Although it’s within touching distance of the African continent, Tenerife has its own fabulous, self-contained spirit. This is where Lord Nelson lost his arm fighting against the Spanish fleet in 1797, but you might just lose your heart to this wild island if you visit now. Discover the best things to do in Tenerife.
1. Enjoy the coastal life at Costa Adeje
At Costa Adeje you can have a typical sun loungers and sundowners holiday. This wildly popular area of Tenerife’s south coast is rife with tourists having a great time. The popular Las Americas area has plenty of familiar UK shops and restaurants, plus its Playa de Guincho is a great place to surf. Children will enjoy Siam Park – a Thai-themed water park haloed by other attractions. Adults can unwind at the merry parade of visitor-friendly seafront bars. In the evenings, this is Tenerife’s premier nightlife hub. Come 2.00 am, famous Veronica’s Strip is swarming with revellers sporting for a dance. Join in at your own risk.
Sticking to the southern section of the island? Head to Los Abrigos, a town that’s famous for seafood central thanks to its tireless fishermen. Dine on fresh white fish with thick wedges of lemon, then spend the afternoon catching the sun on Las Vistas beach.
2. Go to the top of Mount Teide
The highest mountain in Spain (though it’s closer to the African mainland than Europe), dramatic Mount Teide dominates Tenerife’s skyline. And the summit is easier to reach than you think. An impressive cable car takes you from sea level to a viewpoint a stonking 2,356 metres up. If the weather’s good, you’ll be able to see the surrounding Canary Islands. With its high altitude and clear skies, the vivid volcanic landscape of the Mount Teide National Park has perfect conditions for athletic training, and Olympic cycling teams that come here train in droves. Try to keep up.
If cycling on the mountain seems too exhausting, book yourself into a sunset tour and drink a glass of champagne from the viewpoint. Watch as the sun sets, and as it does, spot the shadow of the volcano creeping over the sea.
There are plenty of surfing beaches in Tenerife. Try the popular Playa de las Americas if you’re staying in Costa Adeje – this beach has everything – and everyone knows it. Book flights to Tenerife.Book flights to Tenerife
3. Go for lunch in a Guachinche
For a lunch that’s as authentic as they come, make sure you dine in a Guanchinche at least once during your Tenerife holiday. Marked out by a hand-painted sign, these makeshift restaurants are often situated in the family home, where you’ll be served a simple, hearty meal. Try Guanchinche El Chupete on the road to La Laguna, where your meal will come with a great bottle of local wine: perhaps a pale Malvasia or a bold young red that will stand up to a meaty casserole.
If it’s local you’re after, why not tour a vineyard? You can spend a whole day at Bodegas Monje: a morning out by the vines and tasting the wines; then lunch, or a cookery class to learn how to make the island’s famous mojo sauce.
4. Study the skies at Teide Observatory
Tenerife is one of the best places for stargazing in Europe. On many nights, you can clearly make out the Milky Way – a wide, glittering streak across the night sky. There are a number of great viewing platforms around the island, including one at Masca, and one in Mount Teide National Park. At Teide Observatory you’ll clap eyes on the largest operating telescope in Europe. This is a solar telescope, so you don’t have to stay up late into the night to enjoy the view. Join a tour of the observatory and you’ll be invited to see solar flares and sunspots on our nearest star.
Stargazers should wrap up warm. Night temperatures on high altitude platforms will be a shock after the beach.