Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz, boasts many beautiful historic buildings with its hub around the Plaza de Espana, close to the busy harbour. This fantastic city is the perfect location for things to do in Tenerife. There are two noteworthy churches, a lively bazaar and food market, Auditario the state of the art Opera House, and a couple of interesting museums: one housing the cannon which allegedly removed Admiral Nelson’s arm!
Playa de las Américas
Located on the south coast is Playa de las Américas, one of Tenerife’s most popular holiday destinations. Originally a quiet fishing village it developed in the 1970s into the social hub that it is today. The beaches are the resorts main attraction. There are a number of beaches with Playa los Cristanos and Playa de las Vistas being better for families with their shallow waters. Playa de Troya and Playa del Bobo are the resorts main beaches. Lined with restaurants, bars, shops and a number of watersports centres, you’ll never be stuck for things to do in Playa de las Américas.
Caldera de las Canadas is a16km wide volcanic crater with Mount Teide at its northern edge. The high altitude walking is sensational but not for the feint hearted although a cable car takes you to within 200m of the summit to enjoy stunning views from this volcanically active summit, which at 3,718m is Spain’s highest mountain.
Set in one of the most picturesque parts of the island and accessed by a narrow winding road, Masca, once a remote and virtually inaccessible mountain village in the Teno Massif, it is now a popular destination famed for its magical setting and breathtaking views.
The island’s oldest church, dating back to 1502, displays a grand and rich interior with outstanding gold and silver paint, wonderful metalwork, elaborately carved gilded ceiling panels, beautiful wood carvings and an eye-catching seven-storey tower.
These spectacular sheer cliffs marking the abrupt edge of north western Tenerife’s Teno Massif are a breathtaking sight. For more relaxing things to do in Tenerife whilst still exploring the island, visit Los Gigantes. Soaring 600m skyward from the Atlantic Ocean, the cliffs are best viewed on a boat trip, from which you might additionally be lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins.
With an award winning zoological theme, Loro Parque boasts a band of gorillas, a bat cave, a dolphinarium, penguinarium, plus the world’s largest collection of parrots. Siam Park is a magical water kingdom with attractions ranging from a meandering lazy river to a 28m tower dropping into a mysterious aquarium. For family things to do in Tenerife these parks are ideal for day-trips.
The main fiesta of the winter period can be found in the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is well known on the international carnival circuit for its Latin sounds and eye-catching floats. The glory of carnival in Tenerife is that the islanders cheerfully ignore Lent to continue partying for a whole week afterwards. Preparations begin many weeks in advance. The festival proper begins a week before Ash Wednesday with the election of the carnival queen, continuing with a cabalgata (horse parade) and a whole weekend of mad street partying and revelry.
Shrove Tuesday is marked with a great parade and Ash Wednesday with the burial of the sardine, where a gigantic effigy of a fish is buried, representing the end of carnival madness, a farewell to the flesh and the death of the spirit of carnival. The following Sunday, the carnival finishes with the Carnival Procession and fireworks.
Each year the Canary Island Music Festival brightens up the European winter. Since 1985 many of the world's great artists and orchestras have taken the opportunity of soaking up some winter sun and the renowned Canary Island hospitality. Seven weeks of concerts take place in both Tenerife and Gran Canaria, so even if you just stick to one of the islands you can get to hear the whole range of quality music-making. In recent years the programme has featured performances from the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic Quartet, among many others. If you’re travelling during one of these carnival periods you’ll never be short of entertainment or things to do in Tenerife on your holiday.