One Week Itinerary for Tenerife

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One Week Itinerary for Tenerife

In Europe

The Canary Island archipelago is a very popular vacation destination for people throughout Europe.  The beautiful, sunny weather is a great escape from the cold winters of northern Europe and the islands’ strong tourism infrastructure make them an easy, convenient place to vacation, whether you are coming for a romantic beach vacation or for an extended family vacation.  Tenerife, as the biggest of the Canary Islands, attracts most of the tourists though it has been called an overrated tourist trap by many.  The truth is that the island has so much to offer but too many visitors confine their trip to the popular beach resort areas like Playa de las Americas, never seeing the real Tenerife.  With a full week on the island, you can truly venture into its heart and see the beauty of the island that first attracted visitors to this remote Atlantic paradise.

North Tenerife

If you are visiting Tenerife for a full week, starting in North Tenerife is a great idea.  The island is small and easily explored independently but for the best experience, it is definitely recommended to rent a car.  Before you get too far from the main city of Santa Cruz, get a taste for the island’s historic colonial past by walking the old quarter streets of La Laguna.  The town also has a nice history museum if you have the time.

Heading out of La Laguna, drive into the beautiful Anaga Mountains region.  This area is remote, rugged, and largely undeveloped giving you a sense for the island’s past.  Small cottages and farms occasionally pop up along the drive but a good deal of the region is now a protected national park.

Puerto de la Cruz

Heading down the west coast of the island, consider stopping for a few days in the area of Puerto de la Cruz.  A charming old fishing town, Puerto de la Cruz is now a nice mix of tradition and modern convenience where you can stroll through old plazas before grabbing dinner at a great local restaurant.  A bit more relaxed than Santa Cruz de Tenerife and with less of the all-inclusive beach vacationers of Playa de las Americas, Puerto de la Cruz is a nice, easy place to explore.

Nearby, you should also not miss the small town of La Orotava.  It is a charming place with great architecture, cute cobblestone streets, and beautiful gardens.  The town’s botanical gardens are definitely worth checking out.

Icod de los Vinos

Heading south, take some time to explore the wine region of Tenerife around Icod de los Vinos.  This is a great place to spend a day or two getting lost on the backroads and just exploring the old farmhouses and vineyards.  Besides vineyards, you will also see banana plantations, and rich orchards as the land here is very fertile.  Back in town, don’t miss the main highlight of Icod – El Drago Milenario – one of the island’s famous dragon trees, which locals claim is over 1,000 years old.

The Southern Beaches

A vacation to Tenerife really isn’t complete without spending some time on a beach.  Luckily, as you make your way around the island, you will run into plenty of great options.  Many of the most popular beaches, including Playa de Las Vistas, Playa de Las Caletillas, and the famous windsurfing beaches around El Médano are found in the southern part of the island.  Many tourists never make it beyond the all-inclusive resorts of this area which is a shame but you can’t deny the beaches are wonderful.  To avoid the crowds, check out the smaller beaches rather than the main, large ones and try not to come during the holiday season if you want a relaxing beach experience without the dense crowds.

Teide National Park

No matter where you are on the island, it is hard not to find a gorgeous view of Mt. Teide, the volcano that literally helped form the island of Tenerife.  Not only is it the highest peak on the island, it is also the highest point in all of Spain.  Mt. Teide is part of a large national park that takes up a good deal of the middle of the island and is a great place to do some hiking.  You can hike all the way up the side of the old volcano or, for an easily option, take a cable car nearly to the top.  Once you get off the cable car, check out the La Fortaleza vantage point for panoramic views of the mountain and island.  If you want to actually go to the summit rim of Teide, you will have to get a permit from the park visitor’s center first.

Photo Credit: szeke via photopin cc

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