The largest and most popular of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife is rightly famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and soaring volcano, Mount Teide. Although Tenerife is a natural destination for holidaymakers who want to appreciate its beauty in a leisurely fashion, there’s plenty to enjoy for the more adventurous types, too. Rather than just gazing at nature, you can get in the thick of it. Whether you fancy hiking through lava fields and summiting lofty peaks, or you prefer snorkelling with colourful fish around the dramatic rocky shoreline of the island, Tenerife has it all.
Hiking in Teide National Park
For trekkers who like their thrills to come with spectacular views, Teide National Park in the centre of the island is the place to go. Dominated by Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the third-highest volcano in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage site is full of suitably spectacular hiking trails. There are a variety of possible routes around the park, catering for visitors with a range of skill levels, and a cable car up the volcano itself is also available.
As you alight from the upper cable car station you’ll notice there are 3 trails to explore. For the summit hike you will need a permit, but for the other two, which lead to beautiful viewpoints looking out across the island and ocean, no permit is required. Make sure you take sturdy footwear to navigate the lava pathways, which can be uneven underfoot, and give yourself time to acclimatise to the sudden altitude change. Take plenty of water too as there’s no shade up there on the exposed slopes.
You can take the cable car back down into the caldera, or if you’re still itching for adventure, then take the hiking trail which winds its way through the lunar landscape towards some of the parking areas. The route is steep so take your time, but its worth it for that sense of nature immersion in this unusual terrain.
However you choose your adventure, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas along the way – and you can also visit Teide Observatory for some stargazing. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why visiting Mount Teide is listed as one of the top 5 things to do in all of Tenerife. You don’t need to be super fit, just go with a sense of adventure and make sure your camera batteries are fully charged!
Exploring the ocean
After you’ve experienced the peaks and valleys of Teide National Park, it’s time to dive into the depths of the sparkling blue ocean. The waters around Tenerife are renowned for their clarity, and the volcanic activity of the island’s past has created beautiful caves below the surface – ideal for underwater exploration if you’re feeling intrepid.
Scuba divers are spoilt for choice in Tenerife, with a range of companies and diving stations around the island to choose from. There are also numerous organisations undertaking important marine conservation work in Tenerife, offering you the chance to meet extraordinary wildlife (such as dolphins) and help with their preservation.
There are also plenty of beautiful beaches which are great for swimming and snorkelling, or you can take a boat trip out to sea for a spot of dolphin and whale watching. This is particularly dramatic beneath the imposing Los Gigantes cliffs in the west of Tenerife.
Family water park adventures
Although not quite as hair-raising an experience as some of the other options on this list, it’s worth mentioning that Tenerife’s water parks are a great activity for all the family to enjoy. After the physically exhausting expeditions above, a soak in the pool might be a welcome change of pace for everyone. With that being said, however, some of the water rides are definitely not for the faint-hearted! And there are certainly plenty of options to chose from so you can easily spend an entire day splashing about and having fun.
Hailed by Tripadvisor as “the best water park in the world”, Siam Park is a safe bet if you want to choose a particular one to visit. With a striking Thai aesthetic, this sprawling complex is sure to provide hours of entertainment for adventurers of all ages. Located in Costa Adeje in the south of the island, the park’s coastal location means a visit there can easily be combined with trips to popular beaches such as the Playa de las Américas.
Whether you’re a keen hiker, diver, or water park enthusiast, hopefully this list has given you a good place to start when it comes to figuring out which outdoor activities to include on your holiday itinerary. It only scratches the surface, however, and there are many more adventures to choose from in Tenerife.
Have you visited the island? Which other experiences and activities do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.