With its sandy beaches, volcanic landscape, and warm weather throughout the year, Tenerife is a popular destination for travelers across Europe and beyond. Although it’s best known for its beachfront resorts found on the south side of the island, Tenerife has so much more to offer visitors. Jet2.com and Visit Tenerife invited me on a trip to explore the island this month, and we had the chance to explore the authentic side of Tenerife. There are so many interesting places to visit in Tenerife, from mountainous villages that look like Machu Picchu to oceanfront lava swimming pools. In this post, I’ll share everything we did and list several exciting Tenerife excursions that I recommend you check out for an authentic taste of Tenerife.
This post is written in partnership with Jet2.com and Visit Tenerife.
Exploring Tenerife + Places to Visit in Tenerife and Excursions
Getting to Tenerife
As I mentioned above, I took this trip with Jet2.com, so I flew with them from Manchester to Tenerife South Airport. There are two major airports in Tenerife – Tenerife North, which mostly serves domestic flights, and Tenerife South, which is popular for international carriers. Jet2 flies to tons of holiday destinations that are popular with UK travelers, including Tenerife! Tenerife is one of the most popular destinations within the Canary Islands, along with Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Once you’re in Tenerife, it’s easy to get around by car! I highly recommend renting a car if you’ll be exploring around the island like we did!
Where To Stay (+ Tips for Tenerife Excursions)
Puerto de la Cruz, a coastal town on Tenerife’s northern shore, was our home base during this trip. We stayed at Hotel Costa Sol Atlantis, a beautiful beachfront hotel in the center of the town. I had a sea view room with a balcony, so I had a stunning view of the pool and beach and the nearby hills. The hotel had an amazing breakfast every day with all kinds of foods, including a traditional English breakfast, churros, and meats and cheeses. I really liked this hotel, and I would have loved to spend more time lounging by the lovely pool! Puerto de la Cruz was conveniently located just an hour or so drive away from most of the Tenerife excursions we went on throughout the week, so I highly recommend staying in this area if you want to explore the northern part of the island! Puerto de la Cruz is a lovely little town, with colorful buildings, cool street art, and black sand beaches.
Where and What to Eat
I was pleasantly surprised by everything I ate in Tenerife. The island’s cuisine is an interesting mix of Spanish and Latin American flavors with some African influences, reflecting its geographical location and colonial history. There are a few local dishes that you should try while visiting, like wrinkly potatoes with garlic-y mojo sauce and fresh seafood. The locally produced wine is also really lovely, and you’ll find it on offer at practically every restaurant on the island. You can read all about my favorite restaurants in Tenerife and the must-try dishes in my Tenerife food guide.
Places to Visit in Tenerife + Top Tenerife Excursions
Like I said, there are so many things to do in Tenerife besides sitting on the beach (even though that’s a pretty great way to spend your holiday, too). Here are some of the top Tenerife excursions that we experienced during our trip! This list of places to visit in Tenerife covers a range of activities that adventure travelers and foodies alike will enjoy!
Mount Teide National Park
Mount Teide (lovingly called Papa Teide by locals) is a large volcano that towers over the island of Tenerife. The Canary Islands were formed through volcanic activity, like Hawaii, so there are several (mostly dormant) volcanoes all over the islands. The national park surrounding Mt Teide is filled with incredible landscapes and hiking trails. As you drive up to Mount Teide, you’ll see stunning views of the valleys and ocean below. I was shocked by the change in landscape as we drove up the mountain, passing through lush, green forests into a canyon and crater-filled dessert at 2000 meters above sea level. It felt more like the American southwest than a European island! If the weather is good, you can even take a cable car to the top of the volcano! On a clear night, you can go stargazing to see amazing views of the stars, and you can even see the Milky Way from this park. Mount Teide is definitely one of the top places to visit in Tenerife, so be sure to put this on your list of things to do when you visit!
Up in the hills in the Anaga Rural park, you can find Chinamada, a community of cave dwellers who have carved their homes out of the sides of the mountains! This area looks completely different than Mount Teide- it looked sort of like Machu Picchu in Peru with its rolling green hills and terraced gardens. Even though you can’t visit the resident’s homes, you can hike around the area for great views!
Want to go for a drip and enjoy ocean views from the comfort of a manmade salt-water pool? Check out the Lago Martianez, a beachfront set of pools created by Spanish architect César Manrique. These pools are beautifully manicured, and they seem like the perfect place to relax after a day of hiking up Mount Teide.
I love exploring the local food and drink scene when I travel, so I was excited to visit one of the many local wineries in Tenerife! I visited Monje Winery on this trip for a mojo sauce class and a tour of the winery, and I learned all about the local grapes and the wine history of the area.
Anaga Rural Park
If you want to hike while you’re in Tenerife, you can head to the Anaga Rural Park. The park is made up of a dense laurel forest, and there are several trails you can explore depending on your hiking level. They also have a wheelchair accessible trail! This park and the Mount Teide National Park are both great active Tenerife excursions!
Icod de los Vinos ( and the Drago Tree)
In a town called Icod de los Vinos, you’ll find one of the most famous sights in Tenerife – the Drago Tree. There are drago trees all over the island, but this town is home to the largest ones! It is believed to be arounf 1,000 years old! This tree is unique, with a thick, grey trunk leading to a dense bush at the top. You’ll also find lots of different species of plants in the nearby square.
Playa de Las Teresitas
There are so many beautiful beaches in Tenerife. On the northern part of the island, lots of the beaches have black sand, but you’ll find a soft, golden sand beach at Playa de Las Teresitas. The Spanish government actually created this beach by bringing tons of sand from the Sahara desert in the 1970s. There are a few little cafes and beach bars along the beach, so it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours in the sun.
Lava Pools in Garrachico
In the former fishing village of Garrachico, you’ll find several lava pools in the ocean! These pools were created out of the rock formations from one of the last volcanic eruptions. One a hot day, you’ll find people swimming in these pools and hanging out around them with drinks and ice cream!
Tenerife Beyond the Beaches
Tenerife’s beautiful beaches have made it a popular vacation destination, and while the beaches are definitely worth a visit, this island has so much more to offer! I was really surprised by all the different landscapes on the island. Within an hour, you can go from a black sand beach to a dense tropical forest to a desert with impressive rock formations. There are so many places to visit in Tenerife, and I would love to go back to see places like La Masca, known as the little Machu Picchu, or to go on a whale watching tour! Let me know in the comments if you’ve been on any of the Tenerife excursions listed above or tell me what you would want to do in Tenerife! Thanks so much to Jet2.com and Visit Tenerife for inviting me on this trip!