TENERIFE- CANARY ISLANDS
As soon as school let out, we jetted off that same day and headed to the
Canary Islands to start our summer of 2022!
Canary Islands is a BIG tourist spot for those on the British Isle. We heard so much about it from locals that we knew we had to check it out... but ALSO we wanted to go at a time when it wouldn't be too crazy busy. Thankfully, our child gets out of school a little earlier than the British schools- so we made this our first trip of the summer to beat the rush! I am so glad we did. We never ran into bad traffic or waits at restaurants. It was a beautiful time to come.
Planning Tip- Although coming during the off season is ideal,
it was a little cold on some days. We had a lot of cloud cover
in June and so although it was warm outside,
some days felt a little cold to be swimming.
WHERE TO STAY
The Canary Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Africa that were created by volcanic activity. In the middle of Tenerife sits a HUGE volcano (more on that later!), so staying in the middle of the island isn't really an option. Most tourists plan to stay somewhere around the edges, close to an airport and the beach. We flew into the south airport and opted to stay on the southwestern tip of the island. This is arguably the more touristy side of the island, but it is because there are great beaches, restaurants and accommodations.
We stayed at the Pearly Grey Ocean Club resort and had a wonderful time. Our room was plenty big for our group size. We had a kitchen and dining area that we could cook. There were small grocery stores nearby to stock up on essentials. There were fun activities each day, exercise classes to take part in, fun playground and pool area, and the view couldn't be beat- we really had a great time.
Done shot of the resort Water aerobics time! Sunset view from our balcony
There is so much to say about the beaches of Tenerife. We didn't encounter one we didn't like. They were all so unique for different reasons! I will say that we focused on beaches that were easily to walk to from a car park location. We didn't do any crazy hikes down to secluded beaches due to trying to be kid friendly for our group.
Playa Los Gigantes- You can't beat the scenery at this one. It is nestled between the town of Los Gigantes and some 500 metre high cliffs which have given the town its name. The beach is approximately 100 meters long and has fine-grained, dark lava sand. Kind of small but worth it! Go early! The water is relatively shallow and the harbor provides good protection against waves. It is possible to rent sun lounges and sunshades, but they are not neatly arranged in rows as it is seen at most other beaches. Other facilities include showers, changing facilities and toilets. It may be a challenge to find parking spaces in the streets, but it is possible to pay for a parking space near the harbour (which is what we did).
Playa de las Teresitas- This beach was a gem. Lots of soft sand and room to play. It was shallow and sparkling clear water for the little ones to play in. We had lots of warm sunshine this day and so it remains a highlight memory for us. There were small restaurants on the beach and an ice cream truck that would come around every so often. It is located on the north side of the island so combine this beach with a morning trip to the city La Laguna.
Playa Los Cristianos- This beach is a hub for lots of action happening around the area! This is where a lot of beach sports and excursions take off from, as well as passenger ferries come and go. It's a beautiful beach with all the facilities: toilet, showers, sunbeds, etc. The beach area is quite long and narrow with many hotels and restaurants along the promenade.
We came here for an excursion- that I highly recommend! Kayaking along the coast was beautiful. We got to snorkel, swim and take in the beautiful coastline. Check out this picture my sister got of a dolphin while kayaking!
Playa de la Tejita- This beach had the longest walk to get to out of all the beaches we visited, but it still wasn't too long. It was a seven minute walk to get over to the beach. This beach was very unique because it lies at the tip of the island. There is a lot of wind here and so the waves are big! It was an overcast day which made it kind of cold, but some of our group loved wave jumping and body surfing... and some of us stayed bundled on shore! If you keep driving around the corner to the next beach, there are loads of kite and wind surfers which were so entertaining to watch!
Playa de las Vistas- This was another warm, sunny day at a happening beach. There is a lot of food on the promenade and activities for all types and ages. It was very clean, had beautiful sand, shallow water, and very family friendly. Our kiddo loved the bungee jumping that she got to do, as well as jumping the waves with Dad!
PLACES TO EAT
We ate SO much good food in Tenerife. I really don't think we ever had a bad meal. I will separate the places we tried by area so it is easier for your trip planning.
Costa Adeje area- This is where our resort was so we ate the most meals here. Nebula Restaurant & Cocktail Bar was very good and had a wide variety of things on the menu which was helpful for our larger group. Lots of seating and beautiful views of the sunset sky! Steak 21 Sea View was incredible. Amazingly delicious food yet a bit pricey. Restaurant Quo inside Pearly Grey Ocean Resort was standard fare food. Nothing too spectacular but had live entertainment while we ate which made things exciting!
La Caleta area- We had the most fabulous sushi and asian food here at Restaurant 88. Our kiddo loved the sweet and sour chicken, our brother-in-law tried sashimi for the first time in his life, and we loved our maki sushi rolls. There are loads of other restaurants in this area.
La Laguna- We escaped into this place, La Despensa de La Concepción, for a bit of reprieve from the cold rain and it ended up being just what we needed! We ordered the whole tapas menu (pretty much) and loved it all. The potatoes bravos were especially mwah! *chefs kiss* But really, there are a lot of tapas places in La Laguna and I'm sure they are all equally as wonderful.
Tenerife is anything but short on activities. Of course there are beaches to play at all day everyday, but we also loved getting out and trying some other adventures too.
Mount Teide- This should be at the top of your list. A dormant volcano that created the island, that you can hike up to and stands at 3,718 meters making it the tallest mountain in Spain! It's worth it. There is a full day hike that you can do that starts at the base of the mountain- but we opted for the cable car up MOST of the way and then ascended the peak the last 1,000 meters. We consider ourselves to be in good physical condition, but this was HARD. We would lose our breath after a couple steps because of the altitude! There were multiple times where I had to stop and take a rest for fear of passing out. It was serious business! The view from the top was absolutely incredible. Truly on top of the world.
Use this website to book your tickets. You must have a permit to ascend to the top and having a guide was invaluable.
La Caleta tidal pools- You must make a stop at this quaint, tucked away part of Tenerife. Lots of restaurants, a playground, a promenade... and the promenade at sundown revealed exposed rocks which became our nature playground as we explored the tidal pools for hours. This kind of happened unexpectedly but was a highlight of the trip.
La Laguna- The old city of La Laguna is a town you should definitely explore. Located in the north of the island of Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna was the first city established in the Canary Islands and to date is the only one to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its colonial architecture, the linear layout of its streets - created in the 15th Century without protective outer walls - and a large pedestrianised shopping area, all combine to give a distinctive feel to this ancient university city, whose historic streets offer visitors an unforgettable experience. We popped into old churches, buildings, shops, and had a grand wander around the city.
Siam Park- You can't got to Tenerife and NOT go to one of the highest rated water parks in the WORLD!! Ok but really- this place was fantastic. We realized that our daughter doesn't love water rides as much as we do BUT we still had a really fun day out as we switched off going on rides. It was super clean, lots of shade and loungers, heated water, super kid-friendly and the rides were SO fun. This is absolutely 100% worth it.