Over the past four years, I’ve immersed myself in the vibrant surroundings of Tenerife, especially in the southern part, which has become my home. Rest assured, there are no shortage of things to do in Tenerife south!
Nestled in the heart of the Canary Islands, Tenerife offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure with stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, and diverse activities.
Tenerife South’s year-round allure, thanks to excellent weather, makes it an inviting destination with tranquil or lively beaches to suit every mood.
Beyond the shores, its culinary scene, from charming cafes to upscale restaurants, satisfies varied tastes, featuring both local Canarian and international delights.
Adventure enthusiasts can revel in the exciting water sports like surfing, windsurfing, and jet-skiing in the waters surrounding Tenerife South.
The unique volcanic landscape also beckons hikers, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.
Tenerife South’s allure extends beyond its natural beauty, with its strategic location just a stone’s throw from mainland Europe, making it a convenient escape to paradise.
This guide invites sunseekers, foodies, adventurers, and those seeking relaxation to explore the best things to do in Tenerife South for an unforgettable experience.
#1 – Enjoy the beaches
The sun-drenched coastlines of Tenerife South boast some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches. From the lively shores of Playa de las Américas to the tranquil expanses of Playa El Duque, each beach unfolds a distinctive ambiance. Sink your toes into the luxurious golden sands, luxuriate in the warm embrace of the sunshine, and take a rejuvenating dip in the crystal-clear waters that lap the shores.
Tenerife’s coastal havens are celebrated for their impeccable cleanliness and easy accessibility. Notably, Playa de las Vistas, adorned with its golden sand and palm-lined promenade, provides an idyllic setting for a leisurely stroll. Families seeking moments of pure joy can discover Playa San Juan, where the tranquil waters and laid-back atmosphere create an optimal playground for children. Beyond their scenic allure, Tenerife’s beaches emerge as vibrant hubs, embodying the lively spirit that defines this exceptional corner of the Canary Islands.
Tips from a local –
Visit Playa El Puertito in Playa Paraiso or Diego Hernandez (known as the hippie beach) for a less touristy atmosphere. While both beaches are breathtaking, these options offer a more authentic local vibe without compromising on beauty!
If you stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abama, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere at Abama Beach.
#2 – Visit Siam Park (rated the best water park in the world)
For an adrenaline-fueled aquatic adventure, Siam Park stands out as a must-visit destination. As one of the best water parks globally, Siam Park transports visitors to a Thai-inspired paradise, complete with thrilling water rides, lazy rivers, and a mesmerizing wave pool. Whether you’re seeking heart-pounding excitement or a leisurely day by the water, Siam Park caters to all ages and preferences.
The park’s architectural design, inspired by Thai culture, creates a unique and immersive atmosphere. From the towering Tower of Power slide to the tranquil Mai Thai River, Siam Park offers an array of attractions. Families can enjoy the Lost City, a water playground for children, while thrill-seekers can brave the intense drops and turns of the Dragon or the Volcano.
Travel tip –
While Siam Park is incredibly fun, it tends to get very crowded, especially in the summer and during school holidays. For a less crowded experience, consider visiting during quieter seasons or arriving right at the opening time.
#3 – Take a whale watching tour
Embark on a maritime odyssey with a whale-watching tour off the southern coast. The Atlantic waters surrounding Tenerife are home to an abundance of marine life, including majestic whales and playful dolphins. Join a guided tour to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, creating lasting memories against the backdrop of the open sea.
The southern coast’s strategic location makes it an ideal spot for whale watching. Various species, including pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins, can be spotted throughout the year. Knowledgeable guides provide insights into the behavior and ecology of these marine mammals, enhancing the overall experience. The tours also contribute to conservation efforts, raising awareness about the importance of protecting Tenerife’s rich marine biodiversity.
Important note –
When selecting a tour, opt for an ethical choice that refrains from chasing whales and dolphins, ensuring a responsible and respectful approach to wildlife interaction. By making a conscientious decision to support tours with ethical practices, you contribute to the well-being and preservation of marine life in their natural habitat.
#4 – Explore El Medano (one of my favorite things to do in Tenerife South)
El Médano, nestled on the southern coast of Tenerife, beckons with a plethora of activities that cater to both the adventurous and those seeking a more relaxed experience. Renowned for its windswept charm, this coastal gem is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, offering world-class conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
The iconic Red Mountain provides a picturesque backdrop as visitors explore the vibrant promenade dotted with charming cafes and shops. El Médano’s sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing and beach games, while its crystal-clear waters invite swimmers and snorkelers to discover the underwater beauty.
For those seeking cultural immersion, the town hosts lively events and festivals throughout the year, providing a glimpse into the local way of life. With its unique blend of natural beauty and lively activities, El Médano is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the dynamic spirit of Tenerife’s southern coastline.
Tips from a local –
If you’re looking for a restaurant with unique bohemian decor, delectable cuisine, and a breathtaking ocean view, consider making your way to Santo Chihuahua. Indulge in their diverse menu options, such as sushi, poke bowls, and my personal favorite—the flavorful kimchi fries.
#5 – Spend a day at Casa Playa beach club
Situated on Los Cristianos’ Playa Las Vistas, Casa Playa emanates a laid-back charm reminiscent of destinations like Tulum or Bali. This beach club not only features a diverse selection of delectable, handcrafted cocktails in a melodic atmosphere but also provides an enchanting and dreamy ocean view, creating a perfect sanctuary for those who cherish sunset moments.
Travel tip –
Walk through the entire restaurant and on the opposite side, you’ll find a little oasis adorned with macrame umbrellas and plush cushions. This hidden gem allows you to partake in drink service while enjoying the sun’s warm embrace. Food service isn’t available in this area, so if hunger strikes, make sure to secure a spot at one of the restaurant’s tables.
#6 – Marvel at the massive cliffs in Los Gigantes
The awe-inspiring cliffs of Los Gigantes rise dramatically from the sea, reaching heights that defy imagination. Join a boat tour to cruise along the base of these colossal cliffs, marveling at their sheer grandeur. The play of sunlight on the rock faces creates a mesmerizing display, and with each passing moment, the cliffs unveil new facets of their natural beauty.
Los Gigantes, translating to “The Giants,” lives up to its name as you stand in awe of these towering cliffs. Boat tours depart regularly from nearby marinas, offering a unique perspective of this natural wonder. The cliffs’ volcanic origins contribute to their rugged appearance, and the boat journey provides ample opportunities for photographs that capture the scale and majesty of Los Gigantes.
Travel tip –
Make sure you visit Charco de Isla Cangrejo! It’s the perfect natural pool for a refreshing swim on a hot day. Be careful if the tide is high, as the waves can become a bit strong.
#7 – Tour El Teide National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Teide National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, an astronomy buff, or a photography aficionado, this park caters to diverse interests. Embark on hiking trails that meander through lunar-like landscapes, witness the stars in the unpolluted night sky, capture breathtaking photographs, or ascend the volcano with a cable car for panoramic views.
El Teide, Spain’s highest peak, dominates the park’s landscape, providing a dramatic focal point. Hiking trails range from easy walks suitable for families to challenging routes for experienced hikers. The park’s astronomical observatory takes advantage of the clear skies, inviting visitors to stargaze and explore the cosmos. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the cable car journey offers breathtaking vistas without the strenuous hike.
Travel tip –
If an overnight stay appeals to you, consider Parador de Cañadas del Teide, conveniently located near the park’s center. This hotel offers a chance to extend your experience, providing proximity to the park’s natural beauty and tranquility.
#8 – Go scuba diving
Scuba diving in Tenerife offers an exhilarating underwater adventure, unveiling a mesmerizing world beneath the waves. With its crystal-clear Atlantic waters, diverse marine life, and intriguing volcanic formations, Tenerife has become a sought-after destination for divers of all levels. The underwater landscape features underwater caves and captivating species such as colorful fish, rays, and even sea turtles.
Various dive sites around the island cater to both beginners and experienced divers, providing an opportunity to explore underwater cliffs, shipwrecks, and unique geological formations. The warm temperatures and excellent visibility further enhance the scuba diving experience, making Tenerife an ideal destination for those seeking to discover the wonders of the underwater realm in a captivating and diverse marine environment.
#9 – Get adventurous with paragliding
For those seeking an adrenaline rush and a bird’s-eye view of Tenerife’s stunning landscapes, paragliding is the answer. Take off from elevated points, soaring through the skies with a trained instructor, and revel in the exhilarating sensation of free flight. The panoramic views of the coastline, mountains, and ocean create an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers.
Paragliding in Tenerife South provides an unrivaled perspective of the island’s diverse terrain. The takeoff points, often located in elevated areas, offer stunning views before the adrenaline-pumping descent. Tandem flights, led by experienced pilots, ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure for those new to paragliding.
#10 – Eat dinner in La Caleta
Dining in La Caleta is a gastronomic delight, offering a diverse range of culinary experiences to satisfy every palate. This charming coastal village boasts an array of exceptional restaurants, showcasing international flavors that cater to various tastes. From the exquisite flavors of Japanese cuisine to the comforting classics of Italian dishes, succulent steaks, and more, La Caleta presents a culinary journey around the world. Each restaurant is a testament to culinary expertise, with carefully crafted menus featuring the finest ingredients.
After a delightful dinner, take a leisurely stroll next to the ocean. This provides the perfect conclusion to the evening after a lovely dinner. La Caleta truly stands as a haven for food enthusiasts, combining delectable dining options with a serene seaside ambiance.
Tip from a local –
If you love Asian food, Restaurant 88, located in La Caleta has some of the best Japanese cuisine on all of the island.
#11 – Take a ferry to La Gomera for a day trip
Escape to the neighboring island of La Gomera for a day of exploration. Ferries depart regularly from Tenerife South in Los Cristianos, offering a scenic voyage to this smaller, tranquil island. Discover La Gomera’s lush landscapes, quaint villages, and rich cultural heritage, creating a contrast to the vibrant energy of Tenerife South.
La Gomera’s proximity to Tenerife makes it an accessible day-trip destination. The ferry journey itself becomes part of the adventure, providing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Upon reaching La Gomera, explore the island’s unique attractions, including the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its laurel forests and diverse ecosystems.
#12 – Dolphin kayak safari and snorkel with sea turtles
Immerse yourself in the marine wonders surrounding Tenerife by embarking on a dolphin kayak safari. Paddle along the coastline, encountering playful dolphins in their natural habitat. Combine this with snorkeling in spots frequented by gentle sea turtles, creating an eco-friendly adventure that fosters a deeper connection with the ocean.
Kayaking allows for a non-intrusive approach, minimizing the impact on the animals’ natural behavior. Snorkeling with sea turtles offers a chance to observe these ancient creatures gracefully gliding through the water. Guided tours often include educational components, shedding light on marine conservation efforts and the importance of preserving Tenerife’s coastal ecosystems.
#13 – Shopping at Siam Mall
Siam Mall, inspired by Thailand, distinguishes itself through its architectural design and landscaping. The designers of the mall did a great job at crafting a shopping experience that is truly unique. The open-air layout, adorned with lush greenery, elevates the overall ambiance. The mall harmoniously houses both international and local brands, providing a plethora of options for discerning shoppers.
Beyond the realm of fashion and retail, Siam Mall extends its offerings to include an array of restaurants, cafes, and entertainment venues, creating a comprehensive destination where relaxation and enjoyment seamlessly intertwine, making it an ideal setting for a day of indulgence.
#14 – Go jet skiing in Puerto Colon
Feel the adrenaline surge as you ride the waves on a jet ski in Puerto Colón. The southern coast’s warm waters and favorable weather create ideal conditions for jet skiing. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rider, the thrill of speeding across the ocean and feeling the wind in your hair is an experience that adds an extra layer of excitement to your Tenerife adventure.
Jet skiing in Puerto Colón offers an exhilarating way to explore the coastal beauty of Tenerife South. Rental facilities provide a range of jet ski options, from single-seaters for solo adventurers to larger models suitable for tandem rides. Guided jet ski tours often include stops at scenic coves and viewpoints, allowing participants to combine the thrill of water sports with the exploration of Tenerife’s captivating coastline.
#15 – Visit a banana plantation (a unique thing to do in Tenerife South)
Delve into the agricultural heart of Tenerife by visiting a banana plantation. Learn about the cultivation process, from planting to harvesting, and gain insights into the island’s agricultural practices. Sample fresh bananas right from the source and appreciate the importance of this tropical fruit to Tenerife’s economy and culinary landscape.
Banana plantations dot the landscape of Tenerife, contributing to the island’s agricultural diversity. Guided tours of these plantations offer a behind-the-scenes look at the cultivation of this iconic fruit. Learn about the challenges faced by banana farmers, the history of banana production on the island, and the impact of agriculture on Tenerife’s ecosystem. Sampling freshly picked bananas provides a sensory experience, allowing visitors to savor the flavors of Tenerife’s locally grown produce.