Know what is Tenerife famous for as we are giving interesting insights in this article.
Regarding vacation destinations in Europe, especially during wintertime, Tenerife is a name that always comes up no matter what.
But then you may ask, especially if you’re unfamiliar with this favorite getaway hotspot: what is Tenerife famous for?
There are many reasons why the largest of the Canary Islands is popular—there’s just not one thing!
If you’re here because you’re still on the fence about deciding whether you should travel Tenerife this coming winter, let me list down all the best reasons!
Read below and find out why I consider the island a must-visit, not just once but again and again.
Hey! Don’t forget to grab my free “Tenerife Beach Checklist” below!
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Psssst…!!?? You can’t get enough of Tenerife? Have a look at my other posts:
- Cool Facts about Tenerife
- Amazing Hotels in Tenerife on the Beach
- What To Pack For Tenerife in Winter
Table of Contents
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1. Stunning Beaches and Coastal Beauty
Is Tenerife worth visiting? The answer is a resounding yes for the beaches and sights alone!
With amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean from various vantage points across the coast—high up the cliffs, on mountainside trails, or directly by the shore—there are endless ways to enjoy the island’s beauty.
If you’re in the mood to go to the beach, you can visit Playa de las Teresitas for white, artificial sand if you’re on the lookout for things to do in Santa Cruz, Tenerife.
Want the reverse in the form of volcanic black sand? Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz is my personal favorite!
The same dark sand is also present in the impressive Playa de los Guíos in Los Gigantes, another must-see and more than just because of the beach.
The cliffs themselves, gigantic rock formations facing the Atlantic, aren’t like any other. It’s truly a sight to behold.
When it comes to diversity, the island is unmatched and will make you want to find out where the rest of the best beaches in Tenerife are.
There are so many, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one or two you won’t fall in love with.
2. Iconic Mount Teide and Volcanic Landscapes
An easy answer to the question what is Tenerife famous for, will always include the impressive Mount Teide.
Located at the center of Tenerife and Spain’s highest peak, it’s known as the third tallest volcanic structure in the world and is visited by at least 3.5 million people annually.
It’s both a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by desert, but that just adds to its haunting, one-of-a-kind beauty.
Among the things that make Mount Teide unique are the three-million-year-old lava flows and the terrain that has resulted from it. There’s none like it anywhere else, and my visit felt like it was taking place on another planet!
Plus, there are tons of activities to do: hiking, watching the sunset, star gazing, and even an astronomic tour so you can really enjoy the out-of-this-world sights!
You also have the option to stay at the Altavista Refuge for one night if you’re looking at doing some nighttime activities.
Mount Teide is definitely high on the list of my Tenerife recommendations, that’s for sure!
3. World-Famous Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
What is Tenerife famous for, if not hosting one of the world’s most renowned carnivals?
Second to Rio de Janeiro’s Carnivale and considered its “twin”, the Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife takes place every February or March of the year and is held in the main town in Tenerife.
The carnival is a celebration of tradition, culture, and entertainment—a very unique experience with endless parades and events!
If you want to see how diverse the island’s culture is, attending the carnival is a must: we’re talking festivities out on the streets with people dressed up in costumes or disguises!
This also provides a unique perspective of Tenerife’s rich culture and traditions since the Carnaval has been celebrated since the 17th century.
Among the highlights of this annual event and most memorable for me include the Carnival Queen selection, piñata weekend, and Ash Wednesday’s Burial of the Sardine.
Here are more Tenerife travel tips to help you navigate the island even outside the Carnaval season as well as information on where to stay in Tenerife in February.
4. Remarkable Whale and Dolphin Watching
When it comes to Tenerife’s coastal waters, it’s not just fun and relaxation on the beach—it’s also about getting up close and personal with marine life!
The island is a prime location for whale and dolphin watching because it’s right at the migration path of these species.
There are sightings all year round, with about 28 identified species around the Canary Islands, and the peak season is autumn and spring.
You’ll want to add this to your list of things to do in Tenerife with kids! They’ll enjoy it, and it will also be a great educational experience.
If you’re a marine life enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that many areas of Tenerife’s coastline are conservation areas.
The best way to support Tenerife’s attempts to protect marine life is to join eco-tours like the well-known Eco-friendly Dolphin and Whale watching tours.
This means that companies who conduct eco-tours, the best tour to get while on the island, have to follow specific guidelines to protect marine life.
Aside from whales and dolphins, you can also see green turtles, the common stingray, and angel sharks across the coastline, so make sure you add water adventures as part of your outdoor activities in Tenerife!
5. Anaga Rural Park’s Lush Biodiversity
Parque Rural De Anaga is an adventurer’s dream and is one of my favorite places to visit on the island.
If you’re looking for more things to do in North Tenerife, you don’t want to miss this place with its range of sights: wild beaches, hiking trails, various forests, and of course, stunning scenery!
Interested in learning more about the diverse flora and fauna in this declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? Drop by the Cruz del Carmen Visitors Centre in San Cristóbal de La Laguna!
They’re responsible for promoting and preserving the park and arrange group tours you can join for a more educational experience.
There’s also a variety of hiking trails to choose from across the park that caters to different levels which means more options for me!
Many of them circle the forest or towns like Chinamada, or lead to fantastic views of the Atlantic, if not straight to one of the island’s many beaches, sometimes hidden.
If you’re a more seasoned hiker, you can try Presa de Tahodio, one of the more challenging ones, but for everyone else, especially families, trails like the Mirador de Aguaide are recommended!
If you’re planning to drive in Tenerife, it’s also possible to visit Anaga Rural Park by car.
Do take note that though the park is primarily free access, certain areas are restricted like El Pijaral (the Enchanted Forest), which requires a permit to visit.
Make sure to ask if you’re unsure and do your research beforehand.
6. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The island’s rich culture and history aren’t just reflected in nature but also in key places declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, undoubtedly the type of answer someone who wants to know what is Tenerife famous for is expecting to hear.
One is the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a well-preserved cultural gem founded in 1496.
It showcases architectural treasures dating back from the Spanish colonial period, with numerous plazas and parks, not to mention religious buildings in the form of cathedrals, convents, and monasteries.
Walking around the cobblestone streets of La Laguna should definitely be part of your itinerary—even with modern times, you can still feel how old it is.
Another world heritage site is Teide National Park, home to Mount Teide, which is no surprise.
With its three-million-year-old lava flows, volcanic cones, ancient rocks, and unique flora and fauna not found anywhere else, it’s one of those well-known places the island is known for.
It’s places like these, national treasures rich in history that can convince anyone to move to Tenerife!
7. Enchanting Pyramids of Güímar
This may come as a surprise but here’s one of the more interesting things to know about Tenerife: they have pyramids!
It may not be what you expect to hear when anybody asks what is Tenerife famous for, but surely, the sudden mention of pyramids in an island destination caught your attention, didn’t it?
Made of lava stone, the Guimar pyramids are six rectangular pyramid-shaped structures with origins that are still the subject of debate.
While you may want to explore the usual tourist spots like water parks in Tenerife, consider dropping by here to see these mysterious wonders.
Aside from the pyramids, you can explore the rest of the ethnographic park, including a botanical garden that features a diverse collection of plant species native to the Canary Islands.
Whether you’re into archaeology or history or just a fan of theories, the Pyramids of Güímar are definitely a must-see if you’re looking to add more things to do in Tenerife.
8. Unique Microclimates and Diverse Ecosystems
Thanks to its topography, the island of Eternal Springs gets to enjoy different climates that allow diverse ecosystems to thrive.
Case in point: if you’re looking for things to do in South Tenerife, you’ll be surprised once you travel up north that there’s a very stark difference in the weather!
The southern areas of the island enjoy more hours of sunshine and are generally hotter and drier, while the north is more humid with higher chances of rain.
This means you can find yourself bundled up for the cold as you enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities at Teide National Park early in the day, only to spend the rest of the afternoon basking under the sun on one of the best beaches in South Tenerife.
An added bonus of having such varied microclimates is how it has allowed different ecosystems to thrive around the island.
This means various habitats can co-exist around Tenerife, providing a home and safe haven to diverse flora and fauna.
Interested in staying in the northern part of the island? Here are some things to do in Puerto de la Cruz!
9. Rich Cultural Heritage and Canarian Gastronomy
Looking to immerse yourself in Canarian culture completely? There’s no better way to experience Tenerife than participating in activities related to their many traditions!
But what is Tenerife best known for as far as traditions go?
Aside from the Carnaval, other unique events that showcase Tenerife’s one-of-a-kind culture include the Romerías and religious pilgrimages from April to September in honor of different saints.
These fiestas are as local as they can go and provide a very intimate viewpoint of how the people on the island live.
I absolutely love being part of them, and it allows me to mingle with the locals.
Involving processions through town, it features a lot of music and dance, not to mention food and drink, since it’s a celebration of a good harvest.
And speaking of food, my personal favorite when it comes to knowing the culture of the places I visit? Through their unique food!
So what food is Tenerife famous for?
Surprisingly, it’s a relatively simple dish and famous in the Canary Islands, papas arrugadas or wrinkled potatoes.
Boiled in salt water without the skin, these locally grown potatoes are topped with mojo, a flavorful sauce that makes it very tasty.
As far as food goes, if anyone were to ask what is Tenerife famous for, this is my top answer, and it should be available wherever you are alongside the island’s abundant offering of fresh seafood.
If you’re looking for a more modern cultural immersion, add this to your list of things to do in Costa Adeje, Tenerife with the infamous Playa de las Américas nearby: the nightlife!
Staying in a different part of the island? Here’s a helpful list of the top nightclubs in Tenerife to guide you.
10. Celestial Wonders and Stargazing Opportunities
It may not be the first thing you think of when thinking what is Tenerife famous for but this is definitely one of them: stargazing!
There are various places to do this, and on top of my list is Spain’s highest peak, also known as a “Starlight Destination”: Mount Teide, of course!
You can also visit the Observatorio del Teide to take stargazing to another level using not just your eyes but high-quality telescopes for a whole astronomical experience.
If you want an unforgettable and magical experience, I recommend signing up for a night tour at Teide National Park. You won’t regret it, I promise!
My final thoughts on what Tenerife is famous for
It’s impossible to completely answer, what is Tenerife famous for, using just this list since this is just a quick summary of my personal experiences.
With such a vibrant culture, a rich history, and amazingly diverse biomes that allow the island residents to thrive alongside flora, fauna, and both wild and marine life, there’s so much more to the island!
Have you been to Tenerife? If yes, share your own wonderful and unique experiences so that other readers know what it is they’re missing!
It’s an island you’ll want to go back to more than once!
FAQs about Tenerife
What is the main town in Tenerife?
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and is also where the Anaga Rural Park is.
What food is Tenerife famous for?
Papas arrugadas or wrinkled potatoes, is a popular Canarian dish and one the island is known for. Despite its simplicity, topping it with mojo really elevates the taste!
Is Tenerife worth visiting?
Definitely! Whether you’re a fan of outdoor activities like hiking or watersports, beautiful scenery in mountain views, or beach sunsets, Tenerife has something for the traveler in you.
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!