Tenerife is made to be felt with all five senses; to be eaten in bites; to be travelled all over by sea, land and air; to be lost and found; to fix your eyes on the horizon and move on until the sun goes down.
I think this is the only way I can describe everything that awaits you on a trip to this wonderful island of the Canaries, although perhaps the best thing is to let the impressive experiences that you can live there speak for themselves: here is the list of the 10 best activities to enjoy your trip to Tenerife.
1. Catamaran trip to the whale and dolphin habitat
The first experience on the list is one to do on the first few days of your trip, to leave all the stress behind and unwind: you'll have beautiful views of Tenerife rising up to the summit of Mount Teide, feel the sea breeze and the glow of the sun on your body. Nothing says 'holiday' like this catamaran trip along the Costa Adeje.
But if that wasn't enough, part of the trip will take you into the natural habitat of the many and varied marine animals that inhabit Tenerife. You will be able to see whales and dolphins around the catamaran, and snorkel to see turtles and all kinds of fish.
2. Paragliding flight across Tenerife
The island of Tenerife is one of the most impressive places in the world to paraglide. Because of its great climate and gentle wind currents, which also makes these experiences totally safe.
You can do a paragliding flight over the south of the Canary Islands, perfect if it is your first time, as the duration is somewhat reduced and you will avoid the likelihood of getting dizzy or tired, but you will still enjoy incredible views and an adrenaline-filled experience covering the entire southwest coast of the island from the air.
But if you're up for the main course, the premium paragliding flight from Teide to Puerto de la Cruz will take you to over 2,000 metres above sea level before launching you into the air to glide through the air currents for around 40 minutes. Seeing Mount Teide from a bird's eye view is one of the most magical experiences you can have on the island, with the sea stretching out to the horizon and the wonderful landscapes of Tenerife at your feet.
3. Race the waves on a jet ski
If paragliding over Tenerife was the feeling of freedom of a bird, riding the waves on a jet ski is the closest thing to being a dolphin. Speed and adrenaline go hand in hand on a tour where you will see cliffs, sea caves and the splendid island of Tenerife rising up in front of you.
In this 1 hour jet ski experience you will live an adventure along the coast discovering the secret places hidden between the cliffs in the company of a guide, while you feel the speed at the wheel of the jet ski.
If you want to add a snorkelling experience to your adventure at sea, this jet ski safari from the port of Las Galletas will take you at full speed to the high seas where you can dive into the water and discover the impressive marine fauna that inhabits the depths of Tenerife.
And if you just want to ride a jet ski and race with your friends, this jet ski experience will put you behind the wheel of the jet ski on a speedy route to the beaches of Las Americas and La Caleta, splitting the sea in two as you go.
4. Jeep excursion to Teide and Masca
Another experience full of adventure and strong emotions, this time by land. On this Jeep excursion to Teide and Masca you will drive from your hotel to the summit of the volcano, crossing roads, forests and impressive volcanic landscapes.
Once there, you will explore the Teide National Park, stopping to admire its whimsical rock formations, its fauna and flora, and the views of the rest of the island.
Crossing the park you will reach the village of Masca, hidden in the mountains and full of treasures, although only figuratively, as this place used to be a pirate hideout several centuries ago. You will taste the typical coffee of the islands, the barraquito, and have lunch in a restaurant of pure Canarian gastronomy, before heading back through the ravines.
5. Day trip from Tenerife to La Gomera
La Gomera is Tenerife's little sister and one of those places whose beauty overwhelms you. I recommend a couple of excursions from Tenerife:
On this day trip to La Gomera from Tenerife you'll takethe ferry to the island and head for the Garajonay National Park, one of the treasures of the Canary Islands.
Within the National Park itself, as well as its laurel forest, there are a number of viewpoints from which you can enjoy breathtaking views. The Degollada de Peraza viewpoint is perhaps the most famous, from which you can see the majesty of the Barranco de la Laja ravine.
Beyond the park you can visit, on the same excursion, the villages of Las Rosas and Agulo, where you will see how life is lived in this remote place. You will also pass through some of the key places in the life of Christopher Columbus, who stopped in La Gomera before setting sail for the Americas.
6. Excursion to El Hierro from Tenerife
El Hierro is an island of lookout points with breathtaking views, pristine beaches, and landscapes so dramatically eroded by lava that it makes sense that, before Christopher Columbus discovered America, this place was considered the end of the world.
On a full-day excursion to El Hierro from Tenerife you can explore its beautiful trails, part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, taking you past viewpoints overlooking wild, unspoilt beaches and tropical inland landscapes, past enchanting aloe vera farmland, deep green forests of juniper and laurel, and remote cliffs with hermitages, tiny houses and caves.
7. Kayaking and snorkelling to the cliffs of Guaza
A must in this top 10 of activities in Tenerife is to book a kayaking and snorkelling tour. This 3-hour excursion will allow you to enjoy two fun water sports, from the beach of Los Cristianos to the cliffs of Guaza.
With family or friends, you can enjoy watching dolphins and turtles while you relax with the views of the Palmar and its caves. Always accompanied by an instructor guide, you will be able to dive into the Canarian waters and make the most of this experience.
8. The starry sky on Teide, seen from the telescope
Few experiences reach the level of watching the sunset from Teide with a glass of champagne and then admiring the night sky and all its constellations. If this sounds good to you, this night excursion to Teide with an expert astronomy guide is the perfect plan to include in your trip to Tenerife, especially as a couple.
The experience starts with a pick-up at your hotel from where you will go to the Teide National Park. There, you'll take a short route before sunset, when you'll sit at a viewpoint to watch the sky turn pink and orange and slowly fade into night.
At this point, you will head for an elevated spot that will serve as an observatory and then a whole spectacle will begin in front of your eyes. Thanks to the island's very low light pollution, it is possible to see up to 83 different constellations from Teide, and your guide will show you how to find them and the history behind each one.
9. The complete tour of Tenerife
Whether you are only in Tenerife for a few days or if you are staying for one or two weeks and want to explore the island in depth, I recommend this complete tour of the island of Tenerife which will take you to Teide, Icod de los Vinos, Garachico and Masca, some of the most beautiful corners of the jewel of the Canary Islands.
Starting from Vilaflor, from where you have an amazing panoramic view of the island, you will head to the Teide National Park, where you will climb the volcano on a route full of beautiful landscapes. Once you reach the top, you will understand why it is one of the most visited protected areas in Spain: you will have the sensation of having risen above the Earth.
Then you will visit Icod de los Vinos, famous for its sweet malvasia wines and for being the place where the ancient dragon tree, an ancestral tree and symbol of the island, is preserved. You will continue the route to Garachico, a village that was reborn from the ashes after being completely covered in lava during the Trevejos eruption in 1706.
To finish the excursion, you will visit Masca, a village at the top of a ravine where you will feel like you have gone back in time.
10. The ascent to Pico Anaga
Anaga is a beautiful rural park located in the northwest of Tenerife. Crowned by the peak of the same name, there are several trails through the mountains and along the coast that will take you to discover an area forgotten by most tourists.
That's why I don't want to end this list without recommending a hiking trip through the Anaga Rural Park, where you'll start the day visiting San Cristóbal de la Laguna and its local market, visit the Mercedes laurel forest and feel its intense aroma and colour, and cross the Anaga Natural Park to the Roque de las Bodegas beach, in the far north of the island and one of my favourite places in Tenerife to take photos.
From there, you'll retrace your steps and visit Las Teresitas beach, whose golden sand was transported from the Sahara desert, and stop at a few other spots on the island on the way back to your hotel, such as Candelaria, whose basilica is a place of pilgrimage to see a black carving of the Virgin.