Experience volcanic majesty, imported beaches, and stunning scenery on Spain’s largest Canary Island, Tenerife. Dotted with resorts and off-the-beaten-path attractions, this island in the Spanish archipelago offers culture, beauty, and coastlines aplenty. Here are the top five attractions you don’t want to miss on your visit to Tenerife.

1. Teide National Park and the Teide Volcano

Located in Teide National Park, the Teide Volcano is the highest point in Spain and the highest above sea level you can get in the Atlantic islands. The summit is a testament to the drama-filled island; the snow-capped mountain makes a bold statement that is reminiscent of the yearly Carnaval, Tenerife’s biggest event. Photographers and hikers can take delight here; Teide is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Teide National Park is considered as one of the Twelve Treasures of Spain and is kin to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Many describe the color variations as similar to Arizona’s Grand Canyon. 

If you decide to climb this grand peak, be well-prepared with hiking gear, supplies and a suitable backpack since it’s a 3,178-meter climb to the top. Teide is shrouded in ancient history; the aboriginal Guanches looked at it as the Greeks looked at Mount Olympus. Many myths surrounded the mountain; it was believed that Teide was responsible for holding up the sky. 

2. Loro Parque

Head to the best zoo in Europe, Loro Parque. Animals of all species, shapes, and sizes call this place their home; and thousands of visitors each year visit Loro Parque to watch the animals up close. Formerly Parrot Park, this zoo is located in Puerto de la Cruz and houses over 300 different species! Orca whales, parrots, gorillas, chimps, penguins, turtles, sloths, tigers, and many other fascinating animals can be found at this Tenerife attraction. The zoo also has a jungle replication, the Katandra Treetops, where you can observe a variety of birds and other species from swinging bridges. If you want to learn about the animals of the world and observe them in a habitat that is most like their natural one, look no further than the wonders at Loro Parque. 

3. Plaja Teresitas

Even if you don’t fancy the beach, you simply must take a walk along the shores of Plaja Teresitas. What makes this beach special? The sands of this beach were imported from the Sahara Desert! Located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Plaja Teresitas used to be a black, rocky beach. In 1973, the beach got a makeover courtesy of the Sahara. Two piers were added to keep the desert sand from washing out to sea; it is one of the Canary Islands most-visited beaches thanks to the import of soft, white sand. 

A Quaternary site is located on Plaja Teresitas. Here, paleontologists have uncovered fossils. Plaja Teresitas is a great place to relax, sunbathe, swim, or soak up the warm Spanish sun while you play your favorite sport or read a good book. Don’t miss your chance to visit the beach and the Sahara Desert in one day! 

4. Masca

Guides and residents may disagree on the background of this tiny village, but if you take a guided tour of this small town, you will no doubt hear tales of pirates and witchcraft. The intriguing lore is reason enough to visit Masca, but there are several other attractions in this 90-inhabitant town that you don’t want to miss. The best way to see the real Masca is to break away from the excursion and explore it at your own leisure. Rugged paths that don’t draw the crowds offer excellent views and a chance to see a side of the hamlet that others never experience. A long walk through the ravine to the ocean is extremely rewarding, and it’s completely free. No tour guide required! Whether you prefer to stick to the lore and tour or want to have your own adventure, this tiny town offers something for all travelers. 

5. Anaga Forest

Anaga Forest is the best spot for hiking in Tenerife. This 35,630-acre park features soaring peaks and deep gorges; the park offers visitors an opportunity to reconnect with nature in a gorgeous, rural setting. Anaga Forest is located central to La Laguna and Santa Cruz, making it easily accessible via TF-12. Take the TF-1 to the visitor’s center, then head down a lush path to the little town of Taganana. Fresh fish is available by the sea, and the ocean makes a great place to cool off after a long hike. The landscape is reminiscent of Hawaii; the beauty of the Anaga Forest is indescribable. The nature in this forest feels like something out of a storybook, and you may spot a variety of native wildlife as you trek through the woods. 

If you love relaxing on sandy beaches, exploring off-road destinations, and have a desire to get in touch with the flora and fauna that Mother Nature has to offer, Tenerife is your perfect holiday destination. This Canary Island is bold drama and peaceful serenity all in one!

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