With golden beaches, spectacular landscape and almost year round sunshine, it’s no wonder Tenerife in the Canary Islands is one of our favourite holiday destinations.
It’s the largest island in the Spanish archipelago and boasts numerous resorts and beaches, which makes it ideal for families, couples and friends looking for a relaxing break that doesn’t cost the earth.
If you’ve visited the island before then you probably feel you know Tenerife well, however the island’s size and diverse landscape has many surprises for those willing to venture off the beaten track.
Colonial villages, secret hikes and secluded beaches are just some of the things we shine a spotlight on in the hidden gems of Tenerife!
Lunar Landscape in Teide National Park
The real heart of the island lies further inland away from the coast. The highest peak in all of Spain, Mount Teide is a staggering 12,200 feet tall and is the main attraction of the UNESCO protected Teide National Park. Luckily, you don’t have to be an athlete to admire the views. The easiest way to reach the top is by cable car, and the ride offers spectacular views over the island.
Beside the mountain, the park also boasts some out of this world scenery. Its strange rock formations give the area a unique lunar landscape, so your friends and family will think you’ve travelled much further than you have.
Step back in time in Garachico town
The town of Garachico in Northern Tenerife is one of the prettiest places on the island. It was once the main port town, but now it’s cobblestone streets, churches and colourful houses offer a tranquil and serene escape from the main resorts and the chance to immerse yourself in the islands culture.
Garachico is referred to locally as the islands ‘unluckiest town’. In the past, it has suffered from one disaster to the next, having experienced epidemics, floods and finally a major volcanic eruption that destroyed most of the town in 1706. Because of the strong current in the Atlantic, swimming pools and places for sunbathing have been created on the rocky promenade.
It’s turbulent past and its dramatic beauty are just two of the reasons this town should be on your bucket list.
Marvel at the beauty of La Laguna
Tenerife’s vibrant and colourful town of La Laguna is a UNESCO World Heritage site, however it’s largely unknown amongst many tourists. Situated in the heart of the countryside, La Laguna showcases its colonial architecture and packs in lively bars, restaurants and architectural monuments into its narrow streets. This picturesque town can be easily reached from Santa Cruz, and makes for a relaxed and rewarding day trip from the capital.
Visit the Anaga Mountains
Beach days in Tenerife are great no matter where you are, but exploring the island’s mountainous terrain is a good opportunity to see the island from a height. The island is full of hiking paths that are great for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Anaga mountains, located in Northern Tenerife, are some of the most impressive in the world with views to match. This diverse region is the real ‘off the beaten track’ side of Tenerife where you’ll also find untouched villages.
Masca Valley Hikes
Tenerife is a walker’s paradise with numerous trails located all over the island. One of the best hikes is the Masca Valley trail. This rewarding walk starts at the tiny village of Masca that’s nestled in the valley in north western Tenerife, and ends five miles later at the beach below. Confident hikers can walk this trail by themselves, or you can opt to take a tour with a local company.
Get closer to nature at Corona Forestal Natural Park
The Corona Forestal National Park is largely forgotten about in comparison to Tenerife’s other attractions.
Located just outside of the spectacular Tiede National Park, this diverse woodland is the largest protected area in the whole of the Canary Islands. The Lunar Landscape is formed by numerous conical shapes that have eroded over time.
Animal lovers will appreciate its tranquillity and vegetation, known for its biodiversity. With many species of plants and animals, this forest is the ideal spot to observe and enjoy the natural beauty of the island.
Eat until your heart’s content
We all know that the best thing about a holiday is often the food, and Tenerife’s alternative Spanish cuisine doesn’t disappoint. One of the most popular components of traditional dishes is Mojo Pico. This spicy sauce is made from garlic, peppers, olive oil and spices, and is served on almost everything. Why not try Papas Arrugadas? This traditional dish is made by cooking potatoes in their skin and covering them with the garlicy sauce.
Another popular dish is Ropa Vieja, also found in Cuba and around the Caribbean. This spicy stew varies from place to place but generally consists of chicken or beef slow roasted with beans and vegetables. Those interested in fine dining may be surprised to hear that Tenerife has five Michelin Stars among its restaurants, so there are plenty of options after a day exploring the island!
Party at a local carnival
Tenerife hosts one of the most vibrant and colourful celebrations each year. Held in February, the main parades happen in the capital of Santa Cruz, but you’ll find celebrations happening across the island.
Most people don’t know this, but Tenerife carnival as actually considered the second most popular one in the world following Rio De Janeiro’s famous celebration in Brazil. Carnival is probably the loudest and most flamboyant ‘hidden gem’ on the whole island!
Get your camera ready for La Orotava
Anyone looking for secluded beaches and a picturesque landscape will love the sleepy town of La Orotava. This beautiful town is a photographer’s dream with its blend of vibrant buildings, traditional architecture and cobblestone streets, all situated next to some of Tenerife’s quietest beaches.
La Orotava’s sleepy streets are some of the least known on the island and one of the greatest places to get a taste of the real Tenerife. On the other side, the town backs onto the lush valley which offers plenty of walking routes. La Orotava really does showcase the diversity and beauty in Tenerife.
Hotel La Casona Del Patio – Santiago del Teide
Hotel Emblemático San Marcos – Santa Cruz de Tenerife