Tenerife – The largest of the Canary Islands, which, despite being near the north-western coast of Africa, are counted as an integral part of Spain and the European Union. The result is that you can get to the Canary Islands, also known as “happy islands”, without a passport, showing only your identity card.
Tenerife is called a small continent in itself. The landscape of the northern part of the island, which is mountainous and green, is fundamentally different from the dry and desert dominant in the south. In the middle of the island you can see a harsh landscape like a red planet.
The season here lasts a whole year, and quite a short distance from Europe makes the islands a very popular holiday destination during the European winter, to take some vitamin D.
We did the same, along with Justyna, we decided to escape the autumn Polish weather and at the end of October we went to Tenerife.
How to get to Tenerife?
There are 2 airports on the Tenerife: South and North. Most international and charter flights are served by the southern airport. It is newer and larger, and is closer to the main tourist centers: Los Cristianos or Costa Adeje.
The northern airport mainly serves flights between mainland Spain and other islands of the archipelago. From it is definitely closer to Puerto de la Cruz or the capital of the island – Santa Cruz.
When to go to Tenerife?
In fact, every season is good and the season lasts here all year round. The Canary Islands are characterized by small temperature differences during the year (like Madeira). Average winter temperatures oscillate around 19 degrees, and in summer 24. The peak of the season falls on summer months: July and August, because in Europe during this time are holidays. In winter, it may be difficult to get to the top of Teide because it is usually covered with snow at this time of year, but on the coast, on a sunny day you can easily bathe in the ocean. In the Teide National Park, it will always be colder than on the coast..
Where live? North or South Tenerife?
This question has no unambiguous answer. Certainly during the winter in the south of the island will be warmer than in its northern regions. Although it does not mean that it is cold, if the weather is good then in Puerto de la Cruz you can swim in the ocean even on New Year’s Eve.
- The south is more touristy, there are more beaches here and tourism entertainment in general. The north is calmer and a little cooler from the south. In Puerto, everywhere is uphill and here it is also raining, which makes it more green..
This time we went to the facility and bought a flight + hotel + transfers from the airport from the TUI travel agency. We lived in the north, in the Puerto de la Cruz at the Eden Hotel. Such pleasure cost us PLN 1585 per person.
Moving around the island
Public transport is not very developed on the island. So you can choose only trips organized by travel agencies or rent a car. We decided to rent a car.
I highly recommend Cicar rentals (Cicar.com) – No credit card is required and payment is in cash. The price includes full car insurance. (Someone in the parking lot redraws the front slightly and I had no consequences for that).
One of my dreams was to ride a cabriolet along the coast. In order to meet it, I have booked Fiat 124 Spider for 220 days for 6 days. What a surprise when I saw on delivery that, Abarth was delivered instead of a Fiat (Abarth – a brand that creates curled, sports versions of Fiat cars). I got an upgrade to a higher version worth 100 EUR more. During our stay, we made it 880km and spent 67.50 euro on fuel, where the price per liter fluctuated around 1 EUR.
What to see in Tenerife?
I will present here examples of attractions that are worth seeing in Tenerife. Remember that the list is based on our own experiences and from the perspective of people who stay in Puerto de la Cruz. Do not be afraid to modify them for your needs or because of weather conditions.
We can see the route as a step by step in the Polarsteps application:
Masca is a small village in the western part of the island. The picturesque scenery in which it is located attracts a lot of people. For some, the landscape is even associated with Machu Piccu. Here the trail begins through the Masca Gorge, which leads up to the ocean at the foot of Los Gigantes. Unfortunately, in 2018 this route was closed, so we could only come by car to the top of the village and come back the same way. The road is very winding, narrow and steep. In some places, cars must almost stop to pass, and in some parts it is practically impossible to pass 2 cars . The views on the way are also amazing, especially when you drive a car without a roof.
Los Gigantes (Giants) are large, almost 600 meter high cliffs in the western part of the island. How big they are is seen from the sea. Watching cliffs is often connected by watching dolphins / cetaceans in their natural habitat. We paid EUR 25 per person for a 2 hour cruise. We sailed on Nashira Uno with Maritima Acantilados.
When the Masca gorge is open, you can leave your car in the town of Los Gigantes. Buy a ticket for a bus to Masca. Go down the ravine to the ocean and follow the boat along Los Gigantes to the town and pick up the car.
Teide National Park
Teide National Park is a place with a harsh landscape, like the moon or the red planet. It occupies the entire surface of the caldera, formed after the collapse of the volcano in the middle of the island. Its average height is about 2000m above sea level. In the middle of the caldera there is a Teide cone reaching 3718m above sea level. You can climb it on foot or use the cable car, which transports people to a height of 3555m above sea level.
To get to the top, a special permit from the national park authorities is needed. This permission is free, but the number of visitors is limited to 200 per day. The permit is issued for one of the four entry rounds: 9-11, 11-13, 13-15, 15-17 for 50 permits for each turn. Permission is obtained online through the website of the park (https://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es/real/parquesnac/usu/html/Previo-inicio-reserva-oapn.aspx?cen=2&act=%201) I advise you to do it in advance, because there are no free tickets a month before. Then you just have to hunt for the opportunity when someone gives up.
If you plan to enter the top of the cable car and you have obtained permission, it does not mean that you will succeed. In a situation when a strong wind blows at the top, the cable car is closed for security reasons (the current state of the cable car can be checked on the website of the company that operates it www.volcanoteide.com). That also happened in our case. When we arrived at the cable car station, We turned out that it would not be running on that day. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for such a situation and for climbing up. In the end, it was almost 2000m to overcome. The trail is not difficult, but it takes some time and without enough water and food we it is too risky.
In this situation, permission to enter the summit is valid for a maximum of 3 consecutive days until the day the cable car is reopened. In our case, also the next day the cable car did not work, and that it was one of our last days we had other plans on the island and finally we didn’t climb to the top.
The national park is not only the Teide volcano, but also the amazing rock formations around it. It is also much colder here than on the coast.
Garachico Natural pools i Charco del Viento
After an unsuccessful attempt to get to Teide, we changed our plans and went to north of the island, to Garachico, where are natural pools. Lava flowing into the ocean formed and solidified in rock formations, closing the water in the pools.
Here we also had no luck. The pools were closed due to renovations. Some people, however, ignored the police tape and used bathing in these pools.
The way we came here from Teide was so steep, winding and narrow that I could not imagine driving it back uphill. The road to Masca next to it is a highway. So we went further east along the coast to other pools, hoping that they would be open. That’s how we got to Charco del Viento. Swimming pools much less popular and to reach them you had to cross the service roads between the banana plantations.
Scuba Diving in Los Cristianos
You can not swim and have you never dived? It does not matter neither do we, but we were able to plunge 8 meters below the surface of the ocean! This is not a joke. For diving, you do not need the ability to swim, just move your legs. At the first descent to the water you are served by a carer who looks after you and regulates the immersion level.
Skorzystaliśmy z usług polskiej firmy Diving Atlantis (divingatlantis-tenerife.com). Pakiet startowy zawiera zejście pod wodę z opiekunem na 20/40 minut i kosztuje 75/95 EUR od osoby. Dodatkowo za 25 EUR można kupić zdjęcia i filmy, które wykonuje dodatkowy nurek pod wodą. Nie ma problemu także z użyciem własnych kamer sportowych (GoPro/SJcam). Do wody schodzi się bezpośrednio z plaży usytuowanej obok biura. Czas liczony jest dopiero od momentu głębokiego zanurzenia. Wykupiliśmy pakiety 20 minutowe, ale od wejścia do wody do wyjścia z niej minęło jakieś 30 minut.
Pargue Natural de Anaga
Anaga National Park is a place where you can still see the rain forest, which before the Spaniards came to the island, was covered with the greater part of it. The park is located in the eastern part of the island.
Exploring the area of Anaga is worth starting with the Visitor Center in Barrio Cruz Carmen (Centro de Visitantes, Parque Rural Anaga). When you finally manage to find a place to park your car, take a short walk along the trail leading through the bay forest. The route is not long and takes about 45 minutes.
The main road in the park is through the center and ends in the village of San Andreas where Las Teresitas beach is located. Along the way, you can stop at the scenic viewpoints and admire the beauty of nature.
Playa de Las Teresitas
Playa de Las Teresitas is probably the most recognizable beach in all of Tenerife. It is not a natural beach. It was made of sand brought here from the Sahara desert. It also has a breakwater that makes the water calmer than on other beaches and prevents valuable sand from being picked up by the sea. Surprisingly, it is not in the south-western part like most popular beaches, but east of the island’s capital, Santa Cruz De Tenerife.
Above the beach is the viewpoint, from which there is a view of the entire beach. The point is theoretically closed, but nobody pays attention to the barriers placed by the police. You just have to be careful not to get off the slope. According to my humble opinion, it is the best beach on the island.
Puerto de la Cruz
Finally, I will describe the town where we lived. The pearl of northern Tenerife. The city lies on a hillside, it is everywhere uphill, but it reminded me of nice student times in Portugal. There are fewer hotels, fewer beaches here and there are lower temperatures than in the south. Therefore, there are also fewer tourists here.
A large part of tourists come here only to the Loro Parque, located in the city.
Beaches Playa Jardin and Maria Jimenez invite you to sunbath in the black volcanic sand, while the Martianez beach has good surfing conditions.
Other places and attractions available in Tenerife
We could not see the following attractions or we didn’t plan to see them. However, it is worth mentioning them and knowing about their existence.
One of the smaller islands of the archipelago. It is located next to Tenerife and can be seen from the west coast. It has a completely different microclimate than the neighboring island. If you have 1 extra day, go ahead.
Punta de Teno
The western peninsula and the westernmost point of Tenerife. Unfortunately, recently the road leading to it is closed during the day and the only option to reach the Punta de Teno is the bus.
Pargue del Drago / Drago Milenario
Pargue del Drago is a park where you can see one of the oldest trees in Tenerife: Drago Milenario (Thousand-year Dragon Tree). His age is estimated at around 500-600 years. The park is located on the north of the island, in the town of Icod de los Vinos. The admission ticket costs 5 EUR.
Siam Park and Loro Parque
Siam Park is one of the best water amusement parks in the world. It is located in Costa Adeje in the south of the island.
Loro Parque is a zoo belonging to the same company as Siam Park. (In)Famous for treating the animals they look after. The killer whales that are there, have attacked their guardians once and one of them was killed during a Christmas performance in 2009. The zoo is located in Puerto de la Cruz.
Can you fly a drone in Tenerife?
In Tenerife, there are Spanish regulations on this subject. Use in small drones for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes is allowed without obtaining a license or authorization. There are a few main rules to follow:
- The flight can only take place within sight (maximum 500m from the operator)
- The maximum height at which you can ascend 120m
- No flights over buildings and groups of people
- No flights near airports
- No flight at night
- No flights over beaches and national parks
So, unfortunately, you can not fly around the most interesting places on the island. For breaking the ban in the Teide National Park, you can pay 1000 EUR a fine.
|Flight tickets, Hotel with breakfast (7 nights), airport transfers||3170 zł|
|Car – Abarth 124 Spider (6 days)||220 EUR|
|Fuel to Car||67,50 EUR|
|Scuba Diving||175 EUR|
|Costs incurred on the place (Transport / Food / Souvenirs)||około 1640 zł|
In total for a 7 days trip for 2 people in Tenerife we paid 6800zł (1585EUR)
Are you looking for inspiration for a city-break in another country? See my list of weekend trips.
See also my other posts from further and closer travels. Link