Tenerife is a beautiful little island that people of all ages can enjoy.
In one place you’ll find yourself surrounded by hip young clubs and bars, and in another, you’ll find yourself immersed in peaceful, idyllic surroundings, wandering along deserted, black sand beaches or hiking up the side of Mount Teide without a manmade structure in sight!
There’s so much to see and do in Tenerife that you may well find yourself returning again and again, discovering new hidden corners each time!
As a first-timer however, these are the 5 places I personally think you just can’t miss…
1. La Plaza de España
At the heart of Tenerife’s capital city Santa Cruz lies la Plaza de España (“Spanish Square”), where you’ll discover a wonderfully eclectic mixture of ancient architecture and modern delights such as the beautifully futuristic auditorium.
Book tickets here to watch a musical or concert during your stay and relish the chance to be seated in such a cool building!
You can hit the shops in true tourist style, or stroll along the sea front here at the nearby Playa des las Teresitas to witness breathtaking views and feel amazed at the knowledge that this beautiful beach is entirely manmade: It was made in the seventies using sand from the Spanish Sahara!
To the West of the island you’ll find a picturesque fishing port steeped in a rich and colourful history. Almost entirely destroyed by lava in 1706, this charming town today sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty where you can take stunning snaps for the holiday album.
Head to Casa Gaspar, an old-fashioned restaurant adored by tourists and locals alike; here you can dine on fresh, locally-caught seafood at a reasonable price, yum!
3. La Orotava
If you love architecture, you won’t want to miss a trip to La Orotava, the ‘historic centre’ of the island – its home to some of Tenerife’s most magnificent buildings.
Take a break from the heat in one of the many shady squares scattered around the town, where you’ll be able to dine on traditional Spanish tapas and share a jug of sangria before heading off to La Hijuela del Botánico.
This beautiful botanical garden is home to some 3,000 tropical plant species, as well as many different varieties of birds and butterflies.
4. Loro Parque
Literally called ‘parrot park’, this family-friendly zoo is home to more than just parrots!
You could easily spend an entire day here: Watch the fantastic Orca show put on by whales brought to Tenerife from Sea World in Florida, or wander through the park’s stunning gardens, a perfect spot for a mid-day picnic!
Loro Parque also features the world’s largest penguin park and, of course, a very popular parrot show which will leave you doubled over in pain from laughing too much!
These mischievous birds then fly right over the heads of the audience at the end of the show.
5. Icod de los Viños
If the butterflies on show at La Hijuela del Botánico piqued your interest, you’ll likely also love the butterfly park at Icod de los Viños, one of the oldest towns on the island!
What’s more, here you’ll find what is believed to be the oldest tree on our entire planet – the famed Dragon Tree. Locals believe the tree is between 1000 and 3000 years old (though most scientists believe it to be younger).
It’s become such a tourist attraction that you have to pay a small fee to see it close up, but it still makes for a fantastic photo opportunity from a distance thanks to its huge size!
If you’re looking for more man-made wonders, check out la Iglesia de San Marcos, a 15th century church that features one of the best works of silver filigree on the planet, the Filigree Cross.
Thinking of visiting Tenerife?
Tenerife is the perfect holiday destination all year round, but to escape the crowds I’d visit in the spring time when the weather is hot but you can enjoy the island almost tourist-free. Plus you can find very cheap hotels in Tenerife when you go off-peak – I stayed for a week in a luxury villa for less than 3 nights in a London hotel room would cost!
This post was written by a guest contributor. About the Author:
Gavin Harvey is pretty much fitness and travel obsessed. He’s been to Tenerife multiple times and is still discovering something new with every trip! In his free time he blogs for the Hotelopia website about his travels.