Your guide to the perfect family holiday in Tenerife
When it comes to being able to enjoy proper quality time with your family, especially your children, nothing beats a good holiday. This is even more true when it’s a family holiday in Tenerife we’re talking about! Let’s be honest for a minute; between your busy work schedule, family and friendship commitments, school work, after-school activities and those endless household chores, weeks, months and sometimes even years can fly by before you realise that it’s been way too long since you last just relaxed and were fully present to simply enjoy being with your sons and daughters.
Holidays offer the gift of being able to make up for lost time, when you can reconnect as a family and give your children what they most crave: your undivided attention. It’s also a time for self-love, too, for you to take some much-needed rest, which any parent knows can be almost impossible to achieve with small children at home.
Travelling with kids can be a really wonderful experience, provided that you don’t set your expectations too high, that is: your children will not undergo personality transplants just because you’re in a new place, and neither, more importantly, will you.
Want to know the key to the best family holiday? Choosing the right destination.
If you’ve already decided to spend your next family holiday in Tenerife and you’re reading this blog, this should get you very excited for your upcoming trip and congrats on making such a wonderfully smart decision! If you’re undecided, read on and find out why the largest of the Canary Islands is such an ideal place for an unforgettable family holiday.
Depending on where in the island you stay and how far from your hotel you want to venture, you’ll find an unbeatable selection of things to do and see with your young explorers. However, we all know that long car journeys in the heat and young children are not always a good combination, which is why choosing the right hotel is also vital.
A good mini-club, child-friendly staff, food they’re sure to like – even the fussiest of them – and a varied activity programme for your youngsters means not only will they be happy and entertained but you’ll also be able to enjoy some quality time with your other half, as well as some very healthy alone time. Who knows, that book you bought two years ago and have only managed to read four chapters of may even get finished before you go home!
But as nice as your hotel may be and as happy as your children are to stay put and enjoy the mini club, there’s so much for you to discover as a family while you’re in Tenerife that it really would be a shame not to experience even just a bit of what the island has to offer. Hiring a car and travelling around the island opens up a world of options you’re sure to love, but if the soundtrack to your day is basically a loop of “I’m bored. Are we there yet? I’m hungry.” You may decide you’re better off staying closer to home. Only you know your children’s’ capacity to ruin a perfectly lovely plan but for those wanting to take in as much of what Tenerife has to offer, prepare to be spoilt for choice!
How to make your family holiday in Tenerife your best vacation EVER!
The list of things to do in Tenerife is almost endless and, even better, many of them are completely free – summer holidays can start to become very expensive when you have to pay for every hour of extra-hotel entertainment.
Here are some of our top suggestions of things well worth trying, at least with younger children in tow. Tweenies (8-12) should be more than happy with at least some of the options as well, but teenagers’ tastes are harder to predict, volatile sub-species that they are!
LIFE’S A BEACH, BOYS & GIRLS
No family holiday in Tenerife is complete without a trip or several to the beach. A guaranteed winner for the whole family, it’s pretty rare to find a child or parent who doesn’t love the blissful sand and sea combination. Best to opt for the soft, sandy beaches with children, though – for many reasons, pebble beaches and small children is not a match made in heaven. Generally speaking, the beaches in the south of Tenerife are a safe bet, with gentle ocean currents and gradually sloping shorelines. Good examples include Fañabé, El Médano and Playa del Duque, where aside from safe bathing conditions you’ll also find all the installations and services you need nearby.
Our favourite? Las Vistas beach
Las Vistas beach holds two major trump cards. Firstly, its size – stretching out along 850m of soft golden sands, it’s one of Tenerife’s longest and most beautiful beaches. Secondly, and most importantly for children, it’s super safe, with a gently sloping entrance into the ocean.
Water, water everywhere
Is there any better combination than children and water? Aside from the beach, where you can find a whole range of surfing classes for eager riders, there are also two fantastic water parks in South Tenerife that are always a fun day out. Aqualand in Costa Adeje, may not offer the thrills or wow-factor of Siam Park, but it’s a hands-down winner for younger children, who can go on almost everything. Voted number 1 in the world on TripAdvisor, Siam Park never disappoints, and is perfect for older children (and parents alike!). With exhilarating rides like the Dragon, Tower of Power and one of the newest additions, Singha, it’s hard to decide whether children or parents enjoy a day out here the most (but it’s probably the parents…).
- For serious waterpark lovers, it’s worth considering an annual ticket if you’re planning on going a few times during your stay or if you visit Tenerife more than once in a year. Three visits and you’ve more than covered the cost of your pass, and with an annual ticket, you could go every single day of your holiday for a couple of hours if you wanted. Life hack: the last hour or so before the parks close, most people start to get ready to leave and the queues disappear. You’re welcome.
If you’re up in Puerto de La Cruz, the oasis that is Lago Martiánez has been a family favourite for years and is perfect for all ages. Designed by famous architect César Manrique, you never have to worry about the safety of the ocean current and can spend a day relaxing between swims. Likewise, Parque Maritimo in the capital, Santa Cruz, offers three pools, a relaxation area, gym, bar, restaurant, children’s play area and a small beach.
If you’ve fancied giving kayaking a go, Tenerife is the perfect place to do it! The island’s spectacular coastline is a masterpiece of Mother Nature. And from a kayak, it’s even more impressive as you get to take some otherwise impossible photos from up-close. Family kayaks are available for two adults and two children, so why not get your kids to paddle while you take some fab photos for the family album. The best kayak excursion available in Tenerife? Head to Los Gigantes and not only will you be totally blown away by the 600-metre cliffs (they’re not called “The Giants” for nothing!) but you’re also likely to encounter some whales and dolphins swimming past you while you go. Days out really don’t get better than this.
LET THEM EXPLORE!
Everyone has an inner Dora the Explorer, Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, just waiting to come out and play. And with its forests, volcano and mountains, it’s hard to think of a destination with more opportunities to explore than Tenerife, which is a veritable showcase of nature in its most beautiful and varied forms. So, for a true taste of the island, get your trainers on, and get exploring! Give your kids a map and watch how they come to life discovering some of the island’s hidden corners.
If you like the idea of visiting the north of the island, head to Anaga Rural Park, where you’ll find some magical nature trails that are suitable for the whole family. Want to delve into the spectacular natural surroundings but without having to walk for hours? The Sendero de los Sentidos (“Path of the Senses”) is perfect. Of the more than 80 official walks and hikes on the island, there are plenty of shorter, easier options that are perfect for children over the age of five. You don’t even need to go far from the tourist hotspots to find some of the best examples – Arona and Adeje are home to some great routes. Nature, a picnic and your children. What more do you need? (A hat, camera, sun cream and plenty of water, that’s all!).
Surrounded by forest and with only the sounds of nature around you, Forestal Park in Las Lagunetas is a fantastic experience for the whole family. With zip lines, high wires, hanging bridges and over 90 activities to carry out in either family circuits or more adventurous routes, your inner child and actual child will love climbing ladders, navigating nets and trying not to fall out of the trees.
(*Children need to be over 110cm to take part.)
Take them karting (and if you’re brave, even let them drive!)
Got a budding little speed demon or car fanatic at home or are one yourself? What better way to spend an afternoon than driving a kart? While they go all out on the junior circuit, you can try the senior one. There are special karts available for children aged from 6 to 9 years and you’ll also find two-seater karts for adults to drive accompanied by a child aged up to 5 years. What better way to put some va-va-voom into your family holiday in Tenerife.
Get up close and personal with the animal world
Tenerife boasts some amazing animal parks, if that’s more your thing. In Puerto de la Cruz, there’s the well-known and hugely popular Loro Parque, one of the best zoos in the world, where children will love discovering gorillas, orcas, penguins and red pandas. In the south, you’ll find Jungle Park, a charming, smaller zoo with one of the best birds of prey shows on the planet. Children of all ages will be awestruck as they get an up-close insight into the animal world.
Take the cable car up Mount Teide
What child wouldn’t love to go back to school and tell their friends they rode a cable car up the third-largest volcano in the world? It’s a pretty unbeatable show-and-tell, isn’t it?! Exploring the peak of Tenerife’s majestic Mount Teide, is an unmissable experience. Take the cable car up to 3,555m above sea level for spectacular views out to La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. It’s also fantastic for budding astronomers, with day trips to the observatory plus sunset and stargazing excursions for over-12s. Be warned, you may be roasting hot on the beach, but you will need an extra layer going up to Teide National Park. Frozen feet and faces will almost certainly ruin the experience, and visitors tend to seriously underestimate the temperature difference!
Museum of Science and the Cosmos
Sticking with our stargazing theme, this child-friendly museum offers fascinating exhibitions on the Earth, the sun and the universe, as well as housing a planetarium and plenty of interactive exhibits for the kids to get their inquisitive hands and minds on.
Whichever activity you choose, let your only expectation for your family holiday in Tenerife be this: to create some happy memories to cherish.
All children love to see the more human side to their parents, grandparents, etc. being silly, playing and generally just having some fun. It’s probably not something they see as much as you or they would like and it’s a hugely important part of their childhood memories. The health benefits of play for us adults are numerous, too. When was the last time you completely relaxed and let your inner child have a good play? It’s a welcome rest from being a serious, working grown up, with all the stress and responsibilities that brings, and at the same time you’re creating precious family memories that both you and your child will treasure someday—memories of times you spent simply enjoying each other’s company. This is by far the most precious gift you could give them.