Our family visited the Canary Islands (technically part of Spain but right off the border of NW Africa) in August 2022 for a weeklong summer holiday. We thought to visit because the islands have everything we love about trips to new places with kids our age – 1) it is an interesting destination that my wife and I wanted to visit 2) lots of activities for the kids to do and explore 3) if the kids don’t remember the trip, its ok because it would be eventful but not something SO unique (like a safari etc.) that we would feel guilty about taking them there. It all worked out well – quality family time, unique destination and now a direct flight from NYC (into Tenerife). Tenerife is clearly the most commercialized island and there is so much to do and see and experience in a long weekend / weeklong getaway.
We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Abama during our trip. At first thought, it may not be obvious that there would be well-known US brands in Tenerife. It’s not a destination many from US think of as an obvious destination (it tends to be more well-traveled by Europeans based on people we met and local feedback). But there is a Ritz, Hard Rock Hotel etc. and the hotels are not as expensive as one may expect for a European island escape in the summer. The hotel was wonderful – great pools, a private awesome beach (well, it’s a public beach but guests have private access), golf, tennis, nice restaurants etc.
- There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Tenerife and we made sure to visit an eclectic assortment in all the areas. The kids also had Gelato for the first time on this trip!
- On the Avenue de las Americas (Golden Mile), we loved Bianco (Italian), Imperial Tai-Pan (Chinese) and Thai Botanico (Thai) – next time we may consider a visit to the always fun Hard Rock Cafe and Dedos (American)
- In the Los Cristianos neighborhood, we loved Zoco (Middle Eastern), Oxalis (Mexican) and Il Gelato del Mercado & Planeta Goloso for the best gelato.
- In Costa Adeje, we really enjoyed Torvisca’s Spice Village (Indian) and will try Mumbai Masala next time; we loved the gelato at Gelato Fortuna
- At the hotel, we loved Verona (Italian) and next door in Playa San Juan, we enjoyed visiting Plazale (Pizza) along with a short walk to Heladeria Opera for more Gelato
- There is a lot to do in Tenerife and we managed to both do some activities and also relax. The best site for island activities is Canarias.com and they partner directly with the Ritz Carlton to help organize all activities. We loved going Whale Watching (do not go snorkeling – the water is cold, choppy and unclear given it is ocean water and not calmer sea water). We learned that Tenerife is uniquely a Whale Heritage Site and a pilot whale sanctuary – the kids totally loved this adventure
- We also did a super fun Jeep Safari through Teide National Park where we went hiking, saw volcanos, lava and drove through a massive crater.
- At the hotel, we played Golf, Tennis and spent a part of every day at the Abama Beach which has direct access from the hotel to a private section. This beach excursion was awesome and the beach is small yet perfect.
- Next time we will venture to the north of the island to visit more of the Canarian villages and the black sand beaches – but for us, Abama beach was perfect and the kids loved it too.
We found Tenerife and the Canary Islands in general to be very underrated from an American traveler standpoint. There and many nice neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants, beaches, activities for families etc. The 6-hour flight from NYC is a huge plus! We had a wonderful trip and are excited to return.