Discovering Tenerife’s Attractions by Bus

Discovering Tenerife’s Attractions by Bus

Tenerife offers a diverse range of attractions, from a giant volcano to local bars, hiking trails, sandy beaches, a water park, shopping opportunities, historic villages, and even abandoned towns.

Before my trip to Tenerife, I sought recommendations from others about the best sights on the island. However, all responses came with, “You’ll have to hire a car.”

This intrigued me. Did I really need my own vehicle? As a staunch advocate of using local public transport in my travels – often the closest I can get to acting like a local when I visit a new place – I was hesitant about this idea.

Spoiler alert: Yes, you can navigate Tenerife using the public bus network Titsa. It’s reliable and efficient, allowing you to explore most parts of the island. Read on to discover where you can go and the limitations you may encounter.

Road to Masca by epicroadrides.com
Road to Masca by epicroadrides.com

Reasons for not wanting to hire a car in Tenerife

• The expenses can add up quickly. For instance, Avis quoted us £60 for car hire per day, £28 for extra insurance, and £50 for petrol if we didn’t want to top it up before return. While you might find a better deal elsewhere, it’s advisable to budget at least £100+ a day.

• If you don’t have a license or are not familiar with driving a manual car, be prepared for potential challenges. During peak season, automatic cars may be scarce or unavailable.

• Planning to enjoy an alcoholic beverage during your holiday? It’s essential to be aware of the drink driving limit. In Tenerife, the limit is only 0.5mg per litre of blood (compared to 0.8mg in the UK and US). It’s safest to avoid drinking and driving altogether.

Where to stay

How you choose to explore the island also depends on where you’re staying. The majority of the tourist resorts are in the south. There’s also two airports on the island, North and South. The South airport is bigger but the North airport has many flights from the UK, Spain and the other Canary Islands. 

MYND Adeje
Our hotel – MYND Adeje

South

If you’re seeking the quintessential Tenerife tourist experience, you’ll likely find yourself in the south/southwest region. This area includes Costa Adeje, Playa Paraíso, Playa de las Américas, and Los Cristianos. These resorts boast large hotels, vibrant bars, and picturesque beaches characteristic of the Canary Islands.

Costa Adeje stands out as the largest resort area on Tenerife, offering a variety of accommodations, including some luxurious options. Playa Paraíso is renowned for its Hard Rock Hotel, while Playa de las Américas is known for its vibrant nightlife scene. Meanwhile, Los Cristianos has pristine white sand beaches. Further along the coast, you’ll find Callao Salvaje and Los Gigantes. Opting for Callao Salvaje allowed us to steer clear of the bustling tourist crowds, as we sought a quieter atmosphere. This decision proved to be rewarding, as the area’s handful of restaurants and local bars provided ample entertainment. Additionally, we enjoyed convenient access to a charming small beach, Playa de Ajabo, from our hotel, MYND Adeje, which also served up a delightful breakfast

Hard Rock Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel -Playa Paraiso

Below is a recap of the other areas on the island:

East

Resorts along the southeast coast of Tenerife, near the South Airport, such as El Médano, may appeal to windsurfing enthusiasts due to the strong winds in the area. Nearby, you’ll find Golf del Sur, named for its surrounding golf courses, as well as smaller fishing villages like Los Abrigos and Las Galletas, ideal for those seeking a more secluded experience away from tourist crowds. Moving up towards the north of the east coast, you’ll come across Candelaria, known for its vibrant festivals, and San Andrés, distinguished by its picturesque beach.

Luftbild von San Andrés, Teneriffa
Luftbild von San Andrés, Teneriffa by dronepicr

North

In the north is Buenavista del Norte, a town offering a more traditional feel and known for its craft shops and local seafood restaurants. Meanwhile, El Sauzal, nestled in the cliffs of the northwest, offers history and tradition but no beach. Similarly, Garachico, also very historic, lacks a beach but features rock pools. However, perhaps the most tourist-friendly town in the north is Puerto de la Cruz, with a harbour, numerous restaurants, and black sand beaches.

Costa Martianez - salt water pools in Puerto de la Cruz
Costa Martianez – salt water pools in Puerto de la Cruz credit Thomas Cook

As Tenerife boasts numerous resorts, booking your hotel and flight as a package might prove to be more cost-effective than booking them individually. Typically, airport transfer is included in such packages. However, it’s important to note that not everyone on the transfer will be arriving on your flight, resulting in potential waiting time for luggage collection, etc. Moreover, waiting for the coach to fill up can be time-consuming. Additionally, hotel drop-offs usually start with those closest to the airport, meaning if your hotel is located on the other side of the island, it may take several hours before reaching it. Therefore, it’s advisable to consider these factors when booking your package deal.

Public Transport 

The bus network in Tenerife is operated by Titsa. The buses are generally modern and equipped with air conditioning, with some even offering free WiFi onboard.

I found that Google Maps was very accurate with Titsa bus times.

However, it’s important to note that on weekends, there are significantly fewer buses running, with many routes not operating at all on Saturdays.

Titsa buses
Titsa buses

I paid for single journeys using contactless on my card, with most tickets costing between €2.50 and €5.50 depending on the distance. However, longer bus rides, such as from Puerto de la Cruz to Costa Adeje, can cost over €15.

The driver also accepts cash, but only notes up to €10. However, the most cost-effective option is to obtain a Tenmas card, which provides discounts on all fares (up to 30%). These cards are not available from the driver. You can either use the app or purchase one at designated locations such as the airport (Lycamobile shop or vending machine), bus stations, or various outlets displaying the Titsa sticker, for €2. Additionally, you can top up your Tenmas card online. This will enable you to utilize the following options:

Titsa Travel Cards
Titsa Travel Cards

Tourist attractions in Tenerife:

Mount Teide

Los Cristianos

Siam Water Park

Siam Mall

Los Gigantes

Sanatorio de Abona

Masca Valley

NOTE: These bus times were correct at the time of posting (May 2023) but as always, can be changed by the bus company. Please double check using google maps or the Titsa website before departing. 

Map of Tenerife
Map of Tenerife

Mount Teide

Mount Teide and Roque Cinchado
Mount Teide and Roque Cinchado (credit outdoorvisit)

Teide National Park stands as the premier tourist attraction in Tenerife. The expansive active volcano is situated at the heart of the island, reaching an impressive altitude of 3,718m. However, there’s no need for concern as it hasn’t erupted since 1909. Nevertheless, the remnants of past eruptions, manifested in unique rock formations and volcanic casts, contribute to an unparalleled landscape. Among these formations is the Roques de Garcia, sculpted over millions of years through erosion.

Featuring over 1,000 species of invertebrates, hundreds of bird varieties, and a rich array of plant life—including 58 species exclusive to the Canary Islands, such as the Teide violet—nature lovers will find plenty to admire. Moreover, the Teide Observatory, home to many of the world’s foremost solar telescopes, is accessible only through guided tours booked in advance. Indeed, there’s something for everyone in the park.

For those seeking convenience, a cable car offers transportation for most of the ascent, with return journey tickets priced at €38. Alternatively, for those craving a challenge, hiking up and down the volcano is also an option.

By Gabriel gironés - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39070653
Teide Cable Car by Gabriel gironés – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39070653

It’s crucial to mention that a permit is required to hike the path from the upper cable car station to Mount Teide’s summit. Fortunately, obtaining this permit is free, and you can acquire it here. During peak periods such as Christmas and summer, it’s advisable to apply for the permit at least 3 months in advance due to its high demand. Additionally, it’s essential to remember to bring warm clothing as temperatures can drop significantly at higher elevations.

How to get to Mount Teide:

There is only 1 bus a day from the main bus stations to Mount Teide. These are as follows:

From Costa Adeje bus station (Estacian Costa Adeje) in the south, the number 342 departs at 9:15am and goes to Teide cable car (Teleferico del Teide). The return bus leaves from the cable car at 3:33pm. 

From the Puerto de la Cruz in the north, the 348 departs at 9:30am and goes to Teide cable car. The return bus from the cable car leaves at 4:05pm. 

Both journeys take around 1h:40 which will give you roughly 4.5 hours at Mount Teide. Please be aware that this gives you plenty of time to take the cable car up, look around and then do the permit summit hike (40min) but nowhere near enough time to hike all the way up or down. It takes at least 5 hours to walk up. Once in the national park the 341 bus runs to its different parts. 

A reason for the limited public transport to Mount Teide is likely due to the high number of tours here. If you factor in the price of the bus as 10 with a travelcard, a tour (excluding the €38 cable car) costs €29 which is only €19 more and you get a hotel pick up and a guide. For more information on this option see here: half day tour with cable car

Los Cristianos

Los Cristianos is a bustling resort area nestled along the southwest coast of Tenerife. With a large harbour, vibrant watersports scene, and the renowned white sand beach of Playa de Las Vistas, it’s a hub of activity day and night. If you’re staying in a quieter part of the island, consider taking a day trip to Los Cristianos and its neighbouring Playa de las Américas to soak in the lively atmosphere.

Unlike the typical black sand beaches resulting from Tenerife’s volcanic terrain, the beach here features artificial white sand. Visitors can also make use of free showers and rent sun loungers for a relaxing day by the sea. We found that packing water shoes for our Tenerife excursion was essential, especially for navigating the scorching black sand beaches.

Playa de Las Vista
Playa de Las Vista

From Los Cristianos harbour, plenty of water activities awaits, including snorkelling, jet skiing, whale and dolphin watching, and scuba diving. While it’s possible to book these experiences online with hotel pickup options, opting to visit the vendors at the stalls in Los Cristianos can lead to cheaper prices.

During our visit, we embarked on the Peter Pan Pirate ship excursion, priced at €22 each, which included a 2-hour whale watching adventure and unlimited soft drinks. While we could have potentially negotiated a lower price, time constraints limited our ability to do so. Despite being geared towards children, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, catching glimpses of dolphins and whales, posing for a photo with Jack Sparrow, and savouring €1 beers along the way.

Pirate boat from Los Cristianos
Pirate boat from Los Cristianos

Away from the bustling beach and harbour lies a labyrinth of small shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering a delightful escape into traditional Canary Island cuisine. One such place we discovered was El Ventorillo, where we had the pleasure of sampling local delicacies, including octopus stew (pictured below left).

Traditional canary island food
Traditional Canary Island food

How to get to Los Cristianos

From the west side of the island:

Costa Adeje bus station serves as a hub for numerous buses, including the 40, 111, 447, with a journey time of approximately 10 minutes.

For travellers coming from further up the west coast, the 473 bus provides a convenient option, connecting Los Gigantes to Los Cristianos. Along the route, it makes stops at Callao Salvaje, Playa Paraíso, and Costa Adeje.

From the east side of the island:

For those departing from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the express bus 110 offers a direct route to Costa Adeje bus station, with a journey time of 55 minutes and departures every 30 minutes. Another option is the 111 bus, which also travels to Costa Adeje bus station and makes stops at Los Cristianos. Additionally, it serves towns along the east coast such as Candelaria and Abades.

Back streets of Los Cristianos
Back streets of Los Cristianos

Siam Water Park

Siam Water Park is frequently hailed as one of the premier water parks globally, with a captivating Thai jungle theme and garnering immense popularity among families. Although it’s a highly acclaimed attraction, it’s one I opted not to visit during my trip. With adult tickets priced at €40 (€28 for children), I personally felt it wouldn’t be worth the expense as water parks aren’t my preferred choice of entertainment. However, I imagine as a child, I would have loved to experience the thrill slides and excitement offered by Siam Water Park.

Siam Water Park
Photos of Siam Water Park from website – www.siampark.net

Some reviews caution that Siam Water Park can become very crowded, leading to long queues for rides. However, they do offer fast track passes, although these may sell out quickly.

Siam Water Park is conveniently located within walking distance from Costa Adeje bus station. Simply follow the same directions as if you were heading to Los Cristianos, as they share the same bus routes. Additionally, there’s a free shuttle bus service operating in the Las Americas – Los Cristianos – Costa Adeje area.

For visitors coming from Puerto de la Cruz, the 343 bus provides a direct route to Costa Adeje. Alternatively, if you’re arriving from the north, Siam Water Park offers a dedicated bus service for €15 per adult and €10 per child. Further details are provided in the picture below:

Siam Park prices
Siam Park prices

Siam Shopping Mall

Siam Mall
Entrance to Siam Shopping Mall

Next to Siam Water Park lies Siam Shopping Mall, a sprawling complex spanning two floors and featuring over 70 shops. Much like the water park, the mall embraces a Thai theme, including open green spaces and numerous statues throughout.

The mall is within walking distance from Costa Adeje bus station, and for added convenience, they offer many free buses to transport visitors to the mall. Details regarding these buses can be viewed here, along with the corresponding routes:

Buses to Siam shopping mall
Buses to Siam Shopping Mall

Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes is a resort town nestled on the scenic west coast of Tenerife. It’s renowned for the breathtaking Acantilados de Los Gigantes, towering cliffs that soar from the sea to staggering heights of 500-800 meters (1,640–2,625 feet), overlooking the black sand beach of Playa de los Guios below. Despite their ominous nickname, the “Wall of Hell” (Muralla del Infierno), these imposing geological formations are a sight to behold and shouldn’t deter you from exploring this destination.

In addition to its awe-inspiring natural beauty, Los Gigantes offers a array of souvenir shops, local ceramics boutiques, and inviting cafes. Whether you’re drawn to its dramatic coastal scenery or its quaint town ambiance, Los Gigantes promises a memorable experience for visitors of all interests.

Acantilado de Los Gigantes and Playa de los Guios
Acantilado de Los Gigantes and Playa de los Guios

Below the cliffs of Los Gigantes lies the popular natural swimming pool, Piscina Natural Acantilado de Los Gigantes. Natural swimming pools are a common feature across the island, formed from the remnants of ancient lava flows or the ceaseless crashing of ocean waves against the rocky shores. While these pools boast stunning natural beauty, it’s important to exercise caution as the rocks can be extremely slippery. Additionally, keep an eye out for the local inhabitants – giant crabs often observe swimmers with their beady eyes from the sidelines.

As with all rock pools, it’s essential to use common sense and avoid swimming during high tide, as powerful waves can pose a risk of dragging swimmers out to sea. By taking necessary precautions, visitors can safely enjoy the unique experience of swimming in Tenerife’s natural pools.

Piscina Natural Acantilado de Los Gigantes
Piscina Natural Acantilado de Los Gigantes

How to get there:

Along the west coast the 473  and 477 buses provide regular service from Los Gigantes to Los Cristianos. For those waiting for their return journey, the Tipsey Terrace offers a relaxed bar area conveniently located next to the bus stop in Los Gigantes, perfect for enjoying a drink while passing the time.

Traveling from Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the north presents a longer journey, requiring passengers to board the express bus 110 to the Costa Adeje bus station before transferring to the 473 or 477. Given the extended travel time of approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, it may be wise to combine this journey with a visit to one of the aforementioned attractions near Costa Adeje.

Alternatively, if you’re staying in the northern part of the island, such as Puerto de la Cruz, the 325 bus offers a slower but scenic route with multiple stops along the way. Be sure to check the timetable for this bus, as it doesn’t run as frequently. For those seeking a natural swimming pool experience in the north, Piscinas Naturales de El Caletón and the charming town of Garachico are excellent options for a day trip, conveniently accessible via the 363 bus route from Puerto de la Cruz.

Sanatorio de Abona

Following the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Tenerife was confronted with the devastating impact of leprosy. In response, Sanatorio de Abona was established in 1943 on the southeast coast as a quarantine town for those afflicted with the disease. The facility was equipped with essential amenities including a church, hospital, crematorium, and residential houses. However, the advent of Dapsone as a cure for leprosy in 1945 rendered the town obsolete, leading to its abandonment. Despite its disuse, Sanatorio de Abona remains standing to this day, overlooking the town of Abades.

For travelers seeking a unique and offbeat experience, I highly recommend exploring this abandoned town. Its deserted streets and eerie atmosphere, compounded by the constant winds characteristic of this region, create a hauntingly atmospheric setting. It’s an unforgettable excursion that offers a glimpse into a lesser-known aspect of Tenerife’s history.

The church of Sanatorio de Abona
The church of Sanatorio de Abona

Abades is a little town with a hidden gem of a vegan restaurant, Samelo Veg, which is open from 1-5 pm Friday to Sunday. Additionally, visitors can enjoy refreshing €2 beers at El Canchanchan de Abades. The town features a small but beautiful golden sand beach, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun, as well as ample opportunities for windsurfing enthusiasts.

While Abades may not be known for its vibrant nightlife scene, it offers a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for a leisurely day trip. Whether you’re indulging in delicious vegan cuisine, sipping affordable drinks by the beach, or engaging in watersports activities, Abades promises a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Food and drinks in Abades
Food and drinks in Abades

How to get there:

Abades is conveniently located on the 111 bus route, which operates between Costa Adeje bus station and Santa Cruz bus station (Intercambiador Sta. Cruz), with a stop at the South airport. The bus stop for Abades is situated along the highway, requiring a short walk down to the town, with the imposing Sanatorio de Abona looming above it.

For passengers returning from Abades, the bus stop is equipped with a button to activate a light, signaling to the bus driver that passengers are waiting at the stop.

In the southeast of the island lies El Médano, a town renowned for its laid-back surfer vibe. It can be easily reached by taking the 408 bus from San Isidro bus station, which is conveniently situated along the 111 bus route.

Masca Valley

Masca Valley is a small beautiful village ensconced in the mountains at an elevation of 659 meters above sea level. With a population of approximately 100 inhabitants, the village’s origins lie in agriculture, although tourism has emerged as a significant source of income in recent years. While reaching Masca Valley may be a bit more challenging compared to some of the other destinations mentioned here, there are buses available for transportation to the village. Despite its remote location, Masca Valley offers visitors a glimpse into Tenerife’s rugged and unspoiled beauty, making it well worth the journey.

Masca Valley by Thomas Cook
Masca Valley credit Thomas Cook

How to get there:

From Los Gigantes or Puerto De La Cruz, travelers can board the 325 bus and transfer at Santiago del Teide for the 355 bus bound for Masca (in the direction Buenavista Del Norte). The journey involves navigating a winding road, and although each bus ride is relatively short at around 20 minutes, there may be a considerable wait time between connections. However, for those with limited time, opting for a taxi from Santiago del Teide to Masca is a convenient option, with fares typically costing around €13.

For those traveling from further down the west coast, buses such as the 473 or 477 depart from Costa Adeje bus station to Los Gigantes, adding an extra 30 minutes to the journey, accounting for connection time. Alternatively, the 460 bus provides service from Costa Adeje bus station to Icod bus station (Estación Icod) several times a day, passing through Santiago del Teide and bypassing many of the smaller coastal towns along the route.

Example

If you leave Costa Adeje on a weekday at 09:45. Catch the 460 bus at 09:50 from Costa Adeje bus station and arrive at Santiago del Teide at 10:55. At 11:00 take the 355 bus from Santiago del Teide and arrive in Masca at to 11:17. 

Then on return catch the 355 from Masca at 16:19, arriving in Santiago del Teide at 16:36 and catch the 473 at 16:44, arriving back in Costa Adeje at 17:42.

The Masca Hike is a popular trail going through the gorge of Masca. You must book beforehand if you want to do this. It starts at the village and ends down on the beach. For relatively fit people it takes 3 hours to descend and 4 hours to ascend. It requires hiking boots as it’s rocky. If you choose to walk down, it’s possible to get a boat to Los Gigantes marina where you can catch the bus. 

Overall

As you can see, most of the top tourist attractions in Tenerife are accessible by bus. I hope this information helps you plan your trip to Tenerife, and I wish you an enjoyable experience exploring the island, just as I did. Safe travels!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me a direct message on Instagram. I’m here to help.

2 Replies to “Discovering Tenerife’s Attractions by Bus”

    1. It was a great hotel. These photos were taken in the morning. It got busier after breakfast (which ran until 11:30am). Luckily people weren’t reserving sun lounges with their towels 😉 However, I can imagine people doing that at the large resort hotels in Playa Paraiso and Costa Adeje we walked past. It was obvious they were there to just lie by a large pool and I doubt would want to do much of anything on this blog post.

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