It’s August, the sun is high and Tenerife is experiencing its peak holiday season with many Spanish mainlanders enjoying island hospitality. Although it means the island is full of life and there’s a non-stop buzz, it also means that you can find yourself standing in queues or elbowing for space. We’ve come up with a few hints and tips to help you avoid the worst of the crowds but we’d love to hear if you have more to share…
1. Fast track to fun at Siam Park
In peak summer, everyone heads to Siam Park to keep their cool and have fun in the sun. If you want to avoid spending most of your visit in queues, here’s what to do:
Pre-book your tickets online and get there early ““ gates open at 10am so get there by 9.15am and use the pre-paid queues on left and right. If you’re not bothered about buying the cheesy photo, give the photo queue a wide berth. Shell out for the fast track wristband (€10 per person) ““ it’s not cheap but you can whizz up the inside track of slides which means more rides and better value for your ticket price.
2. Miss the mob at Masca
Tenerife’s second most visited location becomes a picturesque parking lot between 11am and 4pm when the coach tours and jeep safaris descend. Get there earlier or later than the tours or on Fridays to have the place to yourself ““ well, relatively speaking.
3. Picnic in peace and quiet
When weekend comes around the Tinerfeños head to the woods in their droves to enjoy some al fresco dining. Escape the heat and the crowds by heading up into one of Tenerife’s picnic zones mid-week. You might have to go au natural when it comes to toilets as they’re often only open at weekends but it does mean you’ll only have to share the woods with the teddy bears.
4. Give the shopping crowds the slip
Summer sales are still in swing on Tenerife and although stores in the capital of Santa Cruz and in most major commercial centres now stay open all day, the Spanish still tend to take the siesta from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Avoid the crowds by choosing those times to give your credit card some exercise.
5. Lunch at leisure
Once again the Spanish and Tinerfeño habits work in Brits” favour during the summer months. The Spanish like to eat their lunch late (2pm-3pm) and take their time over it as this is their main meal. Head to lunch early and you’ll avoid the wait for a table at your favourite restaurant. It also means you’ll be ready for an early dinner and thus avoid the crowds again as the Spanish tend to eat after 9.30pm.
6. Chill out in the country
Inevitably, school holidays mean families de-camping to the beach in their droves where sand castles and paddling are the order of the day. If you’re not in the family way, why not escape the coastal crowds and head into Tenerife’s rural heartland. Towns and villages like Adeje, Santiago del Teide and San Miguel de Abona offer a very different face of Tenerife and a characterful bolt hole from the hordes.
7. Move away from the mÃªlée in Teide National Park
Tenerife’s number one day tripper destination, stick with the tour groups in Teide National Park and you’ll feel more herded than your average heifer. Break out on your own down any of the multitudes of paths that run from the visitor centre and the Parador and you’ll discover why they use this place to test equipment for Mars exploration equipment. Barring little green men, you’ll be alone in surreal land.
8. Side-swerve Sundays
In Britain, there’s nothing like the call of empty Sunday roads to choose to take a run out into the country. On Tenerife Sunday feels like the busiest road day of the week when extended families take to their vehicles in their multitudes to visit kith and kin or to enjoy the Sunday picnic. If you’re planning to explore Tenerife by car, choose any day but Sunday.
9. Banish the beach crowds
There are three things about the beach habits of the Spanish that it’s well worth knowing if you want to bag your bit of beach in high season. Firstly they tend to shun the use of sun loungers in favour of the sand and an umbrella, secondly they don’t do long walks to the sea and will perch as close as they can to the water’s edge without actually getting their towels wet and thirdly they don’t do early morning beach. By now you’ll have worked this one out for yourself…go early and grab a sun lounger at the back of the beach.
10. Cheat the Cable Car Queues
Taking the cable car to within 200 metres of the summit of Spain’s highest mountain and the planet’s third highest volcano is a must-see experience but it can be ruined by having to stand in a queue for hours to get there. If you’ve got you’re own wheels, get to the cable car station by 8.30am and you’ll be seeing satellite views of the archipelago before you can say “wasn’t this a good idea”. Better still, book a night at the Parador where you can have the whole incredible crater to yourself overnight and still get to the cable car before everyone else.