Tenerife is one of the amazing Canary Islands, known as “Land of Eternal Spring” for their mild winters and beautiful summers that make them excellent destinations all year round. And, while many come to Tenerife to simply relax on the beach or spend time strolling some of the historic streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife or Puerto la Cruz, there are many amazing hikes in Tenerife.
From magnificent Mount Teide National Park down near Los Cristianos to the impressive Anaga Mountains north of San Cristobal de la Laguna, you are sure to find the perfect Tenerife hikes to match your fitness and timeline.
And even if you aren’t an avid hiker, not to worry, there are plenty of easy walks in Tenerife, not to mention a number of other great outdoor activities that let you enjoy the fabulous Tenerife weather without all the sweat and exhaustion of climbing Mount Teide.
Best Tenerife Hikes
But first we’re going to start with a detailed list of 10 terrific Tenerife hikes found throughout the island. Some are incredible, some pleasantly scenic, a couple are just an easy way to get a bit of exercise without straying too far from the comforts and beaches and bars of Puerto de la Cruz. In general, most of the hiking on Tenerife can easily be done as day hikes, although a couple will involve some quality time on the “guaguas”, the local term for the buses.
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Plus, if you like hiking in Tenerife, you should also try to make time for a visit to the hiking mecca of La Gomera. Just a short ferry ride away, La Gomera has arguably the best trails in all of the Canary Islands.
We did not buy a hiking guidebook or map for Tenerife but used the Wikiloc hiking app extensively. I’ve included the Wikiloc number so you can follow the trail if needed. For some reason if you search for this number on the app it works fine but it won’t find the trail if you are using the website (you need to track location or title). Don’t ask me…
Tenerife Hiking Map
Click the star to save this map to your Google Maps – then find it under Saved/Maps (mobile) or Your Places/Maps (desktop)
1. Alto de Guajara – Teide National Park
11 km loop, 3-4 hrs – strenuous
This was our second hike in Teide National Park, braving the long bus ride again after enjoying our first hike so much. This one was a lot harder than the Siete Cañadas trail (see below) but takes you up to a great viewpoint, which I had read actually may give you the best look at Teide of anywhere in the park. The best part, though, is that there are actually amazing views the entire way, not to mention several different scenic angles.
You start at the Parador de Cañadas del Teide, which is the last stop on the 348 bus from Puerto de la Cruz, and can follow the loop in either direction. You leave the parking lot on official trail #4 (Siete Cañadas), then after about 700 metres turn off to the right on #31 to climb the hill. After 1.5 km you reach a junction and turn left onto #15, which takes you to the top. Coming down you turn the other way, still on #15 until eventually turning left onto #5, following that 1.2 km down to where it joins back up with #4. From here it is a more or less flat 3.7 km back to the parador.
We chose this direction because the #31 seems marginally steeper and we prefer to go up the steep parts and down the more gradual ones. Some people feel the opposite, however. Either way would work fine.
Not an easy hike, it is 11 kilometres long, the total elevation gain is 670 metres and it is over 2,700 metres at the top so you will certainly feel the altitude when you’re climbing. But there are no dangerous or difficult spots and the scenery is incredible. It took us just over 3 hours plus a 20-minute break at the top, although we were rushing just a bit because we were concerned about catching the bus.
From Puerto de la Cruz there is only one bus per day. The 348 leaves the city at 9:30 and should arrive at El Portillo (the first stop in the park) by about 10:45 and the parador (last stop) around 11:00. However, road construction sent us on a long detour the first time which put us half an hour behind, and the second time the main route was open again but then construction inside the park itself held us up for even longer. We didn’t get started until almost noon. The return bus leaves the parador at 4 pm. So even with the delay we managed to get back in time for a quick beer before boarding the bus.
Because there is only one bus per day the 348 is always lined up at least half an hour early, but then once it fills up they bring in a second bus anyway. We got there early both times but, in hindsight, would recommend just showing up 5 minutes ahead and walking straight on to the half-full second bus, or even picking it up at one of the other bus stops along the way.
Theoretically, the full first bus could get to the park a little bit sooner because it doesn’t make any stops but in our experience they ended up arriving around the same time because of the road issues, and because the first bus always seems to have all the mountain bikers which take time to unload at El Portillo.
2. Barranco de Masca
5 ½ km one-way, 2-3 hrs from Masca, 3-4 hrs from Santiago del Teide – moderate
This is maybe the most well-known individual hike on Tenerife, and for good reason. It is a serious pain in the ass to get to and from but is absolutely worth doing. Starting with expansive views at the mirador, all the way down through the gradually narrowing gorge, emerging at picturesque Masca Beach, it was all pretty stunning.
By public transport from Puerto De la Cruz you take Bus 325 to Santiago Del Teide, then bus 355 goes sporadically to Masca, or you can take a taxi, or you can walk. We walked – on the road almost the whole way but it is one-lane and winding so the cars are going slow and not sticking to the side in their lane. You have to climb a steep hill out of Santiago for about half an hour to the main viewpoint, then it is all downhill.
Total distance to Masca is 5 kilometres. It took us about 1:15, about the same amount of time we would have waited for the next bus, but we got to enjoy amazing views all the way down to Masca, which we hadn’t considered ahead of time. We did not ask around to see how much a taxi would be.
At the bottom there are two water taxi companies that ferry people over to the city of Los Gigantes. The boats go every hour or so and take about 10 scenic minutes. You should probably book ahead just to be safe. We went with Masca Express. Then from Los Gigantes, if you left a car at Masca you can take a taxi for around €25, or you can take the 325 bus all the way back to Puerto De la Cruz. Keep in mind there is a 5-hour gap between afternoon buses (12:30 and then not until 5:30) so it is important to work out the timing.
We took the 10:30 bus from Puerto de la Cruz, arrived around noon, walked to Masca (a little over an hour), then down the gorge in a little over 2 hours, arriving just before 4. We had booked the 4:30 boat but ended up on an earlier one, then caught the 5:30 bus back to Puerto De la Cruz, arriving around 7:30. Long day but worth doing once.
3. Cruz Del Carmen – Punta Hidalgo
11 km, 3 hrs – moderate
I read on one website about this hike, and how it is the best hike on the island. Well, I certainly wouldn’t go that far, but it was a pretty nice downhill stroll with some pretty great views coming down the ravine and of the cliffs once you reach the ocean. The first third is through quiet, deep forest trails – a nice walk – and then after that it is pretty similar to Masca, just not quite as spectacular. More of a trail and less rocky scrambling, though, and far less busy.
There are also some historically interesting caves around Chinamada but we didn’t really see much when we passed through. It took us about 3 hours, although you might want to allow more to explore side trails and viewpoints along the way.
The other thing it has in common with Masca is that it is difficult to access from Puerto de la Cruz, although you don’t have to worry about booking a ferry. We took the 102 to La Laguna but since it took half an hour longer than it was supposed to (it seems like the traffic gets backed up near the airport throughout the morning) we missed the first connection to the 275 from La Laguna to Cruz del Carmen. So we had to kill an hour waiting for the next one, and altogether it took us about 3.5 hours to make it to the trailhead. Getting back was no simple task, either, but bus 105 does leave from Punta Hidalgo back to La Laguna, then you can connect to either the 102 or 103. Very manageable, but you should still plan for a long day.
4. Siete Cañadas – Teide National Park
16 ½ km, 4 hrs – easy
We were a bit concerned about time as we had to cover 16.5 km from El Portillo to the Parador de Cañadas in 4.5 hours but the trail is so flat and easy that we ended up arriving an hour early. Without bus delays you should have a full 5 hours to do it, which should be no problem for any average walker.
This trail is quite long but it is almost completely flat and makes for fast walking. Meanwhile, you enjoy constantly passing through the Teide National Park “lunarscape” – rocks and brush and cliffs, and always massive Mount Teide looming on your right, the views steadily changing angles and colours and foregrounds.
It is bus 348 again, but this time you get off at the first stop in the park (El Portillo) so should arrive before 11 am (theoretically). Then you have to catch the return bus from the other end (the parador) at 4 pm, giving you 5 hours, which should be plenty.
5. Rambla de Castro
Approx. 6 km one-way from the centre of Puerto de la Cruz, 1 ½ – 2 hrs – easy
This is a very popular trail, probably because it is so close to the city. It is 4 km from the Mirador San Pedro to the Maritim Hotel. It took us about 2 hours to walk back from there to our hotel (around 7 km), and would be less if you are staying more toward the western end of the city. This is a really nice hike entirely on gravel paths except for the small detour through the town just west of Playa de los Roques.
There are a few hills and it would be best to wear decent shoes. The Roques are a definite highlight, and we returned that far several times as they were just about a half an hour walk from our place. I recommend going down to the western end of the rocky shore where the rocks roll up and down with the waves.
The trail is decently marked – follow toward “Mirador San Pedro” if heading west, or “Los Roques” when going east. You can take bus 363 to the San Agustín stop and walk back, or do it the other way around. It is also possible to start or continue on past the mirador to Playa Socorro and beyond if you want a longer walk.
6. Los Órganos loop out of Aguamansa
6 km, 1 ½ hrs – easy
There are various options up in the Orotava Valley, but this is one of the nicest and easiest. For the most part, it is just a very pleasant stroll through quiet forest on wide, smooth paths. You can either start at La Caldera or, like we did, get off one stop earlier in Aguamansa. From there it is about a 20-minute walk uphill through the trees to the caldera (a big, concave picnic area surrounded by trees). After that the entire trail is either flat or comfortably downhill, ending back at Aguamansa where you can relax at the restaurant/bar while you wait for the bus (regular service on bus 345).
7. GR-131 Stage 2 – Teide National Park to the Orotava Valley
13 km, 3-4 hrs – easy
The GR-131 (Gran Recorrido – a series of official long distance European trails) goes across the island from NE to the South and Stage 2 passes through the Orotava followed by a long, hard climb up to Teide National Park (roughly 1,000 metres elevation gain). However, if you aren’t doing the entire GR and are just looking to hike for a few hours, you can take the usual (painful) Teide bus (348) up to El Portillo at the entrance to the park. From there you can follow the GR-131 in reverse all the way back down to Aguamansa, where there are lots of buses heading back down to Puerto de la Cruz.
This section is roughly 13 km and took us close to 4 hours including a couple leisurely breaks. You get views of Teide for a while at the beginning, then spend most of the day in the trees before emerging in the valley for some views of the ocean and Los Organos rocks.
A very quiet, tranquil trail, although the small volcanic rocks can be a bit slippery and a pain to walk on in places, and obviously descending 1,000 metres is going to be noticeable on your feet and joints. Of course, if you’d rather climb up 1,000 metres you can do that too, just make sure you make it to El Portillo in time to catch the 4:20 (ish) bus back down.
8. Santa Ursula – Puerto De la Cruz
Approx. 6 km, 2 hrs – easy
Santa Ursula is located at the top of the hill north of Puerto de la Cruz and from behind the Hiper Dino supermarket (El Calvario bus stop) Calle Sancho Panza leads you down the hill to the edge of the cliff. From here a set of narrow stairs take you way down toward the water with great views toward Puerto de la Cruz the whole way.
Eventually it levels out and you walk along a mix of roads and paths to Playa Bollullo and then to the city. At one point after Playa Ancon and before Playa Bollullo you will see a ravine on your right heading down – if you take this it will get you off the road and lead you down to a cliff’s edge trail. All told, it is probably an hour and a half walk with good views, and almost all downhill.
Bus 101 or 102 can take you up the hill from Puerto de la Cruz. 101 goes to La Orotava first so takes longer, but it passes very close to the start of the trail. 102 is faster but you will have to backtrack on foot a bit. Your choice.
9. Playa Bollullo
5-6 km return, 1 ½ – 2 hrs – easy
This nice, sheltered black sand beach is one of the few hikes that can be done without any public transportation. From the Playa de Martiánez area it takes about half an hour to walk along the ocean road, then follow the path through the banana plantations. It takes maybe 45 minutes to go up the stairs (by the Mercadona) and walk out through the town. We usually did this as a loop, until they started construction on the ocean-front tunnel and shut that down. We still went that way on Sunday when the workers weren’t around, though.
There are a couple of hills to climb, but the coastal scenery is beautiful, as always, and at the end is a nice, quiet beach with a small bar. If you continue along the coast path you will end up at the ravine described in the hike coming down from Santa Ursula.
10. Icod de los Vinos to Garachico
Wikiloc: 2565734 to El Guincho
Approx. 6 km, 1 ½ -2 hrs – easy
Start by checking out “El Drago”, the really old tree that is Icod’s claim to fame. You can see it just fine from the plaza viewpoint and we didn’t see any need to pay €5 to get into the park. Just a small garden area from what we could tell. The hike could be very different depending on if you follow the coastline through the banana plantation or stick to the roads.
We had planned to follow a Wikiloc trail along the coast but then missed the entrance to the plantation and, after we realized and could see the trail from above, weren’t sure we would be able to get all the way through without any gates or fences. Maybe you can, we can’t say for sure.
Following the road you get nice views of the plantation coming down, cute little El Guincho perched on the ocean (we detoured down to the bottom of the town and back to see the scenic “swimming pool”), then the coast and Garachico in the distance. The last bit is along the busy highway but there is a sidewalk and the tunnel is open along the side, affording views. Garachico is really nice little town, with a cute square and a popular rocky area where people swim and sunbathe, overlooked by a number of bars and ice cream shops.
It took us about an hour and a half from Icod but we meandered quite a bit. The coastal path would add some time, however. Bus 363 runs quite frequently and takes about an hour to/from Puerto de la Cruz, and can drop you off in Icod, El Guincho or Garachico.
Mount Teide Summit
The main omission from this list is the hike to the summit of Teide. We considered it but decided it wasn’t worth the time/money/planning involved. To do this at a normal time of day, which you would have to if you are relying on public transportation, you need to purchase a permit, and do so well ahead. When I looked in late October I could only find a couple left in late November.
Then you need to take the teleférico (cable car) to the top (€27 return, I think), and just hike the last hour to the top. If you haven’t planned ahead, or want to save money and already have a car, you can start in the middle of the night and walk the whole way up (6-9 hrs). Apparently, if you reach the checkpoint before 8 am no one will be there to check your permit.
We found neither of these options appealing. Maybe next time. Either way, if I had to choose I kind of liked having a view of Teide, rather than from Teide.
A much simpler option would be to join a guided tour. This 6-hour Mount Teide tour allows you to skip the line, take the cable car to the top and then explore the summit without having to tackle the long climb or get up in the middle of the night.
Other Things to Do in Tenerife
Of course, you don’t have to strap on the hiking boots to enjoy yourself on Tenerife. Here are some other ideas for those days when you’re looking for something a little different.
Puerto de la Cruz
We may be a little biased since Puerto de la Cruz is where we based ourselves for the entire month, but we found the vibrant waterfront malecon and atmospheric old town to be one of our favourite small European cities.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The historic old town streets and alleys are enthralling and provide a fascinating look into the history of Tenerife.
San Cristobal de la Laguna
With cobblestoned streets, colourful buildings and terrific churches, San Cristobal is definitely worth a visit.
Los Gigantes Cliffs
Even if you don’t do the Masca Gorge hike you should take a boat tour to get a glimpse of these awesome cliffs up close.
Icod de Los Vinos
As well as being a cute little town in its own right, Icod de los Vinos also boasts not one, but two, big-time tourist attractions. Cueva del Viento is one of the largest lava tubes in the world and El Drago Milenario is a 1,000-year-old dragon tree (although some scientists are skeptical).
The Pyramids of Guimar
These mysterious ruins are surrounded by picturesque gardens.
From wild and wacky Siam Park to varied ocean activities like scuba diving, whale watching, deep sea fishing, kayaking and surfing, Tenerife is the perfect place to get out on (or in) the water.
Ok, this one isn’t really a Tenerife activity. But it is a pretty amazing island in its own right. Considered the best hiking destination in the Canary Islands, La Gomera should be on every visitor’s hit list. It is possible to catch the first ferry over in the morning and come back in the evening but if you have the time it is worth spending a few days (or more) on this lush green slice of paradise.
Tenerife Island Tour
Or, if you’re pressed for time or just want to let a professional set up an itinerary for you, there are some very good island tours that will hit all the main highlights without forcing you to rent a car or memorize some (very) confusing bus schedules.
Ferries from Tenerife to La Gomera
Two companies service the short ferry run (1 hr) between Tenerife and La Gomera.
Fred Olsen ferries run 3-4 times per day between Los Cristianos in Tenerife and San Sebastian de la Gomera (€43/person + €20/car).
Naviera Armas also makes the same trip 3-4 times per day on a slightly different schedule and for about €1 more.
Getting to the Tenerife Hikes
The easiest way to get around Tenerife is by car, so if you aren’t bringing your own we highly recommend renting one since as most of the towns, beaches, trails and viewpoints are difficult to reach via public transportation. It is also nice to be able to set your own schedule rather than relying on buses or shuttles. We have found Discover Cars usually have the best rental car offers in the area.
What to Take
It is always important to be prepared when venturing out hiking, especially up to Mount Teide. Obviously, long, challenging hikes require more advance planning and safety gear but even for short hikes you still need to be properly equipped. Dressing properly will make the experience much more enjoyable and carrying useful safety supplies can ensure you are prepared in case mishaps take place (as they tend to). Here is a quick checklist of items we alway carry, wear or use while hiking:
A good day pack is essential. We have recently become big fans of Gregory packs and would recommend the Gregory Miwok 18 for short hikes or when your gear is split between two people. And the Gregory Optic 48 for longer hikes. I know 48L sounds big but it is a super-light and comfortable pack that cinches down smaller when it isn’t full.
Water is obviously important and we go back and forth between using a Camelbak bladder and just a couple of water bottles. We also keep a few Aquatabs with us at all times just in case we ever run low and want to treat some river or lake water. They are tiny and every now and then come in quite handy. It is always a good idea to carry some snacks as well. It never hurts and sometimes hikes end up taking longer than planned.
Laynni always hikes in compression leggings that she swears by for the extra knee, hip and muscle support.
Layers, baby! You never know what kind of weather nature will throw at you so it pays to be ready for anything. Obviously, the forecast might change what you carry but if there is any doubt (and there almost always is in the mountains), bring extra.
And just in case we are so impressed by the scenery that we decide it’s worth a photo with both of us in it we always carry the tiny, extremely handy octopus tripod.
Of course, a comprehensive first-aid kit is key to make sure those “mishaps” are simply inconvenient and don’t ruin your whole day.
Other useful items that we sometimes carry and sometimes don’t, depending on the hike:
Well, that probably covers most of it, although somehow we have even more to say on the matter in our Day Hike Packing List post. Check it out if you’re looking for even more detailed info.
Hiking Tenerife Summary
A list of 10 hikes just scratches the surface of all the great trails Tenerife has to offer. But you have to start somewhere, so you may as well kick it off with the best ones. As you work your way through these ones you’ll come across many more options to return to later, if you have the time. Hiking on Tenerife is definitely one of the top activities in the Canary Islands.
No matter which ones you choose, however, you really can’t go wrong. Tenerife is an incredibly diverse hiking destination, yet still features all the amenities of a European island. And the weather is great all year-round. Hard to beat.
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