From volcanoes to pyramids, Tenerife has it all
Family-friendly adventures among water slides and exotic animals
Doing Tenerife right
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
The island-wide bus company in Tenerife is called "TITSA." Don’t laugh. They probably didn’t realize it was funny. If you’re taking public transport, get a Bono Bus ticket, which cuts the cost of traveling by bus in half for journeys over 20km, and by 30% for journeys under 20km. The ticket also covers travel on the new trams. Bus #111 runs every 30 minutes along the main motorway between the terminal in Santa Cruz and Playa de Las Americas. It also stops at the airport on the way. If you prefer to drive yourself, hiring a car in Tenerife is easy and relatively cheap.
Weather and when to go
Tenerife is known as the island of eternal spring thanks to its agreeable year-round temperatures, although summer can be scorchingly hot and dry. For cooler weather, spring or autumn are your best bet, with the south being slightly warmer and drier than the north. That’s thanks to dormant volcano Mount Teide, which helps block the rain and wind. If ocean swimming is your aim, August is the best time – the average sea temperature is a dreamy 23°C. Flight deals are usually on between September to December and March to May (except during the Easter break).
Life's a beach
Want to lie on Saharan sand without actually going to the desert? Head to Tenerife’s La Tejita. The sand here has been blown straight over! It’s also a great destination if you’re looking for an all-over tan; a rocky outcrop delineates the nude and clothed sections. Playa de las Vistas is a family-friendly option between the southern resorts of Los Cristianos and Las Américas. Garden Beach is a plant-lover’s paradise with greenery swirling around the edges of the sand. Traveling by car? Head for the secluded Playa el Bollullo located along a coastal path from Puerto de la Cruz.
Known by many as the world's greatest water park, Tenerife’s Siam Park makes the perfect watery escape on a hot and sunny day. You’ll find splashes, spills and thrills around every corner on a host of adrenaline-pumping rides like The Dragon, the Tower of Power and the Kinnaree slide, plus loads to keep the little kids happy. Feeling like a bit of chill-time? Ride the Lazy River, or kick back on the pure white sands of Siam Beach. The surrounding tropical 'jungle' and the jaw-dropping views of Tenerife’s magical scenery are a bonus.
Deep in the jungle lies the world’s best zoo, according to TripAdvisor. OK, it’s not deep in the jungle but it’s full of jungle creatures. Loro Parque is full of chimps, gorillas, tigers and lions. Learn about their natural habitats via interactive exhibitions. Visit Europe's largest dolphin pool and shark tunnel, and the world's largest indoor penguin enclosure. Plus, this is one of only two parks in Europe where you can see orcas. For a colorful display, wave to the 4000 parrots squawking away in their huge menagerie.
Mount Teide last blew her top in 1909, so odds are she’s pretty safe to climb. Thousands take their chances every year, but if you don’t want to use your legs, let the cable car whisk you up to Spain’s highest point – 3,718 meters above sea level. The views will blow you away, even if the volcano doesn’t. Did you know that NASA uses it as a fake Mars to test equipment we might one day use on the distant planet? You’ll need a permit to reach the actual summit but even without there are brilliant sunsets and stargazing opportunities.
Santa Cruz's own Carnaval usually starts in early February and makes for a 24-hour party vibe that lasts roughly three weeks. It’s a great time to come if you’re looking for a bit more bang for your buck as you’ll find a heap of extra events, like fireworks on the beaches, fancy dress competitions, musical performances and lots of good-time partygoers. If Santa Cruz seems too hectic, many of the smaller towns host their own carnavals. Head to Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes or Puerto de la Cruz if you’re looking for something more low-key.