There are ten cities within Tenerife Island. Depending on what your pleasure is, you may find it practical to limit most of your time to the cities that indulge you the most. Some cities have great fishing while others have zoos, and others World Heritage attractions.
The cities of Tenerife:
Los Abrigos: Fishing village on the South East coast
Costa Adeje Adeje:Coastal hilly area
Las America: Tourist friendly city
Los Cristianos: Tourist friendly city
Puerto de la Cruz: Where you can find the LoroParque Zoo
Los Gigantes: Tourist spot with plenty of local activity
La Laguna: World Heritage City
La Orotava: Northern part, scenic views
El Medáno: Windsurfing
Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Capital of the island and a haven for tourists.
Tenerife has the longest coastline of 342 km or 213 miles. The highest point of Mount Pico del Teide has an elevation of 3,713 m above sea level and is the highest point in all of Spain. In 1954, the Teide and the area around it were declared a national park. It is recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This is easily the most dramatic site in the island, as it offers tremendous hiking adventures, as well as striking images of snow-draped peaks. Teide Peak is a volcano and the third highest volcano with a 7,500m height from the ocean floor.
It is also an active volcano, though the most recent eruption took place in 1909. This is a Decade Volcano, one of 17 worldwide that contains a threat to surrounding civilisation and deserves further study. The volcano and its surrounding lands measure 18,900 hectares and welcomes 2.8 million visitors every year, making it Spain’s most popular natural curiosity in the world.
Tourists can take a ten-minute cable lift to reach its peak. You can also walk it, but understand that going up 3,500m, starting at the Montana Blanca, is surprisingly challenging. This short walk does have low gradient and oxygen levels. Even experienced walkers are winded quickly. Knowing the challenges of the trek, there is a conveniently situated Altavista Refuge that offers lodging and kitchen facilities for one night only. Keep in mind the lift does not always run in poor weather conditions and can close immediately. Six to eight hours are recommended for the ascent and descent. The lift costs 25€ per person and the return ticket is only valid for one hours, after which, you must pay an additional 50% fee to go back down. Although most travellers are not keen to go to the highest peak (the top 168m) you can do so, with permission from the National Park Office in Santa Cruz. The top peak, as you might expect, has beautiful views of the entire island. If you are ready for an expedition and have trekking experience, get ready for an amazing view.
Tourists began visiting Tenerife in large numbers as early as the 1890s in northern towns of Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The naturalist Alexander von Humboldt climbed to the peak of the Mount Teide and remarked on the overwhelming beauty of the island.
Loro Parque is a 13.5 hectares zoo located just outside of Puerto de la Cruz near Tenerife, and has hundreds of species to enjoy. They also have shows starring orcas, sea lions, dolphins and birds. The aquarium consists of twelve exhibits and the aquarium itself consists of 1,200,000 litres of seawater. The water filling the aquarium comes straight from Atlantic Ocean off the coast, just 150 metres from LoroParque. In addition to sea life, guests can see alligator, chimpanzees, gorillas, iguanas, marmosets, sloths, anteaters, tigers, tortoises and jaguars.
Las A’quilas Jungle Park is a zoological and botanical park with over 500 animals with walking paths and tunnels, suspension bridges, waterfalls, lagoons and caves. It also features daily flight shows with exotic birds and birds of prey. The big cats exhibit is particularly captivating, as there are two lions from South Africa, Bengal and white tigers from India, jaguars from Asia, and mountain lions from mainland America.
Siam Water Park is a water park owned by LoroParque, and features many water park attractions modelled after international water parks. Ever since 2004, the park has been active and covers 185,000m2 of land in nearby Costa Adeje. There are many high-end attractions, from the launching Kinnaree ride, the children’s area “Sawasdee”, the Jungle Snake tube ride, the Mekong Rapids and a water parody “Volcano” that spins and flows passengers. There is also surfing onsite with three-metre high waves.
Beaches offer independent water sports apart from the park, including scuba diving, which has dive operations for the entire year. This is not merely a beach city, like most travellers are accustomed to, but an island with waters and a variety of coasts. Understand that the temperature can vary in degrees from January to August.
El Me’dano, a Bohemian beach in personality, is a sand dune and beach full of restaurants, hotels, nightlife, wind surfing and kite boarding for those who are looking for adventure and fun. It is actually the site of the kite-surfing championships of the world. It has several sandy coves and high waves.
Playa de la Arena is nearby resort town located on the west coast of Spain. It has sandy beaches, many restaurants, bars and shops aimed especially for tourists. Playa de Las Teresitas in northern Santa Cruz is divided into three distinct areas and they have over 270,000 tons of white sand which was brought in from the Spanish Sahara.
Playa Jardin in Puerto de la Cruz has a harbour wall, colourful gardens, palm trees and a water park of its own called LagoMartianez. It’s not as large as an entertainment park but still offers several pools, waterfalls and sub-tropical gardens. For touristy beaches that offer sports, leisure and easy ocean access, visit Playa de lasAméricas and Los Cristianos, or travel to the affluent resort atmosphere of Costa Adeje.
Purists and nature lovers may find that Playa del Duque is the best “sand-per-sand” beach as it has been very well kept, so much that it has a Blue Flag status symbolising its high quality of water, golden sand, eco-friendly practices and cleanliness.
Other tranquil and beautiful beaches include Playa Fanabe and El Bollullo in La Orotava. The latter, as well as Playa San Marcos in Icod de Los Vinos, has dark-coloured sand, which has been naturally created by volcanic minerals and fragments of lava, characteristic of Tenerife and all the Canary Islands.
Six rectangular pyramid shaped terraced structures were discovered some years ago in the District of Chacona in Güímar, and were apparently built from lava stone without any use of modern mortar. After much speculation, as well as a theory that this was pre-Columbian and a Transatlantic link (proving contact between the Egyptians and Central America) most historians and archaeologists have come to the conclusion that they must have been built in the 1800s, as evidenced by the style of the time. There are other pyramids spread throughout the island, but Güímar contains six of an original nine.
Cueva del Viento is an underground complex of the largest lava tubes in all of Europe, filled with rich archaeological remains and fossils. It was originally created by lava flowing from Pico Viejo, right beside Mount Teide. You can visit the underground tubes and see the sculptures formed by flowing lava, as well as unique fauna life. There are 190 species thriving inside; forty-eight troglobites including eyeless cockroaches, ground beetles and others. Guests can also see lava stalactites, cascades, terraces and even lava lakes. Unique fossils have been found underground, such as the bones of extinct giant lizards and rats, not to mention old artifacts of the Guanches, the first human inhabitants of Tenerife.
Hiking is a great pastime in Tenerife and one of the best locations for a long walk is Parque Rural de Anaga, where there are beautiful views of the island. There is over 14,419 hectares of land to travel, with wonderful landscapes and mountains. You can also look forward to unique flora life, laurel forests, juniper woodlands and more. The Visitor's Centre provides information about the park.
The Pico del Inglés viewpoint shows you a splendid view of the island. Other hike friendly locations include Taganana, Roquelas Bodegas as well as Masca Village.
Masca Village is a wonderful drive, with long winding mountains roads that provide breathtaking scenery. It is about one hour away from Los Gigantes. Along the way be treated to views of forests, including palm trees, cypresses, and all the way down to the beach on the Atlantic. It can also be hiked, though plan to spend about six hours to and from. Be aware though that parking is limited and cycling does not come easy because of traffic and the narrow roads themselves.
Museo de la Naturaleza el Hombre stands for the Museum of Nature and Man and holds a very large and significant collection of artefacts said to be hundreds years old, or even 8,000 years old. It’s located in the Old Civil Hospital of Our Lady of the Forsaken, dating back to 1745, though it was remodeled in the late 1800s. To this day, its neoclassical architecture is definitely worth a visit.
La Laguna Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral in Tenerife, Spain. In 1904, the ground was broken to begin the building of the cathedral and was completed in 1915. It was dedicated to the Virgin of Los Remedios and is one of the most important temples of the Canary Islands. The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. Inside lie the remains of the conqueror of the island and the founder of the city, Alfonso Fernandez de Lugo. The architectural styles of the cathedral are a mix of Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic as well as Renaissance.
The most prominent style is Neoclassical was inspired by the Cathedral of Pamplona and the dome. In 1515, a hermitage with indications of Guanche necropolis sat on the same site as the current cathedral today. A tower was added in 1618; however, the temple did not become a full cathedral until 1819. The inside elements give it a distinctly mediaeval feel.
Real Santuario del Cristo de La Laguna is well known for its image of Cristo de la Laguna, a devotional image that inspires many residents of Tenerife. The church was founded in 1580 by Alonso Fernandez de Lugo who created a high and narrow church nave measuring 46 metres long and 7 meters wide. This site has been enriched by popes with indulgences throughout the years.
For the astronomy lovers, the Teide Observatory might be added to your adventure schedule. Built in the early 1960s, this observatory is 2,390 metres above sea level and found in Izana of Tenerife. Telescopes are ready for studying zodiacal light, and even for studying the sun. It has a fine geographical location, located between eastern and western observatories and also has an entire suite of other amenities, such as dormitories, kitchens, dining rooms, game rooms, power generators and a solar panel park.