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5 hikes in Tenerife with the kids

In December, we spent a week as a family in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Our goal was to hike with the kids because we really love it! Titpuce and Ticoeur are real little hikers who are already used to long walks. They are doing really well for their age (9 and 12 years old) so I will specify the level of our hikes in the details of the article. You will see: we have chosen hikes of very varied levels so, rest assured, there will be something for everyone! Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is known for its Teide National Park and it is this vast volcanic space that made us want to go there! Teide is a still active and closely monitored volcano. Fortunately, it is resting at the moment and has been for more than a century (unlike that of La Palma!). Teide is also the highest mountain in Spain with an altitude of 3715 meters. I will soon write a full article about our family week in Tenerife but to start, I wanted to focus on our hikes since that was the main goal of our trip!

Our 5 family hikes in Tenerife:

In introduction, I would like to point out that there are hundreds of hiking possibilities in Tenerife so whatever the length of your stay, you will find lovely trails to explore. In one week, choices had to be made. We loved our 5 family hikes and it made us want to go back and do more! In the meantime, I will share with you the details of our five discoveries… The durations indicated are ours, not an average so it is only for information purposes. Remember that we are used to hiking so if you have less experience, you may need to allow for more time. 1/ Samara (Teide National Park) – easy – duration: 1h30 – 250 meters of altitude difference Samara is clearly a hike for families. We are at the foot of the Teide volcano. The landscapes are superb: we see the volcano, the lava scenery and the famous Canarian pines. This is a loop. It goes up and down a little throughout the hike but really nothing bad and it’s a good duration for children who are not yet used to walking for a long time. The start of the hike is at an altitude of 1875m.

hiking Tenerife hiking Tenerife

2/ Chinyero Volcano (Teide National Park) – easy – duration: 1h30 – 200 meters of altitude difference A calm and pleasant loop around the Chinyero volcano to see ancient lava flows up close. A kid friendly hike. We also see entrances to small lava tunnels. We once again enjoy the scenery of the pine forest. We were there just before sunset which gave us beautiful colors… Lava fields: hiking Tenerife with children

The pine forest all around:

Small lava tunnel:

The Chinyero volcano:

3/ Roques de Garcia (Teide National Park) – easy – duration: 1h30 – 180 meters of altitude difference Another loop suitable for families. It is very well known because we see very beautiful rock formations there. So you get an eyeful without much effort. This also means that in high season it can get crowded but it seems that most tourists only take a few photos at the beginning of the path and don’t go all the way around, which is obviously a big mistake 🙂 . The formations make us feel like we are in a Dali painting and they are beautiful throughout the trail. I would have even wanted to go around twice rather than once to have the opportunity to turn in the other direction and therefore discover other perspectives. A must ! FYI, the start of the hike is at an altitude of 2021m. In our case, we combined the Roques de Garcia with the ascent of Pico Viejo (see hike number 4).

Roques de garcia

hiking tenerife

4/ Ascent of Pico Viejo (Teide National Park) – difficult – duration: 7 hours (with a lunch break and walk to the edge of the crater) – 1080 meters of altitude difference It was clearly the most difficult and most strenuous hike of our stay. It is not for beginners or children who do not have high mountain experience. The difference in altitude, the duration of the ascent and the altitude clearly make it a hike for experienced families. But if this is the kind of challenge you have already taken on and you have the physical capacity then go for it! There are no technical difficulties regarding the trail. It is really the requirement for good endurance and the altitude that requires your vigilance (Titpuce and Papa Voyage also had to slow down on the last 100 meters of altitude difference and drink regularly because they felt a slight lack of oxygen linked to altitude). In short, if you give it a go, you will be greatly rewarded by the beauty of this experience. The ascent of Pico Viejo can be started from several starting points. We chose Roques de Garcia. The advantage is that it allows you to admire the Roques from above and it is particularly photogenic! So we combined the two hikes into one: we started on one side of Roques de Garcia, then we went up to Pico Viejo and on the way back down, we took the same path except at the end to finish our loop of Roques de Garcia. Another, more popular option to climb Pico Viejo is to start at Narices del Teide (next time!). What about Pico Viejo? It’s superb! As its name indicates, it is the “old volcano” (older than Teide) and it is the 2nd highest on the island. It peaks at 3100 meters. At the top, we find ourselves at the edge of the crater: it’s magnificent! You can walk along the crater on one side, then the other (but not go completely around it). From up there, you can see La Palma. And of course, Teide then seems much closer than usual! Even if it was 20 degrees by the sea, you have to keep in mind that it is cold when you go up! We even encountered snow just before arriving at the Pico Viejo crater. At the top it was only 2 or 3 degrees. We were well equipped but with the wind, we still had a fairly cool picnic!

Tenerife hike with family

The Pico Viejo crater and La Palma in the background… Pico Viejo

Tenerife hike with family

Teide seems very close… In fact, we had originally planned to climb there (I’ll tell you more at the end of the article)…

On the way down, lunar view of the Roques de Garcia: Tenerife hike with family

5/ Afur Loop > Playa del Tamadite > Taganana (Anaga National Park) – sporty – duration: 5 hours This hike is not as difficult as the Pico Viejo hike because it is not at high altitude but clearly, you have to be able and willing to walk 5 hours. That said, there is a way to shorten it. I will explain further… The Anaga Rural Park is located in the north of Tenerife. It contrasts with the Teide National Park because the landscape is green, the vegetation very present. It’s a completely different setting! At times, we even had the impression of being in Guatemala! During a trip to Tenerife, I think that the two natural parks are essential and complement each other wonderfully! First of all, reaching Anaga is often quite long because the roads are winding (children must look carefully at the road to avoid getting motion sickness). In Anaga, we started our hike in Afur. I talked about a loop but it’s more of a triangle: we first walk through green mountains, downhill to the ocean. We thus arrive at Playa del Tamadite. Then, we follow the ocean on the mountainside, up to Taganana (we found it to be the most beautiful part!). Finally, we return to Afur (this third part was the least impressive in terms of landscapes). On arrival, we stopped at the Bar Casa José Canon. A very small bar that doesn’t look like much but the owner was very nice and we bought a local cheese, bread and drinks. It was really good ! A well-deserved break! To do this hike shorter, it is possible to only walk along the edge of the ocean between Taganana and Tamadiste (you must then park in Taganana and do the round trip. Concerning us, as we spent only one day in the Anaga National Park, we preferred to opt for the long version. In addition, I really liked the part Afur -> Tamadite Beach. In short, choose according to your desires! And of course, there are plenty of other hikes in this beautiful park!

anaga hike

anaga hike

anaga hike

anaga hike

I hope that these 5 varied hikes have given you a little insight into the landscapes on the island of Tenerife. I will end with some advice and other ideas for hikes…

Preparing for a family hike in Tenerife:

  • Have good hiking shoes because there are a lot of stones and old lava flows (this can be a little sharp and destabilizing). For the Samara, Chinyero and Roques de Garcia hikes (1 – 2 and 3), it is possible in sneakers but high-top hiking shoes will always provide better hold for the foot.
  • As for clothing, we had (in December): windbreaker, fleece, t-shirt, hiking pants. For Pico Viejo (and other high altitude hikes), you need gloves, hats and ski jackets (we put them in our backpacks). In summer, on easy hikes, adapt your outfit to the weather of course. On the other hand, for the high peaks, it will always be cool. Do not underestimate the temperature differences!
  • Always check the weather conditions and temperature before leaving. Bring sunscreen in all cases.
  • Have experience before embarking on a hike as long as the ascent of Pico Viejo or our big loop in the Anaga.
  • Bring enough water and things to snack on (fruit, dried fruit, biscuits, etc.) and even a picnic for long hikes.
  • For the choice of hikes, I mainly consulted the comments on Google maps, on Tripadvisor and on numerous blogs but I also recommended the guide “Tenerife: The Finest Walks on the Coast and in the Mountains” published by Rother. It seems that the Teide National Park visitor center is very interesting, with videos and lots of clear explanations about the volcanoes. Each time we passed by we were too early or too late (before or after our hikes) but next time, we will organize ourselves to make a stop there which should be informative for the children and I imagine that we can find information on hikes in the park.

family hike tenerife Roques de Garcia

Other ideas for hikes in Tenerife for next time!

  • Arenas Negras (easy): small loop in the spirit of the Samara or Chinyero hike. It was next to our accommodation and we were very tempted but we ran out of time.
  • Narices del Teide (intermediate): mid-altitude in Teide National Park. Possible to continue with the ascent of Pico Viejo. We saw these “nostrils” of the volcano from the road below and it’s a very tempting landscape!
  • Los Gigantes (easy): by the sea along the cliffs. We were able to see the cliffs but the path was closed when we were there because apparently there was danger of falling rocks.
  • Barranco de Masca (intermediate): this is a hike in a gorge, starting from the village of Masca. It’s not always open. This was not the case during our week. Access is free but you must reserve HERE because numbers are limited.
  • Teide (difficult): be careful, you must reserve an access permit to the summit of Teide ! It’s free but limited in number and you have to book months in advance. However, as we were there completely out of season, we obtained (by reserving only a month in advance) a permit for the Sunday of our stay BUT we ultimately were not able to go! Why? To climb to the top of Teide is long and normally the best solution is to do it in two stages, sleeping in the shelter provided for this purpose. However, because of the pandemic, the refuge is closed SO we would have to go up in one go, which poses the problem of timing and fatigue: we had obtained a permit for a certain time slot (I think around 2 p.m.); to reach the summit at that time, we would have had to leave much earlier. When we arrived at Pico Viejo, we judged that we would be too late for the summit of Teide. On the one hand, there could be no control because the cable car which also allows you to go up to Teide was closed (because of the wind) so there would have been no one to ask for permits (I imagine, at least …). But precisely, the problem is that with the aim of climbing to 3715m, we had planned to go back down with the cable car (because Ticoeur and Titpuce are very sporty but still! 1600m difference in altitude to go up and the same thing for going down is really too much, even for us :-)). Doing some research we also discovered that this cable car is often out of service (due to the wind) so to conclude, we will return to Tenerife when the refuge is open again and we will reserve our permits and beds in advance and we will do the ascent over 2 days. Last note regarding the cable car: the majority of tourists use it on the way up and down. Be aware that the cable car does not go all the way to the top so you have to walk the last few meters to the top which is good but you NEED A PERMIT. It would be a shame to pay a fortune for the cable car (it’s expensive) and realize too late that access is only allowed to people who have reserved.

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Do you want to hike with the family in Tenerife?

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Europe, family hiking in Tenerife, hiking in Tenerife, Spain, Tenerife

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