The largest of all seven Canary Islands, Tenerife is best known for its year-round mild climate and lush green landscapes. According to Lonely Planet, over ten million visitors flock to the island every year, many of whom will stay at popular tourist resorts in the south. However, if you look beyond the famed tourism spots for Tenerife holidays, you’ll find another side to the so-called ‘island of eternal spring’ just waiting to be discovered, including a variety of non-touristy things to do in Tenerife.
Now, it’s over to some of the biggest names on the travel blogging scene to tell us about the best lesser known things to do in Tenerife:
Garajonay National Park, La Gomera
A few years ago I spent a week on Tenerife and one of my fondest memories is of a day trip to a neighbouring island, La Gomera and the Garajonay National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the centre of the island, around its highest peak.
This dense wooded region is almost always shrouded in mists and clouds, as it was on the day I was there. Wandering alone along the trails through the forest of laurel and heather trees felt quite surreal, as moss-covered branches stretched out into the mists, each dripping with the water that condensed on them from the clouds. Lush green ferns covered the forest floor, vivid green in the streams of sunlight that occasionally broke through the mists. It’s mysterious, beautiful and rather creepy at times but I can see why this National Park is a great draw for hikers and the views, if you are lucky enough to be here on a clear day, are spectacular I’m told.
— Kathryn Burrington, Travel With Kat
El Caletón de Garachico Natural Bathing Pools
The most unforgettable thing we did on our trip to Tenerife was to swim in the El Caletón de Garachico natural bathing pools. Our only regret is that we didn’t get accommodation in the town and stay for at least another day to further enjoy this natural wonder!
The bathing pools were formed in 1706, when a volcanic eruption covered the entire town in hot lava. As this met the sea, it cooled to form the bathing pools that today’s residents now enjoy. Some concrete platforms have been built atop the jagged rocks for sunbathing, and the water in the pools is the tidal sea water. In fact, at high tide, some of these pools can get a little dangerous, but if the tide comes rolling in, just hop out and visit the al fresco terraced beach bar/café for an ice-cream or a beer to steady the nerves! This has to be one of the best of all the lesser known things to do in Tenerife.
— Erin Hardie, Downbubble
Hiking the Masca Ravine
Masca is a little village perched on top of a lush outcrop surrounded by rocky cliffs. Anyone who sees a photo of Masca could be forgiven for thinking it is located somewhere in Hawaii.
The hike takes you down the gorge from the village. It’s a very tough trek, but you will feel like you’re within the set of Jurassic Park and you almost expect a dinosaur to appear around the corner. One thing you will see is lots of bats, who live in the caves on the rock face.
If you plan to do this walk, remember that you will have to come back up, so start very early in the day to avoid getting caught out in the ravine in the dark. I cut it a little bit fine and it was slightly unnerving, as you are completely cut off from the world. But don’t let this put you off. It was one of the most spectacular treks I have ever done and it’s one of my best memories of Tenerife.
— Teresa Gomez, Brogan Abroad
When I visited La Laguna, the former capital of the island, it felt as if I’d been transported to another time and another place – a bubble trapped in history, way back at the turning of the 15th and 16th century, when La Laguna was newly built, and the island of Tenerife was the crossroads connecting Europe with the New World.
Beautifully preserved buildings lined the narrow streets, as I discovered one enchanting cobbled courtyard after another. Each house was painted a different colour – some mustard, others green, pink, blue or simply white. Pretty balconies, intricate wood panelling, brightly decorated tiles – such attention to detail had been to each one.
Now a thriving university and the island’s cultural capital, it must be a great place to stay to see a completely different side of Tenerife.
— Kathryn Burrington, Travel With Kat
Have you been to Tenerife before? Are there any attractions you’d recommend for travellers looking for non-touristy things to do in Tenerife?