Whenever you find yourself drawn to the beach or swimming pool on a trip to Tenerife, do so in the knowledge there is plenty to discover beyond your hotel. Explorers are well-catered for here, from the island's world-class family attractions, to staggering natural landscapes and inspiring cultural history.

We recommend trying a bit of everything on your trip to the Canary Islands, and these fabulous attractions in Tenerife can form the basis for an exciting, varied trip.

Teide National Park

If you're looking for photo opportunities in Tenerife, look no further than the dramatic Teide National Park, which dominates the centre of the island. From the moon-like volcanic landscape on top of towering Mt Teide - which rises over 12,000ft (3,718m) above sea level - you can see the entire coastline. The park centres around the enormous volcano, also Spain's tallest mountain. Take the cable car to reach the top in under 10 minutes, or make a day of it and hike to the top (you need a permit from the national parks authority for this).


By Nikodem Nijaki - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18801175


Perched on a dramatic rocky plateau in the Teno Mountains, the mysterious village of Masca is one of the most intriguing settlements in the whole of the Canary Islands. Cut off from the rest of Tenerife until the 1970s when the first road was built, this charming hidden hamlet evokes memories of a long-forgotten arable age. Its stone farmhouses sit in the shadow of an unusual rock formation in a lush, fertile gorge. Naturally, it's a photographer's dream easily worth the testing drive along the switchback hairpins, or the three-hour hike inland from the coast.

Siam Park

From the 28m Tower of Power to the Ride the Dragon aqua-coaster, the water slides at Siam Park are the stuff of legends. This is one of Europe's largest - and arguably, scariest - water parks, where few of the chutes are for the faint-hearted. But that's the appeal, and explains why the Thai-themed attraction has won international accolades. If you're not too keen on heights, or fast speeds, you can simply relax on the beach, head to surf school at Wave Palace or take a peaceful meander along the Mai Thai River.

Opening times: 10am-6pm summer (1 May to 31 Oct); 10am-5pm winter (1 Nov to 30 Apr)

Admission: options vary; you could save by booking a ticket together with a day pass for the Loro Parque zoo in the north of the island


Once a thriving port, the town of Garachico on Tenerife's north-western coast has a fascinatingly chequered past. Aside from storms, fires and epidemics it has twice been buried by lava over the centuries. A volcanic eruption in 1706 destroyed most of the town, but left behind a network of fascinating natural rock pools which make modern-day Garachico a major tourist attraction.

This is an incredible place to swim in the warm ocean waters or go snorkelling to see fish swimming beneath the surface. When you've dried off, you can pay a visit to the nearby Castillo San Miguel, one of the only buildings to survive the catastrophe at the start of the 18th century. If you book in advance you can attend a medieval tournament and banquet, before watching dance performances in the castle's sublime ballroom.


_Di Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23536439_San Cristobal de La Laguna

The UNESCO-recognised university city of San Cristobal de La Laguna boasts some phenomenal architecture, including 16th-century mansions and imposing religious buildings. Its trailblazing grid formation was used as a model for many of the new cities built in Latin America during the colonial era. Wander the wide, colourful streets of the Old Town to find the Cathedral of La Laguna, the magnificent Iglesia de la Concepcion - notable for its iconic tower - and the pretty Plaza del Adelantado. It's an ideal place to sit back and relax with a bottle of wine as the sun goes down.

Loro Parque

One of Europe's best-loved zoos, the expansive, lush-green Loro Parque near Puerto de la Cruz has both extensive collections of animals and rare plants, some of which you may come across for the first time. Planet Penguin, with its sun-busting iceberg, and Orca Ocean - home to killer whales - are among the popular attractions, along with the Katandra Treetops, where some of the world's rarest birds hang out in the canopy. Gorillas, chimps, jaguars, hippos, tigers and sloths are among the popular mammals in residence.

Opening times: 8:30am to 6:45pm daily; feedings and shows at scheduled times - check the park timetable

Book it: Loro Parque admission with transport from your hotel

Anaga Rural Park

The mountainous, forested Anaga Rural Park is another of Tenerife's flagship natural attractions. The tree-covered mountains and valleys of this protected reserve are a haven for wildlife and make for ideal hiking country, if you're eager to get off the beaten track and escape the Santa Cruz tourist traps for a few hours. With the park covering the entirely of the northern peninsula just beyond the capital Santa Cruz, you're never far from a scenic clifftop or accessible beach.


Parque Rural de Montes de Anaga, Tenerife by Pablo - CC BY 2.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) - flickr.com/photos/88083695@N07/10408090294