Tenerife has long been a popular holiday destination, particularly with the British. This Canary Island promises year-round sun, cocktails on the beach, and fun-filled attractions such as Siam Park and Loro Parque. But there are also plenty of unusual places to visit in Tenerife, away from the busy resorts and guaranteed to keep even the most over-grown kids occupied, including the world’s third largest volcano, Mount Teide.
Tenerife is so varied – from the vibrant resorts and golden beaches of the south to the dark, volcanic sand of the north, through to its historic towns, so you’ll want to explore.
Hiring a car in Tenerife is always a good idea, as traversing the island from south to north and vice-versa is very easy and ‘doable’ in 70-minutes. You can also do the journey by bus so you get the best of both worlds on the island .
If perhaps you’ve visited a few times before, or you’re looking for a day trip that offers something a little different. We have great ideas on what to do in Tenerife as well as where to stay.
Plus don’t miss an exclusive special offer at one of the best RCI resorts in Tenerife.
Unusual places to visit in Tenerife – where to experience Canarian charm
Tenerife can feel very British at times, particularly in the south, with full English – both breakfasts and language – readily available. But if you’re craving a more authentic experience, why not visit the small, yet picturesque, fishing village of El Puertito? It’s situated between cliffs on the coast below Adeje, between Callao Salvaje and the major tourist centre of Playa de las Américas – though it is a world apart.
In this tiny village, you’ll find a teeny beach, and with little caves and colourful fishing boats, it’s not dissimilar to a scene from a postcard. This romantic bay is a haven for divers and snorkelers, because not only is it an oasis of calm, but you are also quite likely to see resident giant sea turtles who inhabit the waters here, making for one of the most wonderful things to do in Tenerife.
There is only one restaurant, Pepe y Lola, which sells fresh fish dishes, tapas, ice cream, beer and wine – what else could you want? The restaurant is but a few steps from the sea, so you can savour local potato dish, papas arrugadas with mojo sauce and a cool white wine, while watching waves lap the sand.
Later, you could take a walk through the village lanes and up to the cliffs above, where you can explore ancient cave dwellings, and enjoy views down to the sea.
Discover geological wonders
Garachico, located on the northern coast of the island is one of our favourite places to visit in Tenerife.
Its name translates to ‘small island’, with gara meaning ‘island’ in Guanche (an extinct language spoken by the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands) and chico being Spanish for ‘small’. This name is thought to be in reference to the little rock island which sits just offshore from the town.
Garachico has had an eventful past, sadly peppered with misfortune. The town was once home to Tenerife’s top trading port and ship-building yard, but this came to an end following calamity after calamity. The first was in 1645, when heavy rains in the mountains caused a huge landslide, which killed 40 residents and wiped out 100 ships. The grieving townspeople went to great efforts to restore the harbour and resume trade, only for it to be destroyed again in 1706 when Vólcan Negro, an offshoot of Mount Teide, erupted into life, and molten lava flowed down the hillside. You can still make out the scars in the land, marked with paths of frozen lava, one leading to the harbour and another to the town.
Today, Garachico is both pretty, and brimming with character. The town is nestled in a deep valley, surrounded by forested slopes and rocky coastline. You can walk from one end to the other in 20 minutes, and you’ll see white-washed houses along narrow, cobbled streets, which lead to an immaculate palm-shaded plaza, arguably the most picturesque on the island.
Most visitors though go for the lava rock pools. There is no beach as such here – the coastline is made up of volcanically-formed rock pools, an outcome of the 1706 eruption. You can take a dip in one of the natural sea-water pools, or wander the walkways which have been created around them to watch fish dart around in the water. Who says geology isn’t great fun?
After swimming, pop into the down-to-earth restaurant overlooking the rock pools – El Caletón. You can expect dishes such as queso asado (baked cheese), calamares al la plancha (squid with garlic and parsley), and pulpo vinaigrette (octopus). The beautiful backdrop of the hills and view of the rock pools is a bonus of this seafront alfresco dining experience.
Trek a gorgeous gorge
If you’ve over indulged on the cocktails and tapas, and can no longer lie log like by the pool, why not visit the special nature reserve, Barranco del Infierno, which translates as ‘Hell’s Ravine’, where you can join a three-and-a-half hour nature trail through this lush, green beauty spot.
With only 300 people permitted to enter per day, booking is essential, at what is undoubtedly one of the most special places to visit in Tenerife. The trail is low-to-medium difficulty, but the slippery and rocky terrain calls for appropriate walking shoes – flip-flops, sandals and the like need not apply.
The trail begins 300 metres above sea level, with this natural balcony providing wonderful views both across Adeje and of the inside of the impressive canyon. The vegetation varies with the changing altitude, which ranges from 100-1,300 metres. In the lower parts of the hike – you’ll see cardons and tabaibal, on the middle ground, wild and fragrant jasmine, thorn bushes, dragon and palm trees, and the higher parts of the trail are home to pine groves. The temperature and likelihood of rain will also change throughout.
Be sure to bring your camera and point it upwards for hawks, eagles, ravens, sparrowhawks, turtle doves, robins, canaries and various other birdlife; and downwards for arthropods, millipedes, arachnids and molluscs.
Where to stay in Tenerife
Pearly Grey Ocean Club
One of the best RCI resorts in Tenerife is situated in the village of Callao Salvaje. Pearly Grey Ocean Club has a unique location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and offering fabulous uninterrupted views to the picturesque island of La Gomera.
Callao Salvaje is located close to the vibrant tourist area of Costa Adeje and has a varied selection of bars and restaurants to choose from. Only a ten-minute drive away are the lively resorts of Playa de Las Américas and Los Cristianos. Callao Salvaje, meanwhile, offers a more relaxed setting, but if you also want to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the busier resorts then you can do so easily.
The accommodation is fresh and modern, and all apartments in the main hotel have been completely refurbished. Pearly Grey also has an exclusive selection of cliff top suites offering the latest in design and comfort. These suites are currently being refurbished, but will be available in August 2017, to find out more CLICK HERE.
After a hard day of swimming and sunbathing on one of two sundecks, or chilling on a luxury Bali bed, the resorts Razzmatazz Bar & Restaurant is an option for the evening. Here it’s possible to devour a delicious dish from the à la carte menu, enjoy a roast dinner on a Sunday, or watch live sports in the bar, there’s also a daily happy hour, which is always welcome news.
Alternatively there is the Edge Terrace Bar which is an ideal place to watch a sunset. It has unrivalled panoramic views, cocktails and great food.
The resort also offers half-board dining options, meaning you and yours can relax, knowing meal times are all taken care of.
During the day entertainment includes yoga and water polo for the grown ups and, in school holidays, giant inflatable playgrounds for the youngsters. Seven nights a week there is entertainment including live music, illusionists, comedians and theme nights. From reception, one of the team will be happy to book you excursions from a wide range of the island’s most popular attractions.
From the beginning of May until the end of July 2017, LiveShareTravel readers can enjoy a one week stay at Pearly Grey Ocean Club in a refurbished one-bedroom apartment, for a discounted rate of €497. Your stay also includes a romantic meal for two at the Edge Terrace Bar.