Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is home to the capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island has a diverse selection of landmarks and natural areas. Millions of people come to Tenerife every year. There are 10 things visitors must see and do when visiting Tenerife.
1. Teide National Park
Every traveler needs to visit the park around Mount Teide. The park has a number of trails and a unique landscape that sometimes appears stark and barren. The main attraction is the cable car ride that goes from the main parking lot to the top of Mount Teide. Mount Teide is the highest mountain in Spain. Unfortunately, the final few hundred feet leading to the actual summit is not usually open to visitors. Visitors can see the entire landscape of Tenerife from the top Mount Teide.
2. Loro Parque
Loro Parque is a zoo and wildlife refuge located outside of Santa Cruz. The park features a wide variety of animals with a special focus on parrots. There is even a large parrot museum highlighting over a hundred different types of parrots. The zoo has an entire marine life display centered on a large artificial glacier. Loro Parque includes a playground for children, a local market and regular live animal shows.
3. Los Gigantes Cliffs
The Los Gigantes Cliffs are a natural landmark. They attract many visitors every year. The cliffs have sheer faces that run vertically almost 1,600 feet up from the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can take a boat ride into the ocean to see the cliffs up close. It is also possible to see them from a number of oceanfront restaurants and bars in the nearby town.
4. Guimar Pyramids
The Pyramids of Guimar are a collection of six freestanding pyramids that were built in the 19th century outside of the town of the same name. The pyramids are an impressive sight especially since they were built without mortar. The pyramids are in the center of a large archaeological site that includes a small museum. Visitors can travel to the pyramids alone or take a guided tour of the area to learn about the history.
5. Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens on the hills above Puerto de la Cruz cover more than 215,000 square feet. The gardens include a wide variety of different tropical and sub-tropical plants from the islands and the mainland. The botanical gardens have a number of different paths to take visitors through themed areas containing exotic flowers, trees and other plants.
6. Parque Rural de Anaga
The Parque Rural de Anaga occupies most of the northeastern part of Tenerife. The park is very large and includes dense jungle areas as well as sparsely populated mountainsides. Visitors can hike through the trails to see some of the over 100 endangered native animals in the area. Bus rides and car tours are also available. Travelers on guided tours can visit some of the 26 small villages that exist in the park.
7. Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
The Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a museum that contains many important artifacts related to the Canary Islands. The museum has a large collection of native tools and carvings from before the island was settled by the Spanish. It also contains a number of uniquely preserved mummies from around the world. The museum regularly hosts traveling exhibits dealing with nature and the Canary Islands.
8. Auditorio de Tenerife
The Auditorio de Tenerife is one of the most distinctive pieces of modern architecture on the islands. Travelers should stop in Santa Cruz de Tenerife to see this auditorium before leaving. Visitors who arrive at the right time can actually attend live musical performance inside of the auditorium. The site also hosts a number of different cultural festivals throughout the year such as the popular Canary Islands Music Festival.
9. Playa de Las Teresitas
The Playa de Las Teresitas is a manmade beach that sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Sand from the Sahara was used to form the beach. The Playa de Las Teresitas is the only beach in the Canary Islands that does not have black sand. Visitors can swim in the ocean, sunbathe or take in the calm scenery. The beach has a number of amenities like bathrooms, outdoor showers, changing cabins and food stands.
10. Basilica of Candelaria
The Basilica of Candelaria is a large church in Candelaria. Travelers should stop to see this basilica and the distinctive architecture. The interior of the basilica is filled with classical murals and high archways. Visitors can see amazing sculptures and stained glass windows inside. Services are held regularly at the basilica. Travelers who arrive in August or February can see formal processions in honor of religious festivals.