When deciding on the 20 best things to do in Tenerife it can be quite a challenge. As the largest of the Canary Islands, it features a rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse landscapes. Narrowing that down is quite the ask, as there are substantially more than 20 great experiences to be had on the island.
However, if you want to fit in the absolute best of the best while you’re there, this list features the attractions that are just that little bit more unmissable than the rest.
See more: Where to Stay in Tenerife Spain
1. Visit The Auditorio De Tenerife
Opened in the early 21st century, this auditorium has quickly established itself as one of the most iconic buildings in not just the Canary Islands, but in Spain as a whole.
Located in the island’s capital of Santa Cruz, the magnificent structure plays host to numerous film and music events, as well as a number of different festivals.
Whether you’re coming to see a performance here or just want to admire the incredible architecture, it’s quite a sight to behold and its beautiful lighting makes it just as impressive at night as it is during the day.
2. Drive Through Mount Teide National Park
A perfect opportunity to get out and explore nature on the island, the 47,000-acre park is centered around one of the island’s most famous attractions, Mount Teide, an active volcano that is the highest point in Spain and the third tallest volcano on earth.
Home to numerous species of plants, animals, and birds, as well as stunning formations formed by flowing lava, Teide is the most popular national park in Europe and the eighth-most visited in the world.
Driving through this stunning location is an absolute must when you visit Tenerife.
3. Enjoy A Day At Loro Parque
Loro Parque is an incredible animal park and one of the most popular attractions in the Canary Islands.
Featuring dozens of species of birds, including the parrots that it derives its name from, as well as a collection of larger animals like tigers, alligators, and gorillas, this is a perfect place to come and learn about some of these incredible species by seeing them first hand.
There are even dolphin, orca, and sea lion shows to entertain the crowds with their incredible performances.
Even if animals aren’t your thing, there’s a large display of rare orchids to entice those interested in plants.
4. View El Drago Milenario
Located in Santa Cruz, in the north-western part of the island, the El Drago Milenario is an incredibly old example of the rare Dracaena Draco or dragon tree.
Believed to be over one thousand years old, it is the oldest known example of this type of tree and one of the symbols of the island of Tenerife.
A national monument for over 100 years, this incredible attraction fills the skyline and is an absolute must see for anyone who is interested in nature, history or just beautiful sights in general.
5. Explore Anaga Rural Park
Located between the towns of La Laguna and Santa Cruz, Anaga Rural Park features thick leafy forests covering mountains and hamlets across the spine of the island.
It’s here you will find some of the most incredible natural beauty spots on the island and, as you wander deeper in, can allow yourself to get lost in the nature.
If you want to get away from the beaches and civilisation for a while and discover what the island is like at its core, there’s no better way than a day spent hiking in Anaga Rural Park.
6. Experience The Carnival de Santa Cruz Tenerife
Held annually in late February in the capital city of Tenerife, the Carnival De Santa Cruz is considered to be the second most popular carnival in the world, behind only the legendary Rio De Janeiro Carnival in Brazil.
The earliest written evidence of the carnival dates back to the late 18th century but there is some evidence to suggest that it was taking place as long ago as the early 1600’s.
Featuring dancing, parades, masks, food, and more, if you’re in Tenerife during the two weeks of the festival, you simply have to experience it for yourself.
7. Visit The Cathedral San Cristobal De La Laguna
Located in the island’s north-eastern city of San Cristobal De La Laguna, it is considered to be the official cathedral of Tenerife.
Built in the early 1900’s it is one of the most important religious structures in the Canary Islands and was listed as a world heritage site in 1999.
Its beautiful neoclassic architecture and lavish interior design are both stunning sights to behold but it is perhaps something else that makes this such a famous site. The cathedral holds the remains of the city’s founder, Alonso Fernandez De Lugo, making it a memorial to one of the most important people in the history of the Island.
8. See The Church Of The Immaculate Conception
Built in the year 1500 in what is now the capital city of the island, Santa Cruz. It is a unique location as not only was it built using a combination of both Baroque and Tuscan architecture, it is also the only church in the Canary islands to feature 5 naves.
Filled throughout with beautiful gold sculptures, artwork and altars, it is quite a sight to behold and is one of those locations that pictures simply don’t do justice to, so make sure you take the opportunity to see it first hand while you’re there.
9. View The Basilica De Candelaria
Located on the island’s eastern coast in the city of Candelaria, this beautiful basilica was built in the 1950’s to honour of the Virgin Of Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary islands.
Built on the ruins of a previous church that had burned down years prior, the basilica features gorgeous neoclassical architecture, with ornate murals, sculptures and altars throughout.
An absolutely stunning building that can hold its own with any in the world, this is not to be missed, whether you’re interested in religion or not.
10. Visit The Beautiful Village Of San Andres
Located on the southern coast of the island, San Andres is one of the oldest villages in the entire Canary islands.
Full of beautiful sights and history, the crown jewels of this village are a 16th century castle, Castle Of San Andres, which was built atop a hill on the coast to ward off pirate attacks and a church, the Church Of St Andrew The Apostle, which was also built at the start of the 16th century, making it one of the oldest churches in the Canaries as well.
11. Explore The Cave Of The Guanches
Located in the north of the island, these caves are believed to be the oldest dwellings discovered on the island, with historians dating the earliest signs of human inhabitants in them to the 6th century BC.
Artifacts such as pottery, tools, human remains and even evidence of primitive agriculture have all been discovered within the caves.
What could be a more exciting excursion than seeing first-hand some of the earliest history on the entire island.
12. Witness The Pyramids Of Guimar
You might think you would have to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids but, in the little-known area of Guimar, Tenerife has its own you can visit while you’re there.
Ok, so they may not be in the same league as what you would find in Cairo, but these have a unique feature all of their own, as they are constructed using purely volcanic rock, without any mortar to hold them together.
Originally a collection of 9, there are currently only 6 still standing, but the big mystery is that no one knows exactly who built them or why. Best guesses are that they served an agricultural purpose but nothing concrete, excuse the pun, has been confirmed.
13. Enjoy A Day At Los Gigantes
The small town of Los Gigantes is the epitome of what you would expect from an island destination.
Beautiful beaches, fabulous restaurants and a combination of traditional and tourist shops, all centred around a marina make this a perfect place to get lost in your own slice of paradise.
After you’ve worn yourself out with a day of walking, swimming and exploring, grab a seat and a drink in one of the local bars and watch the incredible sunset over the cliffs and the boats below.
14. Have A Wild Day At Playa De Las Vistas
Everyone has their own type of beach they prefer and if you’re in the market for a big tourist beach, with all the normal highlights, then look no further than Playa De Las Vistas.
Located just outside the resort of Los Cristianos, this beach features soft sands stretching off into the distance, bars, and restaurants to keep you well fuelled throughout the day, rentable sun loungers and umbrellas so you don’t have to worry about transporting your own and plenty of water adventures to keep you occupied for your entire stay.
They even have cleaners and lifeguards to ensure your day partying on the beach is as safe and comfortable as possible.
15. Have An Evening Out In Las Americas
The party center of the island, this is where you want to be if you’re looking to let your hair down and treat yourself to a wild night.
Featuring countless bars, clubs, and restaurants, in Las Americas, you can eat, drink and dance the night away, however you see fit. With crowds of other revelers all looking for a good time as well, it won’t take long to get your party started and be well on the road to making an evening you’ll never forget.
16. Relax At Playa De Las Teristas
One thing that many people will be surprised upon arriving in Tenerife is discovering that the sand is actually black, as opposed to the traditional golden color. While it’s certainly a unique sight, sometimes it can leave you longing for the ideal beach you have in your mind.
Well, if you just can’t complete your holiday without it, take a trip to Playa De Las Teristas. An artificially made tourist beach, this is the best location on the island to walk along the golden sands with the waves brushing your ankles like you’ve seen in holidays brochures your entire life.
With plenty of bars and amenities on site, take the opportunity to really treat yourself to the picturesque day you deserve.
17. Visit The Church Of the Conception La Laguna
Located on the island’s north-eastern coast, in the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna, this is one of the oldest parishes in Tenerife and is considered to be the twin of its namesake in Santa Cruz.
This is an incredibly popular attraction as, while it doesn’t feature quite the same level of ornate architecture as some of the other churches on the island, visitors are allowed to go to the top of the tower and witness the stunning views out over the town.
It is also home to the legendary Miraculous Oil Of St John The Evangelist, a sacred island that allegedly sweat during the height of the black death in 1648, after which the disease suddenly disappeared from the island.
18. Have Fun With A Day Trip To Siam park
When you travel to an island you might think that the most fun you’ll have in the water will be taking a swim or a snorkel in the ocean. However, for the thrill-seekers among you, that might not be the case in Tenerife.
Located in Costa Adeje, on the south-eastern coast, Siam Park is a water park that features a number of slides and attractions to let you have a fun-filled, carefree day in the park’s pools and let your inner child reign free for a little while.
19. Enjoy A Unique Experience At Monkey Park
While it’s always nice to be able to see new species of animals in person at zoos and aquariums, sometimes you’re still left feeling a little unfulfilled. Well, that won’t be the case after a visit to Tenerife’s Monkey Park.
Located in the south-east of the island, in the town of Los Cristianos, Monkey Park lets you get up close and personal with the animals. Walk through the enclosures and have monkeys come and climb on you and take food from your hands while you pet them.
In a park that also features other animals, such as lemurs, this unique opportunity is easily one of the most memorable experiences to be had on the island.
20. Hike through Barranco Del Inferno
We finish with an excursion that isn’t for the faint of heart. Barranco Del Inferno is a hiking trail through a gorge outside Costa Adeje. Considered to be one of the toughest treks on the island, this route averages around 3 and ½ hours through some of the most ruggedly beautiful natural landscapes you’ll find.
Limited to a maximum of 300 visitors per day, you’ll experience nature as it was supposed to be, untouched by man.
While this will certainly be a taxing experience, once you complete it you’ll find it was just as rewarding as it was challenging and an experience that will stay with you for life.
So, there you have it, the 20 best things to do in Tenerife. Like I said at the beginning, while this list is by no means exhaustive when it comes to the possibilities on the island, it covers those that you would end up kicking yourself if you went all the way there and still didn’t see or do.
So, if you want to make sure you have a magical holiday without any regrets, be sure to tick off as many as you can and you’ll understand exactly why they made the cut.