If mention of the name ‘Tenerife’ conjures up nothing but images of package holidays, white sandy beaches and party resorts, then be prepared to discover some of the island’s most wonderful, but lesser known, places that are sure to make you want to visit.
The Leafy Valleys of Masca
By far the most beautiful village on the island of Tenerife, or even in all the Canary Islands, this little place hidden in the valleys and gorges of the Teno Massif is a must-see for any visitor. Even the journey to get here, along a winding mountain road that curves up and down steep slopes, is an experience in itself. It’s only 5km from Santiago del Teide, but it feels like a whole world away.
The Old Town of San Cristobal de la Laguna
Former capital and the first city established in Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna is a beautiful old colonial town full of an eclectic mix of pastel-coloured mansions and and humble cottages. Now a protected UNESCO Heritage Site, this historic city has a youthful spirit and, thanks to its northerly location and atmosphere, feels miles away from the tourist-laden resorts in the south.
The Views from Teide National Park
By far one of the island’s most famous natural wonders, the towering, still-active Mount Teide is the third highest volcano in the world. Situated in the centre of Teide National Park, right in the middle of the island, the mountain offers spectacular views and hiking opportunities for visitors. This otherworldly landscape of craters, black sand and rivers of petrified lava tops the list of things to see for many tourists.
The Dark Skies over the Teide Observatory
It’s a little known fact that Tenerife is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Thanks to its clear skies, lack of air pollution and high altitudes, the island’s sky is a perfect inky black to spot the milky way and a host of shooting stars. Take a trip to the Teide Observatory for a guided view of the night sky while you’re here.
Walk the Barranco Del Infierno
The Barranco del Infierno (or Hell’s Gorge) is a green ravine near the town of Adeje and the only place in the island where you can find natural running water. This lush oasis is a protected area and the number of daily visitors are limited, so you will need to book if you want to discover its trails, wildlife and an outstanding 200 metre waterfall.
The Windy Cave at Icod de los Vinos
Take your own journey into the centre of the earth and explore the Cueva del Viento, or Wind Cave, at Icod de los Vinos in the north of Tenerife. This labyrinth of underground caves passages, originally formed by flowing lava, stretches out for 18km, making it one of the longest volcanic tubes in the world.
The Black Sands of Playa Jardin
The south of the island may be famous for its golden, man-made sandy beaches, but if you want to see the extraordinary natural beaches of Tenerife you’re best heading north, to Puerto de la Cruz. Here you can see the black sands of Playa Jardin, with its three separate coves surrounded by lush, tropical gardens.
Tenerife’s Volcanic Vineyards
Tenerife actually has a long history of producing wine that dates back further than the 16th Century, in fact, Shakespeare makes numerous mentions throughout his plays of his favourite tipple from the island. The fertile, volcanic soil results in full bodied wine, full of flavour, and a visit to the vineyards is an interesting excursion during your stay in Tenerife.
Santa Cruz during the Tenerife Carnival
A perennially popular destination thanks to the promise of winter sun, Tenerife draws in visitors to its warm southern beaches the whole year round. However, if you’re planning to visit in February, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the northern capital of Santa Cruz, where you’ll discover a city in the full swing of an epic fiesta. The Carnaval de Santa Cruz is the second biggest carnival in the world, beaten only by Rio, and an unmissable winter event.
The Natural Trails of the Parque Rural de Anaga
In an extreme contrast to the dry, scorched earth of the Teide National Park, the Anaga Rural Park at the northern tip of the island is a mix of rare, ancient laurel forests, spectacular cliffs and secluded beaches that are only accessible by foot or by boat.