1 week in Tenerife: activities to discover the island

Looking for sun all year round? I'm taking you to Tenerife! What to do in 1 week in Tenerife? Follow the guide!
What to do in 1 week in Tenerife

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The Canaries have established themselves as the ideal destination for those who love the sun, the beach, relaxation and adventure… all year round! The big advantage of these islands off the coast of Africa is that they offer a mild climate all year round. But that’s not all: they also boast a multitude of activities to suit all tastes and ages.

Does this destination appeal to you? What can you do in Tenerife?  Let’s set off for 1 week to discover the island!

👉 See also: my favourite things to do in Tenerife

Tenerife: practical information

Tenerife is THE destination for everyone. Whether you’re looking to travel as a couple, with your family or with friends, there’s something for everyone. It is the largest of the Canary Islands (an archipelago of 7 islands in total). You can admire two very different landscapes just a few kilometers apart. On the same day you can find yourself at the foot of Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, and swim on a beach of volcanic black sand.

Getting to Tenerife

The easiest way to get here is by plane. There are two airports: Tenerife North (which handles most flights from the peninsula and other islands) and Tenerife South (for international flights).

You can also reach the island by ferry from one of the islands or from the mainland.

Rent a car

If you want to get around the island, the easiest way is to rent a car. There is a well-developed public transport network (mainly buses), but a car will give you greater freedom. However, I would advise you to take care when starting off uphill in the small villages in the north of the island and to be careful when driving on the side roads.

I rented a car with Autoreisen, which I’ve known for years and would recommend to anyone. It’s a local company that offers great value for money. Take out additional insurance (€2 per day), which will save you a lot of hassle.  You can also take a look at Discover Cars, which has very good prices and includes all the major companies (Avis, Europcar, etc.).

DiscoverCars.com

Where to stay in Tenerife?

It all depends on what you want, of course.For my part, I didn’t want to end up in a town that was too touristy and overcrowded. For the first part of the trip, I found a beautiful casa rural, Hacienda El Terrero, a few kilometres from Puerto de La Cruz, a touristy coastal town with a lot of charm.
For the second part of the trip, I found a nice little airbnb that was really cheap near Güímar, another coastal town popular with the locals. The area not as pretty because it’s quite industrialised, but it’s next to the TF-1 motorway, which takes you to the south and Santa Cruz in just 25 minutes. Perfect if you want to explore the island.Be that as it may, there’s a very, very wide range of offer on the island:Find a hotel in Tenerife

Visiting Tenerife: what to do

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Here’s my account of my trip and my selection of visits for 1 week in Tenerife.

Tenerife's must-see towns and villages

In 1 week, you obviously have to make choices and you can’t see everything. My must-sees on the island are :

San Cristóbal de La Laguna

Located in the North of the island of Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna (you can say La Laguna, it’s easier!) is the first real town in the Canaries. Rich in history and culture, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a great place to wander around and discover its colonial architecture, including its church.

la laguna en tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The capital of the island (and of the Canaries) is also located in the north (a tram links La Laguna & Santa Cruz if you wish to combine the two visits). What is there to do in Santa Cruz? Stroll around the historic centre, but also discover the auditorium – a work by the famous architect Calatrava (who designed Valencia’s Cité des Sciences and many other monuments) – and the Parque Marítimo by Canary Island artist César Manrique.

Puerto de la Cruz

It’s easy to spend a day there, with its historic centre and beaches. Puerto de la Cruz really is a great Canary Island town. Special mention should be made of the town’s 3-storey municipal market, where locals and tourists mingle.

Masca

Without a doubt one of the most emblematic villages on the island of Tenerife! I particularly like going there to enjoy the panoramic views offered by the TF 436 road, a long, winding road! There are a lot of viewpoints, so stop off and enjoy the view!

If you’re a little scared to drive there, I’ve also spotted this day trip on GetyourGuide, which takes you around the most beautiful villages in the north of the island. These include Masca.

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Icod de los Vinos

In the North-West of the island, this small historic town attracts travellers with its narrow cobbled streets, small squares, colonial architecture and Milenario dragon tree (a symbol of the island)… A change of scenery guaranteed!

A boat trip

Tenerife is famous for its climate, but also for its incredible flora and fauna (everything is linked, of course!). The ocean is no exception, with many cetaceans living off the coast.

A 3-hour sailing trip, my experience :

Departure is from the port of Los Gigantes. The small town of Los Gigantes is characterised by its enormous cliffs, which reach almost 600 metres in height (the Cliffs of the Giants), an impressive landscape.

The captain of our yacht, the Sangria, plans to sail about 1,000 metres away from the coast to see the dolphins and/or pilot whales. He announces that we won’t be returning until one of the two cetaceans has been spotted. OK!

Good to know: A large part of the ocean off the west coast of Tenerife has become Europe’s first “Whale Heritage Site”, where you can watch whales and dolphins in their natural habitat in a sustainable and responsible way. When choosing your excursion, make sure that the company has signed the “Barco Azul” charter, which imposes certain animal welfare regulations, such as not getting too close or too long.

We get out of the harbour and after about 30 minutes we see the first dolphins! The boat’s engines are turned off, everyone takes out their cameras (me first). After 1 hour of sailing, we spot a group of pilot whales in the distance, so we head off to join them discreetly! There are around 30 of them, a real spectacle!

First mission successful! But there’s still 2 hours of sailing left, so we’re going to make the most of it. The captain then approaches the Cliffs of the Giants, an important marine reserve… I’ll let you guess what was next on the programme? A bit of snorkelling, masks and snorkels are included in the excursion.

We then head back to the port, nibbling on a few tapas served by the crew.

Practical info

  • Booking: LINK
  • Price €70 per person and €50 per child (aged 4 to 11)
  • The boat can accommodate a maximum of 10 people
  • Departure at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.
  • Recommended for all types of traveller! Children will love it, but so will older children!
  • Don’t forget your swimming suit 🙈
Kayak trip 🛶Another great way to discover Los Gigantes from the ocean is by kayak. Obviously, kayaking in the open sea is different from a ‘classic’ river trip, so it’s best to opt for a guided excursion. During this 2-hour activity, you’ll also have the chance to do some snorkeling and perhaps spot turtles and other marine animals up close!

Nature coast: hiking in Anaga & the Teide Natural Park

On the northern tip of Tenerife lies a little gem, a magical place: the Anaga Natural Park, a laurisilva forest (one of the last vestiges of the subtropical forests of yesteryear). The park was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2015 and is a true playground for hiking enthusiasts.

For this trip, we opted for a short, easy walk of about 5km: the Hija Cambada trail, which starts from the Anaga information centre.

If you get the chance, you can also go as far as the Mirador Pico del Inglés.

You can’t pass through Tenerife and miss the Teide! You’re likely to see it more than once during your trip –  the Teide is the highest peak in Spain at 3,715 m! I really urge you to spend a day in the Teide Natural Park. The road itself to get there is already a real journey: you get above the clouds for a breathtaking view.

There are many magnificent viewpoints from which to observe the volcano (Mirador de Chipeque & Mirador La Tarta are among my favourites).

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randonnée teide tenerife

There are also numerous walks (we opted for the Montana Limon trail, a less-frequented part of the park).

Finally, it is possible to climb to the top of Mount Teide by foot (for the more courageous – permission is required) or via the Teide cable car (book in advance).

Beaches not to be missed

There are a lot of beaches in Tenerife. Once again, there’s something for everyone: surf beaches, yellow sand beaches, black sand beaches, coves… There’s something for everyone on the island.

Some of the beaches I loved :

Playa del Socorro, Los Realejos: a black sand beach for swimming and surfing

Playa del Medano: a very windy beach, renowned for its surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing.

Playa El Puertito, Adeje: a lovely little beach and cove, perfect for snorkeling

Playa de Benijo: another black sand beach in the North of the island (Anaga), magnificent!

Playa de Las Americas: touristy but well-equipped, ideal for families

Playa de las Teresitas: North of Santa Cruz, a heavenly yellow sand beach

Beach in tenerife
Surfing in Tenerife 🏄‍♀️The Canaries are reputed to be one of the best surfing spots in Spain!If you want to try your hand at this board sport, Playa Amercias is one of the best places to do so. For example, you can book a 2-hour lesson with an experienced instructor who will adapt to your level (you’ll be in a group of no more than 6 people). It’s a really great activity to do at least once.
Julie Playa Amercias Surf

Some good spots on the island

I couldn’t conclude this article without giving you at least a few recommendations for … eating!

What specialities can you try in Tenerife?

*non-exhaustive list

  • Potatoes (papas arrugadas) with mojo sauce (red or green, with spicy red pepper or palm pepper, and coriander)
  • Gofio, a product made from toasted and ground cereals that Canarians eat with almost everything (and Escaldon, a gofio made with fish and fish stock).
  • Goat cheese
  • Bananas from the island

Good spots

In the Canary Islands, you’ll find lots of little taverns called Guachinches, where you can eat almost in the homes of the locals, with delicious home cooking! On more than one occasion, I hesitated to go in, thinking I was going into people’s homes, but no, it’s actually a little restaurant!

Some names of Guachinches: El Rincón de Edu; Guachinche Finca El Pino; Guachinche El Listán Negro.

In Santa Cruz, we opted for a beautiful restaurant called Bodega Hierbita and I also recommend El bodegon el puntero if you like fish.

Q&A : 1 week in Tenerife, what to do?

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and offers a variety of landscapes, activities and beaches to suit all tastes. It is ideal for couples, families and friends.

There are two main airports: Tenerife North (for flights from the peninsula and other islands) and Tenerife South (for international flights). You can also arrive by ferry from other islands or the mainland.

Yes, renting a car is recommended if you want to explore the island freely. However, be careful on the secondary roads and in the northern villages.

There is a wide variety of accommodation on the island, from hotels to holiday flats. I particularly like the north-western part of the island, but the South is also recommended for family holidays.

  • San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital.
  • Puerto de la Cruz, a charming coastal town.
  • Masca, an emblematic village.
  • Icod de los Vinos, a historic town.
  • The Anaga Natural Park and the Teide Natural Park for hiking.
  • Beaches such as Playa del Socorro, Playa del Medano and Playa El Puertito, to name but a few.

Yes, you can book boat trips to see these cetaceans in their natural habitat. Just make sure you choose a company that respects the environment.

  • Potatoes (papas arrugadas) with mojo sauce.
  • Gofio, a product made from toasted cereals.
  • Goat cheese.
  • The island’s bananas.

We recommend visiting the Guachinches, small local taverns. Some suggestions include El Rincón de Edu, Guachinche Finca El Pino, and Guachinche El Listán Negro.

Yes, Tenerife is famous for its surf spots. Playa del Medano is particularly recommended for beginners.

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