As far as family holidays go, Tenerife would seem to have it all. With beautiful Blue-Flag beaches, water parks and animal attractions galore, this Spanish island is pleasantly warm all year-round. Even outside of the south-coast resorts, there are horseback adventures, gigantic cliffs and rambles through volcanic terrain to get stuck into. Here is our pick of some of the best things to do with the kids on Tenerife.
Those after a fun-packed holiday would be wise to base themselves on the Costa Adeje, a sunny strip on the south-west coast delivering countless family-friendly resorts, theme parks and day trip ideas. If you’ve managed to secure cheap flights to Tenerife in 2013, this part of the island is very convenient for the main airport of Tenerife South. The kids will be spoilt for choice with the exhilarating slides at one of Europe’s biggest water attractions, Siam Park and nearby Aqualand, with its impressive dolphin demonstrations.
To see some dolphins in the wild, you only need head down to southern Las Galletas, where boat trips run from the harbour and even offer sea-turtle and whale-spotting opportunities as well. If your kids are keen to try some underwater adventures, scuba lessons are available from places like Los Gigantos, a tiny village dwarfed by towering cliffs near to the bustling Puerto Santiago.
But it’s not all about the seaside here. Tenerife has plenty of exciting inland terrain, dominated by the huge peak of Mount Teide and characterised by fascinating black volcanic landscape. Hike through the Parque del Teide with older kids or take younger ones on the cable-car ride to view the impressive mountain crater. Horseback riding is available at the Centro Hipico La Caldera del Ray, only a short drive from the major resorts, with endless trails winding down towards the coast and providing spectacular views.
Alternatively, head north, where Puerto de la Cruz is another good base for family activities. Nearby Loro Parque is famous for its 3000-strong parrot collection, but is also home to other equally exotic residents such as gorillas and penguins. The north coast is less-frequented by visitors, but offers some of the best beaches on the island: Playa de las Teresitas next to the capital Santa Cruz imports its fine sand from the Sahara desert, no less.
Why Tenerife is such a popular holiday destination becomes immediately clear almost as soon as you step off the plane into that balmy climate. There really is enough variety here to ensure that your kids will never get bored and at only a few hours flight-time from most European airports, it’s easily accessible, too. So pack the lilos and sun-screen: your family holiday in the sun starts here.