South Tenerife has a lot to offer, most notably its incredible coastline. Here, you can relax on the beautiful white sands, soak up the sun, and practice all kinds of watersports. Of course, there are other fun things to do in southern Tenerife, from exploring its charming towns to enjoying its nightlife and entertainment.
To fully discover the history and character of this canary island in Spain, you can’t miss the most popular places in south Tenerife. This guide will help you plan your visit to the southern part of the island, including what to see, where to stay, and where to eat. While the activities in north Tenerife are more focused on nature, the south is a hub for tourist attractions and beach lovers.
There are many places to explore, so I recommend renting a vehicle so you can move freely around the island. We booked ours through Rentalcars, and it was the best way to travel on our own schedule, both in Tenerife South and North. So, if you want to see all the top attractions in Tenerife, a car is the ideal option.
With that said, here are the 10 best things to do in Tenerife South!
1. Costa Adeje, one of the best places to visit in south Tenerife
First, Costa Adeje is one of the liveliest places on the island with a wide selection of restaurants, bars, shops, and the best nightclubs in Tenerife. Basically, whatever your interests are, you’ll be able to find something in Costa Adeje!
In addition to being a main tourist center, this town is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in southern Tenerife, like Playa de Las Américas and Los Cristianos. While they’re lovely beaches, they’re also wildly popular, so you’ll have to brave the crowds. If you prefer something quieter, check out Costa del Silencio, where you can admire the volcanic landscape and go snorkeling or diving in crystal-clear waters.
Another aquatic activity in Tenerife South is spending the day at Siam Park, a waterpark in Costa Adeje that I’ll touch on later. You can also go to the Puertito de Adeje, a nature reserve with some unique marine life. Keep your eyes peeled for crabs, seahorses, sea turtles, and colorful fish.
There are so many things to do in Costa Adeje, which is why lots of visitors choose to stay the night. If you’re thinking of staying here, check out our specific guides to the best Costa Adeje accommodations.
2. Visit Playa de Las Américas and other beautiful beaches in south Tenerife
The beaches of southern Tenerife are incredible and perfect for those who love spending the day by the ocean. Playa de Las Américas is by far the most popular, thanks to its fine golden sands and its nearby activities and attractions. Here, you’ll find convenient services, dining options, a promenade, and watersports.
Another excellent place in south Tenerife for a beach day is Los Cristianos Beach. It’s also surrounded by shops and restaurants, and it has gentle waves, so it’s ideal for families with children. Like Playa Las Américas, this beach is often crowded with visitors, so if you want more peace and solitude, consider some other beaches in the area. Diego Hernández Beach and Montaña Pelada Beach are gorgeous, and El Médano Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Tenerife.
Finally, if you plan on spending a lot of time by the ocean or practicing watersports, I recommend staying in one of the top-rated apartments in Playa de Las Américas. This way, you’ll be close to several of the nicest beaches in the area.
3. Dolphin and whale-watching, one of the best activities in Tenerife South
Without a doubt, going whale and dolphin-watching is one of the best things to do in southern Tenerife. Every time we travel to the island (or any other place with whale-inhabited waters), we book a tour to see these wild cetaceans. I recommend this in both our one-week itinerary to Tenerife and our 5-day itinerary to Tenerife.
The most recent one we took was this excursion, which I highly recommend. Not only will you have the best chances of spotting whales and dolphins, but you’ll also travel in a glass-bottom catamaran. Enjoy seeing the tropical fish below your feet and keep an eye out for other marine life. During the tour, we saw lots of dolphins and pilot whales, although up to 21 different species of cetaceans inhabit these Canarian waters.
Of course, it’s important to remember that these are wild animals with unpredictable movements and behaviors. While the tour operators have been in business for years and can pretty accurately anticipate where to find dolphins and whales, they can’t make any guarantees. We’ve always seen cetaceans during our tours, but if you don’t have any luck with this excursion, you can take it again for free.
Again, I can’t recommend this activity enough, and it’s a fun thing to do in south Tenerife for the whole family. If you’re interested, you can take a look at our complete guide to whale-watching in Tenerife for more information and tours.
4. Go to Siam Park, the best thing to do in south Tenerife for families
Back in Costa Adeje, Siam Park is an awesome place in south Tenerife where you can cool off with friends or family. This waterpark, which is inspired by the tropics of Thailand, has been ranked as the Best Waterpark in the World by TripAdvisor for several consecutive years.
Siam Park has activities and attractions for all ages, including toddler and child-friendly slides and play structures. There are also the Mekong Rapids, the Jungle Snake waterslide, and the 92-foot-tall Tower of Power slide. Also, the park has The Wave Palace, the largest wave pool in the world with waves up to nearly 10 feet high.
If you plan on going to Siam Park during your trip, it’s best to get your tickets in advance so you can avoid long lines.
5. Vilaflor de Chasna, a spectacular place in south Tenerife you can’t miss
For a beautiful and quiet day on the island, head to Vilaflor de Chasna. This remote town is a wonderful change of pace from the more touristy areas in south Tenerife, plus it has some of the most incredible sites.
Vilaflor de Chasna is 4,920 feet above sea level, so it has a mild and pleasant climate year-round. Moreover, the charming streets and plazas here still preserve some of their traditional architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the best towns in southern Tenerife where you can disconnect for a bit.
Not only that but there is a circular hiking trail here that goes through the Paisaje Lunar (Lunar Landscape), which was caused by years of erosion. Hiking along this route is one of the best things to do in Tenerife South, especially if you love nature. As you hike, you’ll pass through a pine forest before seeing the peculiar geological formations of the landscape.
Walking through here feels like being in a science fiction movie, and it’s well worth the effort. You can even stay in one of the quaint accommodations in Vilaflor after exploring the stellar scenery of this place.
6. Go surfing, a fun thing to do in south Tenerife
Practicing watersports is another fun thing to do in south Tenerife, and two of the most popular activities are surfing and bodyboarding. The beaches of southern Tenerife have ideal conditions for surfing, which makes them attractive to both locals and tourists.
If you want to try these watersports but you don’t have any experience, no worries. This three-hour surfing lesson is perfect for first-timers. It’s in Playa de Las Américas, although you can find other lessons and surf schools on several other beaches.
That said, Playa de Las Américas is the best place in south Tenerife to go surfing since it has both large and small waves, as well as convenient services and equipment rentals. The beach has a few different surfing areas, like El Conquistador and Las Palmeras, although Las Galletas Beach is a good alternative if you prefer something quieter. It’s next to a charming village where you can rest or grab a bite to eat after riding the waves.
7. Barranco del Infierno, the best hike in south Tenerife, Canary Islands
Back on dry land, I suggest exploring the impressive landscape by visiting the Barranco del Infierno Special Nature Reserve. This quiet area in the south of Tenerife is a nature lover’s dream, as well as where you’ll find one of Tenerife’s best hiking routes.
The Barranco del Infierno trail is about 5 miles long, so it takes around 3 hours to complete. It’s suitable for all levels since it’s not too complicated, with a maximum drop of only about 650 feet. What makes this one of the best hikes on the island is the scenery you’ll see along the way. You’ll pass by numerous viewpoints, and a lovely waterfall will be waiting for you at the end of the route.
The Barranco del Infierno is a spectacular gorge that I highly recommend visiting, although I should tell you that access is limited to 20 people every 30 minutes, and you can only visit during opening hours. This rule was put in place to protect the natural environment here, as well as the local flora and fauna. You should check the official website to see the reserve’s hours and book your ticket.
Alternatively, you could book this guided tour, which includes your entry ticket, as well as food, drinks, transportation, and a hiking guide.
8. Scuba diving, an unforgettable experience in Tenerife South
In addition to swimming, sunbathing, and surfing, the beaches of southern Tenerife are perfect for scuba diving. Discovering the marine life and biodiversity of the coast’s seabed is an incredible experience, so I encourage you to give it a try.
Don’t worry if you’ve never gone scuba diving before because there are several great tours and guided dives in the area. I recommend this diving excursion, which is meant for beginners and includes a professional instructor who will be by your side the entire time.
We had no regrets about doing this activity in south Tenerife, and we can’t imagine a better place to do it. The crystal clear waters here made it easy to see all kinds of colorful fish, reefs, coral, and other marine life. My favorite part was diving among the sea turtles; it was something I’ll never forget.
If you have reservations about scuba diving, I say just go for it. However, I know this activity isn’t for everyone, so a good alternative is this snorkeling tour to see sea turtles, or this kayaking excursion, which includes a snorkeling session. You can find even more options in our guide on the best excursions in Tenerife.
9. El Médano, another lovely place to visit in south Tenerife
El Médano is one of the best towns in southern Tenerife, thanks to its pristine beaches and beautiful outdoor attractions.
First, the beaches of El Médano stand out for their ideal surfing conditions. Year-round, you can find people surfing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing on the glorious waves. Whether you practice watersports or not, I suggest going to La Tejita Beach, which is within the Montaña Roja Natural Reserve. This area offers stunning panoramic views of the volcanic crater, and you can even hike to the top of Red Mountain, an iconic landmark in Tenerife South with a unique reddish hue.
This area is also full of some rare flora and fauna, as well as native bird species, so it’s quite a treat. While you’re here, it’s worth checking out some other attractions in El Médano, like the Cueva del Hermano Pedro. This Historic Site and Asset of Cultural Interest is dedicated to Santo Hermano Pedro, or Pedro de San José Betancur, a religious figure who used the cave as a hideout when he was a child.
10. Mount Teide, a must-see in south Tenerife, Canary Islands
Last but certainly not least, Teide National Park is one of the best places to visit in south Tenerife and the entire island. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Natura 2000 Network, thanks to its geological, ecological, and cultural importance.
If you enjoy hiking, then climbing Mount Teide is the best thing to do in Tenerife south. Most people ascend the mountain by taking the Teide cable car, which is 7,730 feet above sea level and connects to La Rambleta, at 11,665 feet. From there, you can trek the last 650 feet up to the summit by taking Sendero 10 (Telesforo Bravo).
Keep in mind that to access this trail, you must request this permit in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to take Trail 11 or Trail 12 from La Rambleta, which lead to the Mirador de la Fortaleza and the Pico Viejo Viewpoint, respectively. While you won’t be able to go to the summit, these two lookout points are incredible.
Another way to climb Mount Teide is by doing the entire route on foot. We did this once, starting at the trailhead of Sendero 7 (Montaña Blanca), and following the path for about 5 miles. It took us around 4 hours, and we ended up at La Rambleta. We decided to spend the night at the Altavista Mountain Refuge, then woke up early to go to the summit at dawn to watch the sunrise. This way, we didn’t need a permit since you can access the peak before 9 a.m. without one.
Finally, if you don’t want to hike on your own, you can take one of the best Mount Teide tours. I recommend this excursion, which includes your permit and cable car ticket, but there is also this one that only includes the cable car. You might also like this free tour (in Spanish), which takes you through the Cañadas del Teide and past the Roques de García and Roque Cinchado.
Where to stay in south Tenerife – Best hotels in southern Tenerife
To make the most of your trip and see all the top attractions in Tenerife South, I recommend staying overnight in one of the best hotels in South Tenerife.
There are many great Tenerife hotels in the south, although one of my favorites is the Iberostar Selection Sábila, one of the best 5-star resorts in Spain. It’s right on Fañabé Beach in Costa Adeje and has amazing rooms, a spa, a buffet restaurant, and more.
For some other places to stay in south Tenerife, including villas and apartments, check out our guides below:
Where to eat in southern Tenerife – Best restaurants in south Tenerife
While exploring the island and trying some of the best activities in south Tenerife, you’ll want to recharge your batteries. There are some incredible restaurants in Tenerife South, like Almar Tenerife in Puerto Colón in Costa Adeje. It specializes in seafood and fish, but you’ll also find delicious meat and vegan options. Another excellent place to eat is Taberna Tío Martín in Playa de Las Américas, which serves a wide selection of tapas from different regions of Spain, as well as traditional Canarian cuisine.
If you’re in El Médano, check out the Restaurante Familiar. The service is friendly, the atmosphere is cozy, and the prices are affordable, making it one of the best restaurants in south Tenerife. Here, you’ll find all kinds of dishes, from fish and grilled meat to Mediterranean cuisine and vegetarian-friendly options.
You can check out our complete guide to Tenerife’s best restaurants to find more places to eat in the south.
Map of south Tenerife
To wrap up, here is a map of south Tenerife that you can use to plan your route around this part of the island. It includes all the attractions, hotels, and restaurants that I mentioned:
We also have some tourist maps of Tenerife that you can look at if you want a closer look at a specific area. I hope this guide helped you learn more about all the beautiful places in southern Tenerife!
Remember, the best way to get around the island is by renting a car in Tenerife, but if you don’t want to drive, consider booking some of the top-rated excursions in Tenerife. For example, this tour departs from Costa Adeje and goes around the island, so it’s a convenient way to see all the most iconic sites without renting a vehicle.
Please, if you have any questions, or if you want to share your experience visiting one of the best Canary Islands, leave me a comment below. I’d love to help you out or hear about your trip to south Tenerife. Until then, stay safe and have an amazing time!