For a long time the Canary Islands had a kind of unflattering image of a concrete jungle. Many saw, and still see, in the Atlantic archipelago a perfect example for a natural paradise spoiled by mass tourism. Although Gran Canaria and Tenerife were back in the 60’s built up with concrete hotel buildings, Tenerife is particularly transitioning from mass tourism to a respectful, more moderate form of tourism.
The beach and sun has always been the main reason why tourists went to Tenerife. But the little island amidst the Atlantic ocean has much more to offer than warm temperatures throughout the year and high quality beaches.
Indeed its rural side makes it an outdoor paradise for adventure lovers. The tourism entity of Tenerife has invested a lot in repairing its extensive hiking trail network, protecting natural parks and securing untouristy beaches.
After living for 5 months in Tenerife, I want you to discover the best places to visit when traveling to Tenerife including the most popular attractions and less known hidden gems.
Best Places to Visit in Tenerife
Teide Volcano – Spain’s highest mountain
Mount Teide is Tenerife’s most eye-catching attraction and arriving by plane on the island is already spectacle itself. With its 3718 m it’s the highest mountain of Spain.
The lunar landscape around the volcano is truly unique and can’t be found in any part of Spain. This makes it a coveted outdoor paradise for adventure lovers from all over the world.
The range of activities you can do around Mount Teide seems to be almost infinite:
- Hike up to the peak and spend a night in its mountain hut with spectacular views over the island and neighbour island La Gomera. You will have to wake up before sunrise to hike up the last metres to the peak. Watching the sunrise from the peak of Mount Teide is one of the most memorable experiences you can have on Tenerife island.
- For those who prefer a softer experience, there is a cable car which will take you to the Upper Station located at 3555 m without any effort. Also here you’ll have a breathtaking view over the Atlantic island.
- Visit the Astronomical Observatory at Mount Teide and discover why Tenerife is one of the world’s best destinations for star gazing. Astrologists from all over the world travel to Tenerife to enjoy its excellent astronomical seeing conditions and absence of light pollution that are unique on this planet.
Masca – The Island’s most remote village
The village of Masca is recommended in almost every Tenerife travel guide. But trust me, even if it’s a bit touristy, the visit of Masca and its corresponding trek through the Los Gigantes canyon are absolutely worth a visit.
Masca is a small village set amidst the highest canyons in Europe which had no access to paved roads until the late 60’s and could thus preserve its pristine charm. The natural setting of this laid-back village is simply breathtaking. It is almost totally closed-off from external influences, the only access being a long winding road which used be used only by donkeys.
The best thing to do in Masca is having a little walk through the ancient village and the trekking lovers can even hike down to Masca Beach. The trail leads you through the canyon along former pirate caves down to Masca Beach. You should calculate at least 3h for the entire hike.
Europe’s largest water attraction: Siam Park
For all those who can’t get rid of their inner child: Siam Park should be very high on your Tenerife bucket list! Indeed Siam Park claims to be Europe’s most spectacular water attraction. Located in the tourist hotspot area of Costa Adeje, Siam Park has everything you need to spend an unforgettable day.
The water park is far from being an ordinary place since it holds several world records:
- The world’s largest dragon statue.
- The largest man-made wave in the world (about 3.3 meters).
- The world’s largest Thai building outside of Asia.
For those who don’t fancy a dip, you can check out the shopping mall located right next to Siam Park.
Anaga Rural Park
For those that are looking to spend some time off the beach and explore mountainous landscapes, you should definitely visit Tenerife’s spectacular north: Anaga Rural Park.
Its natural setting has nothing in common with the beachy south. This area remained quite remote to its high mountains which make it today a popular hiking destination. Due to its extended trail network, you can easily spend several days in Anaga Rural Park without getting bored from its breathtaking landscapes.
Anaga also holds some of the most photogenic beaches like Playa Benijo or Playa Santiago.
As you see, Tenerife is much more than sun, beach and concrete buildings. From stargazing to hiking, there will be a leisure option for everybody.
Paulina is originally from Luxembourg but she lived during 5 years in several Spanish towns. In 2016 she started working on Tenerife island and felt immediately in love with its people and of course the food. Departing from Tenerife, she dared to take an adventure of a lifetime: crossing the Atlantic Ocean by sailing boat. That’s when she decided she only wanted to travel slow and eco-friendly. Follow her site Paulina on the Road to learn more about slow and eco-friendly traveling. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.
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