Fairy-tale woods, volcanoes, beaches, natural pools, adventures, and highways straight out of a film. Discover the most beautiful, hidden parts of an island you’ll want to visit time and again.
The magical island of Tenerife has a history and culture filled with countless legends.
We are Guacimara and Pedro, two locals who have been showing tourists around our beloved island for the last six years through our project, Tenerifelicidad.
We’ve travelled around Tenerife thousands of times and in endless ways, but nothing compares to the feeling of freedom you get from a campervan road trip around the island.
If you’re looking for something different and want to connect with nature and feel its force… this adventure is for you. Picking your route, choosing a view to wake up to, and enjoying a drive through the island´s winding roads will be something you’ll never forget.
We have already made one of our dreams come true. We turned our van, which we named Maday (a Guanche [indigenous people of Tenerife] word meaning ‘profound love’), into a home on wheels ready for roaming Tenerife. And now you can rent our camper van and enjoy the experience yourself.
Tenerife campervan itinerary
A trip around North Tenerife
Our trip starts with an absolute must: stopping at San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a World Heritage city, whose cobbled streets, architecture, and brightly-coloured buildings will make you feel like you’re in Havana, San Juan in Puerto Rico, or Cartagena in Colombia. Did you know that La Laguna was the first colonial city without city walls? And did you also know it was the model for many colonial cities’ layouts on the other side of the Atlantic?
Where to park:
1. Free car park next to La Laguna’s courthouse
2. Free car park in the former guagua station (a word natives use for ‘bus’).
Follow the road to Anaga, up towards Monte de las Mercedes. All of a sudden, you will find yourself in a laurel forest, with nooks that look like they´re from a fairy tale. We recommend you stop at La Cruz del Carmen and then start walking up the Sendero de los Sentidos (or the ‘Path of the Senses’). This 360-metre route was built in the middle of the laurel forest to put all your senses to the test.
If you love trekking, head out to Afur. The car park is located right at the start of the “Barranco de Afur ravine – Playa Tamadite” trail and is a good spot to camp out at.
The trail that runs along the ravine towards the beach starts right there. As you walk, you’ll be accompanied by the sound of trickling water and won’t be able to resist stopping at some of the little waterfalls, home to the last remaining Canary Island eels.
To round off this road trip around Anaga, head to Taganana when you get back. You can stop to taste traditional cuisine at any of its restaurants, and then carry on along the road until you reach Playa de Benijo, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The sunsets there are magical. It’s worth spending at least one night around there.
Towards the capital
Head to Santa Cruz, the capital. But don’t forget to stop off at the mirador or look out over one of the most famous beaches first: Las Teresitas (point 3 on the map).
We’ll let you in on a secret: This is an artificial beach, made with sand from the Sahara. They say that when it was brought over to the island, scorpions snuck into the sand bags, travelled all the way to the beach, and attacked lots of people. But don’t worry, that’s ancient history. Today, it is one of the safest beaches on the island.
After that, stop off in the centre of Santa Cruz to wander around its streets and discover the city’s most emblematic building, the Auditorio de Tenerife, designed by Calatraba.
There is a free car park next to the water park, Parque Marítimo César Manrique.
Looking towards the north
Follow the TF-5 road towards Puerto de la Cruz. We recommend you make a quick stop in Tacoronte, where you’ll be entranced by a 500-step, dizzying view from one of the least-known yet most amazing viewpoints, Mirador de los 500 escalones.
With Playa del Arenal below you, a mind-blowing view, and the silhouette of Mount Teide in the distance (if the sky is clear), you will get an idea of the wonders that await you on the next part of the road trip.
The top tourist city in the Canary Islands
Puerto de la Cruz is a touristic yet authentic destination. Its development as a tourist location coexists with its local fishing tradition. If you want to spend the night here, the best area is explanada del muelle del Puerto de la Cruz. Don’t leave without taking a stroll around San Telmo and the La Ranilla district. There, you will find colonial architecture and loads of graffiti by both home-grown and international artists.
Keep following the road to Garachico, a small town that quite literally rose from the ashes, as it was scorched by lava following the 1706 eruption of the Trevejo volcano.
There is a free car park at Garachico Harbour.
Take a stroll around its cobbled streets and a dip in one of the natural pools formed by solidified lava. Then, carry on towards Caleta de Interián, where you’ll find one of our favourite places to spend the night by the sea, camino de Los Silos a La Caleta.
This road trip around the north would not be complete without taking a splash in Charco Las Mujeres, in Buenavista del Norte, a natural pool formed by lava, with a feature that sets it apart from all the rest: a sandy bed.
After this unique, local experience of exploring the natural pools, it’s time to discover one of the most mesmerising places on the island.
Mount Teide campervan trip
This journey starts in La Orotava. From there, you take one of the most awesome roads in Tenerife, perhaps best in the country or Europe even: the TF-21. In just over 60 kilometres, you will cross over green valleys into pine woods and soon afterwards, you’ll feel like you’re on another planet, immersed in the lunar landscape of the highest peak in Spain: Mount Teide, the symbol of Tenerife and a sacred mountain for the ancient inhabitants.
You can stay on Mount Teide overnight, and a night in this place is a unique experience. It is not just the magic of the lunar landscape or the sheer size of the third largest volcano in the world in front of you; it is the energy of the earth, alive under your feet.
Staying overnight is only permitted in the Parador Nacional de las Cañadas del Teide area (in the car parks near a small hermitage or the ones by the entrance of Roques de García).
Have we tempted you to try this alternative way to exploring the island? If so, buckle up, because this is just a glimpse of what a road trip in Tenerife has to offer.