Cycling in Tenerife

My favourite 8 long-distance cycling routes in Tenerife

Last updated February 5th, 2023

Intro

My favourite 8 long-distance cycling routes in Tenerife.

I had an opportunity to spend the winter months in Tenerife enjoying balmy sunny days and a warm climate.

Instead of being locked down in cloudy and cold northern Europe, in Tenerife I was hiking and surfing on various island spots. But for the majority of my leisure time, I was riding my bicycle. In six months, I have tried most of the road cyclist tracks. 

Based on my personal experience, I would like to share my top 8 routes, impressions, and recommendations.

Buying a bicycle in Tenerife

The first task was to find a proper bicycle with spending not more than 500 euros. 

One option was Triban 520 from Decathlon. However, I had to look for another because they didn’t have a model for my height.

Then I found Marin Pasubio on the second-hand market, but it was gone in a few hours.

Finally,  I got a renewed Scott Speedster S20 in El Medano. Nothing special, though it was my first road bicycle ever, and I was happy to get the XXL size on the island. I found it in Bikronos located in Las Chafiras.

If you need to buy or rent a bicycle on the island, you can check BikePoint Tenerife. Folks in El Medano were friendly and helpful. Only they didn’t have a larger size for me.

Cycling tours routine

I had my workouts three times per week. On workdays, I went cycling around my residence place in Puerto de la Cruz. And during the weekends, I was going for a long rides that took me 4 hours and more.

I will focus on long rides that helped me to discover Tenerife. As a bonus, spinning pedals around the island allowed me to keep my physical shape and endurance level in good condition.

1. Puerto de la Cruz – Punta del Hidalgo

The route takes you along the Northern coast of Tenerife island to Punta del Hidalgo. A small fishermen’s village known for its modern-style lighthouse and natural baths.

The first interesting stop on the route is El Sauzal town. Great place to have a short break and look around. Here you can see the most famous town’s cultural object – a San Pedro Apostol church. Built-in the 16th century, the church declared an Asset of Cultural interest in 2005.

Near Masa del Mar, and El Pris villages, take a chance to stop and check out natural swimming pools on the sea coast. It is a relaxing experience that you can’t find in many places.

The best wines in the Canary islands come from the Tacoronte Acentejo. You can notice extensive vineyards once cycling through the region.

While on the way, look for an advert sign with the headline Guachinche on a roadside. It is a typical Canary island establishment where you can have a locally produced wine accompanied by traditional homemade food. An excellent opportunity for a lunch break and to get to know the local cuisine.

2. Puerto de la Cruz – Buenavista del Norte

It is a quick route to explore the Northern part of the Island. If you have a free half-day and prefer a flat cycling segment, go for it.

Though motorway TF-5 from Puerto de La Cruz to Las Cucharas has intensive traffic, the sideroad is wide enough, and many cyclists use it. After exiting TF-5, the traffic significantly reduces, which gives a perfect chance to enjoy the fabulous North coastline of the island.

At almost every little piece of land in this region, you will see banana plantations. Some farmers offer guided tours, and you can learn more about the growing practice.

Next on the road is a town worth exploring – Garachico. It is a charming place in a remarkably unspoiled part of the Island with a tiny old town and unique rocky seacoast. You could plan here a snack or a coffee stop in advance.

Buenavista del Norte marks the end of Tenerife as it stands on the north-westerly-most point of the Island.

If you still have time and enough energy, I recommend visiting Punta de Teno Lighthouse. That is a lovely place with a colossal panorama of Los Gigantes Cliffs and La Gomera Island on the horizon. 

Otherwise, you can make a quick round tour in the Buenavista del Norte town center and turn back towards Puerto de la Cruz.

3. Puerto de la Cruz – Masca – La Orotava

It is an extended version of the previous Route #2. It takes you through Teno Rural Park and the most beautiful village on the island Masca.
Masca settled in a remote and mountainous location. It also has a remarkable climb to Santiago del Teide.

The climb is about 4 kilometers long with a 12% gradient, sharp corners, and a narrow road. The road to Masca can be busy with tourist buses and individual visitors. I recommend avoiding visiting during the most popular hours. Instead, go there early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

The scenery from the Masca viewpoint is stunning. Below you can see a Masca village and gorge that leads to the remote Atlantic coast. On the other side, there is a Teide volcano panorama.

4. Puerto de la Cruz – Teide National Park – La Esperanza

The fourth recommended route could be named “From zero to hero.”

Starting from the ocean altitude level in Puerto de la Cruz, you will have constant ascent for 40 kilometers until you reach Teide National Park. The highest route point is 2300 meters above ocean level near Teide Observatory.

The first route segment goes into La Orotava valley. The valley is highly populated therefore the traffic sometimes might be annoying. However, I have never experienced any road safety issues. Drivers respect cyclists and pass over at a safe distance.

By entering Teide national park territory, you will immediately notice the differences. The landscape completely changes. Glancing down, you can see a spectacular La Orotava valley. On the horizon, far away in the ocean, there are visible silhouettes of the rest of the Canary islands.
Finally, the whole Teide plateau reminds Mars territory rather than anything from the earth.

After reaching 1800 meters altitude, you will notice significant weather differences. Depending on the season, the weather conditions can be challenging. Sometimes the surface in the Teide zone can be covered by snow. Moreover, you can expect significantly lower air temperatures and cold winds than in the towns near the coast.

I recommend not forgetting to pick up a warmer jacket. You probably won’t need it while climbing, but it will pay off later.

Once you start descending, you will pass the La Esperanza Forest park. This part is less steep and very pleasurable to ride. On La Esperanza town, take a turn back to the Puerto de la Cruz using the regional roads.

5. Puerto de la Cruz – Teide national Park – Santiago del Teide

If you want to see Teide National Park as quickly as possible, I suggest trying this route.

Assuming that you have already reached El Portillo crossroad (how to get there, check previous routes #2 and #3), you will enter the crater area edged by a craggy rim known as La Caldera de las Cañadas. It is full of impressive rocky structures colored with various shades.

After making 40 kilometers, you will reach the symbol of the island – Mount Teide. After that, there will be Roques de Garcia rocks park.

If the weather conditions allow, I recommend having a break and taking a short walk around. There is a restaurant on the opposite side for grabbing a bite. Besides mentioned objects just on the left from Teide, you will see another crater called Pico Viejo.

Once you reach the southern part of the crater, you will enter Corona Forestal Natural Park, which surrounds the Teide from all sides. It is the largest natural protected zone in Tenerife.

Beware of the potholes while descending. Some road sections might be bumpy. 

If you need another break, I recommend stopping in Santiago Del Teide. Here are some cafes and shops to buy food or beverages.
You will need energy for the last ascent towards Erjos. After it, the road goes down until Puerto de la Cruz.

6. La Laguna – Anaga – Teide National Park

This all-day route will let you see two nature parks – Anaga Rural Park and Teide National Park. Moreover, you will cross Guimar’s and La Orotava’s valleys.

Starting your tour at Tenerife North Airport, you will finish your ride in Puerto de la Cruz, crossing almost 1/3 of the island.

Anaga Rural Park is the greenest part of the whole island. That means that it is wet and covered by fog often. Plan your trip according to the weather forecast to see the full beauty.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital city with the highest population. Though it is the shortest possible route avoiding motorways, and busy roads, keep in mind that cycling in it can be frustrating. On the other hand, it is an excellent place to have a refreshment break.  

Try to save your energy while riding in the Valley of Guimar. After passing it, you will have to do Arafo climb towards Teide National Park. Arafo climb is relatively short (~30 kilometers) but strenuous.

On an En Portillo crossroad, take a turn towards La Orotava valley. Finally, you can enjoy your descent and the marvelous sunset that is visible on the island’s western side.

7. La Laguna – Vilaflor – Teide National Park

It is a full-day route to see Guimar valley and the small villages of Tenerife’s eastern part.

After reaching Granadilla town, you will start ascending towards Teide National Park.

Any ascent to Teide is a challenge. But the South’s climb on TF-21 road is classified as the toughest. Your endurance must be good.

The climb is about 37 kilometers long. It means most cyclists will spend 3 – 4 hours getting on top, beating 1700 meters ascent from Granadilla to Teide. The gradient varies from 5% to 7%, and it is possible to find a comfortable rhythm.

On the top, you will have an opportunity to cross the Teide National Park, enjoying spectacular views of the area.

The last leg is a joyful journey down to Puerto de la Cruz.

8. Puerto de la Cruz – Puerto de la Cruz (around the island)

The most advanced cyclists can challenge themselves with a single-day route around Tenerife island.

By crossing the Southern, Eastern, Western, and Northern regions, you will see differences in the landscape and daily life of residents across the island in one day.

You can start anywhere on the island because this route is circular. The absolute majority of chosen roads are with little traffic and good quality. That will allow you to enjoy riding without bothering about your safety. You will cross many towns on the way. There are plenty of places to eat or buy refreshments. If you need a bicycle repair service on the way, there are many bike shops in the Southern towns and Santa Cruz.

The route’s duration can be from 9 to 11 hours, depending on your physical condition and endurance level. To make the whole circle before the dark, I recommend beginning your journey before sunrise.

The entire route is relatively flat. There is only one ascent climb above 1000 meters near Santiago del Teide. Another two are less than 600 meters near Granadilla and La Laguna.

Perhaps this is not the most scenic route from all I covered in the article. But by challenging yourself to make it, you will become one of a small number of cyclists that cycled around Tenerife in a single day.

Good luck!

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