The largest and most popular of Spain’s glorious Canary Islands, Tenerife sits just off the coast of Morocco in the vast Atlantic Ocean. A relatively short flight from most UK airports, the island boasts white and black sand beaches that bask in year-round sunshine and temperatures that average 25 degrees.
With a dramatic volcanic landscape, a buzzing nightlife scene and gorgeous beaches, it’s not surprising that, on average, 10 million visitors choose to head to this holiday hotspot every year. From families and couples to nature-lovers and adventure-seekers, this is a destination which can truly lay claim to that much touted boast; of having something for everyone. With such natural beauty in abundance, the island is best enjoyed out there and amongst it. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL outdoor activities to do in Tenerife.
GET WET AT A WATERPARK
With the lush, verdant landscape, and dramatic backdrop of both ocean and volcano, it’s no wonder that Tenerife is famed for its parks. However, it’s those which run on water and adrenaline which take headline billing on the island. The two most popular are Aqualand Tenerife and Siam Park. The latter the largest in Europe and boasting the world’s largest man made wave, flumes, slides and pulse-pounding rides – it’s no surprise that this Thai-themed attraction is often offered up as the finest water park on the planet. The former is a more kid friendly affair – less thrill seeking but no less enjoyable – with family friendly fun for miles, and a dolphin show which will have the little ones (and big guys, too) in rapture.
VISIT A VOLCANO
Sorry, that should say the volcano. There’s no half measures here; Mount Teide, at its peak, is the highest point both in Spain and above sea level in the Atlantic’s islands. What’s more, it’s active, though it hasn’t erupted since 1909. The UNESCO named World Heritage Site of Teide National Park surrounds it, and plenty of tours and Tenerife excursions are on offer, allowing you to simply bask in its shadow or scale it via cable car. Which you choose depends on the level of daredevil in you.
It takes about eight minutes for the cable car to whizz you to the top of Mount Teide. However, if you’re going to put on your hiking boots then make sure you set a whole day of your trip aside for the climb; to scale the mountain, it takes around six hours. However, for those wishing to do it at a more leisurely pace, you can spend the night at the Refugio de Atavist hut, then continue your climb and watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Teide before making your descent. Make sure to wrap up warm, though, as the chilly high altitude is a huge contrast to the hot heat of the coast. Don’t get caught short.
WANDER AROUND LA LAGUNA
If hair raising water slides and volcano trekking sound like too much physical activity for your holiday, then a gentle stroll around La Laguna, considered to be the most beautiful town in Tenerife, could instead be the ideal outdoor activity for you. A UNESCO World Heritage site, La Laguna is the oldest city on the island, with a rich, diverse heritage to boot. The pastel painted walls of property here, rendered in bright yellows and sky blues, make it the perfect backdrop for some picture taking and there’s plenty of architectural and historical intrigue to satisfy those buffs with a taste for the past; check out the Palacio de Nava and Laguna Catedral, in particular.
GO BIRD & MONKEY WATCHING
You asked for outdoors, so it’s outdoors you’ll get. Head to Loro Parque (the ‘best zoo in the world’ according to tripadvisor) for some serious animal spotting. The zoo is most famed for its excellent bird watching capabilities, with their collection of parrots unrivalled in any other enclosed space on the planet. The thrice daily dolphin shows and their ‘Penguin Planet’ are other must sees.
Should you fancy serving your simian obsession more succintly, then Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park will certainly see you right. It’s also a breeding centre and champion of endangered species, so you’ll be doing your bit for the adorable creatures by patronising the place. Be warned, the Monkey Park has earnt the billing of ‘smallest zoo in the world’, but don’t let that put you off; there’s plenty to see and do here, and, excitingly, feeding is allowed!
DIVE DEEP OR SNORKEL IN THE SHALLOWS
Tenerife is famed for the snorkelling and diving opportunities of its surrounding seas, and is blessed with clear waters as much as 30 metres down and a huge biodiversity of sea life just off its shores. A particular highlight for many is the chance to swim with turtles, most commonly found in the sheltered waters on the island’s south west coast, especially around El Puertito Tenerife. If you aren’t qualified to dive and aren’t ready to learn on this trip, then you can still catch a sight of these wonderful creatures by snorkelling.