dolphin species pass through the waters surrounding the Canary Islands, including a resident colony of around 500 Pilot Whales and over 20 migratory species, meaning you have an almost guaranteed chance of seeing at least a few! We joined Big Smile Luxury Charters, who offer a great experience with tasty fruit, meat platters, sweets and drinks served on board, as the friendly team help you spot wildlife in the waters. During our afternoon on the boat, we were delighted at the number of sightings we witnessed, with the friendly Big Smile team helping us identify them as we paused to watch them in action!
Teide National Park Above the Clouds
Teide National Park is one of the treasures of Tenerife. The otherworldly landscape is made up of craters and petrified lava surrounding the world’s third largest volcano, though you will be amazed at the life it manages to host; the magnificent brooms of red bugloss are one of Tenerife’s most iconic sights – which sadly dies after it has bloomed its beautiful flowers – alongside 32 species that grow exclusively in Tenerife! It also boasts another unique natural phenomenon known as the ‘sea of clouds’. Take the cable car to the top, and you will find yourself looking down on the tops of the clouds as the trade winds push them against the summit, preventing them from rising. If you are not sure what to do in Tenerife, Teide National Park is a great place to start!
The Canary Islands boast the cleanest, clearest skies in Europe. Thanks to the low levels of light pollution and a high altitude, Teide National Park offers some of the best spots to view the Milky Way, a sight made all the more magnificent by the luna-like landscape of your surroundings. Boasting the largest solar observatory in the world, we took a guided excursion to watch the sunset and see the stars flicker with an expert guide, who helped us learn more about the secrets of the night sky. We also tucked into some classically Canarian canapés, including the tasty traditional wrinkled potatoes and mojo, giving us chance to truly savour the highest sunset in Spain – though excursions are also available with Michelin-starred cuisine, so you can see stars on your plate, as well as in the sky!
If you are wondering what to do in Tenerife with children, Loro Parque is perfect. Often named as one of the best zoos in Europe, it is home to the largest number of parrots in the world, with over 350 different species of these colourful feathered friends! It also boasts the largest penguinarium, plus a host of orcas, sharks, sea lions, dolphins, tigers, monkeys, plus many more mammals, critters and sea life to meet. One of the latest exhibitions comprises a submerged ‘zen garden’, inhabited by shimmering schools of fish, along with plenty of beautiful gardens above ground, which are full of fragrant flowers that are sure to put a smile of everyone’s faces!
When you are planning what to do in Tenerife, make sure you factor in a visit to La Laguna. Once the capital of Tenerife, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city has more to offer than you might think.
There are some fine examples of Canarian architecture, such as the characteristic church towers that you will probably spot on many postcards, plus a mix of designer boutiques and some of the oldest shops on the island. We stopped by Castillo San Miguel, which managed to survive a volcanic eruption and now sits among a mound of petrified lava that poured from the mountain above. You should also take the time to appreciate Teatro Leal, a wonderfully refurbished theatre decorated with murals and oil paintings of beautiful landscapes, nymphs and ancient Greek scenes.
Be sure to spot the famed Dragon Trees, too; some of them are among the oldest living members of the world’s plant kingdom. Having spread through the Mediterranean around 20 million years ago, the early inhabitants of Tenerife revered the Dragon Trees as a source of knowledge and fertility, while the sap, called ‘Dragon’s Blood’, was thought to have healing powers – though the noble women also used it to dye their hair!