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The largest of Spain’s famous Canary Islands, Tenerife is also one of the most popular and important tourist destinations on the planet.
Lying off of the coast of Morocco, Tenerife experiences year-round warm weather, rarely dipping beneath the 20 degree mark. Highs average around 30 degrees (Celsius) in the peak Summer months, and at around 21 degrees in the winter. The moderate climate of the island has led to Tenerife to be known as ‘Isla de la Eterna Primavera’ (Island of Eternal Spring) and is one of the main reasons why it is such a hit with travellers from near and far.
A volcanic island, Tenerife is home to several mountain ranges, as well as Mount Teide; the tallest mountain in the region, its summit being the highest peak in all of Spain. Tenerife is also home to various national parks and areas of natural beauty, as well as a ton of beaches and other opportunities to soak up sun, relax, or even take a dip into the water.
The island is home to two international airports, with the majority of traffic coming through Tenerife South Airport. The second busiest airport in the Canary Islands, Tenerife South Airport welcomed over 10million passengers in 2016 and is located on the Southern part of the island, near to the Playa de la Tejita beach.
Not just stunning vistas and golden beaches, Tenerife is also home to the World’s second biggest Carnival (after Rio) – the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Occurring every February, the Carnival is a massive celebration that takes place over the best part of a week, comprising of concerts, theatre, street parties and plenty of dancing and celebrating. But no matter what time of year you are going there are plenty of things to do, no matter if travelling solo, in a group or whether you are just passing time before jetting off elsewhere, here is the pick of the bunch of things to do in Tenerife.
Being one of the pre-eminent tourist destinations in all of Europe, Tenerife is awash with hundreds of accommodation options to suit every taste, style and budget. Whether you want massive resorts, expansive villas, quaint bed and breakfasts or just the simplest place to call home for your trip, we’ve found the pick of the bunch.
If price is no object and you are after a trip underlined by luxury and elegance, then look no further than the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey. Located on the North part of the island, Grand Hotel Mencey is a 45-minute drive from Tenerife South Airport with outdoor pool, air conditioned suites (a necessity in Tenerife – trust us) and all the little touches and airs you’d expect from a 5-star rated hotel. Hotel Suite Villa Maria is a similar experience, offering free parking and basic on-site amenities aside its luxury rooms and swimming pool facilities. Hotel Suite Vila Maria is located on the South-Eastern part of the island and is a 25-minute drive from Tenerife South Airport.
For those travelling with kids, you might want to consider a stay at GF Isabel. A family friendly hotel, GF Isabel features plenty to keep everyone entertained, from a fun pool featuring slides and toys, to a kids club to keep the kids enthralled – and giving you a chance to relax in peace in the process. GF Isabel is on the South-West of Tenerife, about a 15-minute drive from the airport.
If travelling in a group, or if you just need extra space to stretch out and relax, then why not consider renting a Tenerife Villa? Obviously these have to be booked directly with the owners and as such all experiences are different, but it is definitely an option to consider. There are plenty of holiday rentals and villas all over the island, from secluded idealistic getaways, to townhouses, to rustic cabins.
Food and Drink
Being a small island, yet part of Spain, Tenerife has the best of both worlds when it comes to traditional Spanish cuisine and tapas, and fantastic fresh seafood. If you haven’t got an explorative palate then don’t worry, as Tenerife has plenty of options to satisfy every taste and budget.
For the real ‘foodies’ out there, Tenerife is home to a number of high-end establishments doing creative and wonderful things with traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine. El Rincon de Juan Carlos is one of these establishments, and is one of the most highly regarded restaurants on the island. Located on the West coast of Tenerife in Los Gigantes area, El Rincon de Juan Carlos invites diners to sample such dishes as the eyebrow raising pigeon with pumpkin and couscous or their fresh steamed clams and eels. If pigeon isn’t quite what you fancy, then a trip to CHAR Modern Cocina and Grill might be more up your street. Specialising in high-end barbecue dining, CHAR proudly use a classic wood-fired Josper oven to give their food a rich smoky flavour. CHAR is in South-West Tenerife, in La Caleta region.
If your idea of a good meal is more wallet friendly then don’t despair. One of the benefits of Tenerife being such a tourist haven is its range of differently priced establishments, such as Ted Ristobar. A simple pleasant Italian restaurant in La Caleta region, Ted Ristobar is very popular and highly regarded, owing to its fresh produce and extremely wallet friendly prices and the carbonara is to die for. Bar el Camino is another popular inexpensive hang-out, specialising in well made fresh pub food and tapas. Located in North Tenerife and just a stones throw from the beach, Bar el Camino is perfect as a stop gap between sunbathing sessions, for a quick bite, or a lazy dinner. Just be careful if driving here though, as the home-made sangria is very more-ish.
Considering the constant weather and heat in Tenerife, the majority of notable shopping experiences are all in shopping malls, centres and complexes, although there are a number of diamonds in the rough hidden around the island.
Pick of the bunch has to be the impressive Siam Mall in Southern Tenerife. A Thailand themed centre, Siam Mall has over 70 shops on offer and a cool 1100 parking spaces for visitors. In Siam Mall you will find internationally renowned brands such as Pandora and H&M, alongside European giants and favourites such as Mango and Massimo Dutti. Siam Mall is in South-West Tenerife, a 10-minute drive from Los Cristianos.
Similar shopping experiences can be found at Centro Comercial Meridiano and Centro Comercial Plaza del Duque. Centro Comerical Meridiano is located in North-East Tenerife in the Santa Cruz area, and features brands such as Levis, Guess and Skechers, whereas Centro Comercial Plaza del Duque is in South-West Tenerife (a 15-minute drive from Los Cristianos) and features brands such as Armani jeans, Desigual and Superdry. Both malls feature state-of-the-art of air-conditioning, so you can peruse and browse at your own leisure.
When it comes to shopping abroad, you may want to ditch the grand shopping centres and international brands, and instead try and get a vibe for the real areas of where you are visiting. In Tenerife, this is the Playa de las Americas, home of the ‘Golden Mile’. Punctuated by fantastic scenery, the Golden Mile is perfect for strolling around, especially at night, and is home to various local vendors and traders. Playa de las Americas is also home to various street vendors who can be haggled with if you wish to sample their wares. Playa de las Americas is located in South-West Tenerife.
Also in South-Western Tenerife is Los Cristianos market, an open-air flea market full of curios, one-offs and some fake designer labels too. Again, don’t forget to haggle if you end up making a purchase, and make sure to take a hat as the open-air nature of the market means that it can be swelteringly hot under the Tenerife sun.
Culture & Attractions
When in Tenerife you shouldn’t ask “what is there to do?”, rather you should ask yourself “what do you want to do?” Nature trails, museums, water-parks, zoos and much more, here are some of the biggest and best attractions that Tenerife has to offer.
If you are travelling with the kids in tow, then a sure-fire crowd pleaser would be a trip to Siam Park, Tenerife’s self-styled ‘water kingdom’. A mass of slides, rides and wave pools, Siam Park has even been heralded by some as the greatest water-park on the planet! Set aside a good amount of time to visit however, as like all good theme parks, queues can be long and packed. Siam Park is in South-West Tenerife, a 10-minute drive from Los Cristianos region. Alternatively, the similarly styled Aqualand water-park is only a 5-minute drive North of Siam Park.
If the thought of water-slides and manic children sounds like chaos to you, then take a trip instead to Costa Martianez. A series of artificial seawater swimming pools as well as a large lake and restaurants, Costa Martianez is a laid-back alternative to the beach, ideal for those who aren’t confident swimming in the sea, as well as those who just want to soak up some sun and look good. A mainstay of North Tenerife for over 40 years, you will find Costa Martianez in the Puerto de la Cruz region, right on the coast.
If you have had your fill of beaches and water parks, then why not get invested in the culture and history of Tenerife? Tenerife is home to the Museo Historico Militar de Canarias, the biggest museum of militaria and warfare in all of the Canary Islands. Free entry, although the majority of the exhibitions are in Spanish, Museo Historico Militar is definitely worth popping in to, especially if the weather happens to turn. Located in North-West Tenerife in the bustling Santa Cruz region.