The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife deserves its romantic nickname: the Island of Eternal Spring. With year-round sunshine, a dramatic volcanic landscape and miles of golden sands, it’s no surprise that the island attracts 10 million holidaymakers each year.
Although the majority of these tourists descend between January and Easter, Tenerife’s most loyal visitors will know that September is one of the best times to visit. The heat haze of summer evaporates to reveal stunning views of imposing cliffsides and rocky mountains, temperatures average 24°C, and it is far easier to find a spot on the beach. With 350km of coastline to explore, visitors can choose between well-trodden white bays in the southwest and quieter stretches of volcanic shores like the pretty Playa de la Arena. However, although the beaches may be one of Tenerife’s most celebrated assets, the island’s centre rivals its edges in both beauty and excitement.
Tenerife has its own national park and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with almost half of the island designated as protected natural space. To get to Teide National Park, visitors follow a picturesque route past clusters of banana trees and the historic village of La Orotava before reaching the peak of Mount Teide, which sits in a huge volcanic crater. September provides ideal conditions to attempt the hike to its 12,000-ft summit, although many travellers choose to take in the spectacular views from the comfort of a cable car instead.
The Pyramids of Güímar, mysterious lava stone pyramids located in Tenerife’s east, were long believed to be nothing more than an agricultural by-product. However, research conducted by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl has suggested links to both the Egyptian and Aztec pyramids. His claims were never proved, but since the pyramids were opened to the public in 1998, visitors have been free to explore this remarkable site and draw their own conclusions.
The most popular resorts line the southwestern coast, with Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas all reliably busy. For a quieter experience, travellers head further north, staying in less well-known but equally beautiful areas like Santa Ursula and Puerto de la Cruz. The northwestern village of Masca is a hidden gem, tucked away at the foot of the Teno Mountains. Travelling here is an experience in itself, with the narrow road traversing ravines and winding bends. On arrival, you’ll see charming whitewashed homes jutting out of the hillside. A three-hour walk will take you to the sunlit Bay of Masca – it’s a pleasant hike on the way down, with a slightly more challenging return journey.
In the northeast, you’ll find several unspoiled rural communities. The region is dominated by the Anaga Mountains, a towering massif covered by cloud forest. The narrow trails of the Parque Rural de Anaga lead up towards the peaks and down towards black sand beaches, providing walkers with a dizzying choice of destinations. Quiet villages have carved out homes on the mountainside, in cave formations and along the rocky shores, with Taganana one of the most enchanting examples of a traditional fishing hamlet.