Whether you are visiting Tenerife as part of an island-hopping cruise or sailing in on a day trip from one of the neighboring islands, one day is just enough time to take in the island’s highlights. Here are some ideas for how to spend 24 hours in Tenerife.
With just one day on the island, joining a tour is the most time-effective way to take in the must-see attractions, and Mount Teide National Park is at the top of the list. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is dominated by the 12,198-foot-high (3,718-meter-high) Mount Teide volcano, Spain’s highest peak, and a morning visit means cooler weather for hiking. You’ll need a 4WD to get around the park, so visiting as part of a tour is recommended—for the best value, choose a tour that includes hotel pickup and a ticket for the cable car ride up to the summit. Many tours also stop at the park’s other natural wonders, including the Roques de Garcia rock formations, the moon-like lava fields of Llano de Ucanca, and the Pico Viejo volcano.
Head north to the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its striking colonial architecture and landmarks such as the Church of the Conception. A walking tour is a great way to explore the Old Town and learn more about Tenerife’s history, but leave yourself enough time to browse the shops and enjoy a leisurely restaurant lunch. Continue to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island capital, where popular attractions include the Tenerife Auditorium, the Museum of Man and Nature, and the Palmetum Botanical Garden. Alternatively, head to Playa de las Teresitas just outside of town, with golden sands and sheltered waters ideal for swimming and water sports.
Set sail along the coast on a romantic sunset cruise, and soak up the scenery as you glide past Tenerife’s black-sand beaches and rocky coves, watching for dolphins and whales. Most evening cruises set out from Puerto Colon on the south coast, and some include cocktails. Alternatively, spend the evening at one of Tenerife’s dinner shows with live entertainment. The medieval dinner show at Castillo San Miguel is a popular choice, especially for families with kids in tow, featuring costumed knights and horseback jousting.