What to do in Tenerife? A complete overview of the most popular activities in Tenerife. All about the best boat trips, the most interesting cycling and walking routes, the best activities for families, the most popular shopping miles and Tenerife's delicacies. Have fun!
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Water sports are one of the most popular activities on Tenerife. For surfers, wind and kite surfers and sailors, the Canary Island with its north-east trade winds is a boon. Boat trips across the Atlantic are also popular among tourists - not least because dolphins, whales and orcas can often be observed off the coast of Tenerife. Furthermore, the island is the perfect place for hiking and cycling due to its different altitudes.
1. Boat tours
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife is the perfect place for boat trips - for half-day or day trips with or without skipper. The choice ranges from trips on speedboats to sailing trips on yachts and catamaran tours.
When the boats depart from the south of Tenerife, whale and dolphin watching is often a highlight of the tour, while other boat tours in Tenerife are designed for you to jump into the water in a lonely bay.
There are five recommendations for unforgettable boat trips in Tenerife:
Adventure day 1
A pirate boat trip with whale and dolphin watching: Tenerife has a lively history, which includes pirates and privateers. You will be taken back to those times in a beautiful wooden boat that will take you on a 2, 3 or 5 hour boat trip from Los Cristianos or Puerto Colón to La Caleta, Los Gigantes and Masca. Swimming stops in the most picturesque corners and dolphin sightings are part of this tour.
Adventure day 2
A sailing trip on a comfortable yacht: On this relaxing sailing trip on Tenerife you will sail for three hours on a luxury sailing yacht from Puerto Colón to La Gomera. Along the coast it is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of whales, dolphins and turtles.
Adventure day 3
A round trip along the south coast in a glass-bottom boat: The excursion on the glass-bottom boat takes a little more time. The half-day excursion stops at the most beautiful coastal towns in the south of the island from Puerto Colón at Playa de Las Américas in the direction of La Gomera. Also on this tour you can see one or the other dolphin in the wild! During the trip, the glass bottom of the boat gives you a view of the rich underwater world.
Adventure day 4
A Submarine ride through the underwater world of Tenerife: Absolutely spectacular is a submarine ride through the fascinating, little explored underwater world of Marina San Miguel. Through the panoramic windows of the submarine you can watch the colourful underwater life during the 50-minute trip at a depth of 30 metres.
Adventure day 5
A party boat with live DJ: Anyone can party at Playa Las Americas, but few people will have ever danced on a party boat. On the 4.5-hour catamaran tour you can dance with other Tenerife holidaymakers to a live DJ. The tour starts from Puerto Colon (Adeje). Unlimited drinks and champagne shower included! Occasional swimming stops cool down the party animals in the Atlantic Ocean.
For half-day trips or full-day excursions on Tenerife, you can also charter boats, yachts or sailing boats from many providers. In this way you can spend unique hours on the Atlantic Ocean with friends or family - without any other annoying tourists. How you do it, whether on a sailboat, yacht or speedboat, you will spend a wonderful day on the sea!
2. Activities with children
Tenerife is perfect for a family holiday with children! There are so many places to discover on the island where young and old will never be bored. The pleasant temperatures all year round are a plus for holidays in Tenerife with children. Your children can let off steam in the many water parks, swimming and outdoor pools or build sandcastles and splash around on the beaches of Tenerife.
Besides sports activities, excursions to zoos and animal parks such as Loro Parque, Monkey Park or Jungle Park are also popular. In a playful way, your children will get to know the flora and fauna of the country in a family holiday on Tenerife. Speaking of learning: With inquisitive children, you should also visit the museums in Tenerife, which are child-friendly in their approach to conveying knowledge about the history of Tenerife, but also about science and technology. Tenerife with children - no problem!
If you are planning excursions for your Tenerife holiday, the following tips for water rats, explorers or animal lovers could be just the thing for your family!
On the way with water rats
Of course a family holiday also includes minimum a day at the beach! For parents this can often be a stressful trip, but in Tenerife there are many child-friendly beaches where your children can splash around and build sandcastles without worrying. The most famous beaches of Tenerife are around the towns of Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz and Fanabé. You will also find child-friendly beaches near the port, as the sandy beach slopes gently into the sea and is often protected by a breakwater, so there is no strong swell. For water lovers, the following excursions are also recommended:
Av. Siam, s/n, 38660 Costa Adeje, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Daily 10 am - 5 pm Adults: 34€ Children (up to 11 years): 23€ If you also plan a visit to Loro Parque, you should buy Twin Tickets: Adults: 58€ Children: 39,50€
Thai style water park with the "biggest water attractions in Europe" - including freefall and tyre slides and a wave pool with an artificially created sandy beach. The park also has a sea lion enclosure.
Av. Austria, 15, 38660 Costa Adeje, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Daily 10 am – 5 pm Adults (age 11+): 29€ children (ages 5-10): 21€ children (ages 3-4): 12€ children younger than 3 years have free entry.
Large outdoor water and leisure park with large slides, several children's pools and a dolphinarium
Piscinas naturales el Caletón
Av. Tomé Cano, s/n, 38450 Garachico, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Daily 10 am - 9 pm Entrance free
Picturesque natural swimming pools formed from lava stone, with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean
On the way with animal friends
As well as in the UK, zoos, animal and wildlife parks are a popular destination for the whole family. Of course you can take a trip through nature and explore the local fauna on your own during your family holiday in Tenerife. Here you can discover together many species of birds, butterflies or typical Canarian reptiles like geckos and lizards.
However, it is easier to visit one of the well-known parks on the island. We have compiled the most important information for you:
An adventure and wildlife park in the forest with a bobsleigh run, giant slide, waterfalls, suspension bridges, tunnels, caves and lagoons, where you can find birds, cats of prey, reptiles, penguins and monkeys adapted to their original habitat.
A zoo famous for its free-ranging monkeys, which may be petted and fed. Crocodiles, turtles and native bird species also live here.
On the way with explorers
If you have a particularly inquisitive youngster at hand, you should also visit a museum during your Tenerife holiday with children. Especially when it rains, museums, exhibitions and ... are the perfect destination for the family - if, contrary to all probability, it does rain a little longer in Tenerife.
For explorers the following child-friendly museums and sights in Tenerife are recommended:
Opening hours and entrance fees
What you need to know:
Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos
Av. de los Menceyes, 70, 38205 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am – 8 pm, Sunday and Monday 10 am – 5 pm
Free entrance for children.
Museum of Science and Cosmos with planetarium, which playfully brings knowledge about astronomy, the laws of nature and the functions of the human body within reach
Museo de Naturaleza y Arqueología
Calle Fuente Morales, s/n, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am – 8 pm, Sunday and Monday 10 am - 5 pm
Friday and Saturday from 4 pm free entrance.
The permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum presents the geological, climatic and biological conditions of the Canary Islands and the history of the indigenous peoples. Highlights are the mummies of the Guanches. German guided tours take place every Wednesday at 11 am.
Casa del Carnaval
Calle Aguere, 17, 38005 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanien
Daily 10 am – 6:30 pm
Presentation about the most important cultural festival on the island: Carnival.
Checklist for family holiday in Tenerife
If you are going to stay in a hotel, you should make sure that there are family and child-friendly facilities such as a children's pool, kids club and childcare
Many families are looking for holiday homes and flats as well as fincas where you have to take care of your own food, but where you have more space and peace and quiet than in large hotels
With a rental car you are more mobile than with public transport. This not only makes it easier to explore the island, but also makes a family holiday in Tenerife much more relaxing!
Tenerife is a real paradise for hikers! Ideal hiking areas are the national park around the Pico del Teide in the centre of the island, the Anaga mountains in the north-east and the Teno mountains in the north-west of the island.
The island is the perfect destination for travellers wishing to explore the fascinating landscape of spectacular scenery, bizarre rock formations, mysterious laurel forests and lonely mountain villages while hiking in Tenerife. Because the volcanic origin and the different vegetation zones of the largest Canary Island provide a richness of facets that is hard to imagine.
Ten popular hiking routes:
La Forteleza – through the landscape of the former volcano Cañadas
Alto de Guajara – a high mountain hike to the Alto de Guajara peak, with panoramic views of the Teide, Pico Viejo and Montaña Blanca volcanoes
Pico del Teide – most difficult, but at the same time most rewarding climb to the summit of the Teide, which requires a special permit
Malpaís de Güímar – circular walk through the Malpaís de Güímar Nature Reserve with impressive contrasts of volcanic soil and blue sea
Punta del Hidalgo – one of the most varied walks, which begins in the green forests of the Anaga Mountains in Cruz del Carmen and leads through the last remaining Canary Island laurel forests to the rugged coast of Punta del Hidalgo
Paisaje Lunar - "moonwalk" through the unique rock formations near Vilalflor, which in Spanish are called "Paisaje Lunar"
Barranco del Infierno – an exciting hike through the "Barranco del Inferno" gorge, where only 300 hikers are allowed per day for environmental reasons
Masca – one of the most demanding and spectacular hikes through the Masca Gorge of the Teno Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean
El Draguillo – a coastal walk from Benijo to El Draguillo, which along the trail rewards you with exciting views of the steep cliffs and roaring surf
Before you decide to go hiking in Tenerife, you should find out about the different hiking routes. Some of the hiking trails vary greatly in terms of difficulty, duration and area. In addition, some areas require a permit, such as the ascent to the crater of the Pico del Teide or a hike through the "Barranco del Inferno".
It is essential that you find out up to three months before your holiday in Tenerife whether and when you are allowed to climb the heights of the island. Whether a steep ascent or a leisurely walk: When hiking in Tenerife, the beauty of the archipelago presents itself in a unique way on every route!
Even for those who want to explore the island on two wheels, Tenerife is a paradise! As with the hiking trails, a bike tour around the island allows you to explore the most beautiful corners of the unique volcanic landscape at your own pace. The average annual temperature of 23 degrees, few rainy days and 300 hours of sunshine per year offer the best conditions for a cycle tour.
The well-developed route network, which is often not very busy, is a wonderful place to cycle! But even here the possibilities range from more leisurely tours along the coast with views of the sea to more demanding routes through the Anaga and Teno mountains. Many cycling enthusiasts even spend a holiday in Tenerife for just one of the routes!
For beginners: pleasant cycling tours
Tenerife offers many beautiful cycle paths for cyclists who want to take a leisurely ride across the island. In general, the more leisurely, less demanding routes run along the coast and cliffs, as they are at sea level. There are only a few climbs, but instead there are breathtaking views across the island.
Santa Cruz Circuit: One of the most popular routes, which starts at a low altitude and goes down to the highest point, the Pico del Inglés viewpoint, and back down again. Route 3 goes through Santa Cruz and laurel forests, always parallel to the coast with beautiful views of the sea and the Teide volcano
From Buenavista to Punta del Hidalgo: The 75 kilometre route 4 takes you from one corner of Tenerife to the other. Along the north coast, the route runs on almost flat terrain with relatively few metres in altitude from Buenavista to Punta del Hidalgo. On this tour you will be able to enjoy the changing beauty of the coastal landscape without any major effort!
For advanced cyclists: challenging routes
Ambitious cyclists who train on their mountain bike or racing bike will find some of the best and most demanding cycle paths in Tenerife. The network of routes, which is over 200 kilometres long, passes through the higher parts of the island and rocky mountain landscapes in many places.
Largest route trough Corona Forestal: The 84-kilometre route runs through Corona Forestal, the largest nature reserve in the Canary Islands. If you are looking for a special challenge, you should take route BC-1: The largest route on the island can be extended by a further 53 kilometres and 13 branches and variants
Challenge Orotava Valley: Route 2, which starts and ends in La Orotava, runs along the northern side of the island. For 98 kilometres you will pass through the towns of La Esperanza, La Laguna, El Sauzal, La Matanze and Santa Ursula. This is one of the most demanding routes, as it also passes through the El Teide National Park and has a total ascent of 2,727 metres
Highest altitude in Costa Adeje: Three of Tenerife's cycle routes start in Costa Adeje, all of which are relatively demanding. Along the southwest side of the island there is an average gradient of 5% and a 6% downhill gradient. Route 5 passes through villages in the higher altitudes. When you arrive in Vilaflor, you will find yourself at 1,380 metres above sea level in one of the highest villages in Spain.
About 200 kilometres of tracks run across the island, with a total of eight routes that can be followed and completed in several different ways. Every rider - whether on a bicycle, mountain bike or racing bike - can put together his or her own tour according to the level of difficulty.
In any case, the varied landscape of cycling in Tenerife always offers new highlights!
A sunbonoo tip: (occasionally) stick to the signposted viewpoints on your route. This is the only way to ensure that you don't miss the best views of the breathtaking, varied landscape of Tenerife!
5. Shopping in Tenerife
Should you be planning a shopping trip during your holiday in Tenerife, there are many ways to spend your holiday money on the island. Of course, you can stroll through the city centre and its pedestrian precincts in every major city and look in the shops for the latest Spanish fashion and unusual souvenirs.
But Tenerife also has some bigger shopping centres that are popular among locals and tourists. We have sorted the best places for shopping in Tenerife by city for you:
The island capital has the most, largest and most varied offers for extended shopping tours. Most of the shops are located in the streets Villalba Hervás, El Castillo, Doctor Allart, Bethencourt Alfonso o San José, as well as near Plaza España and Plaza Candelaria. Furthermore, the two large shopping centres, the "Centro Comercial Meridiano" and "El Corte Inglés" attract locals and tourists alike. In the shopping centre "Tres de Mayo", Tenerife holidaymakers will find mainly smaller boutiques and high quality fashion. Especially in rainy weather - as rare as it is in Tenerife - it is an ideal destination for an excursion.
However, if the weather is better, you should stroll through Calle Castillo, because here you can certainly find the more unusual clothes and souvenirs in the smaller shops.
A special attraction is the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa, one of the biggest markets on Tenerife. Here you will find everything to please your eyes, nose and palate!
For special souvenirs you should visit smaller farmers' and flea markets in Santa Cruzes.
Puerto de la Cruz
Take a walk through San Telmo or the historic quarter of La Ranilla and you will discover small shops selling Spanish and Canarian fashion. The boutiques in the centre of Puerto de la Cruz are perfect for original, handmade gifts that will remind you of your holiday in Tenerife.
Most of the shops are located in Plaza del Charco, Calle de San Felipe, La Hoya and Avda Generalísimo.
Basically the offer is comparable to the one in Santa Cruz, but in Puerto de la Cruz you have to pay a tourist surcharge.
In the south of Tenerife in Costa Adeje, the Siam Mall and Duque Square shopping centre are popular. While in the large shopping centre you can shop for over 400 different brands in 62 shops, Siam Mall always offers events with raffles, concerts and parades that are exciting for adults and children alike.
A walk through the old town of La Orotava is like a journey back in time, as the beautifully crafted balconies and arcades reflect the history of Canarian woodcarving. Since traditional Canarian handicrafts are still very important, you can get original pottery especially in La Orotava.
5 sunbonoo shopping tips for your holiday in Tenerife:
North vs. South: Shopping is slightly more expensive in the south than in the north. If you are travelling with a rental car on Tenerife, it is worth going to one of the big shopping centres - Carrefour and Alcampo - to shop for less
Fresh fruits and vegetables: Of course you can get fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets ("mercados"), but for fresh, regional and seasonal products you should visit the weekly markets on Tenerife. Here you will also find local spices, specialities and traditional handicrafts
Spirits and Tabac: Canarian cigars and cigarillos as well as wines and liqueurs are a popular souvenir from your holiday in Tenerife. The only thing you need to know is what and how much you are allowed to take home with you on your flight: 1 litre of spirits of more than 22% alcohol content, although 2 litres are allowed if the spirits, aperitifs or taffia you bring home have 22% alcohol or less
Daily Food: If you stay for a longer period of time in Tenerife and are self-catering in your holiday flat or finca, you may feel like products. It is best to go to the stronghold La Paz or to Puerto de La Cruz.
Discounts: If you are hunting "Rebajas", you should wait for the end of the summer or winter sales. In many shops and shopping centres, prices can fall to as much as 60% by the end of the day!