Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and a popular sun holiday destination for many years. The south of the island is very popular with tourists and lively, it’s a great location if you want to hike and party, especially Playa De Las Americas. Costa Adeje in particular offers lots for families, and those looking to combine a hiking and beach holiday. Also, in the south, El Medano would be a great base for a hike and surf/ windsurf holiday.
The north of the island is less touristy, more traditional, and great if you want to hike and have a more relaxed holiday. It is also where you will find the Macizo de Anaga Biosphere Reserve. A vast area, full of flora and fauna and some great hikes! Puerto de la Cruz would be great for couples who want a luxury hotel stay with access to hikes as well. Of course, you can always split your holiday between the north and south to get the best of both.
I stayed in the north of the Island, so my recommendations are for this area. I did a 4-day trip, but with so many flight options you can easily extend your stay.
The centre of the Island is home to the Teide National Park, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The focal point of the park is Mount Teide, the highest elevation in Spain, and the third highest volcano in the world. I didn’t believe people when they told me that there is snow on the top of Mount Teide even during the hottest of Summers!
Due to its great climate, Tenerife is a year-round hiking destination – with the added benefits of lovely beaches, incredible scenery, and lots of accommodation options.
Flights: There are two main airports in Tenerife, Tenerife South Airport and Tenerife North Airport. You can get direct flights from Ireland to Tenerife South Airport. There are daily flight options from Dublin as well as options from Cork, Shannon and Belfast. Flights can be pricey, so it’s worth it to book in advance.
Flight Tip: Book a seat on the left side of plane as that gives the best views of Mount Teide as you approach the island! We had booked the right side and were so jealous looking across, it looked like one of the most stunning shots you could get of the majestic volcanoes from up high.
Car Hire: I would recommend hiring a car if you are staying in the north of the Island to fully explore the national park and the biosphere. We almost always use Sixt for renting abroad but my friend who regularly goes to Tenerife for work suggested Topcar as the most cost effective and best service. I cannot recommend them enough, the queues were so quick along with check-in/out and the car was the exact model I had booked (which rarely happens!)
Time Difference: None
If you stay in the north and you are vegan like me, it can be challenging to find vegan options especially when you’re exploring the smaller villages and more rural areas in Tenerife. The local dishes tend to be meat heavy. I got around this by doing a shop and stocking up on snacks to bring with me on day trips.
Around San Cristóbal de La Laguna, La Laguna and Santa Cruz
Restaurante Vegetariano La Verdulerí
I stayed in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, La Laguna, which is a suburb of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the capital). I chose this location for a number of reasons. It was less touristy and it was in between the Anaga Biosphere and Mount Teide as I wanted to explore both.
It was only 35-70 mins to some of the best hikes in Anaga and 60 mins to Mount Teide. It’s also relatively good value to stay in this area. The suburb itself was lovely, a very local area with small cafes, local shops, and it felt very safe. Our Airbnb worked out at €45 per night for 4 people. Link to our Airbnb.
If you are just going to Tenerife to hike Mount Teide there is one hotel in the National Park, the Parador de Turismo Las Canadas Del Teide.
Apps and Things
There is a live Tenerife web cam here which allows you to see the live weather in different parts of the Island. It was very handy to check the weather before heading to hike in a specific area.
Firstly, I would recommend having appropriate hiking footwear for all of the hikes listed below. The terrain is very mixed throughout the island and each hike offers its own difficulties whether that’s loose rock, slippery trails or narrow cliff paths.
Most of the trails are also very exposed to sun and wind so make sure you bring strong spf and wear peak caps and long but light layers to keep your skin and scalp protected. If you plan on taking on Teide for sunrise don’t forget to bring head lamps/torches.
What I packed for my hiking bag:
(bearing in mind I went in October when the weather was sunny and dry)
- Summer hiking boots
- Walking poles mainly for Teide decent to help the knees
- Head torch & batteries
- Mini first aid kit ft. Compeed patches (you may need something for altitude sickness if you feel that’s necessary)
- Sun Hat
- Water Bottle
- Portable Phone Charger
- Bug Spray (mainly for coastal hikes)
- Hand warmer from Decathlon for Teide Summit (cannot recommend them enough!)
Start: Taborno (the trail starts at the left side of the church)
Route Type: Loop
1.The north side of the Island where this hike is situated, is the side which gets cloud coverage the most, we hiked here twice to get the views, I really recommend using the islands web cam to keep an eye on the weather movements in this area before setting off.
2.This hike would not be suitable for those uncomfortable with heights.
Terrain: It is not marked however there is a distinctive trail, there are multiple trail options as this is a lollipop circuit so I recommend downloading all trails or strava as some other hikers seemed to get confused on their return.
The trail starts by a church (Iglesia de Taborno), following a narrow trail down to the right alongside private houses and gardens, this section can be very slippy after rainfall. The trail at times feels like you’re about to enter someone’s garden but rest assured you’re simply passing by. The trail gets very narrow the further you go out towards Mirador Roque De Taborno, in some sections it’s very close to the cliff edge and would not be suitable to those uncomfortable with heights. Along this trail you get spoilt with viewpoints, including Roque De Taborno (the Tenerife Matterhorn) and a coastal view of Anaga North which bears a striking resemblance to Kauai’s Napali Coast in Hawaii.
*Can be closed during the winter due to heavy rains.
Start: Montaña Blanca Car Park.
Distance: 9.8km one way
Difficulty: Very Hard
Elevation Gain: 1,450m
1.You can make this shorter (1km and 140m ) if you hike from the cable car.
2.If you plan to hike this for sunrise like me head extra early as sunrise is very busy and the car park fills up very fast, we had to park further down the road which added on 2 km to our trip which I highly recommend avoiding if you can.3.You can hike up and get the cable car down, you just need to purchase your tickets here.
4.When we were there facemasks were mandatory on the cable cars.
5.This hike is above 3,000m so altitude might make you feel light headed or sick.
It goes without saying that the summit of Teide is freezing, so this is one of the hikes you will need lots of warm clothes for.
6.Teide is still an active Volcano, so prepare for that lovely sulphur smell on the summit and the odd hot air burst!
Route Type: One-way (take cable car down – get information on the cable car here).
Terrain: The trail is very well marked, during daylight you would have no issue following it all the way to the summit. The start of the hike is a gradual climb along a wide rocky trail. At approx. 5km you reach the base of the steepest section, this next part is a rocky zig zag trail which is approx. 3.6km and 830m elevation. That is steep, take breaks often and make sure you’ve enough water and food for this hike.
After that mighty section the trail flattens out as it veers left towards the cable car, a nice opportunity to shake out the legs for approx. 800m before taking on the last steep (but short) ascent to the summit, which is approx. 400m and 140m elevation.
A permit is required or you have the option to hike overnight to summit for sunrise. Buy your permit in advance here. There are also lots of companies offering guided hikes of Mount Teide, which include the permit.
*Permits are only checked before 9 am. This gives some people who miss permits the option to hike the mountain for sunrise/early morning. See here a sunrise video on Teide.
Start: Small parking lot at the Mirador de la Ruleta
Route Type: Loop
1. This trail is very exposed, make sure you cover up and lash on the spf to protect your skin.
2. It's a very well known spot for "starry" night time photography.
Terrain: Rocky well marked trail for the entire loop, this trail is very popular, and brings you along the edge of some of the most popular rock formations in Teide national park.
Start: Mirador De Cruz del Carmen (one of my favourite viewpoints on the Island)
Route Type: Loop
Note: These are some of the most popular trails in Anaga, so head early to grab a parking spot at the viewpoint. The start point is quite high up so bring extra layers as it can be cold and most of the trails are in shade.
This forest trail and the others around it are perfect for a foggy cloudy day as it adds to the atmosphere of the trail. After rainfall they can be slippy in sections but there is plenty of tree cover from the elements.
Terrain: These trails are so well marked and from the car park you’re directly on stunning well maintained forest tracks, that offer stunning picturesque winding steps and beautiful tree tunnels.
Igueste to Atalaya de Los Ingleses, Anaga Region
Start: Igueste de San Andrés
Route Type: Out and Back
Note: This is a very quiet trail head & offers the best views of the east side of the Island.
Terrain: The trail starts at the Igueste de San Andres bus stop, where there are a handful of car spaces. The trail is not marked so I would recommend downloading strava or all trails ( for all trails you're only following until La Atalaya & back) to make sure you don’t go off route. The trail starts by passing by the church of Iglesia de San Pedro Apóstol and following a number of narrow laneways and steps to eventually the beginning of the mountain path. From here it’s a rocky zig zag trails which runs up alongside the mountain, it’s along a cliff edge but the trail isn’t too narrow. At approx. 1.6km into your hike you’ll see a track off to the left, this brings you to Mirador La Atalaya which I Think is better than El Semáforo de Iguests (the trail to the right).
If you decide to turn left the trail gets slightly narrower but it’s distinctive and leads the entire way to the viewpoint.
Route Type: Loop
Note: You can make this hike shorter by doing a smaller loop.
Follow the white and yellow waymarkers, however the markers are spread some distance apart and I highly recommend downloading the all trails map off line. This hike offers incredible views of the Anaga north coast and into a remote side of Tenerife not many get to see. It was one of our favourite trails however I strongly suggest you avoid it if you’ve any fear of heights, are not experienced or don’t have correct footwear.
Terrain: This trail has recently been closed due to rockfall and damage on the cliff path*
(an option instead of Teide or if you have extra time on the island, it's known for having one of the best views of Teide Volcano)
Start: Centro de visitantes de "Cañada Blanca"
Difficulty: Very Hard
Route Type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 670m
Note: Recommended to take on the gradual /slightly longer trail to the summit.
Terrain: This trail is marked however I would recommend stopping in at the visitor centre where you’re parked to ask for any trail updates or any queries before you start, as some of the apps are misleading about the trail. The trail starts on a large wide track for approx. 1km before the ascent begins along a narrow trail, after approx. 2.4km the trail comes to a crossroads. Head left, 300m after this the trail divides in two. The easiest route up is to the right, the left route is much steeper but shorter. At 4.2km you should be at the summit which has a large plateau peak, plenty of room to roam around and get amazing panoramic views.
On route down its advised to follow the easier gradual trail down. It’s really important on this trail to keep an eye on intersections.
Masca Gorge Trail
This was a hike we did not have time to do but came in hugely recommended by my audience so I am adding to here for anyone if that area of the island and has extra time to take this one on. Definitely one I will go back to do after researching it.
Start: Masca hamlet
Route Type: Out and Back but you can return via boat.
Terrain: Rocky ground, numerous ramps and steps and some slippery stretches
There are limits on the numbers that can do this hike and booking in advance is advised, see here.
These swim spots are around the island so no matter where you are some of these may be nearby. It goes without saying take pre-caution when swimming, check the weather and ask locals if there is anything to be aware of. * Some of these spots have paid parking or entry fee.
📍Piscinas Naturales de El Caletón
📍Charco de la Laja
📍Piscina Natural de Jóver
📍Playa de Benijo - we didn’t swim here as looked very rough but stunning spot to see!
📍Playa de Las Teresitas (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it is a man-made beach)
📍Piscina del Poris
📍Piscinas Naturales Los Abrigos
📍Adeje Natural Pool coordinates
📍Mirador Playa de las Teresitas
📍Mirador de Jardina
📍Mirador Cruz del Carmen
📍Mirador de Playa Benijo
📍Mirador de El Corral del Niño
📍Puerto de Izaña, there is a cool picture spot up a short trail from this lay by here co-ordinates
Tours to book
These tours were the top recommended things to do in my online polls from other Irish tourists. I was definitely busy hiking but I've included them here for those of you that have time.