There so many interesting things to do Tenerife apart from chilling on the beach and sipping nice cocktails. You can walk, hike, visit museums and botanic gardens and even drive around the island to take it all in. You are guaranteed to find something to your liking.
The food is amazing in Tenerife, especially if you like seafood. In order to fully enjoy the island, I recommend renting a car, however, rest assured that Tenerife has good and reasonably priced public transport, so you can still explore as much as you want.
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Top things to do in Tenerife
You will encounter exotic plants and beautiful small streets with wonderful gardens and fantastic views. You can also ditch the map and simply walk around, as you are guaranteed to find some impressive spots where you can really take some amazing travel pictures.
Mount Teide or Pico del Teide, is a 3718-metre high active volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Mount Teide and its surroundings comprise Teide National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2007.
Accessing the volcano is not difficult but remember you need a permit in order to get to the very top. You should apply for it quite a bit in advance to avoid disappointment. It's the ninth most popular national park in the world, so you can imagine that a lot of tourists are trying to get to its peak.
Pick a trail and go hiking
This time it doesn't have to be Mt. Teide. Just pick a trail and go, enjoy nature, enjoy Tenerife's flora and relax. You are guaranteed to find some interesting spots through the forests and take some raw nature pictures. We decided to walk around La Caldera and we ended up having the adventure of a lifetime. Hiking through the clouds, seeing ghostly trees along the path, finding interesting plants and getting lost, were only some of the highlights. You can read about our hiking adventure here.
I should probably start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of zoos. I prefer seeing animals in their natural habitat as opposed to photographing them whilst they're in a confined space. Having said that, one of my family friends told me that visiting Loro Parque whilst in Tenerife is an absolute must. Although a little reluctant, we followed the advice and purchased tickets. The animals were kept in very good conditions and really looked after. The whole layout was well thought through and we spent over three hours walking around. There are a few shops and facilities around so you can stop for lunch if you're getting hungry. There are dolphin and bird shows but I recommend you getting there at least 10 minutes before the schedule as Loro Parque tends to get really busy. Above all, they have a cute, little sloth and since my partner is crazy about them, this was most certainly the coolest highlight for us.
This beach is in Puerto de la Cruz. If you decided to stay in the Northern part of the island, then you are in luck. Otherwise, there might be quite a trek to get to Playa Jardin. Regardless of your location, it's totally worth checking it out. Firstly, it's covered with black volcanic sand. Secondly, it has a variety of bushes, flowers, trees and tones of cactus plants around. These are some of the best cactus photo opportunities I encountered so far. Thirdly, this is one of the places where locals come to surf. If you are into surfing, it's a great place to see some of the amazing waves these brave people take on. Lastly, it's super close to my favourite restaurant in Tenerife: Tambo.
Santa de la Cruz
Santa de la Cruz, or Santa Cruz how everyone calls it, it's the capital of the Canary Islands. You can find a lot to do here. From going to the beach to shopping in the mall. It's also nice to just walk around and explore the capital a little bit, eat and chill with the locals. Although it's essentially a city, you can enjoy a nice walk under the bright sunshine, stop for a cocktail and have a good meal. The pace in Santa Cruz is a little different than anywhere else on the island, and it feels ever so slightly more agitated and rushed.
Playa de Las Teresitas
If you made the effort to go all the way to Santa Cruz, then you should go explore Playa de Las Teresitas. This beach offers postcard views, the finest desert sand and very calm waters for a great swim. The water can be a bit chilly, although manageable. We were there in May so there's a good chance that ocean temperature rise during the summer season. The sand is so very fine you will want to roll in it. I couldn't get enough of feeling it with my hands. I think this was the finest sand I ever touched. Take a walk around as there are quite a few photo opportunities.
Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz
This is an 18th-century botanical garden and it has a variety of tropical plants. The highlight is a 2 centuries old fig tree which looks very impressive. Although not a big garden, you can grab a book and chill around for a couple of hours. We very much enjoy seeing all sorts of plant species, including one of our favourite, the Spanish moss. We are biased though, we absolutely adore botanic gardens, and we made a habit of checking them out everywhere we go.
An amazing 5.8 km long which should be able to do in about 3-4 hours. You can also do it quicker, but I presume you want to relax, stop and take some awesome pictures around. This is pretty raw nature, so expect some amazing scenery, but also some seriously steep parts. You should bring plenty of water with you and some good hiking boots. I would really not recommend this if you have health problems or are not in good shape. It is a hike and should be treated as such.
If you are in Puerto de la Cruz, visiting this little quaint village is an absolute must. If you catch the bus 363, which will get there in just under an hour. It's a lovely place to visit, with unique shops, restaurants and cafes. It's a small place with exemplary views and a slow pace. You can also start a few trails from there if you fancy a longer, more involved hike.
Punta de Teno
I will start by saying that you can't really reach this without a car. The drive to Punta de Teno is quite exhilarating and fun. The whole area is a natural park and a wildlife haven.
The actual point of interest is very rocky and offers some fantastic views over the Atlantic. Punta de Teno is worth visiting as you will feel totally remote, almost as if you reached the end of the world.