If you recall the bad fashion advice I got for Madrid, I had equally bad advice for Tenerife. Before going I read through several travel websites where tourists recalled being comfortable in swimsuits and shorts in the winter. These people must be from Iceland. For the average American I recommend something warmer.
- It is always windy, and therefore always colder than the temperature makes it seem
- Except for the beaches, the island is high in elevation.
I would make sure to pack all of the following:
- Hiking boots
- Skinny jeans
- Booties or cute colorful tennis shoes
- Leather jacket
- If you are planning to be on Teide early in the morning (star-viewing tours, etc.), you will need gloves, a winter hat, and ice cleats
- Day pack & water bottle
- Hat / visor
The locals were all dressed very simply. Their uniform was a leather jacket with skinny jeans (blue, black, or brown), and either tennis shoes or booties. I saw a lot of men in checkered button-down shirts.
You probably don’t need a rental car. The roads are steep and curvy, and you will want to focus on the gorgeous scenery all around you. The “Gua Gua” bus runs all over the island, and there is a nice light rail that runs through Santa Cruz and La Laguna. There are also a plethora of travel companies offering affordable van rides. Another important note: some of the European rental companies do not have automatic cars.
I went to Tenerife to visit family, but still found time to visit some of the tourist sites on the island. I won’t ruin all the surprises, but here are some places that are well-worth your time:
- Hiking at El Teide. The trail to the top was closed, so some people were telling us to skip it. But there were still plenty of other great trails, where you can look down on the clouds and view some cool rock formations.
- Punta del Hidalgo. This is the northernmost point of the island, which was wild and beautiful
- Parque de Anaga. Amazing views of the valley towns and we saw a wild hedgehog!
- Los Gigantes – stunning cliffs on the western side of the island. Here we took a very affordable boat tour and saw numerous pilot whales and dolphins.
- A beautiful beach day at Las Teresitas.
- Exploring the plazas of Santa Cruz. Most tourists find themselves in the southern beaches, which are full of other tourists and lack the culture of the northern cities. Santa Cruz has some beautiful public art, and a long ramblas.
- Enjoyed fresh local wine and traditional Canary food in family-owned mountain restaurants. The wine is so fresh it’s not even bottled, and is served to the table in a glass canter.
On the list for next time:
- Guimar – The site of some Guanche (native) caves and pyramids
- Go to a church service at the Basilica in Candelaria
- Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre. Designed by Tenerife’s most revered architect and known for being one of the best museums in Spain, it includes a Guanche mummy exhibit.
- Cueva del Viento (“Cave of the Wind”)
- See an opera at the awesome Auditorio de Santa Cruz
- Go camping in the Corona Florestal
- See the other islands! They each have their own unique environment and culture, and I’d love to ride a camel.