Tenerife has two airports, one in the north, Tenerife North Airport (TFN) and one in the south, Tenerife South Airport (TFS) with TFS being the main international airport.
Depending on where you’re flying in from, it’ll likely be easiest to travel to Tenerife from mainland Europe. Tenerife and Gran Canaria (the largest 2 of the 7 Canary islands) are the only islands, I believe, with consistent direct flights to the island. We flew Eurowings down to the island and took RyanAir back.
The flight is fairly lengthy as the Canary Islands are off the cost of Western Sahara in Africa. From Frankfurt, Germany to Tenerife, the flight time was about 5 hours.
There are a bunch of different options on ways to get around the options and it largely depends on what you want to do and where you are staying. I’d recommend doing an assortment of the options.
Rent a vehicle
In order to do some activities, it’ll be helpful to rent some type of vehicle (car, moped, ATV). We mainly saw cars and mopeds on the roads, and closer to the volcano is where we saw people on ATVs or in dune buggys. They usually were in organized groups, not on their own with these vehicles.
Renting a scooter or car should be fairly easy and cheap as there are spots all across the island. If you require automatic transmission for cars, there’s a chance they’ll have limited options so you may want to look into it in advance or just be willing to pay for a larger vehicle than you require
We rented a scooter for 2 people for about $40/day and gas is cheap, only a few euros to fill it up.
Car rentals were closer to $50 – $100 depending on the vehicle
Cabs are easy to come by on the island and reasonably priced, but not cheap. We used cabs to get to and from the airport and home from a day trip. For a ~30 min ride, we paid about 30 euros (doable but don’t want to depend on taxis to make all your trips)
Depending on where you pick to stay, there will likely be places walkable for meals and other necessities
Public Bus (Titsa)
These green and white buses go all around the island and can help you get between towns or areas. However, they don’t travel quickly and make a lot of stops. If you anticipate having some extra time, it’s a good option for some trips, but you will need to budget some extra time for transportation
You can pay directly on the bus by simply telling the driver your destination as price varies by distance
Tenerife is a fairly diverse island, with different terrain, climate and overall aspects to consider before choosing where to stay
The southwest portion of the island is the driest part of the island with the most sunshine and warmer weather. This tends to be the more touristy area where people tend to visit. A few of the main spots in the southern part of the island include Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos, and Playa de Las Americas.
Hotel Jardin Tropical – located in Costa Adeje, this is a beautiful hotel right near the ocean. It has numerous restaurants, breakfast included with options to do all-inclusive if one desires. There’s a few pools, an outdoor gym, spa, among other amenities. I would highly recommend this spot and would definitely book again. The location was great as we could access restaurants and some nightlife, with the best weather. We could also access other parts of the island that we wanted to see fairly easily.
The Western side of the island is also a nice spot, with the main areas including Playa de las Areans. Playa San Juan, and Los Gigantes. We drove through Playa de las Arenas and Playa San Juan, and both appeared to be fairly busier locations with restaurants and shops around. We spent the afternoon in Los Gigantes, a quaint town. The town was much quieter than where we opted to stay in the South.
The northeast is mainly composed of the current capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz. La Laguna, the old capital, is also located in the NE, but it is a small town. This area tends to be a bit cooler than the south and forecast often calls for more clouds due to the terrain around it as the area is more lush and less dry than in the south.
The north portion of the island is lush and green (windward) and generally a bit cooler. Other areas to look into for places to stay in the North include Garachico and Puerto de la Cruz
Things to do and see
Mount Teide – volcano on the island, located in the center. On a clear day, you can see the top from the base of the island
You can drive to the base station to take a cable car up to the upper station for views. Do note that the cable car is often closed due to wind and thus, we were not able to visit. I would recommend trying to do the cable car the first opportunity you get, or to at least check and see if the cable car is open so you can visit if it’s open during your visit.
Open from about 9 am to 4 pm (but times change based on the season) and the ride to the top is 8 min.
Lower station has parking area and upper station is the top of the cable car. There are hikes you can research at the top of the upper station if you wish to travel higher
Getting there – from the south of the island
Address: Teide Cable Car
Ctra. TF-21, Km. 40,2 – Parque Nacional Del Teide 38002 La Orotava
Take the TF-21 highway from Vilaflor to Teide National Park, access road for tourist resorts of Playa de Las Américas and Los Cristianos.
Take the TF-38 highway from Boca de Tauce to Chío, which links up with the TF-21. (Guagua) Bus Line 342 Playa de Las Américas – Las Cañadas del Teide (www.titsa.com). Departure time: 09:15 h from Las Américas, stopping at Los Cristianos (09:30 h), Teide Cable Car and Montaña Blanca (for ascent to Altavista Refuge).Return from Teide Cable Car at 15:30 h.
Los Gigantes – large cliffs on the West side of the island that drop off straight into the ocean. There are view points from above that are worth checking out as well as heading to sea level.
Playa Los Guios – black sand beach with beautiful view of Los Gigantes cliffs
Rent a scooter
We rented a scooter and just drove around different parts of the island exploring. First we started in the southwest area where we stayed, but quickly made our way inland.
We drove through a series of small towns, and found an authentic spot for lunch in Valle de San Lorenzo. The food was excellent and it was clearly a local spot.
We had some gorgeous views, driving up through San Miguel de Abona and Granadilla de Abona as we continued to gain elevation. Our turnaround point was Villaflor, which is simply a town where two of the larger roads up to the volcano meet. Our scooter couldn’t handle going too much higher and it was getting a lot colder as we climbed. The views along the way and open roads were well worth the rental.
We drove down a the other side, going through Arona with more needlepoint turns and different views. On this portion we passed a few vineyards where we could’ve stopped for a tasting, but opted to try to jet get down a get out on the water.
The scooter we had got up to about 70 km per hour and I’d highly recommend renting a scooter or other vehicle as a way to aimlessly explore. We just went where the road took us and stopped when views were nice or something looked interesting.
We did a small group, 1-hour jet ski trip from Puerto Colon (60 euros/jet ski). We couldn’t simply rent the jet skis, but were able to travel in a group of 6 out to some beautiful spots on the water with views of beaches and different cliff drops. It was cool to get out on the water for a different perspective
Sunset down in Los Cristianos/Costa Adeje
The sun sets right over the water in the south of the island making for some beautiful nights. Great spot to get a drink and enjoy the sunset
Playa de Las Teresitas – located near Santa Cruz (NE)
El Bolullo – black sand beach (NE)
Playa del Duque – ‘the Caribbean of Tenerife’ (SW)
Playa de la Tejita – view of Montana Roja – red mountain (SE – can see this from the airport if you fly into TFS)
Playa de Troya – near Playa de las Americas area (SW)
Playa de Torviscas
Playa de la Arena – black sand beach near las Gigantes (W)
Playa de Abama – tiny/off the beaten path (W)
Playa de la Enramada
Playa de Antequera (NE)
Santa Cruz – capital city
Playa de Las Teresitas – well known, larger beach
Calle del Castillo – main pedestrian street
Parque Garcia Sanabria – largest public park in the Canary Islands
Smaller Towns to check out
Garachico – located in the NW with natural lava pools
La Laguna – located in the NE and is a quaint town that used to be the capital of Tenerife
Masca – drive here is known for being a bit nerve-wracking but containing beautiful views
Puerto de la Cruz
A lot of different companies offer a few different paragliding experiences. Most provide a basic flight, an extended flight, and 3rd option that is their highest and longest flight. We did not paraglide, but did some research into it and saw paragliders up in the sky, often landing down on the southern beaches
Day trip to La Gomera
40 minute ferry from Los Cristianos to La Gomera (1 of the 7 Canary islands and the one you can see from the south areas in Tenerife). There are two main options for ferries from Los Cristianos de Tenerife to San Sebastian de La Gomera.
Benchijigua Express – 40 minutes
Naviera Armas – 70 minutes
Mirador de Abrante (viewpoint – northern cliff of the island, about 1 hour from cruise port)
Valle Gran Rey
Black Sand beaches
Star Gazing at night
Mount Teide National Park is one of the best places in the world to stargaze
Wineries – Brumas de Ayosa vineyard
Cueva del Viento – underground lava tunnel running for 11 miles
Food and Drink Recommendations
Costa Adeje/Los Cristianos/Playa de Las Americas
Las Rocas – Seafood
Part of Hotel Jardin Tropical and right on the water with beautiful views out over the ocean. We had an excellent meal here with a great local bottle of red wine. There are wineries across Tenerife that produce wine, but most are not transported out of the country and thus it’s a great place to have local wine
La Casita de Taby – Spanish Tapas
A spot along the strip in Playa de Las Americas owned by a husband and wife. The spot doesn’t look like much and is surrounded by lots of very touristy restaurants that look rather unappealing (between the eh live music, pictures of food outside the restaurant, rundown fronts, and restaurants employees trying to call you in). We were looking for a spot that wasn’t a tourist trap.
For what was around, this was one of the better options and the food was tasty. We got some small plates and sangria to share and overall was pretty cheap compared to what some of the other spots nearby likely would’ve charged
La Terrazza del Mare
Another spot along the Playa de Las Americas boardwalk. It was upstairs and the menu included a variety of options. The steak and pasta all’abriatta were both very good, along with the chocolate cake dessert and fried calamari appetizer
Los Gigantes are
Restaurante Pizzeria Mamma Lucia
Italian spot near one of the upper viewpoints for Los Gigantes
The Wine Bar and Terrace
Meson Era Las Mozas – authentic restaurant in Valle de San Lorenzo with a large menu, larger portions, and tastes delicious. We stumbled upon this spot and it’s unlikely you’ll find it unless you make a special trip for it.
Nightlife – the strip on Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos is the best known for nightlife. It was rather quiet while we visited and a heavy British influence with bar and club owners/promoters constantly trying to call you in with a drink deal. A few spots include:
Papagayo Beach Club – this was our favorite and the one we thought had the most potential. It still was not very busy but can see how it is busier and a good time when the island is busier
Lava – spot just off the strip of main bars that call you in with a nice outdoor area to grab a drink
Tenerife is a great spot to check out. It’s much further south than people often realize, and thus, it is warm year-round. We spent 3 nights in Tenerife, achieving about 2.5 days on the island. I would recommend no less than 3 nights as it may feel rushed. We got to do a lot, including just relaxing by the pool, and there’s more we easily could’ve done. The island offers a large variety of options on activities to do
The island is affordable, not exceptionally cheap or expensive.
It’s a common vacation location for the Brits so you’ll run into a lot of Brits and notice that there are bars and restaurants tailored to this clientele.