An Island with Never-Ending Options...
The top places to visit in Tenerife include cultural, historical, natural and several other options. The great thing about Tenerife is not just its beaches and high-end hotels. Here you have fun for you, your family and friends, alone or together. But of course, it is always best to plan the top places to visit in Tenerife before your trip. That way you can try to get some discount vouchers and beat the queues for tickets.
Tenerife Travel Secret
As mentioned in our section of Things to Do in Tenerife, this island is perhaps the only one in the Canaries that really blends the features of all of them in one place. The varied climate from north to south means visitors can choose different places to visit in Tenerife – indoor and outdoor.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Beaches, Botanical Gardens, Leisure activities and Pools
Of course, when visitors come to Tenerife, one of the things they seek are the beaches. Most of the beaches in Tenerife have volcanic black sand, and many of them have small pebbles. You can still find beaches with sand of all types and colours though, including some beaches with white sand. We have a special section about Tenerife’s beaches, but below we highlight some of the best-known ones.
In the south, El Médano is a great place for windsurfing and wind-based activities. At Playa de Las Vistas in Los Cristianos, the promenade goes all the way to Playa de Las Américas with a big fountain by the shore. In the north, Playa de Las Teresitas has sand from the Sahara Desert. We particularly recommend Playa del Socorro and Playa de Los Patos for surfers.
The climate in the north of Tenerife is favourable for botanical gardens. El Drago Milenario in Icod de Los Vinos is more than 1,000 years old and over 16 metres tall. The Palmetum is a botanical garden in Santa Cruz de Tenerife dedicated to palm trees, with more than 400 species. Hijuela del Botánico is a smaller botanical garden in La Orotava. Jardín Botánico de Puerto de La Cruz was created to acclimatise tropical plants to send to the mainland, although this failed.
Leisure activities and swimming are some of the top things to do in Tenerife. Parque Maritimo de Santa Cruz is a pool complex designed by Cesar Manrique. Aqualand (formerly Octopus) is a great water park for families and is one of the most popular places in Tenerife. Siam Park is one of the most visited attractions on the island. Piscinas El Laguillo in Los Gigantes and Piscinas Naturales El Caletón (Natural Pools) in Garachico are two more to visit.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Natural Parks, Ravines, Mountains and Viewpoints
Tenerife is very rich in terms of nature, from the big national park to the smaller natural parks. The Parque Nacional de Las Cañadas del Teide is without doubt one of the most important parks in the Canaries. It's home to the impressive Teide volcano. Some of the top places to visit in Tenerife are Parque Rural de Teno in the west, Parque Rural de Anaga in the east, the barrancos (ravines) de Masca and del Infierno, with a waterfall at the end of the canyon, and Acantillado de Los Gigantes. The latter are spectacular cliffs that are over 500m tall.
There are a lot of viewpoints (Miradores) in Tenerife and they give an amazing panoramic view of the island. One example is the Mirador de Humboldt, a fantastic place from where you can see the Orotava Valley. Another is the Mirador de La Paz, which has an impressive view of the Puerto de La Cruz coastline. A third option is the Mirador de Ortuño in Las Cañadas. The Observatorio de Izana is located where it is due to the clarity of the skies to study the sun. Roques de García has a view of Llano Ucanca. Mirador de la Jardina is on the border of Anaga Rural Park and you can see Mount Teide on a clear day.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Churches, Castles, City Parks and Squares
The historical churches and castles are some of the best places to visit in Tenerife. Some examples are La Laguna Cathedral and the Basilica de Candelaria, a pilgrimage site near the ocean. There are three churches called Iglesia de La Concepción. One is in La Orotava, in a Baroque style. Another is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and was a vantage point for spotting pirates on the horizon. The last is in La Laguna and is a 16-century church with a Moorish-style tower. Don’t forget to check out the Real Santuario del Cristo de La Laguna (Iglesia de San Francisco). The Castillo de San Miguel in Garachico survived the advances of the lava in the 18th century. At Castillo de San Miguel, in Aldea Blanca, you can appreciate the beautiful castle while also enjoying a medieval-themed night.
One thing that Tenerife doesn’t lack is city parks and squares. Visit Parque de La Granja and Garcia Sanabria in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Plaza del Charco de Los Camarones in Puerto de la Cruz, and Los Jardines Victoria in beautiful La Orotava.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Cultural Places and Shopping
La Orotava is a hub for the craft scene in Tenerife. Enjoy the local cuisine and buy artisanal clothes, ceramics and other gifts. The best places to buy are Casa de Los Balcones (a manor house known for its beautiful balconies and courtyard), Casa Lercaro and Casa del Turista.
Tenerife also has a number of popular destinations for shopping, with important local and international brands. In the south, we recommend the Parque Santiago VI and El Duque shopping centres. In the north, visit Alcampo in La Orotava and La Laguna or Meridiano in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Historical Cities, Museums and Theatres
Tenerife is full of the heritage of its previous inhabitants. However, over the centuries some buildings and cities have become part of the bigger history of the Canaries. In the north, two important places to visit are Icod de Los Vinos and Garachico. The latter used to be the main port on the island. The Historic Centre of La Laguna is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The picturesque Masca is fantastically located on top of a mountain with beautiful views.
You can't complain that there aren’t many cultural places in Tenerife. In fact, quite the opposite... You’ll find a number of museums and theatres that are just as interesting as the ones in the big capitals. The TEA and Museo de La Naturaleza y El Hombre are great museums with modern artefacts and exhibitions; the latter has a larger archaeological collection from the Guanches, as well as mummies and an explanation of the mummification process. The Museo Etnográfico Casa de Carta in Valle de Guerra and La Casa del Vino in El Sauzal show the history of wine in Tenerife. The Auditorio is the home of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and the Teatro Guimerá is where the great opera, ballet and other performances are held – both in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Pirámide de Arona y Magma are places for musical events in Playa de Las Américas.
Places to Visit in Tenerife – Zoos and Theme Parks
Perfect for kids and very popular with adults, the zoos and theme parks are great places to visit in Tenerife with family and friends. Jungle Park (formerly Parque Las Aguilas) and Loro Parque are the most-visited and best zoos on the island. Pirámides de Güimar is a collection of six pyramids that still provoke a lot of debate about their origin. La Granja Verde is a very nice farm in La Orotava which is great for the kids, and Lago Martiánez is a complex of swimming pools in Puerto de La Cruz.
So Much to Choose, and So Little Time...
Once you explore the places to visit in Tenerife in the books and guides, the sad reality is that most probably you won’t have enough time to enjoy everything as much as you’d like. However, with a little bit of planning – and the help of Tenerife Travel Secrets – you will hopefully be able to select just the right places to visit in Tenerife to have a great time with your family or friends.
In any case, there's no need to be concerned – Tenerife is the kind of place that you should definitely come back to, so if you aren’t able to enjoy everything on your first visit there will be a good excuse for you to come back soon.