- One of the main highlights is Mount Teide, the active volcano with a peak at 3715 metres. There is a cable car almost to the top. To hike to the peak and see the crater, you must book a free, timed permit in advance. I recommend to go in the morning before it gets too crowded with tour buses
- Driving in the hills with its mix of forests and black lava fields is great for enjoying views of nature
- Beaches are a mix of yellow or black sand, and sometimes rocks
- The coastal views are stunning since there are many cliffs and hills
- Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava botanic garden in Puerto de la Cruz
- View of the rocks and crashing waves at Punto del Viento
- Fountain and people/pigeon watching in Plaza del Charco
- Playa de Montaña Amarilla- beach and hiking
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a larger town and nice to walk around
- Parque Garcia Sanabria
- Plaza de Espana
- Castillo de San Cristobal
- Santa Cruz sign
- Harbour and Port
- Palmetum – a beautiful palm garden on a hill that used to be a rubbish dump. Views of the sea and city. And there’s a free parking lot
- Cypelek Los Cristianos, a rock outcrop near the Playa de los Hippies
- Tenerife Monkey Park and Zoo- you can buy a box of small vegetable pieces at the entrance and then feed guinea pigs and lemurs in two enclosures
- Vista Sur shopping centre fountain
- Walking along Fuente Playa de Las Vistas where there are also many restaurants
Before you go
- Ensure you are looking at the right weather report. I added Tenerife on my iPhone weather app and expected sunny but cool weather. However, when I put Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the weather report was closer to real life, about 22C during the day in January
- Although the weather is often sunny and warm, there are unpredictable rain showers. Also, on the volcano it can be very cold. I went from 22C near the beach to below 0 at the peak of Teide
- Dress in layers and bring a raincoat or umbrella
- If you want to hike up Teide and you get altitude sickness, you may want to take medication. I saw someone pass out coming out of the cable car
- Check the covid regulations. As of January 2023, it was still required to wear masks in public transport and on the Teide cable car
- Google maps does not always capture the pedestrian paths. For example in Los Cristianos, there are stairs up and down the hill but these are not in any directions
- Taking money out using my foreign bank card seemed to involve a charge of 7 euros for a withdrawal. I decided I didn’t really need cash. Most places take credit cards, but taxis usually do not
- Locals recommend to drink bottled water. It is easy and cheap to buy large bottles. However, you then need to carry them
- If you are driving, then be prepared to practice your hill starts. I had to use the emergency brake while trying to park in Taco
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a larger town and parking is limited. There is free parking near the Palmetum, otherwise you may try one of the car parks such as Parking Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey (estacionamiento)
- There are two main airports on Tenerife, North (TFN, Norte, Los Rodeos) and South (TFS, Sur, Reina Sofía Airport). I arrived at the South airport because it was closer to Los Cristianos. From London, it is only a 4.5 hour flight to sunny weather!
- Bus 40 runs between the South airport and Adeje via Los Cristianos and there are a number of buses around the island. You can book bus tickets or daily passes using the Ten+Movil app. I entered part of my mobile number since mine is longer than 9 digits. I also used the hotel zip code. It still worked!
- For the first few days, I hired a car from Hertz, because I wanted to be able to see more of the island, There are a number of companies at the airport. Check in at the terminal before picking up a car from the lot outside. The queues were very long so allow time
- Taxis can be found at the airport and in the main towns. They usually do not accept credit cards so have cash on hand
- While in Tenerife, I stayed at the Hollywood Mirage Hotel in Los Cristianos
- The resort is huge and feels like a mini compound of white buildings
- Each room is its own apartment with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom(s) and terrace. There are fans and air conditioning but in January I only needed the fan
- There are multiple swimming pools, a spa and a gym
- For convenience, there is also a supermarket with the essentials
- The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The poolside bar serves snacks and some tasty smoothies
- It is located up the hill from the main town so be prepared for walking up and down stairs
- Each day, there are scheduled shuttles to and from the beach during the day
- Check-in and check-out were slow as there are only two desks, which seems too small for the size of the place. I was also there during the low season
My first meal upon arriving was dinner at Jamon y Mojo, a restaurant specialising in lots of different kinds of pork. I ordered croquetas and pork marinated in soy sauce with vanilla and coffee sauce. Both were delicious and the wine 2019 Rioja went well with the meal. It was so nice to sit outside in January!
For breakfasts and snacks I tried a number of different bakeries. My favourite bakery was Sakkara Pastelería, with its beautiful cakes. Rincon del Pan is a mini chain and I liked their alfajore (soft sandwich cookie with caramel in the middle). Bakery Croquant had some nice cakes but some looked a little old, so you need to choose carefully.
In Puerto de la Cruz, I had lunch at Restaurante Oliva. It has local specialties as well as a selection of schnitzel. I had grilled gambas followed by a schnitzel with pepper sauce. Everything was delicious! The woman server was very nice and helpful. The man was a little bit abrupt and also told me I was ordering too much food. I had been running and hiking so I was hungry! Later in the afternoon I had a gelato from Gelato Delizia.
By chance, I was looking for a chocolate shop and found Lava chocolates in Taco. It’s a family-run shop and the people were very friendly. After trying a sample, I bought a mix of chocolates including cactus and matcha flavours. The candied almonds were also delicious!
In Santa Cruz, I had a fancy meal at Etéreo by Pedro Nel restaurant. It’s quite casual and the food is beautifully-presented and delicious. For starter, I had 10 croquetas with ham and a banana Mayo. The main was grilled pork with barbecue sauce and vegetables. It was delicious and tender, but could have used a few more dots of BBQ sauce. Finally, for dessert I had the Etéreo Floral, a mix of red fruit gel, lychee sorbet, sponge cake, raspberry spheres and cherries. Wonderful meal and so much food!
There seemed to be a lot of Indian restaurants around Los Cristianos, and I tried one called Kismat. It’s casual with friendly service. or starter, I had the paneer pakora with mint sauce. Then I had a garlic naan with mango chicken curry. That isn’t a common British Indian menu item and was lovely, sweet and creamy.
I’m not sure why I decided to try Mexican food in Tenerife, very far from Mexico, but I was curious. I had beef chalupitas with rice and chips from El Paso. The people were really nice and the food was tasty and plentiful, however it didn’t really taste like Mexican food.
On the other hand, the Mediterranean food was more authentic. At Zoco, I had a sampler plate with hummous, tzatziki, pitta, tabbouleh, rice, couscous, grilled chicken and a piece of lamb kebab.
For a drink with a view, I recommend the Sol rooftop bar at the Hotel Olivina in Los Cristianos. It is chilled and friendly, and the sunset view is amazing. Their signature Green Olivina cocktail was a yummy mix of gin, passion fruit syrup, melon liquor, orange juice and Blue Curacao.
Tenerife has its own local wines. I tried two red wines and they were okay, but not my favourite. I thought that the volcanic soil might give the wines unique flavours, but to me they did not have a lot of flavour. The Rioja and Crianza I had from Spain mainland were more to my taste.
I bought some foods at the local supermarket DialPrix. The spicy Canary Island almonds looked interesting and I was addicted to snacking on them. I even brought home some bags to share. They are not too spicy and a little sweet. So good! A healthier snack was the açai cup from Oakberry.
My last lunch in Tenerife was at a lively bar called Taberna Vasca Txupinazo. It was conveniently close to the bus stop heading to the airport. Their menu for tapas is extensive. It seems popular with locals and their portions are very generous. I had four croquetas- jamon, mushroom, squid and mussels. Then toast with tomato and anchovies. And finally gambas à la plancha. Plenty of food to last me through lunch and dinner, and it was nice to end the trip with Spanish flavours.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, you can find the main sights around the island either by bus or by car
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes most people speak English as there are many ex-patriates and tourists
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: It is an island and definitely not walkable around the whole island. However, each individual city centre area is walkable.
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