It’s winter, you crave sun, beach and palm trees. You want to stay in Europe and not fly that far. Where do you go? There’s actually only one option to suit those needs: the Canary Islands. I went to Tenerife without much expectation but this island pleasantly surprised me! It was more picturesque, green and friendly then I could think of.
Because Tenerife guarantees the most sun, the less wind and a bit of green vegetation as well, I choose to have a look here. Also many many flights go here from all over Europe every day. People are nice, food is cheap and the bays are beautiful! Lanzarote and Fuerteventura will also bring you many sunshine, but are windy as well. Me no like wind.
Where to stay?
Always the big question. After some research I opted for the West Coast of Tenerife. Here, you find the most hours of sun, it’s close to the pretty green North and the villages are not overly touristy. I stayed one week in Playa de San Juan, perfect for me! Also Alcala and Los Gigantes are good choices. Those are picturesque local villages with nice beaches, natural pools and the right amount of restaurants. In the north of the island you find the most beautiful beach towns though, like Garachico, Puerto de la Cruz and the capital Santa Cruz. However, from December to April, it’s not so sunny here. If you like a loooooot of tourist facilities, entertainment, western style restaurants and other tourists around you: then go for the South West of the island: Adeje, Christianos and playa de las Americanos are connected to each other in one major tourist zone.
How’s the weather during winter?
I guess most visitors of the Canary Islands just want to lay on the beach, soak up the sun and relaaaaaxxxx. I wasn’t so sure how good the weather in February and March would be on Tenerife. Forecasts tell you temperatures are between 18-22 degrees Celsius with changes of sun and clouds. Well, I can tell you, in the first week of March it was super hot, when the sun was out. So yes, you can lay down full on the beach, will need sun screen and an umbrella. And many water. And ice creams. Just the full package 😉 When it’s cloudy, it’s still warm. Like, you can where shorts and a t-shirt. You maybe need an extra cardigan if it’s windy. Same with the evenings.
What to do on Tenerife?
pretty pretty West Coast. I didn’t expect it to be this good at all! But the hikes you can make are nice and short. We walked from Playa de San Juan to Alcala (35 mins), from Alcala to Los Gigantes (1 hour) and tried to get from Playa de San Juan to Abama beach (30 minutes), which is impossible due to the banana plantations next to the beach. Still the views and bays are gorgeous! Highlights being the rock pools at Alcala, the views on the cliffs of Los Gigantes, the skyline of Alcala and the abandoned church at Playa de San Juan. See pics!
Aquaparks and Zoos
For those who don’t mind spending a bit more, there are some beautiful parks on the island. The best rated one being Siam Aquapark and zoo Loro park (combi ticket €60 pp). You can also go for the less popular Aqualand and the newbee Jungle park (€37 combi ticket). Loro Park is the only one all the way up in the north, so make sure you know how to get there. I didn’t went to any as I found them too expensive.
Google Tenerife and you get some tropical pics of green hill and flowers? This is the North of Tenerife! Mind you, the rest of the island is insanely dry. Only covered in cactus plants and banana plantations (which you can’t enjoy as they are all hidden behind a fence). I did rent a car for one day (€37 incl insurances) and drove up to the North. Pretttyyy!!! Garachico, viewpoint El Guincho and Puerto de la Cruz are the best. Also the capital Santa Cruz is worth a visit! Make sure you head here when the weather is good though, as on this part of the island there’s many rain (hence the green vegetation).
There are many hikes to make on Tenerife. The one at Masca the most famous, but also within national park El Teide (the peak of the island). Other recommended hikes are Barranco del Infierno and the ones on the West Coast.
Masca is a pretty little town next to the Tenomountains. The drive to the village is an attraction on itself, with stunning views over green valleys. Also the town is cute and picturesque. Many folks start a hike from Masca village through the gorge to the sea (3 hours). From here you can arrange a boat pickup to Los Gigantes (€10 pp). You should arrange a taxi or go by bus to the town first. Or you can join a tour that arranges all for you (€50 pp). I rented a car to drive pass Masca to the North of the island over route TF-436. a beautiful way but a bit scary as well. On the way back we went for TF-82 which was stunning as well and more convenient! The town Santiago del Teide on the base of the Masca road, is a pretty and convenient place to make a stop.
Being low season (March), it was incredible busy on the narrow roads and at viewpoints towards Masca. We managed to stop in the most viewpoints though, but in Masca itself there was no parking place available around 13:00! Buses go infrequent and tour buses have a hard time making turns and passing other vehicles. I recommend the taxi if you want to make the hike 😉