Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, located off the coast of Western Africa and is renowned for the high levels of tourism and its marvellous sunshine. What many people don’t realise is that this popular island has another side to it —one of stunning natural landscapes, fascinating museums and galleries, and a lively carnival culture to rival that of Brazil. But if you need more convincing, here are 10 reasons to fall in love with Tenerife…
Teide National Park
Perhaps the main highlight of Tenerife is Teide National Park, which is home to Spain’s highest mountain, a volcano named Mount Teide. You can travel up the mountain in a cable car (making sure to bring a coat as it is chilly at the top), visit the Teide Observatory, or simply tour the beautiful national park itself.
Image by Lüdia, with permission under Creative Commons licence
La Tejita Beach
If you’re serious about topping up your tan in style, La Tejita Beach is definitely the place to be. Located not far from El Medano, this gorgeous stretch of sand offers spectacular views of a geographical formation known as Montana Roja (the Red Mountain), and boasts plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas.
Auditorio de Tenerife
This impressive piece of architecture is Tenerife’s answer to the Sydney Opera House; a soaring, majestic white building that hosts all kinds of musical performances. If you don’t have the time or budget to see a show here, you can take a guided tour of the building, or stop for a drink in the main café.
Watersports at El Medano
Image by juan.aguere, with permission under Creative Commons licence
If you’re into your watersports, you’ll want to head straight for the beach town of El Medano. The strong winds in this area of Tenerife make for excellent surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, but the surrounding beaches are also perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
La Laguna Cathedral
If you’re going to visit one historic piece of architecture on Tenerife, make it this beautiful cathedral, which is located in the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna. Constructed in the early 1900s, it houses the remains of Alonso Fernandez del Lugo, who conquered the island and founded the city.
Pyramids of Guimar
One peculiar tourist attraction on Tenerife that is certainly worth a visit is the Pyramids of Guimar. These terraced structures were built from lava stone in the 19thcentury, and the motives behind their building remains unclear — although some archaeologists have theorised that they were created for agricultural purposes.
Snorkelling with turtles at El Puertito
El Puertito is a quaint little fishing village on the southwestern coast of Tenerife, near to Adeje. It is not notable for much, and remains largely untouched by the tourist trade. However, it is an excellent spot for snorkelling, particularly if you are interested in seeing the local turtles.
Cueva del Viento
Adventurous types will absolutely love the cave system at Cueva del Viento, in the town of Icod de los Vinos. The complex of tunnels and caverns is in actual fact a lava tube, created after volcanic eruptions from Pico Viejo in Teide National Park.
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
This excellent museum is located in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is considered one of the best museums in the Canary Islands. Exhibits about Teide volcanic eruptions, the Guanche mummies (ancient indigenous people of the Canary Islands), and local wildlife and geology are particular highlights.
Image by Steve P2008, with permission under Creative Commons licence
If you’re visiting Tenerife with children, you’ll definitely want to visit Siam Park, a Thai-themed water park that boasts some brilliant rides. Whether you want to relax and cool off, have fun with the whole family, or get your heart rate going with something a bit more daring, Siam Park will have the ride to suit you.
Whether you’re visiting Tenerife on a cruise and enjoying the comfort of a ship, for a package holiday or as part of a long tour around Europe, you’ll find plenty to keep yourself entertained and illuminated. In fact, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is leaving…