I have visited over 10 countries this past 5 months, yet one of the biggest surprises this year was a Spanish island, called Tenerife, in the archipelago of the Canary Islands. And I have visited the Canary Islands already 3 times before the trip to Tenerife (you can read about my Fuerteventura trip here)!
Who would have thought that without leaving Europe, I would be able to find lash tropical scenery, banana plantations, volcanoes, and gold sand beaches? I have spent 5 days in Tenerife and if I were to describe it in one sentence, I would say that it is a mixture of my favorite destinations: Bali, Hawaii, Caribbean and Spain of course. By sharing my own 5-day Tenerife itinerary I want to show you what to do and see in 5 days in Tenerife.
Where is Tenerife?
Before we jump straight into the 5 days itinerary I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to this unique location. Tenerife is the biggest of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa. Even though it is still part of Europe, looking at the map it is closer to Africa than mainland Spain. My Manchester flight with Jet2 took about 5 hours. It might seem long, yet that amount of time for Jet2’s Tenerife flight is still nothing for a tropical destination.
How many days do you need?
I would recommend not less than 5 days in Tenerife, although I am pretty sure I would be able to stay there for another two weeks and still find amazing spots to visit. The average temperature is around 23C, which makes it a perfect holiday destination all year round.
What to do in Tenerife: 5 days itinerary
Day 1: Visit Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz is a city that overlooks the ocean, surrounded by banana trees, irrigated land, and vineyards, watched over by the great volcano: Mount Teide. Even though Puerto de la Cruz is one of the most popular cities in Tenerife among tourists, it remains Canarian in character, with plenty of Spanish bars and restaurants around the area.
To be honest, I really enjoyed the northern part of the island much more than southern. It felt much more authentic, especially strolling among historical buildings of Puerto de la Cruz, tasting patatas arrugadas (more on that below) in a true colonial style restaurant adds much more to holidays.
Main sights of Puerto de la Cruz are the old harbor which local women used as a fish market, the promenade and the Lago Martiánez complex of swimming pools designed by the Canary Islands architect César Manrique.
Not far from the city center, one can find Botanical Gardens. Founded at the end of the 18th century, these contain a rich variety of tropical plants and plant species brought from all over the world.
My favorite activity was spotting street art around the city – I felt like in a giant open-air urban museum.
Day 2: Anaga Rural Park, Santa Cruz, La Laguna and Playa Las Teresitas
Anaga is a Biosphere Reserve protected by UNESCO located just a few minutes drive from Santa Cruz. It is home to over 800 endangered species of flora and fauna (for comparison whole Germany has only about 5). There are multiple hiking trails to follow for all levels. Some of them will lead you to its charming black sand beaches.
Important, you need proper hiking shoes for Anaga Rural Park.
Chinamada & Taganana
Truly interesting places to visit in Anaga national park are Chinamada (little village with cave houses) and Taganana, also called the village at the end of the world. That’s where you will be able to fill the real rural life of Canary Islands.
Once there, I recommend to take a stroll on its black sand beach and make room in your itinerary for lunch at Casa Africa.
Playa Las Teresitas
Next on my 5-day itinerary in Tenerife with Jet2holidays was visiting the most stunning beach of the island: Playa Las Teresitas. The Teresitas golden beach sand was directly imported from Sahara. All in all, 272800 tons of African desert sand was placed in Playa Las Teresitas. The ocean there is calm thanks to wave breakers which makes it a great beach destination for people scared of waves (umm who can relate?) 😉
Not far from this beach, lays Santa Cruz, the biggest city of Tenerife. Santa Cruz offers both traditional charm and modern architecture, such as Adan Martin Tenerife Auditorium and its 24h 7/7 open public library. If you prefer to feel the historic charm of the city, head to Calle La Noria, Plaza de España and the Plaza de Candelaria.
As you know me, and I bet you do already, I have saved the best for the last. La Laguna is a unique charming town that has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 for its intact layout and architecture. La Laguna was used as a template for the colonial cities founded by Spaniards in the USA and Latin America, such as Old Havana, Antigua, Lima, and Cartagena.
Day 3: Casa del Vino & Teide National Park
The volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands has been one of the most extreme winemaking regions in Spain. I love to try wines from different regions to feel how the natural environment affects its unique flavor. During my 5 day trip to Tenerife, I visited Casa del Vino where I learned about the tradition of winemaking and winery Monje where I was able to pair a variety of wines with traditional Canarian cuisine. My favorite wines from Tenerife are white and fruity from the north part of the island. Also, make sure to try its unique banana wine (made of banana instead of grapes!).
Teide National Park
Teide National Park was definitely the most exciting part of our trip. Not every day, you get to the top of a dormant volcano which by the way is also the highest peak of Spain (12198 ft above sea level). There are more than 300 volcanoes on Tenerife alone, so you can imagine my excitement to see the biggest and most powerful one from up close. Teide National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and it is the most visited national park in Europe (welcoming 3 million visitors a year!). It is also home to the second most important astronomical observatory after Hawaii.
We stayed until late at night at Teide National Park to watch the sunset and the night sky. Unfortunately for us, the sky was a bit cloudy and it was a full moon so we were not able to see as much as we wanted to see but still were able to learn a lot about astronomy.
Day 4: Icod de los Vinos & La Masca
Icod de los Vinos is home to an ancient Drago tree, the natural symbol of the island of Tenerife. A visit to this tree is a must, as it is one of the top postcard views. In the surrounding area, there are also the World’s largest volcanic tubes.
One of the highlights of my trip was visiting a small mountain village called La Masca. The village of MASCA, in an impressively isolated and picturesque gorge. I see how it is generally considered Tenerife’s prettiest village. It reminiscence to Machu Picchu plus surrounding landscape is simply magical.
The way to La Masca is very curvy – only for experienced drivers!
Day 5: Charco de Isla Cangrejo & Los Gigantes
If there is one thing I love about volcanic islands, it’s the natural pools. The natural pools are enclosed spaces into which, due to their natural formation, the sea water seeps without any human intervention apart from adding steps, walkways and diving points. As you already know, I am not really a fan of waves but I still love to enjoy the ocean. That is why on the last day of my 5-day trip I decided to search for natural pools.
My first stop was Charco de La Laja. Unfortunately, the sea was very rough on that day and I was not brave enough to swim.
The situation has changed, once I arrived at the south part of the island. Charco de Isla Cangrejo looked very inviting to swim.
The last stop on my 5-day itinerary was Giants Beach. Los Gigantes is one of the most attractive natural wonders on Tenerife. The town is protected by impressive rock cliffs (called Giants) up to 800 meters high and which drop down to the sea almost vertically. A very impressive sight.
Where to stay for 5 days in Tenerife
During the first 4 days, I have been staying at Puerto de la Cruz in Hotel Sol Costa Atlantis with Jet2holidays, while the last 2 nights I was staying at Villa Socorro and Villa Cuatro Ventanas from Be Tenerife.
While these accommodations differ in many ways, they are both highly recommendable.
Hotel Sol Costa Atlantis had a beautiful view of the beach while offering all the advantages of being located in the walking distance from restaurants and bars.
Be Tenerife, on the other hand, offers complete seclusion in its charming villas. Here I swam with views of the Atlantic Ocean, banana plantations and fell asleep with the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore.
What to eat for 5 days in Tenerife
I promise I have never eaten so many potatoes at once in my life than in Tenerife. The Canary Islands are famous for its patatas arrugadas and mojo sauce. To fully experience the authentic cuisine of Canary islands, I recommend taking part in a cooking workshop at Bodegas Monje, where you can learn first hand from Mojo World Champion chef to create this heavenly sauce. Also, they serve pulled pork so delicious I dream about until now.
If you visit for 5 days Tenerife, you also need to try barraquito – coffee with condensed milk, liquor, milk, and cinnamon.
Some of my favorite restaurants include:
Bodegas Monje (pulled pork to die for!)
La Bodegita de Enfrente
Disclosure: *I was a guest of Jet2holidays, Visit Tenerife and Be Tenerife but as always all opinions are my own.