How to explore Tenerife in one week? In this article you will find tips, curiosities and recommendations to make a complete tour of the island.
Adventure, culture and relax. These are the three words that best define Tenerife and the route we planned. Whether you’re travelling alone, with your partner or with your family, you’ll find here some concrete and simple ideas to make your dream come true. Also don’t forget to have a look at our video “Tenerife Tour” to see all the amazing places we visited!
WHERE TO STAY: Tenerife is full of wonderful hotels and resorts. However, the cheapest accomodation is a flat. We reserved a beautiful flat inside Select Sunningdale village, in Golf de Sur. It is close to Tenerife Sur Airport. Moreover we found it very comfortable and staff was amazing. Due to cold ocean’s water hotels usually offer private swimming pools, which is very good if you’re travelling with kids.
TRANSPORTS: In Tenerife you’ll see different bus lines that bring you to beaches and cities. However, if you want to be more independent, we highly recommend you to rend a car. We’ve chosen CICAR service and we drove a wonderful blue FIAT 500. It was pretty cheap.
WHAT TO PACK: If your trolley is still not ready, have a look at our PACKING LIST . You’ll find there the 6 must have for this holiday.
DAY # 1 : PLAYA DE LAS VISTAS AND LOS CRISTIANOS
After a whole year of work, we decided to dedicate our very first day in Tenerife to total relax. So we took our car and we went to los Cristianos, looking for one of the most known beaches of the island.
Los Cristianos is a lively city where you can find everything you need. Bars, restaurants, shops, green aereas for kids and a long promenade.
It’s a bit hard to find free parkings, especially in summer, so you might have to walk a little while to reach the beach.
We’ve spent the morning in Playa de las Vistas where we swam for the first time in the ocean! Our first day was: bright water with some fishes here and there, sunshine and white sand right from Sahara desert. Next to the beach you’ll find many restaurants where you can taste some local food like papas arrugadas or paella with sangrìa.
In the afternoon we moved to Playa de los Cristianos (just next to Playa de las Vistas) and we walked up to Los Cristianos Port.
DAY #2 : LA CANDELARIA AND PLAYA DE LAS TERESITAS
On day 2 we left our flat to discover the North-Eastern coast of Tenerife.
We visited the picturesque city of Candelaria. There you can see the huge statues of the nine Guanches kings who reigned on Tenerife before its conquest and that now watch over the island. In Candelaria there’s also the church dedicated to the patron of Canary Archipelago, the Candelaria Virgen. If you have the chance to visit this city in mid-August you’ll take part in a great religious celebration that attracts pilgrims from the whole archipelago.
To visit the old town you can leave your car at the payment parking by the sea.
We then moved north to visit the capital of Tenerife: Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
After looking for a parking for hours, we walked down to the promenade to see the amazing Auditorium projected by Santiago Calatrava. Next to the Auditorium there are also a botanical garden and a waterpark. If you’re travelling with kids they’ll cerntainly enjoy it.
Our day ended with the best burrito we’ve ever tasted on the white sand of Playa de las Teresitas.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife. It is a long and wide beach located just a few minutes away from Santa Cruz.
If you go there by car, move on a little bit to reach the hill above the beach. You’ll get awesome captures of this huge playa.
DAY #3 : TEIDE VOLCANO AND EL DRAGO
A trip to Teide volcano is obviously a must do and this was our day 3 destination. With its 3.718 meters heigh Mount Teide overhangs the whole archipelago.
To reach the volcano you have to pass through the National Park by car or by bus. National Park offers some of the most breath-taking landscapes which have been chosen as the set for many movies, “Clash of the Titans” among them.
If you want to see Tenerife from its very top, you should book your ticket in advance. This is to avoid hours and hours (believe us!) of queue. The volcano can also be visited by night and there are also several paths to reach the Mount by foot. To find out more about tickets and the permissions needed have a look at this article.
After an interesting tour of the free botanical garden not far from the base of the volcano, we’ve moved to the Western Coast of Tenerife. If you more have time, we suggest you to make some stops here and there just to have a look at the wonderful and traditional villages that characterize the island.
One of them is definitely Icod de los Vinos, mainly known for El Drago Milenario, the eldest exemplar of Dracaena Drago which diameter is 6 meters. This enornous tree can be found inside a huge botanical garden (entrance costs about 5€).
The old town of Icod de los Vinos shows a mixture of colonial style and tropical vegetation which is really peculiar.
DAY #4 : LOS GIGANTES AND PLAYA DE ABAMA
On day 4 we explored the southern west coast. First stop was Los Gigantes, known for its 800 meters high volcanic cliffs. Sand is naturally black in this area since it has a volcanic origin.
In Los Gigantes we met an Italian guide who invited us to try jet-ski. It was the best experience ever!
Jet ski tours starting from Los Gigantes Port allow you to coast the huge cliffs, see hidden caves and have a bath in the shadow of these “giants”. We had the chance to drive the jet-ski half an hour each and we also tried torpedo and paddle board. We had so much fun!
On the way back to Golf de Sur we stopped in a very small beach which really was a slice of paradise: Playa de Abama. It is located next to the luxury hotel Ritz Carlton. Sandy beach, rocks, calm water and many many fishes.
If you’re travelling with kids this is an ideal place to visit. You’ve to walk a little bit to reach the beach but it definitely worth it!
DAY #5 – THE NATURAL RESERVE
If you’re looking for adventure, the natural reserve in the North of Tenerife is perfect for you. This is where we spent our 5th day in Tenerife.
We took our car in the morning and we crossed the entire island from Golf de Sur to Igueste de San Andrès. In this small village the road ends and it gives way to the forest.
From San Andrès we went up inside the Natural Reserve of Las Lagunetas. Climate inside the forest is cold-wet but with this tour you’ll have the chance to see the natural beauty of Tenerife. Mountains, fields, tropical vegetation and wild canaries (from whom the name of the archipelago) singing.
We found cloudy weather so our climb on the mountains of the island looked like a tour in a fantastic dimension, surrounded by these enormous clouds.
In the middle of the forest there are several miradores (observatories) from which you can take pictures of the entire island. Among the many observatories, we suggest Mirador Pico del Inglès and Mirador Cruz del Carmen.
Our tour continued until San Cristobàl de la Laguna, the ancient capital of the island. The city is a mixture of sculptures and building belonging to different historical periods pre and post colonization.
DAY #6 : THE WHALES AND GARRACHICO
Canary islands are natural habitat of several mammals and cetaceans. Different species of dolphins and whales also migrate to the archipelago in winter to swim and eat in these calm and warm waters.
Sea excursions to watch whales and dolphins leave from all Tenerife’s ports. We chose an excursion on catamaran (Muskat) starting from Las Galletas port.
Remember: if you usually suffer seasickness, bring the apposite tablets for seasickness with you. Oceans waves can be really high and the boat sometimes gets perpendicular to the water. Awesome, anyway! 🙂
Animals living in their natural habitat are not so easy to see. We weren’t able to see dolphins but we saw four examples of pilot whales. This is the second greatest dolphin in the world, after killer whales. It reaches 6 meters length and males can weigh up to two tons.
After this incredible morning spent in the ocean, we’ve driven West to reach another beautiful city: Garrachico. This city has wonderful natural pools where you can swim and sunbath. We’ve also visited the very picturesque old town, destroyed in 1706 by an eruption of volcano Trevejo and then re-built. The city is protected by the old Castillo (Castle) of San Miguel, built in 1575 on Felipe II’s order. It is a very nice place to see.
We also visited the botanic garden where we admired some typical flowers: avas del paraiso.
DAY #7 : PLAYA DE LA TEJITA AND EL MEDANO
On the last day in Tenerife we visited the Eastern and most windy coast.
First we went to Playa de la Tejita, on the south of the huge Montana Roja. This long beach is very windy and water is cold. Its high waves are ideal for surfing but if you want to sunbath or play with kids on the beach we would recommend other beaches (for instance Playa de las Vistas or Playa de las Teresitas).
We then moved to El Médano, surfers paradise.
This village offers a long beach surrounded by bars and restaurants. Next to the old town ocean currents are not so strong while, if you go South, waves are perfect to surf.
After a last paella, we’ve left the wonderful Tenerife and took the plane home.
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Also, have a look at our related article: packing list guide for Tenerife and to our video of this wonderful holiday!