The first time I’d ever heard of Tenerife and the Tenerife Sea was via Ed Sheeran, in a sentimental, romantic ode. He mentions the destination off the northwestern coast of Africa only once, but names the peaceful, intimate song after it, a testament to the blue beauty of its waters. Afterward, I started noticing it on cruise ship itineraries bound for the Canary Islands, learned that Tenerife is the largest of them. As ALG Vacations® and The Inclusive Collection (formerly the AMR™ Collection and part of the Hyatt family of hotel and resort brands) expanded into this destination with great fanfare – and a City & Seas feature here on TravelBlogue! – I also learned that it’s an incredibly unique place with landscapes, climates, and attractions you won’t find elsewhere.
All of that is just the tip of Spain’s tallest peak, Mt. Teide. If I had just gone ahead to Ask a Travel Advisor, it would have taken me mere hours and not years to learn all about this extraordinary destination. So as prepare to Plan with a Pro to visit Tenerife, here are some of the things you’ll want to mention adding to your itinerary.
1. Pack for Warm Weather
Tenerife is known as the Island of Eternal Spring, with an average low of 62 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 77 at the height of August, making it as ideal of a climate as any human could possibly wish for. Plus, a typical year has 300 days of sunshine, with those other 65 days taking the form of short-lived rain breaks to keep the lush, green north match that very description. On the south side, warm Saharan winds keep the resorts that flourish on those shores in that sweet spot.
2. Get to the Top of Teide
This is the most visited park in all of Europe, earning its place among UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its diverse volcanic features, landscapes, and status as the third tallest volcanic structure in the world. It’s also the biggest park on all of the Canary Islands, but it’s as rich in touristic resources as it is in landscapes, making it simpler to navigate than you might think. Two visitors centers, a bar and restaurant, well-marked viewing areas, and a webbing of maintained trails are among the draws that make it an easy must.
3. Watch Out for Marine Life
As in, do it intentionally. It won’t be too difficult to get a glimpse of animals like whales and dolphins, 30 species of which regularly circle around the island on their own private sightseeing cruises. Many boats regularly bob throughout the Tenerife Sea for this very purpose, and some offer fun motifs like pirate themes or under-vessel viewing through the bottom of a catamaran. Just make sure to go with a reputable, environmentally-conscious outfit. If you Plan with a Pro, you can make sure you’re seeing these majestic mammals ethically.
4. Experience a Lava Tube
Tenerife is a volcanic island, so it stands to reason that lava has left its mark on the land. The most notable evidence of this is Cueva del Viento, the Wind Cave, which is the fifth largest lava tube in the world at 12 miles long. Only 800 feet of it is open for exploration, but that’s still a significant portion, especially since tours are guided. Plus, you’ll want to spend a good bit of time at the visitors center.
5. Visit a Black-Sand Beach
Both black and gold sand beaches exist on Tenerife, and you’ll be able to take your pick from over 70. In the south is where you’ll find most of the lighter sands and gentler shores, but they’re generally scattered like so many grains of … well, sand. Some black-sand shores you’ll want to visit may include Playa de los Guios/Playa de los Gigantes, Playa de Benijo, Playa el Bollullo, Playa Jardin, Playa de Fanabe, and Playa de la Arena. Ask a Travel Advisor which ones they recommend most to scratch these off your bucket list. They’ll likely suggest Blue Flag and disability-friendly Playa del Socorro on their list.
6. Shoot for the Stars
Stargazers and dreamers should set their sights on Tenerife for some of the most brilliant sky views they’ll ever experience in their lives. It’s been designated an official Starlight Tourist Destination and Teide National Park is considered the third best place in the world to see the stars clearly. In fact, NASA itself has called it a “window to the universe.” Plan with a Pro to join a tour, which is the safest way to be hanging around a park at night!
7. Make it a Double Palma
Believe it or not, even with the top of Africa notching into the passage and the dip of the Iberian Peninsula, Tenerife is an easy, short ferry ride away from Mallorca. As in less than three hours away. It’ll take you right to the capital, Palma in Mallorca, which is just fun if you’re already planning a day trip to La Palma, the northernmost island in the Canaries. Choose from any of these hotels with confidence and book with Travel Protection Plus for even more.
8. Get Out of This World
Tenerife may be the main island and Ibiza and Mallorca may be top-of-list nearby islands to hop to, but Lanzarote is also worth a pop-over while you’re in the neighborhood. It’s called The Different Island for a reason, and that reason is its visual similarity to Mars. Black and red earth, a quiet soundscape, and rural villages are only part of the reason it’s considered a biosphere reserve. Skip the ferry – the stopover and journey can be up to 17 hours. Instead, fly nonstop in under an hour and stay for a few days in one of ALGV’s Travelogue-featured properties.
9. Time Your Visit with Carnavale
The Carnavale de Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the third most popular and internationally known Carnival celebration on the entire planet, trailing only behind the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Venice, Italy. In fact, it’s such a big deal that it’s been submitted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s a festival tradition that has been going on for literally hundreds of years, with visitors to the island writing home about the spectacles they witnessed as early as the end of the 18th century. It’s only gotten better since then, with street parties that complement the official Carnival festivities. As with all Carnivals, it begins two weeks before Ash Wednesday, whenever that may fall on any given year. But unlike any other Carnival, it comes back around for an encore the following weekend for the Weekend of the Pinata.
10. Stay Smart
There are a lot of hotels across Tenerife to choose from, which is why we advise that you Plan with a Pro. Spanish brand Iberostar excels in their home country, making Iberostar Grand El Mirador, Iberostar Heritage Grand Mency, Iberostar Selection Anthelia, and Iberostar Selection Sabila great choices. The Ritz-Carlton, Abama is perfect for the most well-heeled, but for something more casual, consider Alua Tenerife Puerto de la Cruz or Riu Buenavista. For families, Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa and Hotel Parque San Antonio are excellent options. Download the recently released ALG Vacations® Europe Travelogue for the full selection and overviews!
Want to learn more about island-hopping in Europe? Check out this deep dive into the Canary Islands, Spain, the Azores in Portugal, and the Balearic Islands of Spain. And don’t forget the Greek Isles, also on sale now through travel advisors who book through ALG Vacations® brands, Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions, Funjet Vacations, and United Vacations!