6 reasons to visit Tenerife
You may be under the impression that Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, needs no introduction. Its reputation as a summer and winter hotspot comes from its stunning beaches and balmy climate - it's commonly known as "The Island of Eternal Spring”, and temperatures averaging 18-24 degrees in winter and 24-28 in summer make it a year-round destination.
But there's much more to this island - think Rio-esque carnivals, more 5-star properties than Barcelona and no time difference from the UK.
We're here to take you through our favourite ways to see another side of Tenerife. And don't forget, all of this is just 4.5 hours away from 24 UK airports.
1. Take in striking scenery
From the deep ravines of Teno Rural Park to the cinnamon-coloured sands of Playa de las Teresitas and the ancient fern forests of Anaga Biosphere Reserve, the variety of scenery you'll find in Tenerife is astonishing. Nearly half the island is protected, including the lunar landscape of Teide National Park -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s third-tallest volcanic structure, Mount Teide. The cable car will put you 200 metres from the summit in less than 10 minutes!
The volcanic conditions across Tenerife have also resulted in a medley of colour along the island's shoreline. To the south, you'll find the long stretches of golden sand that made this a popular tourist destination, and to the north, coffee-coloured coves and palm-fringed black beaches as quieter alternatives. Along the coast, you'll also find an array of natural swimming pools created by solidified lava, complete with crystal-clear waters and large rocks to jump off.
2. Get starry eyed
Tenerife is regularly named as one of the top destinations for stargazing in the world thanks to flight-path restrictions that protect its clear skies. You can take guided tours of the high-altitude Teide Observatory, where guides can point out constellations from both hemispheres, or you can head to Teide National Park once the sun has set to catch a shooting star.
3. Go on safari
The mild waters that bathe Tenerife's coast are the perfect habitat for marine species, and the south is home to a sizeable colony of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins, plus 24 migratory species throughout the year. Sea safaris from Los Gigantes or Puerto Colon are available all year round with high chances of a sighting or two. Teno Country Park is also another excellent location on the island for wildlife. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for spotted lizards -- an endangered species that’s endemic to Tenerife and known for the electric-blue spots along its body that give it its name.
4. Be charmed by colour
It's not just Tenerife's natural landscape that has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Beautiful La Laguna -- a town that pops with colour -- is a fantastic day trip thanks to its colonial architecture and boutique shops aplenty. Contrast that with the bustling port capital of Santa Cruz with its sweeping palm-lined boulevards and impressive avant-garde buildings.
5. Fill your belly
From six Michelin-starred restaurants to one of the many relaxed guachinches for home-cooked food, it's easy to find something to suit all palates. Among the most popular tapas dishes are fresh padron peppers, croquettes and papas arrugadas (commonly known as wrinkly potatoes) with mojo sauce. And don't forget to sample the local wine during dinner or at one of the wineries across the island to learn about the varieties of grapes, the climate and the island’s volcanic soil.
6. Embrace your inner child
Tenerife is a hive of activity for families. As well as 70 kilometres of beach, you'll also find a number of water sports are readily available, such as kayaking, surfing and diving. If you'd prefer to stay on dry land, a network of cycling and hiking routes criss-cross the island, or you can head to Siam Park -- reckoned by many to be the best waterpark in the world. And from a practical point of view, many hotels offer kids’ clubs, connecting rooms and children’s menus for families.