Guide to the Best Things to do in Tenerife in Winter and tips to make most of your time!
The cold season’s creeping in! If you’d rather bask in the sun than bundle up to combat the chill, look no further and experience neverending spring as you travel Tenerife!
There are a lot of things to do in Tenerife in winter that are more than just beach-related activities. From hiking, festivals, museums, and waterparks, there’s something for everyone visiting this part of the Canary Islands.
Whether you’re there for a casual vacation, something more specific like the food or the sights, or just want to experience brand new adventures, there’s a boatload of activities you can try.
December to February are definitely the best months to visit Tenerife and, in this guide, let me share the wonderful things waiting on this beautiful island during winter!
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Tenerife’s Winter Weather
Known as Isla de la Eterna Primavera or the Island of the Eternal Spring, the average temperature in Tenerife in December falls around 20 to 25 °C.
It’s mild and primarily dry which allows for a lot of outdoor activities.
Aside from the pleasant weather under the Tenerife winter sun, traveling this time of the year has other perks. Flights to the island are more affordable in winter, which means more money for activities and food!
Depending on where on the island you’ll be spending time, swimwear and sunscreen are definitely must-haves year-round!
However, since it’s the winter season, don’t forget to bring a jacket, cardigan, and a scarf for when the temperature drops, especially in the evenings.
The hottest part of Tenerife in December is the south side: Costa Adeje, Puerto de Santiago, and Los Santiagos.
Planning to do some hikes in Tenerife? Bring proper hiking boots and a water bottle for those long scenic walks to make sure you stay hydrated.
1. Exploring Tenerife’s Natural Beauty
If you’re looking for things to do in North Tenerife, this should be on your list!
If you’re into hiking like me, you’ll have much fun in Anaga Rural Park. With breathtaking sights you can’t find anywhere else, no wonder it’s considered the island’s natural treasure.
Located north, it’s one of the oldest areas in Tenerife and there are no fees to enter this natural reserve, regardless of the area you want to explore.
Worth noting that, although free access, entry specifically to El Pijaral or the Enchanted Forest requires a permit you’ll have to apply for in advance.
There’s also a trail for everybody! From the easy and family-friendly Mirador de Aguaide that takes you around Chinamada to the more challenging Presa de Tahodio, you bet there’s one for you.
There are just so many outdoor activities in Tenerife!
Now, of course, being an island, there’s no shortage of the best beaches in Tenerife!
Absolutely loved Torviscas with its calm, clean waters—perfect for swimming—and the man-made, more upscale Las Vistas with its white sand.
You can also do some dolphin and whale watching in places like Los Cristianos all year long. Various companies offer eco-friendly watching tours and mine had free drinks and food onboard which made everything so convenient.
And then, when you’re ready to call it a day, wrap up the evening at Teide National Park by doing some stargazing. It’s a magical and unforgettable experience, I promise.
Just this last bit alone can make you think you want to move to Tenerife with amazing sights like these.
2. Cultural Experiences
You haven’t truly experienced the island until you attend the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival. It’s one of the biggest carnivals in the world, second only to Rio’s Carnivale.
If you’re looking for something less grand, though, you’ve got a lot of other options!
Discover local fiestas and religious processions, which are very abundant, and be on the lookout for events like the Canary Islands Music Festival.
Among the things to do in Tenerife in winter, I suggest local museums for a quieter and more intimate cultural immersion.
As someone who loves being outdoors, my visit to the Museo de Naturaleza y Arqueologia was fascinating because of how much I learned about the island’s natural history.
You’ll never go wrong with a visit to La Laguna, either! Seeing some of the 16th-century cathedrals up close is truly a unique experience.
3. Water Adventures
What’s the point of visiting Tenerife if you won’t have some fun in the water?
If you’re into surfing, consider places like El Médano and Socorro, though make sure you choose a surfing haven that fits your level.
If you want to get in the water without getting wet, there’s an easy solution.
Book a submarine safari tour so you can still enjoy the Atlantic Ocean from a different perspective, all while remaining pristinely dry.
While there are many companies and diving centers to choose from, take note that the island is a popular wintertime destination. Consider booking water activities in advance before you visit Tenerife in December.
4. Gastronomic Delights
This is one of the things to do in Tenerife in winter: get a taste of the local cuisine!
Trying out food unique to the places I visit is a cultural experience all on its own, so make sure you don’t miss out on the incredible offerings yourself.
Fresh seafood has to be on your list, and there are no problems here because they’re readily available from local restaurants around the island.
But more than that, there’s one specific Canarian cuisine worth trying just because of how simple but flavorful it is.
Papas arrugadas, small potatoes boiled in salt water without the skin, topped with a famous sauce called mojo is a treat. There are only two words to describe how it tastes: so good.
Of course, don’t forget to give the local wines and cheeses a try!
There are many bodegas in Tenerife and at least one in every municipality, so check the ones closest to you!
5. Wellness and Relaxation
If you’re looking for places to unwind and relax, visit one of Tenerife’s many spa resorts and hotels!
One of the top places to try is Anthelia in Costa Adeje, with access to its own beach.
There are also spa resorts that cater only to adults, like Tigotan and Barcelo Santiago. No matter which one you choose, all these places have the amenities you need to rest and recover if that’s what you’re in Tenerife for.
Yoga and wellness retreats are also popular on the island, usually in select places for several days. Pair that with how beautiful Tenerife is, and it helps make these retreats even more healing.
Want something a little different? Be on the lookout for natural pools in Arico, Santiago del Teide, and La Laguna, just to name a few.
6. Adventure Activities
For thrill-seekers, paragliding over the coast is a must! Marvel at the island’s beauty from above, among the clouds, and enjoy Tenerife from a bird’s eye view.
There are also quad biking and Buggy tours in Tenerife’s mountains. Make sure you bring your license, as this is required.
You can also enjoy zip-lining and other tree canopy adventures on the island in places like Forestal Park Tenerife in El Rosario.
Surround yourself with plant life—it’s a magnificent way to reconnect with nature.
7. Wildlife Encounters
If you’re interested in wildlife, try birdwatching in Teno Rural Park. The place wasn’t crowded so it was just me, nature, and everything living there.
Since Tenerife is committed to protecting not just the island’s human inhabitants.
If you’re into turtles and tortoises, there are many sanctuaries you can visit with a few that allow volunteers.
Want to see, interact with, and even feed monkeys inside walk-in cages? Get up close and personal when you drop by the Monkey Park Tenerife—another one of those things to do in South Tenerife!
8. Shopping and Souvenirs
Shopping is definitely a must wherever you go and, as a popular tourist destination, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find local markets and shops that sell souvenirs.
Going for unique items and souvenirs that will remind you of Tenerife long after your trip? Go for traditional Canarian crafts!
One souvenir I treasure the most is a small balcony made with Canarian wood.
Balconies are part of Canarian home architecture, and these carvings can be as intricate as their larger counterparts.
9. Family-Friendly Activities
If you’re traveling as a family, there are many things to do in Tenerife in winter catered to groups with kids.
Considered the best one in the world, you definitely have to go to Siam Park water park. Also called the Water Kingdom, we’re talking about slides for all ages, including a funnel slide.
To add to your itinerary of things to do in Puerto de la Cruz, check out the Loro Parque Zoo and Aquarium for a fun and educational experience. From ocean creatures to aquatic exhibits, there’s a lot to be learned by the entire family.
Hiking should be on your list of things to do in Tenerife with kids.
Since the island has so many trails, you can pick one the whole family will enjoy! I would definitely recommend the Barranco del Infierno which is close to Adeje.
10. Nightlife and Entertainment
Want to stay entertained from night ‘til dawn? You’ve got more than enough options to choose from in Playa de las Américas alone, a coastal resort in Tenerife.
If you’d like to party, there are a ton of bars and top nightclubs in Tenerife like the Magic Lounge Club and the Heineken Cafe.
You can also enjoy both dinner and a drag comedy show in places like the Music Hall Tavern.
Nights are definitely as fun and exciting as daytime!
Don’t forget to bring something to wrap yourself with at night since winter temperatures in Tenerife can turn cold in the evenings.
11. Sustainable Tourism
Tenerife takes excellent care of the island as a whole, may it be nature or wildlife. It’s one of the main reasons why you need a permit before you go to places like the Enchanted Forest.
As you plan what things to do in Tenerife in winter, consider choosing eco-tours and companies that do have or support the nature conservation programs that Tenerife has in place.
A well-known option is the No Chase Whale and Dolphin Cruise.
As much as fun and entertainment, the company strives to help educate tourists about protecting the environment.
12. Tenerife’s Hidden Gems
Interested in taking the road less taken, at least as far as popular tourist attractions are concerned?
Then you must see Cueva del Viento, an underground volcanic tunnel and the largest of its kind in Europe!
Don’t miss Punta de Teno Lighthouse either! Though you can’t go to the lighthouse, the surrounding area is a sight for sore eyes, especially close to sunset.
These places are the best things to see in Tenerife by car.
13. Winter Festivities
If you’re visiting anyway, why not do as the locals do? Tenerife in winter is just as busy as other seasons.
Spend nochebuena or Christmas Eve with a hearty dinner! Don’t expect to sleep right away though because right after, people gather for the midnight mass called La Misa del Gallo.
Staying until the New Year? Enjoy Tenerife in January!
Just like other places in the world, there are parties and countdowns, not to mention fireworks, to welcome the brand new year!
There’s also gift-giving after Christmas in Tenerife! In fact, children wait until January 6 to open gifts during a holiday called Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day.
To wrap up the day, don’t forget to join the festivities outdoors called the Cabalgata or Three Kings Parade.
Of course, make sure to walk around and be on the lookout for carnival-exclusive souvenirs. Just a few things to add to your list during the Tenerife winter holidays!
Don’t know where to stay in Tenerife in December? There are plenty of wonderful and luxurious hotels to choose from, no matter the budget.
14. Beachcombing and Seashell Collection
You don’t have to buy every souvenir when you visit the island. With its many beaches, try beachcombing and collecting unique seashells along the coastline.
The weather in Tenerife in December is mild and pleasant so it’s definitely going to be an enjoyable activity!
Be mindful of what you end up picking up, though.
There may be regulated areas that don’t allow tourists to remove certain things from the environment, like sand or shells with animals still in them, so ask a guide if you’re unsure.
15. Attend Local Concerts and Performances
Another thing to do in Tenerife in winter is enjoy big events like concerts!
The Canary Islands Music Festival takes place in Tenerife and Gran Canaria, with other islands hosting more miniature stages.
All these happen simultaneously, so if you’re around while it’s ongoing, check if a local performance is available where you’re staying.
16. Volcano Exploration
Curious about the volcanic history of Tenerife? Learning more about it is one of the things to do in Tenerife in winter.
Visit Pico Viejo, the second-highest peak in the Canary Islands. Not only is it one of Mount Teide’s oldest craters, but it’s also huge: we’re talking 800 m in diameter!
17. Horseback Riding
Are you into horseback riding? If your answer is yes, it’s something you can do in Tenerife, whether on the beach or mountain trails.
You can try Horse Riding Adventures in Tenerife in Aldea Blanca, accessible and close to the area’s leading resorts and hotels.
Another option is Rancho Bonanza, located in a town called El Desierto.
18. Visit the Pyramids of Guimar
This may come as a surprise but the island has pyramids, too—six of them! Add this to your activity list of things to do in Santa Cruz, Tenerife.
Part of what is now called the Ethnographic Park Piramides de Guimar, these rectangular, pyramid-shaped terraced structures were built using lava stone and absolutely no mortar.
To this day, it’s still unclear what its purpose is: some say it is for rituals, and others for astronomy.
There’s also an auditorium, the Casa Chacona Museum, and the Jardin Venonoso or The Poison Plants Garden, a unique exhibition of poisonous plants.
If you’d like to visit, you can take a bus, taxi, or rental car from Costa Adeje to Guimar. The trip will take about 2 hours.
Take note that the park is closed during Christmas and the New Year.
19. La Laguna Historic Center
Want a first-hand feel of what life was like in Tenerife during the not-so-distant past? Stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage site of La Laguna!
Walk down its cobblestoned streets and marvel at the well-preserved town structure and buildings. It still has that old colonial Spanish feel!
Check out places like the Church of Immaculate Conception, Palacio de Nava, the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, and the Monastery of Santa Clara de Asís, among others.
20. Sailing and Boat Tours
The best way to explore Tenerife’s coastline is through sailing and boat tours.
From free buffets and guided tours to incredible opportunities to see marine life up close, there are many to choose from in various places around the island!
These two activities should definitely be part of your to-do list for things to do in Costa Adeje, Tenerife: there are a lot of agencies and companies in the area that offer various types of excursions in the water.
Make sure to book online in advance, before your visit, especially since there are a lot of tourists in Tenerife in December.
Final Thoughts on Things To Do in Tenerife in Winter
There’s a reason this island is immensely popular during the cold season!
With so many things to do in Tenerife in winter, it’s impossible to find something you won’t want to experience at least once.
Alongside breathtaking sights, great food, and a rich culture, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the island just like me.
It’s definitely a place that will never lose its charm and is worth visiting repeatedly!
FAQ about Tenerife in winter:
What are the best months to visit Tenerife?
Tenerife in December is one of the best months to visit the island. However, if you’re committed to a whole beach experience, complete with drier and warmer temperatures, consider going during the summer between May and October.
What is the best time to go to Tenerife?
The Tenerife temperature in winter is very pleasant! It’s the perfect in-between of warm and cold so definitely during the winter holidays if you’re looking for some balance.
What to pack for Tenerife in winter?
Swimwear and sunscreen are two must-haves since temperatures in Tenerife in December can vary so don’t forget a jacket, cardigan, and scarf.
Spending a lot of time on the northern part of the island? It can get a little wet so bring a raincoat and an umbrella.
Hola! I am Paulina, a fervent travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, I help you to make the most of your holiday. Get ready to enjoy outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling or sailing. Let’s hit the road!