The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has been delighting travellers with its blend of amazing weather (only 14 days of rain per year!) and volcanic beaches for decades. But Spanish-owned Tenerife, situated just off the west coast of Africa is undergoing a rebirth. No longer will it be known just for its ‘fly and flop’ holidays: There is so much more to the island than first meets the eye.
Here are a few of my favourite things to see and do in Tenerife beyond the beaches.
Teide National Park
Standing at 3,718 metres above sea level, Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain and is an active volcano with an incredibly dramatic surrounding. This almost conical volcano most recently erupted in 1909 and created a beautiful landscape of hot lava flows and fumaroles. It’s now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most popular attractions on the island.
Take the cable car to near the summit for an incredible view of the island all the way to the sea, however visitors to Teide must secure a permit to hike any higher – well worth the trouble.
Escape the tourists and experience a real slice of rustic Tenerife’s local life with a visit to Garachico, a water-side town with a decidedly laid-back feel. Its position at the north of the island ensures it remains untouched and those who make the journey are rewarded with a pretty town filled with authentic eateries and some of the best views on the island.
For those who like to spend their holiday getting back in touch with nature, the Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden) is the perfect place to while away a few hours. Entrance is just 3 EUR and for this very cheap price you can see some of the island’s endemic tropical plants as well as those brought in from all over the world. You can even get a taste of the Amazon rainforest with banana leaf trees and the giant kapok tree.
San Cristobal de la Laguna
A visit to this lovely little town is often described as like being in a fairy tale. Colourful Spanish colonial buildings and ornate Iglesias (churches) give this town a lovely authentic feel, and the small restaurants provide a real flavour of Tenerife. Photographers will be in their element, with some of the most Instagram-worthy vistas and street scenes in the whole of the Canary Islands to be found here.
So on your next holiday to Tenerife, be sure to venture further than your sun lounger to go and see some of these incredible places.