Tenerife, the island of black sand beaches, natural pools, gorgeous volcanos and palm trees, lush vegetation, and sunshine, is one of the most popular islands in the Canary archipelago. It is known for its warm climate all year round, so it’s the perfect place to unwind and forget about everything. So, if you’re wondering where to start, here are my favorite places to visit in Tenerife that will make your trip unforgettable.

Epic Places To Visit In Tenerife. The North

1. Anaga Rural Park

Anaga Rural Park is located in the northwesternmost part of Tenerife, including parts of La Laguna and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It’s entirely different from the south and the area surrounding Mount Teide, and it is a paradise for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. As you enter the park, you feel like you’re stepping into a fairytale.

It is one of the most beautiful forests in the Canary Islands, so if you’re into outdoor activities, Anaga Rural Park is one of the best places to visit in Tenerife. 

Exploring the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is entirely free, so you can explore most of its paths on your own terms. However, to hike the Integral Nature Reserve of Pijaral, you must obtain a free permit in advance.

The park has several trails, from easy walks to the most challenging ones, each leading to breathtaking views. The most popular one is the Trail of Senses, a fairly 9-kilometer hike that connects the towns of Anaga and Laguna.  

view over the ocean from Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife

2. Taganana 

A tiny, gorgeous village hidden in the island’s northern part, Taganana is one of the most idyllic places to visit in Tenerife. It was completely cut off from the rest of the island until the 1950s, when a road was established.

Getting here involves driving on winding roads, but the views are well worth it. Once again, you will feel like you’re stepping into a fairy tale. This place is excellent for hiking, and you won’t spot many tourists here.

There is a church, some tiny whitewashed stone houses, a hermitage, some small bars, and a tiny shop. A coffee break is always a good idea, so find a cozy spot and enjoy the views. 

girl strolling the streets of Taganana, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife

3. Playa de Benijo, one of the most spectacular beaches on the island

Benijo Beach is one of the best beaches in Anaga Rural Park, if not the entire island, thanks to its wild and untouched landscape. While it’s not the best for swimming, especially with strong waves, it’s quiet. 

We wanted to escape the crowds and drove to Playa de Benijo after hiking for hours in the Anaga Rural Park. 

It was the perfect playground for us, jumping in the waves and witnessing the power of the ocean. The currents were so strong, and we had to be extra careful, but we enjoyed this beach so much.

Plus, we could spot Roque Benijo and Roque La Rapadura in the distance, making this beach one of the best places to visit in Tenerife. 

If you’re looking for a beach where you can swim,  Roque de las Bodegas, only 2 kilometers away, is the best choice.

view from Playa de Benijo over the ocean, Tenerife

4. Punta del Hidalgo

Punta del Hidalgo is known for its rocky cliffs and rugged coastline with crashing surf. It is one of the best places to visit in Tenerife if you’re looking for something authentic and remote. You will not find big chain hotels or all-inclusive packages. 

The village’s top attraction is the amazing natural pool, which is ideal for cooling off in the hot summer days. From here, follow the coastline until you reach the lighthouse, one of Tenerife’s seven still in use.  

The village symbol is, without a doubt, Dos Hermanos (Two Brothers). The name comes from a Guanche legend about two young brothers and their forbidden love for each other. They climbed up the rock in the dark of the night and jumped into the abyss, so the mountain split into two with a moan of pain. Find a lovely spot and contemplate the beauty of the landscape. 

A heads up: this place is popular in the summer as it gets chilly and windy in the winter months. 

view over Punta del Hidalgo, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife

5. Playa de Rojas, one of the best places to unwind in Tenerife

Are you looking for places to disconnect and recharge while traveling? 

Located in the north of the island, Playa de Rojas is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Tenerife. 

A stretch of coast under inaccessible cliffs, black volcanic beaches, impressive waves crashing over the sands, beautifully laid out, paved paths with stairs. What more could you wish for?

If you want to get off the beaten track, head to El Sauzal and enjoy some of Tenerife’s most iconic landscapes!

The road to the beach leads down the steep coast in surprisingly tight hairpin bends. Once here, you’ll find a huge parking lot and no one will likely be around. The highlight of the beach is the crystal-clear water and natural pools.

Walking along the promenade while contemplating the gorgeous Atlantic coast and swimming in the natural pools surrounded by lava rocks will make you disconnect and recharge.

If you want to swim in the ocean, remember that the beach is exposed to the open sea, so don’t undermine the force of the waves.

Playa de Rojas in Tenerife

6. La Orotava, one of the most authentic places to visit in Tenerife

Do you know that feeling when you have planned something for the day, but the weather is not the best, so you end up in a different location and are pleasantly surprised with what you’ve discovered?

It was one of those days when we decided to visit La Orotava, one of the hidden gems of Tenerife and probably one of the most beautiful in the whole Canary Islands. And how grateful we are for discovering this small town! 

Located in the north of Tenerife, approximately 30 minutes by car from Tenerife North Airport, La Orotava is one of the best places to visit in Tenerife! Its historical charm, delicious cuisine, and colonial architecture will make you travel back in time and discover the authentic Canary spirit.

Best things to do while in town:

Get lost on cobbled streets, marvel at the traditional houses and discover squares full of charm. Visit Casa de Los Balcones (House of Balconies), a real architectural gem and the most popular spot in Orotava.

Have lunch at one of the many restaurants in Plaza de la Constitucion. Then, step inside the gorgeous Church of Our Lady of the Conception and take a stroll in the gorgeous terraced garden of Jardines Victoria.

Visit the remarkable building Ayuntamiento de la Orotava (Town Hall), admire the architecture of Casa Lercaro, and, if time allows, visit a banana plantation.

the view from the  gorgeous terraced garden of Jardines Victoria, La Orotava, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife

7. Playa El Bollulo

To reach Playa el Bollulo, you’ll need to drive or walk from Puerto de la Cruz. The 40-minute coastal path will take you to one of the most beautiful, unspoiled and secluded beaches. The road is narrow and suitable for one car only but still manageable.

At the end of the road, you’ll arrive at Restaurante Bollullo Beach, where you can park your car for a fee. From here, follow the path leading to Bollullo Beach. It will take around 15 minutes to get to this beautiful black sand beach. Depending on the weather, the currents can be violent, so access to the beach might be restricted. 

view over Playa el Bollulo, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife

8. Puerto de la Cruz, the most colorful town in Tenerife

Puerto de la Cruz is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Tenerife, especially if you want to discover the island’s northern part. Although it is a popular spot among tourists, you can still find tranquility by heading to lovely side alleys and finding cute small cafes. 

From delicious cuisine to lovely street art, palm-lined streets and gorgeous architecture, Puerto de la Cruz ticks all the boxes! 

Best things to do while in town:

Wander around the artsy neighborhood of La Ranilla. Unwind and relax at the most gorgeous beach: Playa del Castillo. Soak in the history in charming Old Town.

Go inside the Castillo de San Felipe. Walk among traditional Canarian buildings and choose your favorite style. Relax at Lake Matianes, an oasis on the Atlantic shore. Discover tropical plants at the Botanical Garden.

Admire the gorgeous Church of Our Lady of Pena de Francia. Enjoy traditional food at one of the many restaurants. Climb the Agatha Christie steps for some fun photos.

9. Masca, the Macchu Picchu of Spain, one of my favorite places to visit in Tenerife

One of the highlights of our trip was Masca, a small, lost village north of Tenerife, lying at an altitude of 650 meters in the middle of nowhere. 

The village was one of the last refuges of the indigenous inhabitants, the Guanche(Canarian aborigines), who lived in the caves of the main canyon. Now, it is home to almost 90 people. 

After the terrific Teide Park, Masca is Tenerife’s second most popular destination! Even though the small town attracts many tourists, it’s still one of the most unique places to visit in Tenerife. 

Driving on a narrow road with heights and sharp hairpins is an experience on its own! You can stop at a few viewpoints along the way and soak up the views. But once there, the landscape will simply blow your mind; everything is so green and unique! The view over the village is lovely, and the area is so quiet and idyllic. 

The parking is limited, so you might consider coming early in the morning. 

For the adventurer, the Masca Canyon hike, all the way down to the ocean, should be high on the list! The trail is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only, and a maximum of 125 people can access it each day

girl admiring Masca village, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife for nature lovers

10. San Cristobal de la Laguna

San Cristobal de La Laguna is the second biggest city in Tenerife and the first large town built on the Island. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has a history that dates back to the 15th century.  The Spanish colonial city offers an extensive mix of historical properties with tree-lined courtyards, wooden balconies and cobbled interior patios.

Best things to do while in town:

Start your visit at Plaza del Adelantado, where you can admire the 17th-century Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena and the Nava PalaceThe square is a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists, so do some people watching while sipping a cup of coffee. 

Continue wandering around until you reach Plaza de los Remedios, where you can admire the impressive Roman Catholic Cathedral of La Laguna, the only cathedral in Tenerife.

Walk along the pedestrianized Calle Herradores, and soon you will reach the Church of La Concepción. Built in the 16th century, it is the first religious building on the island. Climb the bell tower for excellent views over the city.  

Church of La Concepción in San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife

11. Playa de las Teresitas 

Close to Santa Cruz, you’ll find a unique beach in the entire Canary Islands. Playa de las Teresitas is a beautiful, artificial golden sandy beach with many sun beds and umbrellas, showers, toilets and changing rooms. 

The 1.5 km beach is located in a curved bay protected by the Anaga mountains and dotted with gorgeous palm trees. The sea is always calm, so it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax with your family. It’s also an ideal spot for snorkeling. 

You can reach the beach on a 15-minute bus journey along the promenade from Santa Cruz.

lovely, sandy Playa de las Teresitas, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife for beach lovers

12. Stop at a GUACHINCHE for the most authentic cuisine on the island

Tenerife is a very food-orientated place, and most restaurants offer local products on their menus. Tenerife’s rich culinary tradition is influenced by the Guanche heritage, as well as Spanish and African cultures.

A Guachinche is a typical Canary establishment serving local wine and traditional dishes. The island has the perfect climate for growing fruits and vegetables, so locals take pride in preparing them well.

You shouldn’t expect fancy decor or professional service, and they usually don’t have printed menus. 

Look for dishes like Ropa Vieja, which is made with chickpeas, or Cuban Ricewhich is made with local bananas. Try Conejo en Salmorejo, a tasty recipe that uses marinated rabbit in a mixture of spices and wine, cooked over low heat until the meat becomes tender and flavorful. 

You can’t leave the island without tasting the famous Papas Arrugadas, wrinkled potatoes cooked in sea salt, served with red or green mojo sauce.

During the colder months, try the Watercress Stew, a thick and nutritious soup that contains watercress and other vegetables. 

For sweet lovers, the traditional sweet is the Empanadas filled with sweet potato. 

Wine lovers should be thrilled since the region’s fertile volcanic soils are ideal for growing vines( White wines of the Listán Blanco variety are highly appreciated). 

Barraquito is an alcoholic coffee, a mixture of coffee, liquor, milk and lemon. It is similar to an Irish coffee but better, something you should try at least once.

Our favorite Guachinches in the island’s northern part are La Huerta de Ana y Eva, El Fogon, La Casona and Casa Pedro. If you decide to visit them, let me know what you think. 

Epic Places To Visit In Tenerife. The Center

13. Teide National Park

No visit to Tenerife would be complete without visiting the Mount Teide volcano. The fascinating volcano, reaching 3718 meters, is the highest in Spain.

Some places take your breath away, and Teide National Park is one of those places! Honestly, I never expected to find so much beauty in Tenerife! 

About 300,000 years ago, a massive volcano collapsed, thus forming the caldera. Pico del Teide and many other volcanoes have sprouted out from the caldera base, creating a striking lunar landscape of lava, pumice, and rock. From above, it looks like a vast basin, and you feel like you are walking on Mars. 

Pico del Teide may be in a calima haze from afar, but you can see it clearly while in the park. So don’t make the mistake of assuming you won’t see the peak and not visit! Hop on the car and prepare to be amazed! 

Taking the cable car is the most popular and easiest way to summit Pico del Teide. Book your tickets well in advance if you crave reaching the top this way. 

If you want to hike to Pico del Teide, you need to secure a free permit in advance. This classic route is 8.8 kilometers long and very difficult, so it’s only for those in good physical condition.

If you’re not in the mood for this big hike, you might want to take the Roques de García circuit walk (1:30 hours) and the Montaña de la Botija loop trail (1:45 hours). 

view over Pico del Teide from Teide National Park, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife for nature lovers

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Epic Places To Visit In Tenerife. The Southwest Coast

14. Los Gigantes Cliffs, one of Tenerife’s most spectacular landscapes

Located on Tenerife’s western coast, the rocky walls of Los Gigantes rise majestically above the sea, reaching heights of 600 meters. The jaw-droppingly stunning landscape is definitely one of the most amazing places to visit in Tenerife. 

The indigenous inhabitants of Guanche considered Los Gigantes a sacred area, which they called the ‘Wall of Hell/Devil.’ They believed that the basalt wall marked the end of the world and that nothing existed after that.

Unfortunately, due to their impenetrable formation, there is no access to the cliffs, but there are countless places to observe them!

Best places to admire the majestic cliffs of Los Gigantes:

The gorgeous black sand Los Guios Beach is the perfect place to relax at the beach while admiring the cliffs

From Los Gigantes Marina, you can enjoy the view while having a fancy meal

Hop on a boat trip to watch the dolphins and the whales along the coast of Tenerife and admire the cliffs from a distance.

From Mirador Archipenque, you can get an overview of the cliffs and the town.

Punta de Teno, which marks the end of Los Gigantes Cliffs, is one of the best points to view the majestic wall.

One of the best activities on the island is going on a kayak trip with the stunning Los Gigantes Cliffs in the background. 

view over Los Gigantes Cliffs in Tenerife

15. El Charco de Isla Cangrejo Natural Pool

The natural pools in Tenerife were formed by lava after it bled toward the ocean and ran into the cold water. This process solidified the lava, creating the closed-off pools you can find all across the island. 

Today, they have become popular with locals and tourists and are the best places to visit in Tenerife since they offer a scenic place to swim without strong currents or waves.

El Charco de Isla Cangrejo Natural Pool is close to Los Gigantes and one of our favorite places to swim in Tenerife during high tide. The waves crashing the hole were amazing, and everyone was having so much fun. If you go swimming at low tide, you’ll appreciate the calm waters without waves. There are a few places to sit, sunbathe and enjoy the views.

El Charco de Isla Cangrejo Natural Pool, one of the best places to visit in Tenerife

16. Costa Adeje

Costa Adeje is where you will find beautiful beaches, posh hotels, high-end restaurants and exclusive shops. More than eight beaches are connected, and you can walk from one beach to the other along a lovely promenade with plenty of drinking and dining options.

Right next to a top-class tourist resort, Playa del Duque is the perfect sun, sea and sandy beach destination. This tranquil beach in Costa Adeje has all the comforts and little wind, making it ideal for relaxing and sunbathing. 

If you love sun, sand and nightlife, Playa de las Americas is the right place to be. Located on the island’s south coast, this holiday hotspot is a mix of classic and black volcanic sand beaches, activities for visitors of all ages and bustling nightlife. During the day, Playa de las Américas is one of the best spots to surf on the southern coast, with numerous surf schools and rental shops. 

Located just south, Los Cristianos has almost merged with Playa de las Americas. But it has a different and unique vibe, so it’s more for those looking for peacefulness and a taste of Canary life. You can stroll along the promenade, mingle with locals, find some souvenirs or simply enjoy a tranquil night out. Head to the nearby port for an amusing whale and dolphin-watching excursion.

Fanabe Beach is one of the best places in Tenerife for families and water sports enthusiasts. With its white sand and calm waters, it’s a popular spot for many visitors.

Costa Adeje, Tenerife

17. Whale, dolphins and turtles watching on the southwest coast of Tenerife

One of the best places in Europe to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures is the south-west coast of Tenerife. You can join a boat or kayak trip from Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje or Los Gigantes and spot different wildlife species.

Enjoy a whale-watching trip along Tenerife’s Los Cristianos coastline and get a chance to see whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Stop for a swim and snorkel in the ocean. Book your boat trip HERE.

Get to observe dolphins and turtles up close from an unobtrusive kayak. Swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters in a secluded bay and get spectacular views of the coastline and mountains of Tenerife! Book your water activity HERE.

TIPThe best time of year to spot the whales is during the migration season, which runs from November to February. You can spot Fin whales, Humpback whales, Sei Whales or Blue Whales in the Canarian waters.

dolphin watching tour in Tenerife

Epic Places To Visit In Tenerife. The East Coast

18. Surf Mecca El Medano

Just 15 minutes from Tenerife’s southern airport, away from the hustle and bustle of the resorts, lies El Medano, a typical Spanish laid-back atmosphere town. Compared to the tourist resorts of Costa Adeje, El Médano is rather serene and one of the most relaxed places to visit in Tenerife. 

The main attraction in El Medano is the Medano beach with a backdrop of Montaña Roja, the Red Mountain. The winds are strong here, so it’s a hub for kites and windsurfing. There are surf rentals and schools, so if you’re considering trying it, that’s the best place to be.

The sleepy little town is popular among locals, especially at the weekend.

If you visit for a few hours, stroll along the promenade, passing lovely fish restaurants, little boutiques, and cozy cafes. Watch the windsurfers play in the ocean and try the best seafood plate on the island.

Surf Mecca in El Medano, Tenerife

19. Playa de la Tejita, the perfect place to visit in Tenerife if you want to escape the crowds

Not far from El Medano, you’ll find Playa de la Tejitathe largest natural sandy beach in Tenerife. It is 1 kilometer long and 40 meters wide, and its western end is dominated by the red tint Montaña Roja, an ancient volcanic crater.

The beach has no facilities, restaurants or other amenities (besides a small kiosk), making it one of the best remote places to visit in Tenerife. You can go for long walks on the beach, relax with a book in your hand, swim at your own leisure and admire the landscape for hours. It’s definitely the place to feel like one with nature. 

Playa de la Tejita, Tenerife

20. Candelaria 

On the east coast of Tenerife lies the idyllic small village of Candelaria, one of the most tranquil places to visit in Tenerife. 

With a population of 28,000, the former fishing village is home to the impressive Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, the most important Catholic pilgrimage site of the Canary Islands. Nearly 2.5 million people from all over the world visit the church every year

Near the Basilica, you will notice a group of nine bronze statues. In 1496, the island of Tenerife was divided into nine territories, each ruled by a different leader. Los Menceyes Guanches is a tribute to those nine leaders and one of the city’s most important symbols. 

Admire the beautiful Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias and continue through the adjacent streets, immersing yourself in the history of the Guanches. Indulge in some local cuisine, grab a delicious ice cream or shop for handicrafts. Find hidden spots and mingle with locals. You will love the vibe of this coastal time!

Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, one of the loveliest places to visit in Tenerife

Tenerife Travel Guide. Everything You Need To Know Before Your Visit

Reasons to visit Tenerife, the most visited island in the Canary Island archipelago

Why visit Tenerife, you might ask? Let me give you 10 reasons why you should visit Tenerife:

#1. The green landscape in the north of the island has lots of hiking possibilities.

#2. Lovely towns to explore, like OrotavaTaganana, or Puerto de la Cruz, the most colorful city in Tenerife.

#3. Teide National Park, the symbol of Tenerife and the highest point in Spain.

#4. Tenerife is the ideal place to see whales, dolphins and turtles in their natural habitat.

#5. Masca, the Macchu Picchu of Spain.

#6. The most amazing sunsets!

#7. Incredible natural pools to cool off.

#8. Great location for sports lovers(surfing, kite surfing, cycling, paragliding, hiking, kayaking).

#9. Los Gigantes Cliffs is one of Tenerife’s most spectacular landscapes.

#10. The black volcanic beaches.

How to get around Tenerife

Flights usually land at Tenerife’s airport in the south, not the northern airport. If you choose to stay up north, you will need to arrange a taxi or a bus.  

The bus service on the island is great, and you can reach many places very easily and affordably. Although you can make many day trips with public transport, consider renting a car to give yourself more flexibility and independence.

The easiest way to discover Tenerife is to rent a car. You can stop whenever you want, visit places along the route, try new activities, and have the freedom to change plans at the last minute. Check out the best rental deals HERE.

Secure your travel insurance 

We never leave home without travel insurance designed to cover our expenses if something goes wrong. If you’re still on the lookout for travel insurance for your trip to Tenerife, I highly recommend HEYMONDO, a trusted insurance provider for leisure and business trips, backpackers, long-term travelers, and digital nomads. Their travel insurance protects against theft, flight delays, injury, illness, cancellations, and much more.

As a Lizy Travels The World reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo Travel Insurance.

Get an eSim before the trip

Because phones have become our most important devices, it’s necessary to have a data connection as soon as you step foot in a different country. Your home data plan might only work if you paid for a much more expensive package, finding wifi connections in airports or train stations might be tricky, and seeking a local store to buy a SIM card might be exhausting. Forget all of that!

You just purchase an e-SIM, install it on your phone, and activate the plan when you’re ready to use it. Getting out of the plane and instantly connecting to data was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to waste time standing in line to get a local SIM card or finding a wifi connection to book a taxi to reach my hotel.

If you ask me, getting an e-SIM is a quintessential part of traveling. There is no physical installation and no long-term commitments. And the best part: You can always top up or purchase a new plan through the app. Pretty convenient, right? Find the best data plan for Tenerife HERE.

Final Thought about Tenerife

Stay away from the resorts located in the south. Instead, choose to stay in the island’s northern part, which has retained much of its rural charm. 

Skip the theme parks and the captive wildlife. Instead, book a boat trip and see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat or go on a kayak trip.

From afar, Pico del Teide might be in a calima haze, but you can glimpse it clearly once in the park. So don’t make the assumption you won’t see the peak; just drive there and prepare to be amazed! 

Skip the fancy restaurants, stop at a guachinche along the road, and try authentic food. In terms of food, Tenerife is more than papas arrugadas, mojo verde, or mojo pico. Instead, look for dishes like Ropa Vieja made with chickpeas or Cuban rice made with local bananas. 

Don’t go on a day trip to Gomera, as the island is vast. You won’t see much, and you’ll waste precious time.

Don’t drive to Teide National Park and expect to buy tickets for the cable car. Tickets are sold way in advance(sometimes even weeks), so make sure to book them online as soon as possible.

Not sure if you need to rent a car? Please do it! You’ll discover charming villages like Masca, Orotava, or San Cristobal de la Laguna, as well as gorgeous hidden beaches, natural pools, national parks, and much more.

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