Tenerife has a reputation for being an island full of party going tourists. This is true if you stick to the tourist towns in the South. However, for those looking for a different experience, head north and you will discover a beautiful island, great local food and a very varied landscape. Need some inspiration on what to do? Just keep reading to find out how to spend a weekend in Tenerife.
Where to stay
While Santa Cruz is the bigger of the two cities in the North, I much prefer the quaint town of San Cristobal. We had an amazing stay at the Laguna Nivaria, and I would definitely recommend here. If you can, try to get one of the historic rooms. They have all the modern amenities, but a lot more character.
Explore San Cristobal de la Laguna
The sister city to Santa Cruz is connected by a tram line, and is really a lovely place to spend an afternoon walking around. The historic town centre is a UNESCO world heritage site, and you will see why as soon as you see all the beautiful buildings, some of which date all the way back to the 16th century. The buildings of historic interest have small plaques in front of the entrance, making it very convenient for exploring on your own. However, free guided tours are also available from the tourist office.
Relax on the beach
Get away from the crowds and enjoy the amazing white sands. The beaches on the South of the island can be very touristy, so beaches like Playa de las Teresitas on other parts of the island are the best way to get away from the crowds. Be aware that a lot of the beaches on the North-West of the island are rather rocky and have very strong waves, so choose your beach carefully based on the activities you want to do.
Eat like the locals:
Make sure you set aside a good hour or two to enjoy a nice relaxed meal. Find a comfortable seat outdoors and enjoy the amazing weather. For people like me who cannot decide what to order, tapas are absolutely the way to go. I highly recommend eating at Restaurante El Camino in Puerto de la Cruz. The food was both delicious and reasonably priced.
See the clouds from above at Teide
One thing that is a must do when you are in Tenerife is going up Mount Teide. The volcano is the highest peak in Spain and also the site of the Teide observatory. It only takes about an hour and a half to drive up, but in that time you ascend over 3000m; so make sure you take it easy and acclimatise yourself.
To get some spectacular views of the area, you can take the cable car up to a viewpoint. To go any higher, however, does require a special permit. Another activity that I would highly recommend (and I might be biased!) is to take a tour of the observatory, and learn all about the amazing instruments that help us learn more about the Universe!
See the dragon tree
If you want to see a 1000 year old tree, head to the town of Icod de los Vinos to see the ancient dragon tree. The name comes from the scarlet resin that comes from cutting the bark, which resembles dried blood, supposedly of dragons. It is possible to see the tree for free, but to be able to get close to it, you need to pay a small entrance fee to a park. It doesn’t take too long to explore the gardens, but is a worthwhile detour if you are driving around the island.
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