Tenerife is a favourite destination for families as there are plenty of sights and activities to keep the kiddies amused and entertained. The culture here also celebrates children, who will be made welcome just about everywhere, including restaurants and bars.

Unless your tot objects to sand between the toes, the beaches in the southern resorts (as well as Puerto de la Cruz) are superb, with sandcastle-friendly sand and shallow waters. Older children can also enjoy water sports ranging from surfing to diving; many surfing and dive schools have novice classes for kids and are experienced at looking after their young charges. Don't forget to take the kids to the high seas on an organised whale- or dolphin-watching excursion, an experience they may never forget. Older children will also find hiking on Mt Teide a unique and fascinating event, especially with the latent volcanic drama.

If watery pursuits begin to pall, the southern resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas equal theme-park heaven. Try Siam Park.

For Free

While there are plenty of attractions designed specifically with children in mind, including theme parks and zoos, public spaces – such as town and village plazas – also morph into informal playgrounds, with children kicking a ball around, riding bikes and playing while parents enjoy a drink and tapas at one of the surrounding bars. Local children also stay up late and at fiestas it’s commonplace to see even tiny ones toddling the streets at 2am.

Accommodation

Provided you are willing to share a bed with your tot, many hotels here do not impose a surcharge, although requesting a cot or extra bed will normally up the price slightly.

What to Bring

Although you may want to bring a small supply of items you are used to having back home (particularly baby products), Tenerife is likely to have everything you will need. Even in an emergency situation (ie running out of nappies!), there will always be one pharmacy nearby that remains open 24 hours, wherever you are staying on the island.

For further information about travelling with children, check out lonelyplanet.com/family-travel or www.familytravel.com.

Children's Highlights

Attractions

  • Parque Marítimo César Manrique A vast watery playground in Santa Cruz with several pools, including those with shallow depths for toddlers.
  • Lago Martiánez A Manrique creation, geared towards families and splashing kids, in Puerto de la Cruz.
  • Siam Park A huge watery wonderland with a Thai theme that's an adventure playground for tots.
  • Observatorio del Teide Older children will get a kick out of having a chance to stargaze through a mammoth telescope in Parque Nacional del Teide.
  • Roques de García The first stretch of the walk here in Parque Nacional del Teide from the car park to these extraordinary rock formations is suitable for strollers.

Museums

Water Sports

  • Neptuno Dolphin-spotting in Los Cristianos usually goes down well with kids.
  • Travelin’ Lady This Los Cristianos outfit organises longer boat trips with whale-watching (and food).
  • Club de Buceo An excellent Los Cristianos diving company offering courses for kids.