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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Tenerife - discover my favourite Island among the Canarian archipelago

Tenerife is an island located in the Atlantic Ocean, belonging to the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, Spain. With an area of ​​2,034.38 km² and a population of 908 555 inhabitants, it's the largest and most populated island of the archipelago and the most populated in Spain. The name Tenerife comes directly from the language of the Guanches, the original inhabitants of the island who were then exterminated during the Colombian colonization. They called the island 'Tene Ife' which means "Snowy Mountain", a name that refers to Teide, the highest mountain in Spain located in the center of the island. Tenerife has 350 km of beaches, some charming villages, a spring climate all year round and lush greenery, you are spoiled for choice on what to do every day, from wonderful days at the beach, hiking in the wild nature, a visit to the splendid colonial villages or to the more touristic cities for a little shopping! READ ALSO: Tenerife: the best hikes in the Island

READ ALSO: Planning Tenerife: how to make the most of your trip on this beautiful island But let's see together everything we did and let us inspire you!

Playa el Bolullo, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

Cities and Villages

  • Puerto de La Cruz

Puerto de La Cruz is located on the north coast of Tenerife. It's a town very popular with tourists but compared to other places on the island it's pheraps the quieter destination, but also richer and with more sophisticated tourism. It attracts above all for the wide offer of hotels of every category, some exceptional places of entertainment, luxury shops, restaurants with typical and international cuisine and not least, a very well preserved historic center and a lively port with interesting shops hidden among many bars and bistros. It's very nice to sit and have a coffee and watch the ships in the harbor. Fishermen can still be seen at work, hauling up their nets and arranging fish on the steps of the harbor. This is the ideal place to go for a walk. Here are some places not to be missed if you are in Puerto de la Cruz:

  1. Plaza del Charco: a place of night and day life at any time of the year, it takes its name from the pool (charco) of sea water that formed in the center. Locals say that coming to Puerto de La Cruz and not going to this square at least once is like never having been in the city.

  2. Las Lonjas: one of the most beautiful corners of the city, which with its stone pavement recalls how Puerto de La Cruz once was.

  3. Placa de Europa: built following the shape of a fortress above the sea.

  4. Calle Santo Domingo: there is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Tenerife, the Casa Miranda, with classic wooden balconies.

  5. Calle Mequinez: colorful and colonial style.

  6. Jardìn Botanico

We had the apartment nearby, so we went there a couple of evenings for dinner but we didn't fully visit it; as far as we can see it's a quiet city, very colorful and ideal for a walk on the sea at sunset. We have always parked on the road along the sea near El Penon del Fraile, there are many free parking spaces and it is very convenient to reach the center on foot in a short time.

  • La Orotava

El Drago, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

Located in the north of the island of Tenerife, La Orotava is one of the oldest cities in the Canary Islands. The historic center of the city is well preserved and very representative of the history and culture of the Canary Islands. Its old quarter has been declared a Monument of National Historic and Artistic Interest, and its streets are full of buildings of great importance including the European University of the Canary Islands. We began our tour of La Orotava by parking on Calle Apolinar, also known as Calle de la Hoya, which divides the Villa de Abajo from that of Arriba. On this street there is the entrance to the Botanical Garden, small compared to that of Icod de Los Vinos but really fascinating, to continue towards the spectacular Jardìn Victoria and built on several levels, colorful and super nice with a splendid view of the village .

Giardino Botanico, La Orotava, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

We kept on towards Plaza de la Constitucion and the Liceo de Taoro and then headed to Colegioy Carrera, a very elegant area where you will find Casa Benítez de Lugo, Casa Molina and Casa Franchy. Passing through Calle Colegio you get to the most important church in the city, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, declared a National Monument. With its two colorful bell towers outside the dome, which you can also see from the Jardìn Victoria, is impossible not to notice it. Finally Casa Fonseca or also known as de los Balcones, built in the 17th century and considered one of the best examples of Canarian Baroque style; it takes its name from the 6 splendid wooden balconies. Inside there is a patio that houses a local craft shop. It took us less than two hours to get around the historic center, with a break for a mid-morning snack at Relieve, an exceptional pastry shop I told you about in the post on food in Tenerife.

  • San Cristobal de La Laguna

San Cristobal della Laguna is said to be the most beautiful town in Tenerife, certainly a place of great charm and history, protected by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. It's the first example of an unfortified colonial city that served as a model for the cities of the American colonies. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, many places that I had saved to see were closed, and the city was a bit deserted, so we did not fully enjoy it, and in a few hours we did the complete tour of the center. The historic center follows the map of the stars, with buildings and important places built in correspondence of the tips, just like in an ancient map of sailors; today thanks to the University and the Diocese, it's the cultural and religious capital of Tenerife.

La Laguna, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

I recommend you to park in the Parking Quinteras for a fee, but very close to the historic center and therefore very convenient. We started the tour with Plaza del Adelantado, for many centuries the beating heart of La Laguna, place of the most important public functions, such as parties, markets, bullfights, processions and executions. Today it's a quiet meeting place, surrounded by some of the most important buildings of the city such as the Ayuntamiento building (town hall), with its facade covered with blue stones, with five arches in the lower part and five large windows or the Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Siena. We then kept on towards the Monasterio de Santa Clara, now a museum, which unfortunately was closed, then on Calle San Augustìn to the Museo de Historia y Antropologìa, which we did not enter, however. Also on Calle San Augustìn you will find Casa Salazar and finally the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Conception: in this church the Guanches leaders were baptized who, at the behest of the Spaniards, converted to Christianity. The religious temple is the oldest on the island and with its decorations it is considered a Spanish national sanctuary. Finally we arrived at Parque de los Dragos, near the University, and then we walked back to the car.

  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the main city, with a large marina and different architectures, one of the most important entertainment centers in all the Canary Islands. It's located in a splendid bay where the city is arranged as an amphitheater and the most interesting part of Santa Cruz is the area around the port where an urban path winds between ramblas and wide tree-lined avenues. We started from Plaza de Espana, one of the most important examples of Francoist architecture in Spain. We left the car in the paid underground car park at € 3.70 for 3h. From this point you can set out to discover the most interesting monuments such as the Church of San Francisco, one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque. We then continued towards Parco Garcìa Sanabria where tropical nature and contemporary art come together. In fact, in the park there is an important Museo de Esculturas al Aire Libre with works by contemporary artists distributed between palm trees and other tropical plants, cacti and spectacular fatty plants.

Auditorio di Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

We than visited Church of the Concepción, with Canarian colonial style and a splendid balcony of typically local wood on the outside and the Mercado Nuestra Senora de Africa open only in the morning until 2 pm. It represents the main market in all of Tenerife and is loaded of colors, energy and typical products. Finally, we walked to the Auditorium de Tenerife, built by Santiago Calatrava and in front of the Caleta de Negros. Here you can find the castle of San Juan stands, also called Castillo Negro because it was built with lava stone. Santa Cruz is a very lively, super colorful and fun city, full of shops and places to stop and enjoy a beer. In 3 hours we did a nice ride and returned home very satisfied.

  • Candelaria

Candelaria is the spiritual capital of Tenerife: here is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria where the statue of a Madonna found right on Guinar beach is venerated and considered miraculous. On the waterfront, in the Cathedral square, there are the statues of the Guanches kings, whose mummies were found in this area, which was treated very similar to those of the Egyptian Pharaohs. It is a very small village, beyond the Cathedral and the square on which it is located there is nothing else to see, we only went there because we were on the road and, honestly, nice, but not unmissable!

  • Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos and Las Americas

Costa Adeje is a location on the south coast and offers a lot for those looking for exclusive entertainment and elegant hotels, as well as long beaches of volcanic sand. It's a very touristy area full of great places to eat (see my post on food and restaurants in Tenerife). In this area you will find many beaches, including Playa del Duque and Paya Fanabé, so I recommend you to park in the basement of the Paris Shopping Center. You will find the area of ​​Playa de Las Americas, where you can park in the basement in front of Playa de Troya. It is a tourist-friendly town where everything is more or less artificial: from the beaches of Las Vista and Las Americas, to disco, up to English pubs, to have fun 24 hours a day. Los Cristianos, on the other hand, is located west of the southern airport and is known for its buzzing nightlife and dark, very touristy beaches. Honestly, this area does not do much for me, too touristy and artificial, not at all characteristic of the place, but a stroll is not denied.

Playa Fanabè, Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain
  • Icod de los vinos

Albero del Parque del Drago, Tenerife, Spain

Its name is linked to the importance reserved for the cultivation of vines, especially in the sixteenth century. It is located on a slope that extends to the sea, surrounded by a valley, from the city you can enjoy the fabulous landscapes of the Teide. Once parked near the city center, we left for Plaza de La Pila considered by many to be the most beautiful in all the Canary Islands. Fantastic view from here, and you will also be able to see the Millennial Dragon, the most famous tree in Tenerife, located in the Jardìn Botanico. The Tree of the Parque del Drago, a centuries-old tree that has become the symbol of the city, can be found in the center of the Jardìn Botanico, whose entrance will cost you € 5 per person. When we arrived, the entrance was wide open and no one charged us, but I don't know if this is normal or not. However, we have seen it all, up to the viewpoint and the internal cave. The garden is splendid, beyond the Millennial Dragon you will find many tropical plants and flowers, as well as lizards and many birds. After that we took a short walk in the center of the village, very small and without much else to see, an hour and a half will be enough for everything.

  • Garachico

Garachico, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

Small village near Icod de Los Vinos, so I recommend a visit to both if you are passing through. Located on the sea, it was once the busiest port in Tenerife. The area became an important colonial city that is now partly buried under the current center, due to a volcanic eruption in the eighteenth century. Do not miss the Piscinias Naurales, cliffs overlooking the sea that create a spectacular view. I also point out the artisan cigar shop "Tabacos Arturo" to get a taste of the famous "Puros Canarios", not to be missed even for non-cigar lovers. Here you can see the cigars hand made on the spot by the owners and buy some. They are a must for cigar lovers. While you are here, do not miss a stroll in the small town of Garachico, where you can find a market with stalls of local products and some beautiful buildings reminiscent of Latin American colonial architecture.


Activities:

  • Watching sunset from Punta de Teno

Punta de Teno, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

Punta de Teno is located in the westernmost part of Tenerife and was one of the destinations we loved the most in Tenerife! This corner of the island, located in the Teno Rural Park, offers splendid views of the neighboring island of La Gomera and the cliffs of Los Gigantes and a small beach ideal for snorkeling and an ancient lighthouse, the super classic ones with red and white stripes. white. To reach the lighthouse you have to go through Buenavista del Norte, and I recommend that you go there at sunset: don't forget to bring some beers and some snacks to eat. At the times shown below it is possible to enter the Rural Park and then reach the lighthouse only by bus, outside these times the barrier will be open and you can get there by car. Summer (July, August and September): Tuesday to Thursday from 09:00 to 20:00, rest of the week from 9:00 on Friday to 20:00 on Monday. Rest of the year (October to June): Tuesday to Thursday from 10:00 to 19:00, rest of the week from 10:00 on Friday to 19:00 on Monday. We went to see the sunset (at exactly 20.30), so we got at the park entrance after 19 and we had no problem. From the entrance to the lighthouse there are less than ten minutes by car, so you can comfortably get there by car, in time for the beautiful sunset.

  • Horse riding in Caldera del Rey

Caldera del Rey, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

It is a riding school on the Adeje coast where you can experience a nice horseback ride of about an hour between the banana plantations and the volcanic territory of the area, enjoying a fantastic view of the sea. Here is the link to the website. The staff is very nice and friendly, they treated us very well and explained a lot of things about Tenerife and its inhabitants, also giving us lots of tips on what to do and where to eat. The horses are very good and very well trained, based on your experience they will offer you a ride suited to your abilities. The cost per person is 30 €. Super recommended experience to experience the place from a different perspective!

  • Las Margaritas: Bananas Experience

Las Margaritas, Banana Experience, Tenerife

This tour of a banana grove was recommended to us by a friend who had done it a month before, fortunately, because otherwise we would never have known anything and we would have missed a fantastic morning. You can book the visit directly on the website considering that it is possible to go only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 to 13. The tour is 8 € per person and there are many signs with explanations in many languages, and also, at the end of the tour independently, you will meet at the Meeting Point together with an expert guide who will explain everything: from the cultivation of bananas to its history. It was an extremely interesting and enriching morning, very different from the usual activities. In addition, at the end of the visit you will be offered a tasting of bananas and typical banana-based products, from jams, mojos, banana wine to banana vinegar. All delicious, and if you want, there is a small shop where you can buy some handmade souvenirs or freshly tasted banana-based food products. We came out super satisfied and satisfied with the tour, we recommend it, but consider at least three hours for the visit!

  • Cueva de Viento

It is the largest volcanic cave in the world, 17km long, and is located near Icod de Vinos and Garachico. We wanted to visit but once there we discovered that it was only accessible by reservation, so if it is something that might interest you, book in time directly on the website. The visit lasts about 3h and a ticket will cost you € 20 each! If you go, let us know how it is, since in the end we couldn't make it.

  • Hiking

Tenerife is a great place for trekking and hiking in nature! We explored both the El Teide area, the island's volcano and also the highest mountain in Spain, but also the Parque Rural de Anaga, further north, with a totally different nature from the Teide desert.

  • Guimar Pyramids

Piramidi di Guimar, Tenerife, Spain

They are located in the municipality of the same name in the south-east of Tenerife and represent a real mystery, as no one has yet been able to find an explanation of their usefulness, but above all, no one can understand by whom they were built. The pyramids are astronomically oriented to project their shadow cone during the summer and winter solstice. We knew they would be closed but we went through them anyway in the hope of seeing them from the outside, and…. guys what a disappointment! They are very low, it is almost hard to call them pyramids. We didn't miss any of that!

Beaches in Tenerife

  • Las Teresitas

Las Teresitas, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain

In our opinion, one of the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife. It's located in the village of San Andrés, north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The golden sand of this beach was imported from the Sahara and runs along the coast for about 1.5km, bathed by calm and crystal clear waters. It is full of palm trees and plants called "sea grapes" which give it a Caribbean aspect; here you will find plenty of space to settle freely, or, if you want to be more comfortable, you can take advantage of the numerous bathing establishments and rent deck chairs and umbrellas.

Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain
  • Playa de Abama

Playa Abama, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

Another of my favorite beaches, located in the south near the Costa Adeje. Despite the beauty of this bay, it is not very famous as it is the beach of the Ritz Hotel. However, it is also accessible to those who are not guests of the hotel, after having left the car in the parking lot adjacent to the structure. I warn you, you have to walk a bit to reach it, and then take a nice staircase to the cove, but it's definitely worth it. Here too you will find a magnificent golden sand with very blue waters and very calm thanks to the cliff in front of the beach. You can also use the services for free, and arrive on the cliff on the left, overlooking the sea.

Playa Abama, Tenerife, Islas Canarias
  • Playa de Benijo

Tramonto a Playa de Benijo, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

Despite its dark volcanic sand, our absolute favorite one. Volcanic rocks emerging from the sea, magical sunsets, pure nature; Playa de Benijo is located in the Anaga Rural Park, in the north-east of the island, and to reach it you will have to drive a long way into the mountains, but don't give up, it's worth the whole journey, trust me. If you can fit it into your plan, make sure you drop by around sunset, and you won't be disappointed. A breathtaking sight. We waited for the sun to go down enjoying a cold beer bought in one of the bars along the street, almost near the beach! Together with the one in Punta de Teno, one of the most beautiful sunsets on the island!

  • Playa del Bollullo

Huddled in a small narrow basin between the cliffs of the El Rincón area, this black sand beach is perfect for spending a few quiet hours playing with the waves, particularly high all year round, so high that lifeguards are sometimes forced to close the access to the beach due to the dangerousness of the sea. We happened to be there on one of these days, but it didn't bother us much. However, there is a cute little bar on the cliff in front of the beach where you can relax, or if you prefer, do as we do and take a seat on a boulder on the beach and enjoy the view. El Bolullo beach can be reached in about 45 minutes on foot from Puerto de la Cruz or El Bollullo restaurant, where you can leave your car for € 3, via a not too difficult stepped path. It is a magical spectacle, very special even on days of bad weather! We liked it a lot.

  • Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

Los Gigantes are magnificent imposing cliffs that are part of a rocky wall that rises to the sky for 600 meters and that you can observe from a panoramic point of the homonymous village or by accessing Playa los Guios after leaving the car in the paid parking of the port. I literally fell in love with them, they are very fascinating, and the water that bathes them is wonderful!

  • El Medano

El Médano is one of the prettiest beaches in the south of Tenerife, both for water sports enthusiasts and families. Located in the municipality of Granadilla, it stands out for the beauty of the fine gray sand and the majestic view of the Montaña Roja volcanic cone. We made a very fast visit while we were passing by, and it was full of people wind-surfing, a fascinating and colorful show!

El Medano, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Espana
  • Playa de la Tejita

Playa de la Tejita, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

This more than one kilometer long beach is located in El Médano, near the Montaña Roja Special Nature Reserve and is ideal for young people and sportsmen looking for a wild place away from the crowded tourist spots. One of our favorite beaches in the south, less known than the very famous ones of Costa Adeje, but incomparable to me. The view over Montana Roja is priceless, and the beach has the characteristic of these stone circles arranged to offer shelter from the wind, making it unique and a very comfortable place to enjoy the day!

Playa de la Tejita, Tenerife, Islas Canarias
  • Playa El Duque

It is located in Costa Adeje, and is one of the few beaches with golden sand and clear water, quite quiet despite being in a very touristy location. Here you can choose whether to rent a sunbed and umbrella (when we went the establishments were closed and therefore you could use everything for free) or simply lie on the beach with your towel without paying anything. We really appreciated it, very close to the Paris Shopping Center car park where we left our car, there was free access to public services and a remarkable view! Much better than the nearby Fanabè and Playa de las Americas!

Playa El Duque, Costa Adeje, Tenerife
  • Fañabé

Located on the southern coast of the island, in the Costa Adeje region, it is a fairly light sandy beach, equipped with services, beyond a cliff that separates it from Playa El Duque. In my opinion much lower than Playa El Duque, we only stayed half an hour there because we didn't like it very much!

  • Playas de las Americas, Playas de las Vistas, Playas de Los Cristianos

Located in the south of the island, in the most touristic area, they are all to follow, and all are extremely similar, very long, gray, dark beach, rough sea and very crowded. Nice for a walk along the sea, but nothing more. Tenerife offers extremely more beautiful beaches!

Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

This is everything from Tenerife: I really hope you are going to fall in love with this Islands as we did. There are so many things to do and to visit.. a week is not enough!

It was truly an amazing surprise, I really didn't expect at all to find such beautiful places and delicious food.

If you're planning a trip to Tenerife don't miss the other post and

Please let me know what you think and write me if you need more info!


Have a nice trip and enjoy Tenerife!

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