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.
The Canary Islands consist of 7 islands and are most accessible from mainland Europe. Being the largest two islands, Tenerife and Gran Canaria have the most frequent flights and largest variety of options. Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, slightly smaller, also have some direct flights available. The Canary Islands are located just off the coast of Western Sahara in Africa, meaning the trip from mainland Europe is longer than many other transcontinental Europe flights.
There are a variety of options on ways to get around the island and will be based on both your location and plans in Tenerife. I’d recommend doing an assortment of the below options.
In order to do some activities, it will be helpful to rent some type of vehicle (car, scooter, ATV, etc.). Cars and scooters are on the roads all throughout the island, while people used ATVs and dune buggies closer to the volcano. The ATVs and dune buggies are typically used with organized groups. 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.
For reference, a 2 person scooter rental costs about $40/day and gas is cheap (only a few euros to fill it up). Car rentals were closer to $50/day – $100/day depending on the vehicle.
Cabs are easy to come by on the island and fairly priced, but not a form of transportation you want to solely rely on. For a ~30 min ride, a taxi was about 30 euros
Depending on where you pick to stay, restaurants, shops, town centers, and beaches may be in walking distance
These green and white buses go all around the island and can help you travel between towns or areas. These buses do not travel quickly and make a lot of stops. They provide a good, cheap option, but make sure to budget in extra time for transportation. Tell the driver your destination as prices vary by distance and buy tickets directly onboard.
Tenerife is a fairly diverse island, with different terrain, climate, and vacation activities 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 warmest weather. This tends to be the area most people choose to stay when they come 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. These areas are all relatively close to the TFS airport and right on the beach.
Located in Costa Adeje, this is a beautiful hotel right near the ocean. Breakfast is included with your stay and guests can opt-in to a full all-inclusive package. The property has multiple restaurants, a few pools, a beautiful outdoor gym overlooking the ocean, and a spa. The location is prime as there are many restaurants in walking distance and it is also close to some beach bar nightlife.
The Western side of the island is also a nice spot, with the main areas including Playa de las Arenas, Playa San Juan, and Los Gigantes. After driving through Playa de las Arenas and Playa San Juan, both appeared to be fairly busier locations with restaurants and shops around. Los Gigantes is a quaint town, but much quieter than the areas on the Southwest coast.
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.
Volcano located in the center of the island. From the base of the island, you can see the top on a clear day or drive to the base station to take a cable car up for views. Unfortunately, the cable car is often closed due to wind. Be sure to call in advance to confirm it is running before traveling to the station. If this is a key activity you are interested in doing, try at the beginning of your stay and make sure to take the first opportunity to go up when it is open.
The cable car is typically open from about 9:00 – 16:00, but times will change based on the season. The lower station has a parking area and the upper station is the top of the cable car. The ride up on the cable car takes 8 minutes and once at the top, there are hikes visitors can take to explore and go higher than the upper station.
Mount Teide Cable Car Address: Ctra. TF-21, Km. 40,2 – Parque Nacional Del Teide 38002 La Orotava
Explore different areas that the island has to offer on wheels. Scooters travel around 70 km per hour and give you a chance to aimlessly explore the island. Just see where the road takes you and follow what looks interesting.
A suggested day-trip by scooter could include the following:
Start in the SW area and head inland to gain some elevation. Drive through a series of small towns, and stop an authentic lunch in Valle de San Lorenzo. Enjoy gorgeous views on the climb up, passing through San Miguel de Abona and Granadilla de Abona. As you get higher, if on a scooter, the vehicle may struggle to continue to climb. Consider turning around at Villaflor if this becomes an issue, which is simply a town where two of the larger roads up to the volcano meet. The temperature also drops significantly so throw a jacket in your bag to put on as you reach higher elevations. On the way down, take a slightly different route and drive through Arona with more needlepoint turns and different views. If you are not in a rush, stop at one of the vineyards you pass by for a wine tasting.
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 observing from the beach.
Black sand beach with beautiful view of Los Gigantes cliffs
Get out on the water! Individual jet ski rentals were not an option, but companies provide frequent small group jet ski tours. You take the jet skis out on the ocean and ride them to various beautiful spots on the water with views of beaches and different cliff drops. A 1-hour jet ski trip from Puerto Colon with 6 people was 60 euros.
The sun goes down right over the water in the south of the island making for some beautiful nights. It is a great spot to relax, grab a drink and enjoy the sunset
Located near Santa Cruz and is a well known, popular beach (NE)
Black sand beach (NE)
Good surfing beach and can only be accessed on foot or by boat (NE)
‘The Caribbean of Tenerife’ (SW)
Near Playa de las Americas area (SW)
More touristy sand beach (SW)
Calm beach in Costa Adeje (SW)
View of Montana Roja you can see this from the airport if you fly into TFS (SE)
Black sand beach near los Gigantes (W)
Tiny and off the beaten path (W)
Capital city located in the Northeast
Main pedestrian street found in Santa Cruz
Largest public park in the Canary Islands
Located in the NW with natural lava pools
Located in the NE and is a quaint town that used to be the capital of Tenerife
The drive to Masca is known for being a bit nerve-wracking but containing beautiful views
City on the north coast known for its black sand beaches
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.
La Gomera is one of the 7 Canary Islands and is visible from the south side of Tenerife. There are two main options for ferries from Los Cristianos de Tenerife to San Sebastian de La Gomera: 40 minute ferry via Benchijigua Express or 70 minute ferry via Naviera Armas .
Viewpoint on La Gomera located on a northern cliff of the island (about 1 hour from ferry port)
Taste wine from the local vineyards
Town on La Gomera known for its black sand beaches
Mount Teide National Park is one of the best places in the world to stargaze. Consider booking a small group tour to enjoy a night observing the stars
Brumas de Ayosa vineyard
Hit the trails and explore some hiking paths in the mountains
Underground lava tunnel running for 11 miles
Located on Costa Adeje and part of Hotel Jardin Tropical. This seafood restaurant is right on the water with beautiful views over the ocean. They serve a variety of local wines produced in Tenerife. Many of the wineries do not ship wines off the island so be sure to try some of the Canary wines while visiting.
Spanish Tapas restaurant found 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 subpar live music, pictures of food outside the restaurant, rundown fronts, and restaurants employees trying to call you in). Enjoy small plates and sangria for a fair price here.
Another spot along the Playa de Las Americas boardwalk with its main dining area upstairs and a menu with a variety of options.
Authentic restaurant in Valle de San Lorenzo with a large menu, even larger portions, and delicious tasting food. This local restaurant provided a great lunch spot when exploring the island on a scooter
Italian spot near one of the upper viewpoints for Los Gigantes
Restaurant and wine bar not far from Los Gigantes
During peak season, the strip on Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos is best known for nightlife. It draws in a heavy British influence and the bar and club promoters constantly try to call you in from the street with an appealing drink deal. A few spots include:
Indoor and outdoor sections of this club with DJs, multiple bars and right on the beach
Spot just off the strip of main bars with a nice outdoor area to grab a drink
Tenerife is a great spot to check out and is much further south than people often realize, meaning it is warm all year. If you are looking for a warm getaway in late winter, consider any of the Canary Islands.
Since the trip to the Canary Islands is longer than other transcontinental Europe flights, consider staying for at least 3 days if not longer. The Canary Islands are each unique and known for different aspects so if you have more time, try to visit more than one island. Ferries travel between the closer islands or one can take a quick flight between the islands.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks