Over the years, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful island of Tenerife on multiple occasions. Apart from the usual beach activities, I spent a lot of my spare time exploring and photographing the island. And I got to say, it never disappointed. Today, I want to share some of the locations I enjoyed the most and that I consider the best for landscape photography in Tenerife.
Incidentally, most of these are well worth visiting even if you are not a photographer at all — for their sheer beauty and relaxing vibe. If you only have a few days on the island and want to explore it, this list is a great starting point.
We start our tour of Tenerife with a small coastal village of Alcalá, in the western part of the island. I am sure that most of you probably never heard of it. And yet, in my personal list of photography locations on Tenerife, this little town scores pretty high.
What I love most about Alcalá is its beautiful seafront walkway. It is great not only for photography but also for calm ocean walks or having dinner while watching the sunset. And the best part — there aren’t many tourists around!
As for photography, the coastline in Alcalá is rugged and rocky, with lots of sweet compositions available. Be that calm mirror-like natural pools, raging waves, or spectacular sunset scenes, there is plenty of options to choose from.
Besides, the landscape here is never static. It shifts and changes with every tide. The features you see today are gone the next morning, never to be repeated. This makes it a perfect hunting ground for landscape photographers.
I visited Alcalá on numerous occasions and always found something new and exciting to photograph. It is a location for repeated visits, especially as it’s only a 20 minutes drive from the popular areas of southern Tenerife.
All of this made Alcalá my default go-to destination whenever I had no better location in mind for the evening.
From Alcalá, let us head further north. There, just beyond the city of Los Gigantes, lies one of the most incredible places in Tenerife — the Masca Gorge. Whether you are a landscape photographer or just love nature, I can promise you that Masca Valley will take your breath away.
Over a kilometer deep, Masca valley is one of the deepest in Tenerife. And it is just gorgeous. For as long as the eye can see, there is stunning mountain scenery broken only by the occasional ribbon of the road zigzagging in between the cliffs far below.
According to the legend, Masca Valley was once home to smugglers and pirates. Sometimes I wonder if a hidden pirate treasure still rests buried in those mountains, waiting to be found…
To that end, for those more adventurous, there is a hiking trail through Masca Gorge. Starting at the village of Masca, it ends at a lovely secluded beach, only accessible by boat otherwise.
In 2018, after a series of accidents, the path was closed for safety reasons. But, as of spring-2021, the hike is open again, albeit with some restrictions.
I have done the Masca trail twice, and it is a phenomenal hike that deserves a separate conversation. For now, though, let’s get back to the valley. After all, you don’t actually need to walk anywhere to admire its beauty.
The village of Masca can easily be reached by car. The road, however, is an adventure in its own right. It is a narrow and twisting mountain road that some even consider one of the most dangerous in Spain.
Quite an overstatement, if you ask me. Still, be cautious out there, especially if you have little experience driving in the mountains.
Punta de Teno
A little further north from the Masca Gorge, Punta de Teno is the westernmost point of Tenerife. Relatively unknown to most tourists coming to the island, it is a place that any landscape photographer needs to visit.
Getting there is somewhat tricky – you will be driving the winding road along the edge of a cliff, with a sheer dropoff to the side. You might have seen it in an opening sequence of Fast and Furious 6. Though safer than it looks, for less experienced drivers it can still be quite intimidating.
A few years back, part of the road collapsed into the ocean during the storm. Repairs lasted a long while, but it is now finally open again. Private vehicles are still not permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You will need to use a taxi or a bus if that is when you want to go.
I would simply suggest coming to Punto de Teno on a weekday instead. Or for sunset, which, unsurprisingly, is the ideal choice for a photographer anyway.
Punta de Teno is best known for its lighthouse. There’s also a small beach quite popular with the locals on a sunny day. The water is unbelievably clean and transparent, and lots of people (myself included) love jumping into it from the small ship dock next to the beach.
As for landscape photography, the lighthouse is an easy and obvious subject during sunset. I would also highly recommend taking a short hike along the coast. There are plenty of little bays and rocks with endless options for a good composition.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get close to the lighthouse as the road is blocked by a massive gate. Your best bet is to shoot from the rocks next to it. Hardly ideal, of course, as quite a bit of stone is still visible in the foreground.
The only other option is to go around the gate by climbing the rocks to the right. Many locals do this, so it is perfectly possible, although definitely not easy and likely illegal. Though I doubt anyone in Spain will care much about the latter.
That said, I have never attempted it, so if you go for it, you do so at your own risk. Personally, I think it is much easier to fly a drone if you have one.
Benijo Beach (Playa Benijo)
Benijo beach is probably the most popular place for landscape photography in Tenerife, and for good reason. Located in the remote north-eastern part of the island, this dark sand beach is famous for its huge waves and magnificent rocks.
Sunset is the best time for photography on Benijo, especially in summer. The sun is setting into the ocean rather than behind the mountains, and the sand strip of the beach is generally wider. But even in winter, the place is absolutely fantastic and well worth a visit.
There are, however, a few things to keep in mind if you want to walk away with a great image.
Firstly, finding a good composition here is not always straightforward. Sounds strange, as Benijo offers just about anything a compelling photo might need. There are crushing waves, smooth sand, huge rocks, and dramatic skies. And yet, pulling it all together into a clean shot definitely requires an attentive eye and a good sense of image.
It’s also quite tricky technically. The light on Benijo can come and go in a matter of moments. Often, you have seconds to set up the shot or fiddle with the filters.
And then there is the ocean to watch out for. A rogue wave that catches you off-guard can knock over the tripod and severely damage your equipment. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen.
Secondly, the weather in Benijo is completely unpredictable. It may be all clear skies in the south, but come to Benijo, and it is overcast, misty, or even rainy. Worse, conditions change constantly, and no forecast can accurately predict what’s going to happen.
On my first visit to Benijo, the weather was perfect as I left the south, with the forecast promising prime shooting conditions. I drove for an hour and a half to get to Benijo, only to be greeted by mist and grey skies with absolutely no sun.
I decided to stick around nonetheless, not expecting much. Then, just as the sun was about to set, an opening suddenly appeared in the sky, illuminating the beach with a magical golden light.
It only lasted for a few minutes, barely enough for me to set up and snap a couple of pictures. The bottom line is – going to Benijo is always a bit of a gamble. You need to be lucky, and there is a fair chance you might get skunked and need to come again.
Finally, check the tide schedule before heading to Benijo. The best time for landscape photography here is at low tide. More of the sand is revealed, which creates interesting reflections, sand patterns, and generally more compelling compositions.
Teide is the highest mountain not only in Tenerife but also in Spain, and undoubtedly one of the island’s main symbols. Interestingly, if measured from the ocean floor, it’s the highest volcano in the world outside of Hawaii.
The views from the summit are fabulous. Many hike Teide through the night to reach the top by sunrise and witness the famous shadow projection the volcano casts to the island in the morning.
An easier way to get up there is via the cable car. Unfortunately, it only runs between 9 am and 5 pm. By the time you arrive, the magic of the early hours will mostly be gone already.
Both the cable car tickets and the hiking permits (yes, you need one) are in high demand. If standing on top of the world is one of your priorities in Tenerife, I advise booking well in advance.
Luckily, the summit is not the only noteworthy location around. Teide national park is the most visited national park in Europe and easily accessible by car. Situated at an elevation of more than 2000 meters, it features a variety of unique and diverse landscapes.
The best time for landscape photography on Teide is probably late spring and summer. May is the blooming season for tajinaste, a unique Tenerife plant popular with photographers for its unusual shape and color. And sommer nights offer a perfect chance to photograph the Milky Way.
But of course, Teide National Park is beautiful all year round. There are all sorts of incredible views around here, including the lunar landscape or the renowned God’s Finger rock.
My personal favorite, however, is the panoramic viewpoint called Mirador de Chipeque. Here, you can occasionally see an atmospheric inversion, with Tiede seemingly floating above the sea of clouds below.
To me, Tenerife is, first and foremost, a sunset photography destination. There are virtually endless locations here to capture the last light of the day in all its glory.
Still, there are a couple of options for those who prefer waking up early to shoot the sunrise. One, in particular, is La Tejita beach next to the coastal town of El Medano.
There are both sand and rocks for you to experiment with here. And the silhouette of the Red Mountain (Montaña Roja) in the background perfectly completes the sunrise composition.
The beach is easy to access with parking close by. It may get busy in the afternoon, but in the early morning hours, you will pretty much have it all to yourself.
Los Christianos and Costa Adeje
All of the locations above require a car to get to. But what if you’re just visiting Tenerife for a week-long beach vacation with family and haven’t rented a car?
No worries, you can still take great images. There are marvelous photo spots everywhere in Tenerife, including the main touristy areas.
In Los Christianos, I highly recommend a short 20-minute hike to the top of the nearby hill. At the summit, you will be treated to marvelous views of the southern coast, including the towns of Los Christianos, Las Americas, and Costa Adeje.
The city lights look especially splendid during the blue hour right after the sunset. Just make sure to take a tripod and a flashlight with you if you intend to stay until dark.
Las Americas beach (Playa de las Americas) is popular with surfers. So grab your long lens and head over there to practice some sports and action photography. It is also where I took the header image for this article.
And if you stay a bit further north, around Costa Adeje, I definitely recommend visiting the small village of La Caleta. It’s a great place to shoot the sunset or simply enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants around, watching the sun go down.
All in all, just make it a habit to take the camera whenever you go out in the evening. You never know what gorgeous scenery you might come across.
Tenerife Landscape Photography Tips
Now that we figured out where to take photos, let’s discuss the how side of the matter. After all, when doing landscape photography in Tenerife, there are some very important things to remember.
The principal rule of any seascape photography is to never stand with your back to the ocean. The sea may look calm and peaceful yet suddenly produce a violent wave just as you turned away.
So be on the lookout whenever close to open water. Check the tide schedules in advance and be careful when stepping on wet rocks – they are often treacherously slippery. You don’t want to spoil your trip by falling and injuring yourself (or damaging your gear).
It is always a good idea to protect your camera and lenses from the ocean. I had an unexpected rogue wave sneak up on me in Los Christianos once. While I got off relatively unscathed (although walking around soaking wet is hardly pleasant), my camera caught some splashes and started behaving erratically soon after.
In the end, I had to send it off for repairs. Overall, saltwater is no friend to electronics, so don’t risk it. Something as unsophisticated as a plastic bag will go a long way towards avoiding unnecessary accidents.
A separate word of caution for those shooting with Sony cameras. Be absolutely sure to use the hot shoe cover! Any moisture hitting it could cause major problems – believe me, I know.
Other than that, just use common sense and always watch your surroundings. Although Tenerife is generally very safe, theft is sadly not uncommon. So don’t leave anything of value in the car and keep an eye on your belongings.
As the ultimate rule, don’t risk your life for a photo. It is never worth it.
Where to Stay in Tenerife
If you decide to go to Tenerife, inevitably, the question arises – what is the best area to stay on the island? And while there are nuances, the discussion typically boils down to two major options – south versus north.
South of Tenerife (Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos) is where the best beaches, resorts, and entertainment are. The climate is warmer in this part of Tenerife, with hardly any rain. It is an obvious choice for the majority of tourists but is, therefore, more expensive.
North (Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz, La Orotava) is noticeably cooler. Overcast and rainy days are much more common, especially in winter. Mainly locals (and ex-pats) live here, which means lower prices and fewer crowds.
The choice is yours. Personally, I have always preferred the south, even though the best landscape photography locations are arguably all in the north.
More specifically, Costa Adeje is a fantastic village to stay in. It is warm, cozy, close to first-class beaches, yet not as noisy as Los Cristianos. I enjoy the tropical, laid-back vibe I get there. And the main landscape photography locations are still mostly in the range of a comfortable drive.
Tenerife is a fabulous landscape photography destination. What I have covered in this article is merely scratching the surface of what this amazing island has to offer. Beyond every little side alley and every turn of a road, new beauty awaits.
So the best thing to do in Tenerife is to simply explore. Take your camera, and go on a hike or drive somewhere you have never been to before. The result will be worth your while and may genuinely surprise you.
More importantly, though, enjoy your stay in Tenerife. Don’t get too caught up in chasing the best landscapes. Sometimes it is ok to put your camera down and just relax a bit, swim, and relish the sun.
I hope you found this article useful. If so, be sure to share it with your friends or whoever else might be interested.
I have a bunch of other articles about Tenerife and other lovely destinations that you might want to check out:
- Las Ventanas de Güimar – An Awesome Hike in Tenerife
- Three locations for wave photography on Tenerife
- Mallorca Best Photo Spots and How to Plan A Trip
- Lisbon Photography Guide: 10 Fabulous Spots to Capture
- Faroe Islands – Hike to Drangarnir
Other than that, leave any questions or comments that you might have down below. I will be happy to get back to you. Also, consider subscribing to our Facebook page to be notified when we publish new content.
With that, happy travels, and let us see each other soon!
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