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Your Tenerife holiday

Legend has it that Tenerife actually made up a number of the visible peaks of the lost city of Atlantis, which disappeared into the ocean thousands of years ago. Historical evidence, however, points to early, very basic, settlements around 200BC by a group known as the Guanches, who came from north-western Africa.

In the late 1400s, Spain began to demand the submission of the last of the Canary Islands, held independent by what records say were a brave and powerful people. The Spanish forces, however, had superior technology and arms, and eventually defeated the Guanches in 1494, enslaving most of the natives and wiping out many with new diseases such as smallpox and influenza.

The island saw rapid population growth over the next few centuries, with new immigrants clearing forests to make way for new crops like grapes, bananas and sugar cane.

The 1700s saw multiple attacks from British invaders, most notably in 1797, when Admiral Horatio Nelson famously lost his right arm. Pirates have also seen the island as a worthy target, with Dutch, French and Berber ships all calling uninvited into the port at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In the 1890s, when word of Tenerife’s beauty began to spread, the isle became a popular tourist destination, which was then stemmed by Tenerife’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and the misery and emigration that followed.

The boom in mass air travel of the 1960s meant that Tenerife was placed firmly on the map of favourite sun destinations, ushering in an era of holiday homes, beach resorts and top hotels.

You might be considering a holiday in Tenerife because it’s relatively cheap and easy to get to. But you’ll end up choosing this destination—and loving the resulting trip—because of its incredible beaches, exotic inland forests, and soaring volcano. As the largest of the popular Canary Islands (there are seven) lying just north of the Sahara, Tenerife has all the modern luxuries a reputable tourist island calls for, whether you’re into hiking or lounging on a unique black-sand beach.

A cheeky flight to Tenerife might be the start of just the short break you need.

Top Tenerife attractions

Loro Parque Zoo

View wildlife and spend a day with the family at this zoo located near Puerto de la Cruz.

Museum of Nature and Man

Housing the history of the Canary Islands, this museum is actually a complex of three different museums.

Teide National Park

This expansive park features a huge volcanic crater and the highest peak on the island. It's a great escape for a day of hiking and exploring.

Los Gigantes

Enjoy the breathtaking cliffs of Los Gigantes, located on the west coast of the island. Featuring massive cliffs that tower above the Atlantic, this is a must-see for travellers.

El Médano

A favourite among wind and kite surfers, this beach features a boardwalk for an ocean-side stroll.

Barranco del infierno

A rich ravine complete with a waterfall, this site offers picturesque views.

Calle Castillo

A hugely popular shopping district in Santa Cruz, this area offers plenty of boutiques and shops where you can buy everything from electronics to local fashions.


A tiny village at the base of the Teno Mountains, Masca is believed to have been a hideout for pirates.

Carnival in Santa Cruz

The capital city of the island is the place to be for parties and celebrations. The Carnival festival is quite the show, with wild outfits and parades on display.

La Orotava

The bright and beautiful architecture of this town is truly worth seeing in person. Every view looks like a postcard.

Piramides de Guimar

Situated in the south east of the island, about 26 kilometres from Santa Cruz, these pyramids are actually six square, terraced structures built in the 19th century from local lava rock. Some believe that they were piles created when people moving to the rural interior were clearing the land. Others insist that the pyramids, similar to those found in Mexico and Peru, were connected to the Guanches and were aligned astrologically. Stand on top of the largest one on the day of summer solstice to observe a double sunset.

Cave Paintings

Tenerife has a number of sites related to the Guanches, but the most fascinating remains of their culture are to be found hidden in the south of the island, where cave paintings have been discovered in the archaeological sites of Cambados and El Barranco del Rey in Arona.

Tenerife’s Museums

The sunny island may be a magnet for beachgoers and nightlife lovers, but it is rich in culture too, and Tenerife is justifiably proud of its museums and heritage sites. Begin your tour at the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, which has a comprehensive collection of works by Canary Island artists, plus pieces from the Prado in Madrid. As well as art and sculpture, this museum houses wonderful collections of antique furniture, weapons, porcelain and coins. Bring yourself right up to date at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and then get a taste of science, nature and archaeology at the Natural and Human History Museum, where you’ll find out what life was like for pre-Hispanic man on the islands.

The Cliffs at Los Gigantes

On the west coast of Tenerife are ‘The Giants’¬—sheer cliffs that plunge 800 metres down to the sea. You can trek out there from the neighbouring town of Los Gigantes, and inch out on your stomach to get a better view. Or choose the non-death-defying option and take a boat trip to the base, where you can gaze up at the dramatic rock face above.

Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday


Insider tips for Tenerife travel

Siam Parque

This water amusement park is located in Costa Adeje and features artificial waves and several cafes.


This cafe is an excellent place to grab a delicious bite to eat for any meal, as well as enjoy music on the weekends.

Playa Americas

More than just your typical beach, this site may catch some holidaymakers off guard due to its black volcanic sand.

Anaga Mountains

Located on the northeastern region of the island, this mountainous area is rather remote and unexplored. It's a great place for pristine views and photo opportunities.

La Cazuela

Popular among locals, this restaurant offers regional favourites such as cazuela, a tasty fish casserole.

Best time to go on holiday to Tenerife

The island's weather varies by location, as the geography affects conditions significantly. In the winter months, it is possible to experience snow and warm temperatures within miles of each other. When travelling to the island, keep the changes in weather in mind, and pack accordingly. The island experiences warm temperatures throughout the year, with an average of 20°C in the winter and 28°C in the summer. The summer months, from May to September, bring the least amount of rainfall, so travellers wanting maximum time outdoors should visit Tenerife during this time.

Tenerife highlights

Go Crazy at Carnival

Considered the biggest on the planet after Rio and Notting Hill, the carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is not to be missed. Celebrated every February, this explosion of music and dancing attracts a huge number of visitors, with thousands taking to the streets in wacky outfits. Highlights include the dazzling opening parade, the ‘burial of the sardine’ and the election of Carnival Queen.

Hike El Teide

Reaching higher than any other mountain in Spain, El Teide is an active volcano (last erupted in 1909) definitely worth exploring. It’s set in the craggy volcanic landscape of Teide National Park (a UNESCO world heritage site), and is home to a surprising number of plant species, reptiles, and birds. You’ll need special permission to hike right to the top, but halfway up there’s an observation deck with telescopes. There’s also a cable car that will take you up almost to the summit—beware of altitude sickness!

Try Scuba Diving

With waters that only drop to a low of 18 degrees in winter, Tenerife is a great place to try a spot of scuba diving. Among the assortment of diving sites, you’re likely to see some fantastic marine life such as impressive moray eels, parrotfish and stingrays. There are also some dramatic volcanic rock formations, especially around the harbour at Puerto de la Cruz.

Desert Quad Safari

One of the best ways to take off and see the craggy scenery of this volcanic isle is on a powerful quad bike. Thrilling excursions are mainly off-road, and a 35-minute trip costs just under €30 (£25).

Visit La Laguna

A UNESCO world heritage site, La Laguna is a beautiful old city that was once the capital of the island. It sits in the sheltered countryside of the Aguere valley and is home to bustling La Laguna University and the Cathedral of La Laguna. In this charming town you’ll find plenty of surprising architecture, museums, ancient churches and some great local restaurants.

How to move around in Tenerife

Arriving and Getting Away

Depending on where you’re staying, you’ll either take a flight to Tenerife South airport (Reina Sofia, which handles most international flights) or go to Tenerife North (Los Rodeos) airport. You’ll find a good bus system at both which runs from about 5am to midnight (check current times on airport website), and serves the major cities on the island. The trip from the airport to the capital, Santa Cruz, takes around 15 minutes from the northern airport or an hour from the south. Both arrivals terminals have ATMs, banks where you can change money, and competitive options for car hire in Tenerife.

There is also the option of taking a ferry to Tenerife. Boats (with surprisingly comfortable sleeping quarters) leave from Cadiz in Spain, and the journey takes two days.

Transport Around the Island

If you want to travel the island on a budget, get yourself a bus card (ask at any bus station or your hotel), which can be used on all lines and will reduce your fare. Taxis are another good option if you haven’t hired your own car—drivers on the island are generally honest and reliable, and all cars should be metered. There are ferries that you can take if you feel like checking out some of the other Canary Islands.

MORE Tenerife Hotels

See all 1,595 hotels in Tenerife
Best Jacaranda

Best Jacaranda

Avenida Bruselas, 4, Adeje
    4.0 out of 5.0
    3.3 out of 5 (3 reviews)

    This resort is located in Adeje (Costa Adeje), close to the beach, Gran Sur Shopping Center, Fanabe Beach and La Pinta Beach. Also nearby are Plaza del Duque ...

    Best Jacaranda£87

    Best Jacaranda£87
    Hotel Riu Buena Vista

    Hotel Riu Buena Vista

    Calle Horno, 35, Adeje
      4.0 out of 5.0
      3.4 out of 5 (10 reviews)

      Situated near the beach, this all-inclusive hotel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Ajabo Beach and 2.5 mi (4 km) from La Caleta National Park. Golf Costa Adeje and Barranco ...



      Avenida de Bruselas, 16, Adeje
        5.0 out of 5.0
        4.5 out of 5 (14 reviews)

        This luxury resort is located in Adeje (Costa Adeje), close to the beach, Plaza del Duque Shopping Center, El Duque Beach and Fanabe Beach. Also nearby are Aqualand ...


        Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife

        Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife

        Avenida Adeje, 300, Adeje
          5.0 out of 5.0
          4.7 out of 5 (11 reviews)

          Situated on the waterfront, this luxury resort is close to Ajabo Beach, La Caleta National Park and Golf Costa Adeje. Local attractions also include El Duque ...

          Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife£109

          Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife£109
          La Quinta Park Suites & Spa

          La Quinta Park Suites & Spa

          C Bicacarera 21, Santa Ursula
            4.0 out of 5.0
            3.7 out of 5 (26 reviews)

            Situated in Santa Ursula, this spa hotel is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Orotava Valley and within 6 miles (10 km) of Botanical Garden of La Orotava and Casa de Los ...

            La Quinta Park Suites & Spa£47

            La Quinta Park Suites & Spa£47
            Mediterranean Palace

            Mediterranean Palace

            Avenida de las Americas, Arona
              5.0 out of 5.0
              3.8 out of 5 (73 reviews)

              Nestled on the beach, this Arona resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arona Pyramid and Los Cristianos Beach. El Camison Beach and Las Vistas Beach are also within ...

              Mediterranean Palace£102

              Mediterranean Palace£102
              Jardin Tropical Hotel

              Jardin Tropical Hotel

              Calle Gran Bretana s/n, Costa Adeje, Adeje
                4.0 out of 5.0
                4.4 out of 5 (49 reviews)

                Located in Costa Adeje, this eco-friendly hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Torviscas Beach and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Los Cristianos Beach. Puerto Colon Marina and ...

                Jardin Tropical Hotel£108

                Jardin Tropical Hotel£108
                Iberostar Anthelia

                Iberostar Anthelia

                Londres, 15, Adeje
                  5.0 out of 5.0
                  4.6 out of 5 (16 reviews)

                  This Adeje resort is by the sea, on the beach within minutes of Plaza del Duque Shopping Center, Fanabe Beach and El Duque Beach. Also nearby are Gran Sur Shopping ...

                  Iberostar Anthelia£171

                  Iberostar Anthelia£171
                  Iberostar Sábila - Adults Only

                  Iberostar Sábila - Adults Only

                  Ernesto Sarti, 5, Adeje
                    5.0 out of 5.0
                    3.3 out of 5 (9 reviews)

                    Offering direct access to the beach, this Adeje hotel is by the ocean, within minutes of Fanabe Beach, La Pinta Beach and Puerto Colon Marina. Also nearby are ...

                    Iberostar Sábila - Adults Only£115

                    Iberostar Sábila - Adults Only£115
                    Regency Torviscas Apartments Suites

                    Regency Torviscas Apartments Suites

                    Cataluña 2, Adeje
                      3.5 out of 5.0
                      3.8 out of 5 (5 reviews)

                      This aparthotel is located in Adeje (Costa Adeje), close to the beach, Gran Sur Shopping Center, Aqualand Costa Adeje and La Pinta Beach. Also nearby are Siam ...

                      Regency Torviscas Apartments Suites£48

                      Regency Torviscas Apartments Suites£48

                      Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency. Local charges may apply