Best Things To Do In Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife

Anaga Rural Park (or Parque Rural de Anaga as locals call it) is a highland of mountains and deep ravines in the northeastern tip of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. And if we have to choose only one favorite place in Tenerife, it’s Anaga.

Otherwise, we’d choose all the places, because Tenerife exceeded our expectations with the variety of natural beauties it offers. It’s much more than a resort island with pleasant weather year-round, and the Anaga Mountains are actually the best proof of that. They’re incredibly beautiful, full of traditional villages, unspoilt landscapes and wild beaches. Unlike the crowded and noisy resorts, they offer solitude – and lots of greenery all year.

Why visit Anaga Rural Park?

Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The reason we chose it as a favorite is because Anaga has the best of everything. We hiked to remote beaches on scenic coastal trails – trails that ended up being among our favorite coastal trails in the world. We hiked in the mountains towards the inland and found the largest laurel forest in Tenerife. The park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2015 thanks to this laurel forest and other endemic plants.

It’s the rainiest area on the whole island, but that’s what makes it so lush green. It’s also one of the most untouched areas. No hustle and bustle here, just the sounds of the wind and the ocean. A few hikers, lots of mountain goats. Well-maintained, good quality roads with wonderful scenery.

Are you itching to explore? We created this guide to show you our favorite trails, viewpoints and beaches in the park. Most people visit Anaga as a day trip, but it deserves more than just one day. Spend at least 3-4 days exploring it if you can.

Practical things to know before your visit

Trail to Antequera Beach, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

There’s no entrance fee, but you need a permit to visit the Enchanted Forest (Bosque Encantado/El Pijaral in Spanish). The permit is free, however, you need to secure it months in advance. Otherwise, just go, leave no trace and enjoy. There’s no gate or specific entrance to the park, you can access it from several roads and directions.

There’s no parking fee either, but parking is often limited, so arrive as early as you can. Roads are narrow, villages are small, and it’s a challenge to park if the available dirt pullouts and roadside areas are filled.

The best option though is still a rental car to explore the Anaga Mountains. Many trailheads are in remote areas that are hard to access without a car.

Camino viejo al Pico del Inglés, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The visitor centre to get information about hiking trails and purchase trail maps is Centro de Visitantes del Parque Rural de Anaga in Cruz del Carmen. Alternatively, you can buy this walking guide in a paperback format.

Trails, especially steep coastal trails, can be extremely slippery in wet weather.

Bring enough water. There are some shops and restaurants, but opening hours are limited.

Scenic drives and viewpoints

Any drive in the mountains of Anaga is a scenic drive, it’s no exaggeration. And unlike many rural mountain roads in Europe, the ones in Tenerife are in great condition, and not even too narrow. But drive with caution, because there’s no shortage of curves, and wet roads can be slippery.

Let’s see where you can drive to enjoy the scenery of Anaga from your car then.

TF-12 from San Cristóbal de La Laguna (or simply La Laguna) to Chamorga

Mirador Cruz del Carmen, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This is kind of the main road that follows the main ridge of the Anaga massif. Some of the most famous viewpoints in the park are located along the way:

  • Mirador de Jardina: views of the inland and La Laguna
  • Mirador Pico del Inglés: our favorite dedicated viewpoint with views of the green mountains and the ocean (with that said, our actual favorite views were from villages and random, nameless roadside stops, so it’s worth taking your time to drive around)
  • Camino viejo al Pico del Inglés: not a viewpoint for panoramic views, but it’s a scenic walking path flanked by high walls; feel free to walk further and explore the narrow forests trails at the end of the paved road as they’re magical, and you’ll most probably meet no one there, so all their magic is yours
  • Mirador Cruz del Carmen: viewpoint and trailhead for several hikes; there’s one short hike you’d regret not doing here: Path of the Senses

Path of the Senses, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

  • Path of the Senses (Sendero de los Sentidos): it’s the best laurel forest walk in the park, with three trails that set off from Cruz del Carmen; Trail 1 is the shortest, it runs on an accessible wooden walkway all the way, then you can continue on Trail 2 & 3
  • Taborno: not a viewpoint, but a “viewpoint village”; Taborno requires a detour, but it’s well-worth it as this was the most scenic village we found in Anaga; just walk on the streets and find the (tiny) main square while you enjoy unbelievable panoramic views; and don’t worry, the road there might seem to be a narrow line on Google Maps, but it’s a fine, paved road, a bit narrow, but nothing to be afraid of

TF-12 & TF-134 from Igueste de San Andrés to Benijo Beach

Igueste de San Andrés, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Another mountain drive on paved, good quality road all the way – and with amazing views! The viewpoints might not be as famous as the ones reachable from La Laguna on the main road, but we liked them even more:

  • Igueste de San Andrés: adorable little village with white houses and pretty coastal views
  • Mirador del Risco Mogote: limited roadside parking and dramatic views
  • Taganana: another scenic village with steep streets and lovely views
  • scenic beach stops by the road from Taganana towards Benijo: Playa de Roques de las Bodegas, Almáciga Beach, Benjio Beach

Benijo Beach, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The paved road ends at Benijo Beach. It’s also the trailhead for the Anaga Lighthouse Circuit which is one of the best hikes we’ve done in Tenerife (scroll to the best hikes to find out more about it).

TF-13 from Bajamar to Punta del Hidalgo

Punta del Hidalgo, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The drive itself is the least scenic of the three in this list, but this route has great natural pool stops, and a wonderful viewpoint at the end: Mirador Punta Del Hidalgo. Explore the short coastal trails that start from this viewpoint. For heavenly scenery, hike the trail from Punta del Hidalgo to Chinamada (read on for details).

And what about the natural pools? Either on your way there or back, stop at Piscina Natural Punta Del Hidalgo and Piscina Natural de Bajamar. They’re natural swimming pools, with pretty views of the lush green Anaga Mountains towering above them – and free public access!

Punta del Hidalgo, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Punta del Hidalgo has one swimming pool, but it’s surrounded by a large tide pool area which is suitable for small kids, too. Most pools are sheltered, shallow and warm at low tide.

Bajamar has a nice, artificially protected, small sandy beach and three natural swimming pools right next to it. One of them is specifically for kids, the two others are directly by the water and waves usually crash into them. Waves are often big here, but the beach and the swimming pools are protected enough to provide a safe swimming opportunity. Thanks to them, Bajamar is one of the best places for families on the north coast of Tenerife.

Best beaches in Anaga Rural Park

Talking of swimming opportunities and beaches, let’s continue with the best beaches that Anaga offers. Let’s start with the simple fact that all of them are the best. 😛

Okay, let’s differentiate a bit. There are protected beaches where you can safely swim, and there are wild beaches that might be safe at times, but they have no artificial protection, and also no lifeguard on the beach.

Playa de las Teresitas

Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

This is NOT the place to find solitude, but it’s one of the most kid-friendly beaches in Tenerife. It’s a golden sand beach and quite a large one: 1.5 km long. The water is shallow, palm trees are planted on the beach and the towering green peaks of Anaga offer a beautiful backdrop. There are lifeguards, toilets, showers, deck chairs, parasols, restaurants, whatever you want. And it’s busy. It has a giant parking lot, but it can easily fill up on a nice day.

We liked Teresitas Beach (I mean, just look at it, who wouldn’t like views like this?), and Tomi enjoyed splashing in the shallow water so much. But what really made our jaws drop and our breath stop was the wild, remote beaches tucked between the dramatic peaks of Anaga. Let us show you a few…

Playa de Benijo

Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife

Benijo Beach is not even hard to access. You can drive there directly on a paved road, and then walk down on about 50 steep steps to the beach. Compared to beaches that can only be accessed by several hours of hiking or by boat, this is easy access. Granted, you need to drive to the northernmost tip of Tenerife, until the paved road ends. But the drive is breathtaking, and Benijo Beach, too!

With the high cliffs of Anaga towering above the black sand and the eroded rocks in the water, it’s a beach you’ll never forget. It can be safe for swimming at times, but there’s no lifeguard. Even though it doesn’t face west, it spoiled us with an unforgettable sunset: the silhouettes of Anaga’s cliffs painted golden by the sinking sun.

Playa de Antequera

Playa de Antequera, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This beach is the most remote we got to visit, and we loved everything about it: the 3 hours scenic hike that led there from Igueste de San Andrés, the black sand and the powerful waves, the peace and beauty we found there. No road, no lifeguard, not even proper cell coverage. It’s as unspoilt as it gets in Tenerife. It’s only nature here who demands your respect. Be careful, this beach is not suitable for swimming.

Playa de Roques de las Bodegas

Playa de Roques de las Bodegas, Tenerife, Canary Islands

It was one of those places where we stopped because it looked tempting. With soft black sand and majestic waves, this beach is among the typical beauties of Anaga. It also has a lovely promenade that continues on a breakwater and takes you a bit into the ocean to face Roques de las Bodegas Beach and the coastline. Yes, it means more jaw-dropping views!

Playa de Almáciga

Between Benijo and Roques de las Bodegas you find the third in the line along the road: Almáciga Beach, popular with surfers. We found it quite similar to Roques de las Bodegas Beach, only it was busier.

Playa del Tamadite

Playa del Tamadite, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Another beach that requires a hike, and another hike that offers marvellous coastal views: Playa del Tamadite, reachable from the village of Taganana. Black sand, black rocks, large waves. It’s at the end of a ravine, tucked between dramatic cliffs. Again, it’s not a beach where it’s usually safe to swim, but getting there and having a picnic on the beach are more than enough for an unforgettable memory.

Best hiking trails in the Anaga Mountains

Despite the amazing viewpoints and scenic drives, if you don’t hike in the Anaga mountains, you can’t fully appreciate this park. And lucky you, there are lots of options from easy walks through shorter, medium difficulty trails to long, challenging ones. We’ve already covered the best short walks in the previous section about the scenic drives, and now it’s time to take a look at the real hikes.

What’s common in them? The lush green scenery and the breathtaking coastal views. You need real good hiking boots to do them safely. And yes, we did (and enjoyed) all of them.

Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The shortest scenic loop: Roque de Taborno Circuit Trail

So Taborno is an out-of-the-way village that has the best panoramic views. That alone would have been worth the detour, but the reason we planned driving there was to hike the Roque de Taborno Circuit Trail.

This loop is about 4 kilometres, one of the shortest trails in Anaga, with very minimal altitude difference, yet it offers incredible views all the way! We were fascinated, even though it was drizzling mostly all day that day.

Finding a parking spot was the hardest thing on this hike. The narrow main street of Taborno was full, and when I say full I mean it. We couldn’t find a tiny free spot to tuck in our (also quite tiny) rental car. We ended up parking outside of the village, and walked a few minutes on the road. Fortunately, it’s not a busy road, because it ends in Taborno, anyway.

Taborno, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The trailhead is at the church on the main square. It’s easy to find as there’s only one square and one church in the village. 🙂 Then the trail takes you around the picturesque rock formation of Roque de Taborno, kind of like the Matterhorn of Anaga. You can also enjoy pretty coastal views all the way, and from the short detour to Era los Cardos viewpoint.

The trail is not always straightforward to follow, so keep your eyes on the map. (We use the offline maps of either MAPS.ME or mapy.cz.) Even though the terrain is mostly easy, there were a few surprisingly steep sections (which can be quite slippery when wet). We found most trails in Tenerife more well-maintained than this one, but don’t worry, no need for a machete, the trail map is enough. 🙂

Hiking essentials
Trailhead: main church in the village of Taborno
Length: 4.1 km (about 2 hours) loop
Difficulty: medium
Check out the trail map here!

Half day hike on a scenic ridge: Punta del Hidalgo to Chinamada

Mirador Punta Del Hidalgo, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The views at Punta del Hidalgo as well as the natural pools in the area are worth a drive to this corner of the Anaga mountain range. But once you’re there, you can also add this ~10 kilometres long out-and-back trail to your itinerary. It offers panoramic views all the way, both coastal and mountain views, and is dominated by lush green, red and deep blue colors.

Leave your car at the end of the main street in Punta del Hidalgo. The few dedicated parking spots fill up quickly, but you can park anywhere on the street (wherever it’s not explicitly forbidden). Enjoy the views at Mirador Punta Del Hidalgo, walk around on the short coastal routes nearby to get even more amazing views, then head out of town, towards the towering green mountains on your left to start the hike.

Punta del Hidalgo to Chinamada Trail, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The trail starts on the inner side of the mountains, but soon you get some fabulous coastal views from the ridge. From then on you’ll be rewarded with both coastal and mountain views all the way until the charming village of Chinamada.

This tiny village is an interesting cultural site with its cave dwellings and terraced fields, but it’s also one of the “viewpoint villages”, offering incredible scenery wherever you look. From Chinamada you can walk up to the Mirador de Aguaide viewpoint. The only reason we didn’t find it particularly overwhelming is that we were spoiled with the views on this trail.

To make it a full day hike, you can continue from Chinamada to Los Carboneras, but we turned back to reach Punta del Hidalgo on the same way to enjoy the natural swimming pools for the rest of the day.

Punta del Hidalgo to Chinamada, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

If you don’t want to do an out-and-back hike, you have the option to hike from Cruz del Carmen to Punta del Hidalgo, but it requires some planning in advance (mainly checking the bus schedule and adjusting to it). You need to take the bus from La Laguna to Cruz del Carmen, hike from there to Punta del Hidalgo, then take another bus back to La Laguna once you finish the hike.

Hiking essentials
Trailhead: tourist information & bus stop at the end of the main street in Punta del Hidalgo
Length: 5.3 km one-way (about 3.5 hours)
Difficulty: medium
Check out the trail map here!

Half day beach hike: Taganana to Playa del Tamadite

Taganana to Playa del Tamadite, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This would be another scenic loop, but the time we visited the route from Afur to Playa del Tamadite was closed, so we did an out-and-back hike from the village of Taganana. This route runs along the coast which means it delivers views of the spectacular Anaga coastline all the way there (and back).

We left our car along the main road right after entering the village. Seeing how steep and narrow the streets inside Taganana are, we were glad with our decision, even though it meant we had to climb those steep streets to find the trailhead at the upper end of the village. (It added about 20 minutes to the hike.) We mostly relied on our offline trail map inside the village, because we didn’t find any signage.

Taganana to Playa del Tamadite, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

But when we reached the trailhead (and a small, dirt parking lot for those having the courage to drive up there), it became quite obvious. From then on, the trail is straight ahead, following the coastline and passing the small wine-producing village of El Chorro. The first section of the route is wide and easy, then it becomes narrower after El Chorro, and there are a few steeper sections, too, especially when descending to Playa del Tamadite.

This wild, black sand beach is perfect for a picnic before returning to Taganana on the same way.

Hiking essentials
Trailhead: Taganana
Length: 5 km one-way (about 2.5 hours)
Difficulty: medium
Check out the trail map here!

The best of Anaga in a full day loop: Benijo to Faro de Anaga Lighthouse Circuit

Benijo to Faro de Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This was the longest, most strenuous trail we’ve done in Anaga park, but it delivered a lot! In fact, it’s one of the best coastal trails we’ve ever done, anywhere in the world. This is a lot to say, because we explored many wonderful coastal trails in California, Hawaii, Portugal, Ireland or Australia.

So what makes the Anaga Lighthouse Circuit so special? The jaw-dropping views that start with the very first step you take on this trail and continue to the very last. The wild, picturesque beaches, dramatic coastline and giant coastal cliffs, hidden bays, wildflowers, cacti and laurel forests, lush green mountain panoramas. We’ve already published a detailed hiking guide to this circuit trail, read it here!

Benijo to Faro de Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Best beach day hike: Antequera Beach from Igueste de San Andrés

After doing the Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, we were convinced that surely no trail in Anaga can impress us more. We were wrong. We’ve done the hike to remote Antequera Beach from Igueste de San Andrés, and we were not able to pick a favorite any more.

Trail to Antequera Beach, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

We chose to do this hike in the first place because it’s one of the least busy trails in this otherwise not too busy park, and it leads to a remote beach that’s only accessible by boat, if you don’t hike. We got these, but even more! The views were wonderful all the way, both coastal and mountain views, lush greenery with amazing wildflowers in spring, deep ravines and dramatic rock formations.

It takes roughly 3 hours to get there, and another 3 to get back on the same way, the rest you can spend on the beach. We have a detailed hiking guide about this trail, too, check it out here!

Where to stay?

Benijo to Faro de Anaga Lighthouse Circuit, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The two largest cities from where you can conveniently drive to the park are San Cristóbal de La Laguna (or just La Laguna) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (or just Santa Cruz). 

La Laguna is a charming city, anyway, with colonial architecture, pretty streets and restaurants. It’s the start of the scenic drive on TF-12 towards Chamorga and gives access to many trailheads and villages in Anaga Rural Park. Casa Del Casco Historico in La Laguna offers comfortable rooms in a good location, with a large garden and shared kitchen. Los Rodeos Luxury Apartments has spacious apartments which are popular among couples.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of Tenerife. From there it’s easy to access Playa de Las Teresitas, Igueste de San Andrés and road TF-134 towards Taganana and Benijo.

Path of the Senses, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

A limited number of hostels, rooms and apartments are available in those lovely villages, as well, in Almáciga, Taganana or Punta del Hidalgo.

Is there a best time to visit?

If there’s a bad time to visit, it’s summer. From July to October the average daily high temperature is above 23°C in La Laguna, and sunny summer days are too hot to enjoy hiking. It’s great for the beach though, because the ocean never gets too warm, so you need a hot day to tempt you for a swim. (However, we had a few hot days like that when we visited in March and April already.)

Punta del Hidalgo to Chinamada, Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Anaga Rural Park and La Laguna is the chilliest, wettest area in Tenerife, but even that means pleasant temperatures and comfortable hiking days in spring, fall and winter. Sure, you can have some days with pouring rain and strong winds, so it’s good if you can be flexible with your hiking plans, but otherwise, Tenerife is a year-round destination for beach and nature lovers. Even in the coldest month (January), La Laguna temperatures are an average low of 12°C and an average high of 17°C. Not beach weather, but perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities.

So would you visit this park? Do you know any other places with such fabulous coastal trails?

Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

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By Beata Urmos

Bea is the co-founder of Our Wanders. She’s the writer and the trip organizer, and she’d love to help you plan your own amazing trips! She likes hiking, good novels and chocolate, as well. Her motto is: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)

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