You can choose to visit only El Medano, Candelaria, La Laguna and Santa Cruz for a Half-Day Private trip (5-6 hours) or also Las Teresitas and Anaga Mountains for a Full-Day Private trip (8 hours).
This is private excursion exclusively for your group and the tour starts and ends at your hotel or other accommodation at any part of South Tenerife. We can pick you up from the North / or Cruise Ship as well, on request.
Since it is a private tour, we can make slight changes for the program and departure time. If you wish to do so, please contact us by the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once covered the beautiful sights of the South, it’s time to explore the North of Tenerife! On this entertaining full-day private tour to the Capital of Tenerife, we will pass the picture-perfect surfers paradise El Medano, and a historic town of La Laguna. The famous Candelaria with its giant statues not to be missed as well!
Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, travel back in time through the UNESCO biosphere reserve Anaga Nature Park on a voyage of natural jungle discovery: gaze at impressive sights of robust mountains rising high above the ocean and capture photographs of the island’s ancient greenery.
We will pick you up from your hotel or other accommodation with our comfortable air-conditioned minibus and a friendly, very knowledgable English speaking guide (other languages - Spanish, German, French and Dutch - are available on request).
The small coastal town of El Médano has for many years attracted surfers from all over the world in search of the best waves. Today it is considered to be Tenerife's kite boarding and wind surfing capital. The island’s ‘coolest’ resort is a surfers paradise and is known for its shallow beaches and its picture-perfect location, right next to the mighty 171 meters high “La Montaña Roja” - a volcanic cone that is a protected natural reserve. With its unique distinct shape and reddish color caused by the exposed iron particles in the rock, no wonder why it’s called “The Red Mountain”.
This former fishing village has seen a rapid surge in both development and popularity since the ‘80s. Thanks to its natural windy conditions, the beaches have been the site for many surfing and kitesurfing competitions. These include the renowned World Windsurfing Championship (PWA), which El Medano has hosted five times in a row so far. This puts it at the top of every windsurfer’s list of best surfing spots around the world.
The name El Medano in Spanish means "the sand dune" which is exactly what you will see when you travel to the longest stretch of sandy natural beaches in Tenerife.
Although El Médano's popularity as one of the best holiday destinations in Tenerife and water sports paradise seems to be growing, the surfers town has still managed to maintain some of its original fishing village feel with a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Candelaria is a lovely, seaside town famous for its Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, home to a wooden statue of the Virgin of Candelaria (known as the Black Madonna), the patron saint of the entire Canary archipelago. The figure carries a child in one hand and a green candle in the other, representing the supposed apparition of the Virgin Mary in Tenerife. The town's name - Candelaria - comes from an effigy of the Virgin holding a candlestick that was found on a beach by two Guanche shepherds in 1392.
Candelaria has a special air about it. This town is a symbol of the entire archipelago's sincere religious devotion. Its spiritual importance has led Candelaria to become a place of annual pilgrimage for thousands of religious travelers, despite the fact that the original figure of the Saint was lost in a wild storm during the 19th century. As patron saint of the entire archipelago, people from all the islands around flock here for the annual Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, held on the 14th and 15th of August. After having set out at the crack of dawn – if not sooner! – on a long walk across the Island to worship their saint.
Candelaria town has a significant importance in the Tenerife and South America historical connections. It is from here where it started many Christian missions that brought Christianity to many areas of Venezuela, Colombia and Caribbean islands.
The Basilica is considered to be the main temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Canaries and in addition to religious visitors, the building also attracts art enthusiasts, who travel for the impressive architecture of the church and the large collection of paintings within.
The current basilica dates back to 1959, and it was constructed on a former hermitage. Since the image of the Virgin was appearing on the beach of Chimisay, around 1392, the first great Sanctuary to the Virgin of Candelaria was constructed in 1668. Later with the increase of the religious travelers, it was constructed a bigger temple (the current basilica), which has capacity for 5,000 persons.
Along the edge of the beach is one of the most unusual things to be found in Candelaria - a line of bronze statues depicting the nine aboriginal Guanche kings that guard the Virgin of Candelaria. Stood upon tall rocks, these statues are huge and look intimidatingly at the visitors who gather to take photos.
These former kings ruled Tenerife until it was conquered by the Spaniards in 1496. At that time the island of Tenerife was divided into nine kingdoms: Abona, Adeje, Anaga, Daute, Guimar, Icod, Tacoronte, Taoro and Tegueste, and the island’s inhabitants were known as Guanches and their rulers Mencey.
The town of Candelaria is surrounded by several prehistoric caves, where burials have been found containing mummies of the Guanches, whose burial process is very similar to the treatment of the pharaohs in Egypt.
The history of this town is based on the story of the discovery of the figure of the Virgen de Candelaria. So it is told, shepherds were grazing their animals on the land that is now the town of Candelaria when they came across the figure, washed up on the shore. The area of Candelaria was then called Güimar and ruled over by a Guanche Mencey, or King. The figure was taken to the King’s Palace, and the Guanches started to worship the figure as one of their goddesses, Chaxiraxi, the mother of the gods. It wasn’t until the Spanish conquest of the island that the Spanish Catholics explained that it was actually the Virgin Mary. Unfortunately, the original figure was lost when a storm hit the town in 1826.
However, a replica now resides in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, which in 2011 was elevated to the status of Basilica Menor by Pope Benedict XVI.
San Cristobal de La Laguna
La Laguna was the first town founded in Tenerife due to its strategic location on the island: it has a natural source of fresh water and it was away from the coast, which meant it was protected from pirate attacks.
The town was once the capital of Tenerife though this transferred to Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1821. Now it is a meeting place where modern minds and young students gather around the first university in the Canary Islands. The pedestrian streets in the city centre are always bustling with life, street musicians and hundreds of taverns, restaurants and bars.
San Cristobal de La Laguna, or simply La Laguna, is one of the most emblematic and historic cities in the Canary Islands. In 1999, it was named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, as a colonial city with no walls - a shining example of a “cityscape”. The city received this honor by being the first unfortified colonial town (which was due to the 'new' peaceful social organization in the 16th century), as well as its condition and quality.
Its name comes from the lake that was there once, where the current city now lies; it was then officially named “San Cristobal de La Laguna” after the saint of day July, 25th, when Spain conquered the island in the 15th century.
Once there, you’ll be welcomed by a beautiful, historical, cultural and symbolic city, which still preserves its original 15th century layout almost intact. In fact, this layout was used as a model for building many other colonial cities in the Americas, including Cartagena de Indias in Colombia and Old Havana in Cuba.
The highlight of La Laguna is its old town which is a real step back in time and full elegant buildings from the 15-17th centuries. The town has a particularly high concentration of churches and religious buildings as well as fine palaces.
As the first capital of the island of Tenerife it is home to the oldest university in the Canary Islands: The University of San Fernando (founded in the 17th century).
Depending on your preferences we can make stops at the Convento de Santa Catalina, where you will find the intact remains of the nun Sor María de Jesús. Known as “the Servant of God”, she was laid to rest at the convent after her death in 1731. And Iglesia de Santo Domingo, where the body of the pirate Amaro Pargo is buried.
The Cathedral of La Laguna was built in the early 1900s and its Neoclassical facade was inspired by the cathedral of Pamplona in mainland Spain. Inside it has a 16th century baroque retable and there are also some paintings by Tenerife artist Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana who was a notable 18th century artist. The remains of Alonso Fernandez de Luga who founded the city lie in this cathedral.
To the west of the cathedral is the Iglesia de la Concepcion which was built in 1502 and has a beautiful tower and a wooden Mudejar ceiling. Mudejar architecture which is a mix of Moorish and European styles and is very prevalent in San Cristobal de La Laguna. The church has a tall bell tower that we can climb and get some excellent views over the town.
To the east of the cathedral is the Plaza del Adelantado - one of La Laguna's loveliest squares. It is home to the town hall and a convent with an attractive balcony and the Palacio de Nava, an impressive palace.
Another notable religious monument is the Real Santuario del Cristo de La Laguna which is home to the Cristo de La Laguna, a statue of Jesus on the cross, which is particularly revered in the Canary Islands.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The Island's capital is a cosmopolitan and fascinating city. With places such as the García Sanabria Park, the Tenerife Adán Martín Auditorium or the Tenerife Arts Venue, the city is full of sights and even the simplest things seem magical here.
Santa Cruz is a lively and bright city with a number of emblematic historical buildings which stand side-by-side with contemporary architectural masterpieces. There are also a variety of museums and art galleries, but the biggest exhibition is on display outdoors: some of the avenues and parks feature works by Henry Moore, Martín Chirino, Joan Miró and Óscar Domínguez, as well as other artists.
The bustling capital city of Santa Cruz is located on the eastern tip of Tenerife and is home to one of the most historically important harbors in the Atlantic Ocean. The city rapidly developed in the 19th century, as fleets bound for the Americas would regularly stop here, helping to firmly fix this destination on the world map. Today, it is a vibrant and cosmopolitan hive of activity, full of interesting places to visit, attractive architecture, great shopping and an abundance of excellent restaurants. The harbor is a gateway into mainland Spain and a stop point for cruise liners traveling to the Caribbean.
Every year in February or March, Santa Cruz turns into party town with the arrival of carnival. For weeks the streets and plazas are transformed into one big festival - and they really know how to celebrate here! The Carnival of Santa Cruz is the biggest in Spain and the second biggest in the world after the one in Rio de Janeiro, so no surprise that people gather from all over the places, dressed up in colorful costumes, taking part in the parade, singing and dancing until the early hours. The carnival is such a popular and important one that it is being considered for UNESCO World Heritage status. It is already a 'Fiesta of International Tourist Interest'.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the island's capital and shared capital (jointly with Las Palmas) of the Canary Islands. Santa Cruz city has a population of over 200,000 people, and combined with the urban zone that extends beyond the city limits it is a population of over 500,000 people. It is the second largest city in the Canary Islands and the main city on the island of Tenerife, with nearly half of the island's population living in or around it.
In 2012, the British newspaper The Guardian included Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the list of the five best places in the world to live, next to the Cihangir district in Istanbul, the district of Sankt Pauli in Hamburg, the north coast of Maui in Hawaii and Portland in United States of America.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife name translates as "holy cross of Tenerife," in memory of the foundation of the city, when a Christian cross was planted in the place that is now the center of town.
This former fishermen's village rose to prominence after a Volcano destroyed the port of Garachico in the 18th century. Santa Cruz became the major port on the Island. It first won its independence from La Laguna and, in the 19th century, was awarded the status of Capital of the Province of Canary Islands by King Ferdinand VII.
The main landmarks of the city include the Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife) and the Iglesia de la Concepción.
The Auditorio is nowadays considered one of the landmarks of the capital of Tenerife and immediately catches your eyes due to its special architecture. The building was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava with its distinctive shape to look like the sails of a yacht. As opera guest performances are occasionally held here and the Auditorio has a certain similarity to the Sydney Opera House, it is often referred to as the "Opera House of Tenerife”. It has excellent acoustics and is the perfect place to attend concerts and performances all year round.
Another of Santa Cruz de Tenerife's main monuments is the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, a church which dates back to the 16th century and was one of the first churches to be built in Tenerife. It is sometimes referred to as the Cathedral of Santa Cruz but technically it is not a cathedral. The only cathedral in Tenerife is the Cathedral of La Laguna. The Iglesia de San Fransisco contains a number of artworks and is considered to be the best example of Baroque architecture in the Canary Islands.
The Plaza de Espana is the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and is the biggest Plaza in the Canary Islands. The square has a large artificial lake and is a great place to make a stop and take some pictures.
From the beginning, the economic and the most important part of the city centered on the port. The bay of Santa Cruz was appreciated due to its natural advantages which turned it into a food supply centre for the ships that sailed between Europe and the New World. So about everyone heading to and from the Americas passed this way, including all manner of villains.
Famous battles were fought at Santa Cruz. Admiral Robert Blake destroyed the Spanish treasure fleet here in 1657, more or less ending Spain's military ambitions in Europe. Interestingly, locals claim that Blake was defeated because he didn't actually invade. Admiral Nelson was famously defeated at Santa Cruz in 1797, losing his right arm in the fight. The culprit cannon, el Tigre, can still be seen at the Castillo de San Cristobal underneath Plaza de España.
After Nelson’s attack, Santa Cruz was designated an incorporated town with its own coat of arms to represent the bravery of its inhabitants. Santa Cruz became the capital of the Canary Islands shortly thereafter, a title it held until 1927, when it became the co-capital along with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Santa Cruz is the permanent seat of the islands’ parliament. The national uprising that led to the Spanish Civil War in 1936, was organized here by General Francisco Franco.
Playa De Las Teresitas
Santa Cruz is also home to Playa de Las Teresitas, an unspoiled beach that remains absolutely beautiful with palm trees dotted around the large expanse of golden sand. It sits below the lush forests of the Anaga Mountains, which protect the bay from winds.
It is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife, as It is one of the few that do not have the black, volcanic sand that most of the Canary Islands have. Others such as Las Vistas, in Los Cristianos, are artificial, but the beach at El Médano (the Dune) is entirely natural.
Originally Las Teresitas beach consisted of mostly rocks and a small strip of black sand. In 1973, 270,000 tons of white sand was shipped from Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara, part of the Sahara Desert) to create an artificial beach of white sand. Two piers and a kilometer long breakwater located 150 meters from the beach was constructed to prevent waves from carrying the sand out to the sea. The project cost 50 million pesetas and in addition 400 million pesetas in 1998 when another 2,800 tonnes sand from Sahara was added to replenish the sand lost in the beach's 25 first years of existence.
Even with its popularity, Playa de las Teresitas remains unspoiled and could easily be mistaken for a part of the Caribbean coastline.
Anaga Nature Park
Once having visited the coast, you will be introduced to the Anaga Nature Park (which has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2015), that can be found on the outskirts of Santa Cruz city.
Anaga Nature Park covers much of the mountain range located on the north-west of the Island. With an expanse of almost 14,500 hectares (35,800 acres), it crosses quite a significant stretch of Tenerife.
The mountains were formed by a volcanic eruption about 7 to 9 million years ago making it the oldest part of the island. You'll see the plants which are very rare in Europe by now as it's hard to come by such old vegetation in the 21st century.
The impressive sight of its robust mountains rising high above the nearby sea is as attractive as it is unique. The area's landscapes are also adorned with geological formations such as "roques" (old volcanic chimneys), dikes (fractures filled with solidified magma forming sheets of rock that look like walls), cliff faces and deep ravines. Another of the area's unforgettable sights is, without doubt, the “sea of clouds”.
The Anaga Rural Park is filled with sights you’d think was in the Amazon or the Andes if you didn’t know better. The area is home to mammoth plants which don’t exist anywhere else on the planet. There are ancient vistas, rare species, cave-dwelling settlers, and mysterious tales of witchcraft and sorcery.
Anaga also encompasses a number of other Tenerife ecosystems, with more typical coastal vegetation, palms, distinctive Canarian dragon trees, even some tobacco fields.
The Mercedes Forest is the jewel in the crown of the Anaga region. It really has to be seen to be believed. This lush, tropical landscape will make you think that you’re in Brazil or Sumatra, Indonesia rather than the Canary Islands. You’ll be floored by its abundance of species and ancient, twisting trees. Here you’ll find the extraordinary laurisilva forest, a unique biosphere containing ferns over thirty meters high, which is a type of subtropical forest that grows in areas of high humidity and mild temperatures. The trees are largely evergreen with long glossy leaves.
Unlike the Teide National Park, which is defined by its desolate, volcanic landscapes, Mercedes is awash with life and vegetation. There are rare mosses, lichens and lianas, as well as lizards, birds and wild butterflies. It’s the closest you’ll get to a real rainforest in western Europe.
On our way, we will also pass El Bosque Encantado (The Enchanted Forest), which looks like a wild forest taken straight from some dinosaur movie, a real treat for every nature admirer - humid laurel forest with lots of ferns and twisted trees covered in moss.
In this area some very interesting archaeological findings were found, one of the most important was the Mummy of San Andres - the ancient Guanche who were the aboriginal inhabitant of the Canary Islands before the Spanish conquest. The Mummy of San Andres is one of the best conserved Guanche mummies and can be seen in the Museum of Nature and Man (Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The park also houses small settlements of people. There are up to 26 small villages and hamlets inhabited by a total of 2000 people. Their residents live mostly off small-scale farming, tending traditional local crops such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, vines and other fruit trees and plants.
The main villages in the area are San Andres, Taganana and Igueste de San Andres. There are lots of walks that criss cross the area. We will take the best one that starts at the visitor centre at Cruz del Carmen. From here we will walk along the Vueltas de Taganana to have 360º viewpoint of the place to the small village of Taganana.
Sprawled on the mountain stretch overlooking the Atlantic, Taganana is stunning just as its majestic views of the green ridge and the vast blue sea.
The people here remain true to the traditional customs and architecture of Tenerife. Life is simple in Taganana, as it has been for hundreds of years. It is a home for one of the oldest churches on the island - the Nuestra Senora de las Nieves.
A walk amongst the forest's twisted tree trunks lined with moss is like a journey back in time. Listen to the forest, feel it and breathe in its prehistoric air. As if all of this weren't enough, the Anaga mountain range is geologically one of Tenerife's oldest areas, which along with the varying altitudes, weather conditions and soils provide it with a huge biological diversity for such a relatively small space. Almost every kind of ecosystem on the Island can be found here, except high mountain flora and fauna. It contains coastal vegetation, populations of Canary Island spurges and euphorbia, dragon trees and Canarian palms.
And where the flora is rich and diverse, so too is the fauna. The undisputed kings are invertebrates. You will find almost a hundred species here that are unique in the world. If you are a keen birdwatcher, you might recognize such emblematic species as Scopoli's shearwaters, kestrels, owls, Bolle's pigeons and laurel pigeons (both of which are considered living relics and are native to the Canaries). In fact, the abundance of birdlife has led Anaga to become a Special Bird Protection Area.
Roques de Anaga, a rock formation, shaped by geological activities - not to be missed as well! This region is relatively cut off from the main roads and presents undiscovered Tenerife. For instance, some people in here still living in caves.
Anaga is now a protected 'Rural Park' and a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. It is the area in Europe that has the highest number of endemic species.
What is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve?
In the 1970s UNESCO created the Man and Biosphere Programme, an initiative designed to promote and encourage the interaction between people and their natural environment all over the world.
To be designated a Biosphere Reserve, specific areas have to show there is a strong historic link between man and nature; conservation of eco systems and landscapes are in place; there are areas of scientific and geographical interest; there is educational value and, importantly, that the continued relationship between the people who live within a Biosphere and their environment is ecologically sustainable. Basically, places where the intervention of human activity complements the environment rather than damages it.