Two of the best things about Tenerife (and life in general, perhaps) is beautiful weather and a relatively slow pace of life. As one of the most reliable destinations for winter sun, and guaranteed sunshine all year for that matter, the only worry you will ever have here is what cocktail to have beside your sun lounger.
It is one of the largest Canary islands and attracts over 10 million visitors a year. Whether it be teens on their first holiday away from home, families taking their annual sunny getaway or retirees fancying a spot in the sun.
So without further ado, here is your guide to Tenerife, the island that is often lumped with the cliché of tourist tat and tired streets, but actually secretly boasts ancient laurel forests and spots of an authentic flavour of the top tourist spot…
Sample Sand from the Sahara
Yes, that’s right, the golden sand is actually imported from the Sahara to the beach at Las Teresitas… essentially a beach of dreams. With the Anagas Mountains as a looming backdrop and only a short hop from your ship port, what more could you want?
Choose somewhere less crowded than the norm and escape Tenerife’s touristy, black, volcanic beaches. If you didn’t already know, the majority of Tenerife‘s beaches have black sand, so imported sand is a blessing!
Watch the darting tiny fish in the warm, shallow water and explore the fishing village of San Andres for a choice of seafood restaurants. Palm trees will line the backdrop of your photos and who wouldn’t be jealous of those idyllic views?
Walk on Water
Aquazorb Your Way Around
We all love succumbing to some of the typical tourist trends so if you do decide to hit the most popular beaches in Santa Cruz, then make sure you make your visit a little unique with inflatable fun in a Nuclear globe (it’s basically AquaZorbing, except on the ocean!)
This is definitely the type of thing you can’t do at home and it’s not for the faint hearted, or for the very un-coordinated, for that matter but why not give it a go?
If you love the action-packed attractions to your destination or you’re first to head towards activities like the surfing simulator and rock climbing wall onboard your ship, then bouncing on the waves in a giant hamster ball is a sure way to get the adrenaline pumping!
Become Best Friends With A Parrot
Parrots VS Tourists
Believe it or not, you’ll be faced with 3,000 parrots when you visit Tenerife, and they can all be found in Loro Parque. It has fast become one of the best zoos in Europe and a big family-friendly attraction for those travelling to the sunny island in groups.
The largest collection of parrots in the world lives here, so brace yourself for the noise and for every colourful photo opportunity!
Trek across the Katandra Treetops attraction – the newest in the park – to see the island’s wild birds in their natural habitat and once you’ve had enough of that, there’s also resident lions, chimps and killer whales to see. Who says even the parrot park doesn’t give you variety?
Get a Buzz in the House of Honey
Beekeeping At Its Finest
Tenerife might not be the first place you think of for carrying beekeeping as a great tradition, but it’s true! It brings together more than 60% of beekeepers in all of the Canary islands- now that’s commitment.
Take a visit to Casa de la Miel in Santa Cruz to sample some fresh honey after watching the bees hard at work on your tour. Pick up some souvenirs to take back onboard with you- homemade beeswax candles for the family back home?
Embrace All Things Carnival
From The Caribbean To Hollywood
Don’t things just go so much more smoothly when the timing is just right? So make sure you do your research before cruising your way over to the island as February is the month of Tenerife Carnaval!
This annual fiesta and parade is the perfect excuse to either try some local street food from one of the make-shift kiosks that pop up or throw yourself into the midst of it with the dancers and other acts. You can even watch the High Heels marathon where you’ll see plenty of the local men trying to complete the race in drag!
It’s all in good spirit and every year has a different theme, whether it be the Caribbean, pirates, Hollywood musicals, the future or the 80’s. It has been a tradition since 1987 so why not take part in what will soon be a part of history and one of the most popular and internationally known carnivals!
Feel On Top of the World (Quite Literally)
Hike It To The Top
Just when you thought your best view on your cruise would be from your stateroom balcony, Tenerife hands you a view from Spain’s highest peak at 12,198 ft! You can get to this as easy as hopping on a cable car to the top of Mount Tiede.
Hope for a clear day so you can spy on the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, La Palma and Gran Canaria! Spain’s highest mountain (and third largest volcano in the world) sits right in the centre of the island of Tenerife in all its jaw-dropping glory.
In just an eight minute journey you’ll be feeling like you’re on top of the world (in a literal sense, too), but for all of you adventure lovers there’s still a chance to grab your hiking boots if you fancy devoting five hours walking from bottom to top…
Inside The Volcanic Tube
Welcome to the Cueva del Viento: Europe’s longest volcanic tube. Grab your helmet and get ready to explore this piece of history that’s 27,000 years old!
Otherwise known as caving in the canaries, you can gaze at the patterns and formations that were burned into the rock all those years ago. Feel free to snap away and take home the memories, too.
How else will the family know you’ve been inside an actual volcanic tube?!
Teddy Bear’s Picnic
Spend some time nosing around Icod de los Vinos to find something you might not expect to come across in Tenerife: a doll and teddy bear museum!
Artlandya encourages visitors to feel welcome to the magical experience that counts as perhaps the least touristy thing you could do on your holiday. You’ll find it in the small town with its old and historic centre and it’s a world for adults and children.
More than 600 artist dolls and teddy bears are exhibited in showrooms, all from the best doll makers. You can even visit the small workshop, watch the steps to making a porcelain doll and get the answers to the questions you might not have known you had…
Try Your Luck At Tenerife’s ‘Unluckiest Town’
Natural Volcanic Attractions
Despite its stigma of the unlucky, the village of Garachico is famously gorgeous. Its history includes volcanic eruptions, floods and plagues but you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty the volcanoes have caused.
Join one of the locals for a dip in one of the natural seafront swimming pools (all created by lava indentations in the rocks) or explore the cobbled streets where you’ll come across beautifully restored churches and hotels.
One of the unluckiest towns has some beautiful views to offer due to its history of natural disaster, lets appreciate it!
Release Your Inner Creativity
There always comes a time on your holiday (albeit not that often) where it’s time for some shade and Tenerife even caters for that with the TEA Art Space. This modern marvel is a sunburn-saver at the same time as being yet another way to fill your time with new and exciting culture.
You’ll find some exciting exhibition spaces with modern art, fine art, photography and art installations and you’ll still find pleasure in a peaceful stroll round the quarters surrounding it.
Go All Indiana Jones
The Next Best Thing
It might be to your surprise that you can find the second best thing to Machu Picchu in Masca, Tenerife. Not only is it one of the most picturesque parts of the island but you can hike the jurassic ravines that lead up the winding roads and bends on the way up to Masca.
You’ll soon get to the beautiful village and can also seek out the small Bay of Masca on the coast by boat for a photographer’s dream! A real off-the-beaten-track island experience, and you’ll be glad to hear that you can just hop in a water taxi on the way back instead of facing the hike again!
The next time a Canary cruise is on the agenda, don’t dismiss it as a ‘been there, done that’ cruise stop.
There’s so much more to Tenerife than just year-round sunshine, from its hidden arty side to its volcanic marvels, from its bee-keeping qualities to its imported Sahara sand: it is undeniably the perfect place for an out-of-season break. Tenerife– always the sunny side up.
Have you been to Tenerife yourself? What’s your favourite typical tourist spot? Do you have any off-the-beaten-track gems to recommend us? Leave us your thoughts, memories and comments!