Top 9 Family Tenerife
I’ve been taking my kids to Tenerife for an annual holiday as long as I’ve been a dad. Over the years I’ve come to learn what works best, gleaning plenty of local information and insider tips on the way. I’d like to share my 9 tips for the perfect Tenerife family holiday with you.
- Rent a Villa – I love the freedom and flexibility that a villa offers. The kids can splash around in the pool and make as much noise as they like without annoying anyone else. There are many companies to choose from. I’m a fan of Holiday Lettings. They offer a wide range of options all over the island. I like that you can search by TripAdvisor reviews rather than just price.
- Choose a Hotel Wisely – Not a fan of villas? No problem, go for a hotel, but again I’d advise you to choose wisely as not all are as family friendly as they claim to be. Some of the island’s best luxury hotels are really spot on with kids these days. In the south I’d opt for the Ritz Carlton Abama, with their ace Ritz Kids programme. In the north there is the stately Hotel Botanico. Its lush gardens and large outdoor pool are great for the wee ones. There is only one hotel up in the spectacular surrounds of the Teide National Park, the Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide. It’s not especially geared towards families, but what I love about it is it lets wee ones experience a night in this amazing volcanic landscape, complete with stargazing and a week hike around the lava flows.
- Head Stargazing – If your knowledge and the kids’ naked eyes are not good enough for stargazing then you can enjoy an exclusive session with local guide Jose Fraga in Teide National Park. You don’t need to staying at the parador either. He is really good with kids and showed my wee ones all the constellations through his giant telescope, the craters that scar the moon and even let them see ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’ which you probably know better as the North Star!
- Jump on a Boat – Not just any boat, but a private yacht that takes you out in search of our marine mammal cousins. Lina Yacht have a small fleet of yachts. With your own skipper your family can enjoy a trip where you are very much in charge, not just being herded around like happens on the much bigger, less personal tour boats. The local waters are all alive with a number of species of dolphins, plus Tenerife is also one of the best places to see pilot whales.
- Enjoy Europe’s Best Zoo – Loro Parque has been voted Europe’s best zoo and it is easy to see why. All the exotic range of animals enjoy plenty of space spread out across a verdant oasis that is a joy to walk around too. There are regular shows, which include everything from birds and sea lions, through to dolphins and even orcas. I’d recommend booking one of their ‘Discovery Tours’, which really lets you see behind the scenes of how this massive operation works. Last time we were there we went on the ‘Premium Tour’, which also includes lunch and reserved premium seats at the shows.
- Hop on a Horse – My wee girls love horses and they love horses at La Casona del Patio too. Kids can ride on ponies and horses here in the hills around Santiago del Teide, which is just a short drive from the southern resorts. There is also the chance for wee ones to meet the animals too – my girls loved grooming their own Shetland Pony.
- Splash around a Water Park – The same people behind Loro Parque also run the massive Siam Park, which has been voted the world’s number one water park. I think I love it just about as much as the kids. It has got everything, from little play areas for the really wee ones and a big sandy beach where you can relax, through to myriad rides that range from the leisurely through to the downright terrifying! I recommend securing one of their cabanas to enjoy your own space, or even the new VIP Villa, which comes complete with its own hot tub and gives you a VIP wristband band too that covers all food and drink in the park.
- Get Lost in the Jungle – Jungle Park may not be as slick as Siam or Loro, but it is a lot fun. This gorgeous patch of jungle sits up a hillside just a short drive away from the southern resorts. Their birds of prey show is excellent as is their sea lion show. I like too that there are plenty of rope bridges and other things for kids to scramble around on and tire themselves out, including their thrilling 800m toboggan ride.
- Enjoy Proper Food - There really is no need for the wee ones to just live on fast food in Tenerife. The local restaurants on the whole are very welcoming to wee ones and it’s a great way of teaching them about other countries and cuisines. Our family favourites include El Molino Blanco, a bustling place where last time my eldest ordered her own lobster. Then there is Restaurante Los Abrigos in the eponymous fishing village. My girls love helping choose the fish and shellfish before it’s cooked for us to share. For steaks my girls loved choosing their own and enjoying them with an Atlantic breeze at spectacular Brunelli’s.
- Robin normally flies direct to Tenerife with easyJet from Edinburgh.
Robin McKelvie has been a travel writer, broadcaster and photographer since 1997. He has written thousands of travel articles for magazines and newspapers across five continents. In recent years he has also moved heavily into online writing, social media and blogging.