Boasting wonderful weather year-round and fantastic beaches, it’s not surprising that the Canary Island of Tenerife is a popular holiday spot. There is so much to do from relaxing on the coast to heading into the interior and enjoying the landscape of the Mount Teide National Park, as well as enjoying some delicious Canarian food. Filling seven days on Tenerife certainly won’t be difficult.
Day 1 – Get your bearings
Base yourself in the south of the island, where resorts such as Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje have lots to offer. The former has a wonderful tranquil atmosphere while the latter is perfect if you want to add a little extra luxury to your holiday.
Los Cristianos – spend the first day of your holiday exploring your surroundings and enjoy the two sandy beaches of Playa de Los Cristianos and Las Vistas, as well as the small harbour of this small fishing village. Both of these stretches of sand are sheltered and good for swimming and sun bathing. Take advantage of some of the watersports on offer if sitting still is simply not your style.
When it comes to lunchtime, don’t be put off by the plastic tables and chairs at the El Cine restaurant on the harbour, as the long queues bely the real story. This place represents seriously good value for money, with your choice of fresh fish, squid or octopus served up with mountains of salad and chips for less than €10 (£7.20) a meal. Really get into the holiday spirit and wash it down with a bottle of house wine.
Take notice some of the older buildings in Los Cristianos, as they display typical Canarian architecture that was once seen everywhere throughout the island. Spend the afternoon strolling along the promenade, which was renovated in 2008 and takes you on a nice excursion along the coast.
Costa Adeje – head to the other resort to spend the evening and enjoy a different kind of seafood supper. Located right next to Playa del Duque, Sobo is an upmarket sushi and Asian fusion restaurant, which is perfect for a treat on your first night in Tenerife. Head to the nearby Acanto cocktail bar for a well-muddled mojito to finish the evening off in style.
Day 2 – Discover southern towns and villages
San Miguel de Abona is the main town in the area and one of the oldest in the south of the island. It’s a great place to explore and it doesn’t take long to get under its skin and find real charm. While the main street feels a tad ordinary, once you head to the old quarter, the gems will start to reveal themselves.
Spend the morning exploring the historic sites, such as the church of San Miguel Arcangel and the Casa del Capitan Museum. This will give you greater insight into the history of the area and how it has developed over time to become the place you see today. For a fairly quirky visit, make your way to the town’s former dungeons, which date back to the 18th century, and have now been converted into a library.
Head to Calle Estanco for a late lunch at La Tasquita de Nino restaurant. It doesn’t open until 1pm, but when it does, the dishes on offer are well worth the wait. The area around San Miguel is well-known for growing tomatoes, potatoes and grapes for wine and these elements are included in true Canarian fare at this historic establishment.
Housed within a traditional 18th-century home, you will recognise the restaurant from its ochre-hued walls and terracotta tiled roof. Try the tomato and goat soup or local cheese stuffed with almonds and figs before moving on to one of the homemade desserts that tempt you from the menu.
In the afternoon, take the Carretera Sur a little north to Granadilla, a village that offers a glimpse into everyday life on Tenerife. At its heart is the church of San Antonio de Padua, the majority of which was built in the 18th century after the original was destroyed in a fire. A Spanish colonial style tower was added in 1885. At the small History Museum you can see a display of mummies from the time that Berbers inhabited the area.
Surrounding Granadilla there are various interesting villages and sites, so setting off towards Vilaflor, the highest village in Spain, or the San Luis Obispo Franciscan Monastery is a nice activity. If you enjoy your meat then stop off at Asador El Portillo on your way back through San Miguel. Enjoy everything from spicy sausages and mixed grills to steak cooked with skill. Accompanying dishes such as padron peppers and sweet potato chips set everything off nicely.
Day 3 – Explore Mount Teide National Park
On your third day on Tenerife you may want to head towards the highest mountain in Spain – Mount Teide. Planning a day trip to this incredible peak and the national park that surrounds it couldn’t be easier, as there are organised excursions that take care of the arrangements, including travel.
If you are concerned about hiking up Mount Teide, don’t worry, there is a cable car to take you to the top, so you don’t need to trek for hours to take in the spectacular views of the surrounding area. Be warned that there only a few amenities at the top, such as a toilet, but no shop or cafe and the temperature is likely to drop significantly, so bring something to bundle up. You will be at 3,555 metres at the Upper Station, so it’s not surprising it may be a little chilly.
From the Lower Station at 2,356 metres, which can be reached by road, the cable car takes eight minutes to reach the top. The cabins that travel over the stunning landscape are relatively large, accommodating up to 44 people at a time. The views from the Lower Station are already stunning, but the additional height at the top means you will be able to see even further. On a clear day, you can see as far as the other Canary Islands with Gran Canaria in one direction and La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro the opposite way.
There are two restaurants in the national park – Portillo Bambi and the one inside Hotel Parador de Canadas del Teide. Bambi is popular with tour groups and is therefore well equipped to get everyone fed at the same time, whether it is for lunch or prior to an evening of stargazing in the park.
It is thoroughly recommended that you stay into the evening and enjoy the park at night, as it takes on a whole new dimension and shows visitors the universe. As the sun sets, the craggy landscape goes through a series of colour changes, with pinks and reds bringing the rocks and ridges to life. Far from the disruptive influence of light pollution, the stars are distinct and an expert guide will explain all the astronomical features you can see. It really is incredible.
Day 4 – Rest and relaxation at Costa Adeje
After a day of exploring Mount Teide National Park yesterday, you will probably be ready for a bit more relaxation. With so much coastline and a wonderful climate it would be a shame not to spend it at the beach. Having already discovered the delights of Los Cristianos, a trip to Costa Adeje is in order.
With the resort being one of the newer hotspots and having a classy vibe, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy. Playa del Duque is a wonderful beach and benefits from golden sand shipped in especially. It’s nice and clean and a good place to swim, although nearby Playa Fanabe is slightly more protected and therefore has calmer waters.
Overlooking Playa Fanabe and with views out to La Gomera is the small Italian restaurant Francesca al Mare. It is the perfect place to grab lunch, as it serves up delicious fresh pasta dishes that are simple yet well executed. It’s relatively new to the area, but already gaining quite a reputation for itself. Try the lasagne di carne or the gnocci gorgonzola.
You have three options for the afternoon – check out the watersports on offer, go shopping or head to the spa. There are a wide selection of spa establishments and treatments on offer in Costa Adeje. Some of them even use local natural products, such as volcanic mud, allowing you to feel the essence of Tenerife seeping into your skin.
Day 5 – Hike the Masca Valley
Feeling fully refreshed, it’s time to get out and see some more of the island. Book an excursion to the Masca Valley and strap on your hiking boots for the 4.5-kilometre walk. It starts at the small village of Masca and sees you walking down the gorge until you reach the sea. That’s right, it’s all downhill! Reaching the water, you will see the Atlantic Ocean lapping against the characteristic black sand of the beach.
The scenery on your descent includes vertical cliffs, a rock arch and even sections of tunnels formed by the natural rock. It’s likely that you will see some small species of wildlife along the way, such as lizards, as well as various birds. An average time for completing the trek is around two and a half hours, but it may take longer or a shorter period depending on your fitness.
As with all hiking, it is important to be fully prepared with sturdy footwear, plenty of water and some snacks. There are a few places that sell drinks during the high season, but nowhere to get a meal, so try to be self-sufficient. The weather in Tenerife is notoriously good, so bring sun cream, a hat and something to cover your shoulders, as well as your camera – the views are spectacular.
From the bottom of the walk, boats depart to Los Gigantes, where it’s easy enough to get a meal. Overlooking the marina is El Rincon de Antonio, where all the classic tapas dishes feature on the menu. Of course, opting for fish in such a seaside location is a good idea and the homemade crème caramels are worth treating yourself for. Tuck in, as you’ll have earned it after your walk.
Day 6 – Discover the magnificent Dragon Tree
Venturing further afield towards the end of your holiday, head to the north of the island and Icod de los Vinos. This town is home to a very unusual attraction – one known as the Dragon Tree. There are actually examples of this species all over the island, as well as in other parts of the Canaries, but this particular tree is special due to its age and size.
There is no official consensus on exactly how old the Dragon Tree actually is, but there are various estimates, ranging from 650 to 3,000 years old. But why dragons? Well, the name derives from the fact that a red resin is released from the bark and the leaves when they are cut. In the past, people believed that the substance was the blood of dragons and that it had healing properties. Other uses have included being an ingredient in lacquers and varnishes, which meant many of the island’s trees were cut down and it is now a protected species.
While in this part of the island, take advantage of a new crop of dining opportunities and have lunch at Restaurante El Mortero. The dishes are inventive, the portions huge and the prices pretty good value, so it’s hard to go wrong with refuelling here.
On your final night in Tenerife you may wish to take advantage of one of the most fun excursions on offer – Medieval Night. This extravaganza of all things knights in shining armour and jousting will take you back to San Miguel de Abona and its castle for the evening. All the entertainment, food and drinks are included in the excursion, with a spot of flamenco thrown in for good measure.
Day 7 – A little more me-time
On the final day of your holiday, it is a good idea to fit in one last bit of me-time. That may be lounging on the beach, checking out the championship golf course in La Caleta or indulging in a spa treatment if you didn’t do so earlier in the week. Don’t forget to stock up on any souvenirs or presents for those back home before you head off to the airport.
Your final lunch on the island should be at Otelo, which has stunning views over the Barranco del Infierno ravine in the town of Adeje. As well as ensuring you get a table on the outside terrace to maximise the benefit of the location, order the regional speciality of pollo al ajillo, which is chicken infused with garlic and baked until it is crispy and tender.