There’s more to Tenerife than beaches. The island has national parks and hiking trails to stretch those legs before taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife was formed by plate tectonics on the African plate. The island has three zones: Macizo de Teno, Macizo de Anaga and Macizo de Adeje, which were three different islands. Volcanic activity merged the three zones into one that offers a diversity of landscapes to explore while visiting.
Below are a three Tenerife hikes to consider when visiting: One from each zone.
1. Anaga Massif – Hiking to Playa Tamadiste
The Anaga mountains might be my favorite part of the island (geography wise). Drive one of the many windy roads of the park. The plan was to scramble up Roque de Taborno, which is also known as the Matterhorn of Tenerife. The trail includes walking almost the entire trail to Playa Tamadiste before turning uphill just before the beach. Having a hard time finding the separate trail from the main one, we ended up talking to a local farmer near the trail and passing through their ranch when getting directions.
The narrow climber’s trail was overgrown. After a little ways up and already the middle of the afternoon, we decided to retreat and head to the beach instead. Playa Tamadiste is a rocky beach with little sand. Few people challenged the waves breaking on the coast, but the water did look refreshing as we snacked on a flat rock on the beach.
Getting there: Drive through the Anaga National Park to Afur, where you’ll find parking at a trailhead. Walk down the hill to the trail signs and make a right. Follow the white and yellow markings (blazes) on rocks until you reach the beach. I tracked the hike and traveled 7.2 km (or 4.5 miles) round trip with our detour.
2. Teno Massif – Masca Gorge
Hiking temperatures can be hot for those not used to hiking under the sun. The Masca Gorge is a great option as it descends down a canyon to the ocean. The hike can be done one-way, so you don’t have to overexert yourself climbing out of the canyon with the sun beating down overhead.
I’ve found varying distances online for the actual distance of the walk. I even tracked while we hiked but due to the canyon walls, my GPS had a hard time following me and thought I did 13.5 km (8.5 miles) in 2-hours is unrealistic unless you’re trail running, maybe. My best estimate is 4 km (2.5 miles) in distance. The trail does have places where you can be creative with which way you go. The good news: the trails meet up as it drains to the ocean.
The towering canyon walls above makes this a unique hike but doesn’t have sweeping views. Be diligent where you linger as there could be potential rockfall. You know you’re nearby when you start to hear the ocean waves indicated you’re close to taking a dip in the ocean to cool down.
Out of the beaches visited on the island, I enjoyed this one the most. Still a rocky beach, especially at high tide, you may not find places to lay out on the sand but the entrance to the water is sandy and enjoyable for your feet. The waves crashed close to the shore but were easy to get past and the water tends to be shallow for bit.
If you don’t care to hang out on the beach or don’t want to walk across the rocks after the hike, the water is calm near the boat dock and is deep. Jump off the dock or climb down the ladder into the water. The water here is clear with bright blue and turquoise colors.
Getting there: The roads are narrow and windy. Parking is hard to find, so I suggest paying the €25 taxi ride from Los Gigantes, especially if you don’t plan on hiking round trip. If you decide to drive, navigate to Masca. The trail starts just below town.
Getting back to Los Gigantes: Many tours operate and offer water taxis back to Los Gigantes. You can either pre-book in town before you head to the hike, book online (where you can save up to 20% off), or hope there’s room without a reservation.
3. Mount Teide – Montaña Blanca Track
Complete the full hike or ride the cable car to either the lower or upper stations. A permit is required to reach the top and should be reserved ahead of time. If you didn’t get lucky and book a permit ahead of time, consider walking all but 163 meters (or 535 feet) from the summit as it is still a great experience.
Different from the other hikes listed above, this one feels like you’re walking on Mars. There’s little vegetation as you climb in elevation. Don’t forget extra layers as you’re not at sea-level anymore as temperatures dropped to roughly 3-degrees Celsius (or 38-degrees Fahrenheit).
It’s more rewarding to hike to the top without the assistance of the cable car. The distance is roughly 19 km (or 12 miles) round trip. According to my GPS tracking, my moving time was roughly 5 hours and 50 minutes and total time (counting a 20-minute break at the refuge and 30-minute break on the summit) of 7 hours and 10 minutes. Other websites noted a longer time to hike to the top. It all depends on your physical endurance and your hiking style.
Getting there: Drive through the national park until you reach the the Montaña Blanca parking area.
Tenerife has a decent bus system, but you’re limited to the bus routes if you don’t hire a car or pay for taxis. Renting a car may be your best option for selecting the hiking route(s) that interests you.
I know there are plenty hikes to choose on the island. Have a favorite one? Please comment below.