Take a tour from either the south or the north for the Teide National Park (Parque Nacional del Teide), where you’ll find Spain’s highest mountain. The park itself, mostly above 2000m, is a glorious moon-like spectacle. Kids love taking the cable-car to within 200m of the summit, where, cloud permitting, you'll enjoy outstanding views, including four of the other Canary Islands. From the north, the tour goes up through the Orotava Valley, with a stop in Orotava to look around its historic centre. The tour from the south takes the Chío road between the Chinyero and Pico Viejo volcanoes. There are also two public bus routes: the 348, from Puerto de la Cruz, and line 342, from Playa de las Américas. Go early in the day to avoid crowds.
Stargaze - the Teide Observatory has state-of-the-art solar telescopes that you can peer through during a guided tour (ages 8+) or during the free summer open day with its children's activities. Those with children eight and over could also spend the night at the top of Teide, at the Altavista Refuge at 3,270m; alternatively, try the Parador de Las Canadas del Teide with its telescopes and indoor pool. Real space geeks might like to attend the summer Starmus Festival, attracting speakers as illustrious as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. Lastly, there are a planetarium and astronomy nights/camps at the Museum of Science and the Cosmos in La Laguna, which has plenty of interactives to keep the kids both entertained and informed. La Laguna itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site with well-preserved mansions from the last 400 years.
Explore the north of the island, home to the popular tourist area of Puerto de la Cruz–Valle de La Orotava. Magnificent beaches line the coast here, and you’ll also find the Complejo Martiánez, an impressive complex of swimming pools and natural pools. Lively, cosmopolitan Puerto de la Cruz has a great range of hotels, restaurants and shops, while accommodation in neighbouring La Orotava and Los Realejos is mainly in rural houses. Puerto de la Cruz is home to botanical gardens as well as Loro Parque, a wildlife park with an aquarium, sharks and all kinds of large and small exotic animals. Other attractions of this area are the traditional gastronomy, outdoor activities and historic buildings to explore.
You won’t go short of leisure facilities, outdoor activities, shopping or nightlife in the south with its lively — sometimes too lively – resorts. Nearly all have excellent conditions for diving, surfing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, sailing and canoeing, along with other watersports. Another highlight is the whale- and dolphin-watching trips from the main resorts to view the colonies off the south coast – Royal Delfin, approved by the Tenerife Town Council, offers free pick-up from resorts for its trips by glass-bottomed catamaran.
Europe’s biggest waterpark, Siam Park in Costa Adeje near Playa de las Américas boasts state-of-the-art slides, rivers and rapids, and play areas for children. A free bus service operates from Los Cristianos, Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje (leave before the park closes to beat the crowds to the bus at the end of the day).
Costa Adeje is the place to be for those who love their family holidays to have large doses of watery fun – it’s also home to the Aqualand Aquapark, with more waterslides, rapids and lots of swimming pools. A free shuttle operates from Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos, and it is also on other bus routes. Combined tickets are available with Jungle Park Las Águilas outside Playa de las Américas, a zoological and botanical park with more than 500 animals that you can view along a route of tunnels, hanging bridges, waterfalls, lagoons and caves, plus exotic bird shows.