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Top 5 things to do in Tenerife in 2023

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El Teide Tenerife

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Located 300 km off the west coast of Africa, Tenerife offers a subtropical climate all year round. Due to its mild weather it’s one of my favourite destinations when it gets colder in Europe. Tenerife is one of the most diverse islands I’ve been to with many different activities to do. It’s the perfect destination for those who love adventures and nature. Get inspired and find out my top five things to do in Tenerife.

Tenerife is the largest of the eight Canary islands. What I love most is its diversity: The parts of this island couldn’t be more different from each other. In the North you’ll find lush misty forests with lots of hiking trails leading you from the mountains through the clouds down to stunning cliffs and beaches.

Then there’s the South with rocks, deserty topography and lots of sunshine. In the middle of the island stands the highest mountain of Spain which can be seen from the shore at all times (unless there are clouds). Volcano and Mount Teide makes you feel like you’re on Mars. The stars at night are breath-taking. Have I mentioned that you can do all types of surfing on Tenerife as well? As you can see, the island offers many different activities suiting everyone’s interests. It’s very magical. I absolutely love Tenerife!

Helpful advice for your stay

I spent more than two months on Tenerife and summed up my top five things to do there. For those who have time, I recommend to stay at least two weeks. You’re a digital nomad? I’ve stayed with Cactus Coliving in the South and Nine Coliving in the North-East of Tenerife and can really recommend both colivings for those working remotely and wanting to live in a like-minded community.

It’s also really helpful to rent a car in order to explore the whole island. There is public transport, but it won’t take you everywhere at anytime. AutoReisen and TopCar are two rental companies I’ve been happy with so far. The price of a rental car ranges between 15 and more than 40 Euros per day, depending on the season. You don’t necessarily need to sleep in different locations as it only takes around 1.5 hours to get to the opposite side of the island.

Read more about my coliving experience around the world.

Download the map to plan your adventure

I saved all top five things to do in Tenerife in the map below. Feel free to download it to your phone to plan your trip. As you can see you will be able to explore the whole island. I also included the exact route for advice no. 4, the roadtrip to Masca. Enjoy!

Top five things to do in Tenerife

1. Go hiking in Parque Rural de Anaga

Anaga rural park covers the north eastern tip of Tenerife. It’s a stunning area with misty forest, sharp peaks and steep canyons all covered in green. The views range from just grey as you’re driving through clouds to green gorges with blue sky and ocean in the background.

Arriving in Anaga feels like entering a different world. If you’re a nature lover and don’t mind the occasional wet as well as cooler temperatures (10-15 degrees) this is the right place for you. It’s so green and lush compared to the rest of the island. The gorges are breathtaking and you will be rewarded with the most amazing views. This area is not comparable to any other on the island.

Misty Anaga forest
Misty forest in Anaga
Anaga Rural Park
Stunning views over Anaga Rural Park
The best hike in Anaga: Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada

A really beautiful hike is the 12 km Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada loop. From the famous viewpoint Cruz del Carmen, you will hike through the misty Anaga forest, passing green fields and clouds, before emerging onto a path with breath-taking views into the Anaga valley. After a deserved break in Chinamada different way then takes you back to the parking lot.

Check out my travel guide for the Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada hike.

2. Visit Teide Nationalpark by day and night

Another must-do when you’re on Tenerife is to pay a visit to Teide Nationalpark. Mount Teide is not only the highest peak in the Canary islands and Spain but also the third largest volcano on planet earth. Surrounded by a mars-like landscape and volcanic formations this national park will leave you speechless. Teide Nationalpark is a popular spot for visitors from all over the world.

Driving up to Teide Nationalpark is an adventure itself. Depending on the weather you will drive past pine trees (open the window to smell them!), through the mist and then suddenly find yourself above the clouds. On a good day you can even see the peaks of the neighbour islands. It’s amazing how the surroundings and nature changes the higher you drive.

El Teide landscape
Things to do in Teide Nationalpark during the day

There are many hikes you can do in Teide Nationalpark. If you’re looking for a short and easy one I recommend to do the Roques de Garcia loop walk. It’s a straightforward, 4 km long and well marked circular walk around the Roques de Garcia. The Roques the Garcia are unique rock formations that have been created over a millions of years. This hike perfectly combines impressive views over El Teide, stunning rock formations as well as the outside borders of the crater. If you’re interested in climbing to the top of Teide you need to purchase a permit first as access during the day is limited.

It’s also a lot of fun to just do a road trip through the national park with stops at one of the cafés on the side of the road and viewpoints. The way up to the national park is an adventure itself and even without doing a hike totally worth it.

Roque de Garcia
Roque de Garcia trail
El Teide
Stunning El Teide
Things to do in Teide Nationalpark at night

At an altitude of 2,000 metres you can enjoy the most amazing sky at night. To combine sunset and stargazing I can recommend the sunset & stars trip with Volcano Teide experience. You will be picked up from your location and then take the cable cars up to Teide. The view over the crater as well as the neighbour islands is absolutely stunning! After the sun disappears the sky will change its colours minute by minute. Once it’s pitchdark a guide will explain the different star constellations and you can also gaze through a telescope. The trip is a lovely experience to combine the cable cars, sunset & stargazing at Teide.

Otherwise you could also just drive up at night and enjoy the views by yourself. The Roques de Garcia parking spot is a good place to watch the stars from. Wear warm clothes as temperatures can drop to minus degrees up there!

Stars at El Teide
A sky full of stars with El Teide in the background

3. Try watersports in El Médano

I love spending my days in El Médano. El Médano is a laid back town on the southeast coast of Tenerife. It’s a very popular spot for surfers of all kind: windsurfing, kitesurfing, ‘normal’ surfing and also other watersports. Take a surfing lesson or just a seat in a cafe to watch the surfers all day. The vibe of El Médano is really unique and I could spend hours there observing and taking in the atmosphere. It’s a touristic place but way different compared to Las Americas & Los Cristianos. The atmosphere combined with the sunshine & a cooling breeze is just priceless.

I recommend to make a stop at Mordisquitos Cafe. They make the best bubble waffles I’ve ever had! From vegan to non-vegan, with or without ice cream… and they even have one with oreo crumbles in the bubbles.

Mordisquitos El Medano bubble waffle
Best bubble waffles in the world at Mordisquitos
El Medano view Montana Roja
Kitesurfers, ocean & Montana Roja
It’s a great spot for beach lovers as well

Apart from sitting in a cafe you can also enjoy the beach of El Médano. There’s a quite busy beach close to the town center. But if you walk along the ocean to the left side you will find Cabezo beach which is usually much quieter and more natural. Usually, there are barely surfers at this spot. Enjoy the waves and swimming while watching the peak of El Teide in the background.

Looking for a good sunset or sunrise spot?

For those who don’t like to sit around all day: Why not go and explore the stunning Montana Roja, the red mountain of El Médano, which is in walking distance? Hiking up the mountain takes maybe 45-60 minutes and gives you a great view over the south of the island. You can also watch the planes landing and taking off. Montana Roja is a great adventure to do either during the day, or even for sunrise and sunset. There are many more coastal trails around this area to explore.

View from Montana Roja over Playa Tejita
View over Playa Tejita and the south of Tenerife
Hiking days Montana Roja
Made it!

4. Do a road trip to Masca

Road trips on Tenerife are the best! You can stop whenever you want to and get to explore the most remote parts of the island. A really popular route goes through the Masca Valley. It is named after the small village Masca which is hidden away in the mountains in the north-western corner of Tenerife. Volcanic landscape, stunning gorges and constantly changing climate make this place really special.

The perfect route

The best route for the road trip goes from the south – Santiago del Teide – to Masca and then continues to Garachico in the north. It’s important to drive this way as the roads are narrow and the main traffic goes from Santiago del Teide towards Masca. If you come from the other side it might be quite stressful to pass all the oncoming cars and busses. I put the recommended route in the map.

If you’re driving into Masca valley from the south of the island you might want to turn around because of the dark clouds. But don’t worry! It’s amazing how quickly the weather can change in this area, especially when driving down to Masca. In Masca it’s worth to park your car and stop at one of the restaurants to have a coffee with the most beautiful view.

After Masca valley I recommend to do another stop in Garachico, a town which is famous for its natural rock pools. Take a dip or have an ice cream while strolling through town. You can then close the loop by driving back via San Jose de los Llanos.

Masca valley
Windy roads & beautiful views of Masca
Masca
Masca village
Helpful advice

Take different types of clothing when doing this road trip as it can be chilly in the Masca valley and then hotter and sunny in Garachico. I recommend to have at least one full day to make the most of the road trip. I wanted to stop every five minutes as the view looked different each time. Also it’s best to start before 11 am as I think the road is less busy than in the afternoon when more tourists and busses arrive.

5. Feel some adrenaline in Siam Park

You want to laugh and scream like a kid again without anyone caring? Siam Park will for sure get some adrenaline and endorphines into your system. Siam Park has been awarded to one of the best water parks on the planet.

I’m usually not a swimming pool, slides and water adventure person, but as friends of mine were planning to visit Siam park I thought: Why not join? In hindsight, I’m glad I went and would definitely go again! On that day nothing else mattered apart from having fun. It made me realize that we humans are quite tense and serious in our daily life. In Siam park age didn’t matter as everyone shared happiness and excitement. This activity will make you feel young and at ease deep inside.

Is this Thailand?

The whole park features a Thai theme. You can relax at Coco Beach and enjoy the waves, float through the 1 km long Mai Thai River or race down the Patong Rapids. Most of the slides can only be done in tubes either alone, with two or three more people. The good thing about the tubes is that they speed up more and you can feel the butterflies in your stomach while going down a steep part. There are different excitement levels for the attractions so no one gets bored.

The best day to visit

You can purchase tickets for the park online. Adults pay 40 Euros per day which sounds quite a lot but it’s a worthy investment. Try to be at Siam Park right when it opens to avoid long queues at the slides. During your stay you can keep your valuables in a locker (costs between 5-7 Euros). The park recommends to bring or buy water shoes but I never felt like I needed any.

According to Google maps the best day to visit Siam Park is on Sundays. The reason is probably because it’s a travel day for most tourists. Try to avoid Saturdays to not spend all your day in a queue. You can find a free parking spot on the map. It’s also good to have lots of water with you as prices in Siam Park are not super cheap.

South of Tenerife

You can’t get enough? Here are more activities

Tenerife is a gem

The variety of activities you can do in Tenerife are just amazing! My top five things to are just a small fraction of how you can spend your time on this beautiful island.

There’s one more advice for the divers among you or those who would like to start their diving journey on Tenerife. I can highly recommend to go out in the blue with Zeke from Granadilla Diving. It’s a great dive school which tailors the whole trip to your needs. Diving in Tenerife is not as warm and colourful compared to other diving destinations, but the underwater world is definitely worth visiting. It’s very likely to see octopus!

Octopus diving tenerife
Beautiful octopus | photo by Zeke Neville
Diving in Tenerife
Tenerife underwater | photo by Zeke Neville

If you’re visiting Tenerife soon I hope you’ll have a great time and enjoy the island with at least one of those activities!

Do you need some help planning your next trip?

Book your accommodation

I usually book my accommodation via booking.com. They have a great choice & if you set some filters you will find the perfect place to stay.

Book your train in Europe

For train tickets in Europe it's best to use trainline. You can book tickets for different countries. They also know the bonus systems like BahnCard in Germany and will consider them in the pricing.

Book your bus and other transfers

Buy bus, train or boat tickets for many destinations on 12Go! You get an overview over all possible connections and can easily book your ticket through the platform.

Book a rental car

On rentalcars.com you can find an overview of different car hires & get the best deal.

You love traveling but don't like planning?

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