Tenerife has gorgeous beaches, year-round sunshine and a reputation as something of a party destination. The fact that it also boasts beautiful, rugged scenery and a wealth of activities for those with no interest in simply just soaking up the sun is often overlooked. Fancy doing something different this summer? Then look no further than our top tips for making the most of your holiday in Tenerife.
Teide National Park and Hiking
Comprising a 10-mile-wide volcanic crater, this UNESCO World Heritage site dominates the centre of the island. At its heart is Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak. With its lunar landscapes and strange rock formations, there’s plenty for the eye to see. It’s a pretty decent climb too, measuring some 3,718 meters in total. Not that it’s the only place to go hiking on the island. Try the Masca Ravine for a spectacular three hour descent that culminates at the foot of the Los Gigantes Cliffs. The Anaga Mountains, meanwhile, situated in the north-east of the island, are regularly voted Tenerife’s most popular walking spot. Just don’t look down!
If you’ve booked flights to Tenerife with the family and hiking isn’t your thing, but you still seek adventure, then look no further than this Thai-themed aquatic theme park. With a range of water slides and heart-stopping adrenaline-pumping rides, it’s great for the kids – even if your adventuring days are behind you. LoroParque, Siam Park’s sister resort, is equally well-established and contains an awe-inspiring collection of parrots and its shows involve dolphins, orcas and sea-lions.
Garachico was once the richest town on the island. All this changed when it was engulfed in lava from a nearby eruption in 1706. However, it remains one of Tenerife’s most popular day-trip destinations – precisely because of its past. Swimming in the rock pools created by the lava is a totally unique experience. Not to be missed!
If you still think Tenerife is all about sun, sea and sangria, then La Laguna may just the place that changes your mind. Formerly the capital of the island, this university city is another World Heritage Site and, alongside its wonderfully preserved mansions (some of which date back as far as the 16th century), you’ll find an impressive array of tapas joints, bookshops and antique stores.
Puerto de la Cruz BotanicalGardens
Set on the hills above Puerto de la Cruz and encompassing some 215,000 square feet, the gardens contain a wide variety of tropical plants from the mainland, as well as guided paths which allow tourists to structure their visit as best they see fit.
It’s definitely worth taking the trouble to explore Tenerife beyond its beaches and resorts. You won’t regret it!
Image by Till Krech, used under the Creative Commons license.