Fall in love with northern Tenerife in Icod de los Vinos. This lovely town offers the island’s largest dragon tree, a butterfly garden, a banana museum, a historic Old Town, Europe’s biggest volcanic tube, coastal and mountain scenery and a lively local festival each November.
Icod de los Vinos in northern Tenerife is surrounded by fertile farmland and vineyards. It has a historic Old Town, and is home to the island’s oldest and most impressive dragon tree. This species can live for thousands of years, and this one is thought to be over 1,000 years old.
The wines produced in the Icod de los Vinos area are prized, and are made from grapes grown in rich, moist volcanic soil. An annual wine festival is held here every November. To celebrate the produce of the vineyards, locals take a noisy sled ride down the town’s sloping streets, representing the timber for wine barrels that was formerly transported to the port in a similar way.
There is so much more to see here than just the Icod de los Vinos dragon tree. In fact the town actually boasts so many attractions that you won’t be able to appreciate them all fully in just one day.
From where to stay and eat to how to get there and things to do in Icod de los Vinos, read on so you can plan your visit to this appealing town.
How to Visit Icod de los Vinos
On a Tour
If you don’t have a hire car and don’t want to worry about catching a bus on your own, taking a tour is your best bet. Icod de los Vinos is usually included in all kinds of full-day tours starting from the southern Tenerife resorts such as Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje or Los Cristianos where the majority of tourists stay.
We recommend this full-day guided island tour which takes you from the southern resorts to Los Gigantes, Icod de los Vinos, Puerto de La Cruz (you’ll stop for lunch and get some free time here) and the church in Candelaria, best known for its Black Madonna.
Both tours are different but great.
From Los Gigantes / Puerto de Santiago / Playa La Arena
Bus number 325 is your only option from this area. As the route includes many stops, the trip will take about 2 hours.
From Playa de Las Americas or Costa Adeje
You can also reach Icod de los Vinos from the most popular southern Tenerife resorts. The bus 460 sets off from Costa Adeje Station and its last stop is in Icod. The whole journey takes an hour and 50 minutes – quicker than from the Los Gigantes area. It’s a very scenic route, but with many winding roads. So do keep that in mind if you are prone to motion sickness.
If you are staying in Playa de las Americas, you walk to Costa Adeje station in 15 minutes or take a taxi.
From Puerto de La Cruz
Buses 363 and 325 can get you to Icod de Los Vinos from Puerto de la Cruz.
From Santa Cruz
Bus number 108 will get you from the capital to Icod in an hour and 10 minutes.
Things to Do in Icod de los Vinos
Marvel at the Oldest Dragon Tree at Parque del Drago
El Drago Milenario is undoubtedly the star attraction in Icod de los Vinos, and it’s sometimes seen as a symbol of Tenerife. This dragon tree is the biggest and oldest on the island, and the circumference measures six metres (or 20 feet).
This unusual plant has red sap and bloated branches ending in bunches of spiky foliage. The fruit and sap was once used by the Canary Islands’ indigenous people for medicinal purposes. In modern times, it has been used as a dye. Now, there are few dragon trees remaining in Tenerife because many died after being drained of their precious ‘dragon’s blood’.
There are two ways to see the dragon tree. You can see it side-on from Plaza de Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres Square, or you can pay to enter the Parque del Drago. We highly recommend that you visit the park for the full experience.
The picturesque botanical garden was created around the Drago Milenario. If you want to see the dragon tree up close, do pay the park a visit. Several other native species only found in the Canaries can also be seen here. You can also follow the Guanche trail at the park, comprising a series of lifelike, skeletal figures dotted around the park.
Hours: Open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM
Location: Google Maps
Meet the Locals at Plaza de Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres
This is Icod de los Vinos’s main square and can be found in the Old Town. You can see the dragon tree for free from this attractive and historic square. The plaza’s origins lie in the 16th century, but it has been enlarged over time. The size it is today was only reached during the 20th century.
The square has an old church, fountains, wide pathways, benches to sit on, a sizable staircase and a broad range of global plant species. These come from far-flung destinations such as Australia, Polynesia, India, New Caledonia and Madagascar.
Uncover the Church of San Marcos
The triple-naved church of San Marcos is located right there in Plaza de Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres. Dating back to the 15th century, the Church of San Marcos is one of the oldest churches in northern Tenerife.
Inside the church, treasures to discover include the ornate altar, a marble font, a painting of Santa Ana and a Mexican silver filigree cross. Outside, it’s a whitewashed building decorated with stone carvings.
Discover History at Plaza de la Pila Square
Plaza de la Pila is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución, and is near Plaza de Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres. The square was constructed in 1631, and along with San Marcos church formed the basis for the town.
This plaza has a central 18th century fountain, and the neoclassical early 19th century house of Lorenzo-Cáceres is located here. The former home of the Cáceres family, now this serves as an exhibitions and events space.
The finest parts of Icod’s Old Town are clustered around the Plaza de la Pila, and the square itself has shady palms, jacaranda and oleander trees.
Enjoy Wine-Tasting at Malvasia Museum
Come to this family-run winery to enjoy a great wine-tasting experience. This consists of 5 different traditional wines of the island, including the famous – and expensive – Malvasia wine. As well as wine, you can sample local liqueurs and preserves.
Your guide also can show you around and share with you the history of local wines. The glorious tropical garden with a terrace is a lovely place to relax among the fruit and coffee trees. You can also buy Tenerife wines from the island’s makers at the shop.
Everyone who visits this place falls totally in love with it. It seems to attract nothing but five star reviews, with one visitor referring to it as ‘Icod’s hidden gem’.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11AM–7PM, closed on Sunday.
Price: Choose from two options:
Wine tasting including 3 glasses of wine, 1 liquor, and 2 Canarian mojo sauces with bread – 4.9€
Wine tasting including 5 glasses of wine, 1 liquor, and 2 Canarian mojo sauces with bread – 7.9€
Location: Google Maps
Learn About Fruit-Growing at the Banana Museum
A traditional Spanish-style hacienda, Casa del Plátano, houses Icod’s Banana Museum. Here you can discover the secrets of the banana-growing trade – one of the Canaries’ main exports. The museum shares items like machinery and old photos with visitors, and you can also examine the banana trees of the plantation and witness the production process at the farm.
You can also try – and buy – banana products such as wines, jams and liqueurs. Staff here are very helpful and well-informed, and as there’s no information overload this is a good place for families to visit.
Hours: Open daily from 11 AM to 7 PM
Price: 5€ for adults, 3€ for children under 15 years old, and free for age 5 and under
Location: Google Maps
Encounter Nature at the Butterfly Garden
You can learn all about another kind of nature at Mariposario del Drago. It’s near the dragon tree, and home to more than 800 species of colourful butterflies from around the world.
Kids and adults can learn about the butterfly life cycle here. What’s interesting is that every species requires a particular kind of plant, making the Butterfly Park a botanical garden filled with all sorts of tropical flora. You can also see moths, fish, turtles and artworks here.
This is the perfect place to visit with kids. Our children enjoyed being among so many butterflies very much. They loved trying to photograph them and spotting as many different colourful species as possible. Our 6 year old also enjoyed looking at the butterfly life cycle section with eggs, caterpillars and cocoons of various butterfly species.
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM
Price: 8.5€ for adults, 5€ for children from 2 to 12 years old.
Location: Google Maps
Visit the ARTlandya Doll World
You can explore the history of soft toys and dolls at ARTlandya in Icod de Los Vinos. A private collection of around 400 dolls is exhibited at this museum in the tranquil Santa Bárbara district, and the stone building housing it is positioned inside a leafy park.
The flower-filled garden also contains fragrant citrus and tropical palm trees, and offers great views of Mount Teide and the coastline. Once inside the museum, you can see handmade dolls from all over the world and discover the attention to detail that makes each doll unique.
Don’t miss the cafe: from the terrace here there are magnificent views of Mount Tiede. There’s also a shop selling well-priced kids’ dolls and soft toys, plus one-off pieces created by artists.
A taxi from central Icod de los Vinos to ARTlandya in Santa Bárbara costs around five euros.
If you want to arrive by bus, use the following services:
- Puerto de la Cruz – Icod de los Vinos line 363
- Adeje – Icod de los Vinos line 460
- Icod de los Vinos – Santa Bárbara line 358
Hours: Open Thursday-Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM
Price: 10€ for adults, 4.5€ for children from 6 to 14 years old, and free for ages 6 and under.
Location: Google Maps
Get your ARTlandya tickets here. The ticket includes a multilingual guide, museum tour and doll-making demonstration.
Savour the View from Playa de San Marcos
The black sand Icod de los Vinos beach is actually ten minutes’ downhill drive from the town centre on Tenerife’s northwest coast. It’s compact, but comfortable, and is becomingly set among a striking series of cliffs. Sunset is one of the best times to visit, for the panoramic views.
The sands are backed by a smart promenade lined with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Seafood and Canarian cuisine are specialities here. Playa de San Marcos is also ideal for swimming as the waters are calm and well sheltered from the wind. You’ll also find useful amenities such as showers, toilets and changing cabins. A local bus also stops right by the beach.
To reach San Marcos Beach from Icod de Los Vinos, use the bus number 362. This special route starts in the town and its final stop is San Marcos Beach. The trip takes only 10 minutes, but services are hourly and thus not that frequent. If you’re driving, there’s a good car park very close to the beach.
Location: Google Maps
Explore the Longest Volcanic Tube in Europe
Another attraction not to miss in the Icod de los Vinos area is the Wind Cave (Cueva del Viento). This volcanic cave, or tube, was formed after Pico Viejo erupted 27,000 years ago. Despite the odds, almost 200 species of flora and fauna flourish inside, and the tube is 18 kilometres (11 miles) long.
The 18-kilometre-long tunnel makes it the fifth-largest volcanic tube in the world and the largest one in Europe.
You can visit Europe’s biggest volcanic tube cave only by pre-booking a guided tour online. Places book up fast, so do make a reservation at least a week in advance – or even earlier if you can – via the official website. Be sure to change the language option via the site menu to book a tour in Spanish, English or German. Allow around two-and-a-half hours for your visit.
Here are some points to bear in mind for your visit.
- You must wear closed sports footwear or hiking boots.
- A warm top and long pants are ideal for the humid environment.
- You can take a camera inside the tunnel, but backpacks and bags must be left behind.
- Don’t forget to take a small bottle of water.
If you’re concerned, do be assured that there are no extremely cramped spaces inside the cave. The fact that 6 year old children are allowed to enter tells you that nothing is too challenging. During our visit there were a few children inside.
The problem you might encounter, though, is that staying still for the best part of 2.5 hours is a big ask. If your child is very active, then carefully consider whether it’s worth taking them on this tour. When you don’t have anyone to leave them with – and they are aged 5 or over – I would personally recommend visiting. Getting their own helmet with a light to wear may also help them to enjoy the experience!
Price: 20€ for adults and 8.5€ for children aged between 5 and 12. Children under 5 and people with reduced mobility are not allowed to enter.
Experience San Andrés Festival
The Fiesta de San Andrés takes place every 29th and 30th November in northern Tenerife, and is centred on La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz and Icod de Los Vinos. The celebration is often referred to as a wine festival, and it includes tastings of the latest vintages.
The festival is a great time to try local cuisine too, including gofio bread, roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes. As Icod de los Vinos is at the epicentre of the vineyards, the town is the best place to experience the festival.
Las Tablas de San Andrés
Another part of the festival unique to Icod de Los Vinos is somewhat surprising. On the eve of the fiesta, locals take to items resembling wooden tea trays for Tablas de San Andrés.
The event basically involves racing down the sloped streets to see who can come out on top. Before San Andres itself, local kids also race around on their own wooden boards. As the festivities come to a close, younger locals emboldened by wine hurtle down the hill at top speed, only stopping when they crash into the heap of tyres placed at the foot.
It’s a health and safety executive’s nightmare. No one wears helmets, and the trays are waxed to maximise speed. Yet the tradition has been followed here since the 16th century, and only continues to grow in popularity if anything. It dates from when timber for making wine barrels was conveyed through the streets on big wooden boards.
Best Places to Stay
Icod de Los Vinos is not a resort, so tourists tend to come here for a day trip. However, if you want to see and do everything detailed above, one day will definitely not be enough. In this case you may consider staying in this region overnight. An overnight stay is also recommended if you plan to attend the San Andrés festivities. So here are some of the best hotels to consider.
Hotel Emblemático San Agustin can be found on a cobbled street in the Old Town of Icod de los Vinos. It’s housed in a restored 18th century Canarian home. All accommodation here is individually decorated and comes with cable flatscreen TV, original wooden flooring and a marble bathroom.
The hotel offers free parking and has its own cafe. There are plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants in the area too. Helpful, welcoming hosts really help to make every stay here special. Other highlights include the pleasant courtyard and attractive shared indoor spaces.
Mid-Range – Hotel Emblemático San Marcos
Hotel Emblemático San Marcos is also situated in central Icod de los Vinos and set in a traditional Canarian building. Accommodation here comes with free Wi-Fi, wooden floors, cable flatscreen TV, bathrobes and luxury toiletries. Some rooms offer mountain views.
The property also offers a garden with terrace and a guest lounge. Attractions such as the dragon tree, banana museum and butterfly park are nearby, and there’s a selection of bars, shops and restaurants close by.
Holiday Home – Casas Rurales Los Guinderos
If you would prefer more privacy, we can highly recommend this holiday home on the hill with a hot tub. This lovely holiday rental built from lava stone can accommodate up to six adults, or is perfect for honeymooners as it’s very secluded. There’s an outdoor hot tub on the terrace. The views from here are spectacular, and the host is very welcoming.
Our Favorite Restaurants
This lovely cafe is right by the Drago Park, and offers visitors great views of the famous Drago tree.
This is top rated among Icod de los Vinos restaurants and serves a great selection of Spanish and Mediterranean dishes.
Pizzeria Family is the place to come to for the best pizzas in town. The pasta dishes and salads are also very good.
There’s nowhere better in Icod for fresh seafood and authentic Canarian dishes at great value prices.
Map of Icod de los Vinos Attractions
Below is a map of all the best places to visit in Icod de los Vinos as well as our favourite restaurants and hotels mentioned in the article.
To explore Tenerife to the fullest and at your own pace, we highly recommend renting a car. Our favourite place for car rental is the RentalCars website. It allows you to compare different providers and pick the best deal. You also get the best protection and flexibility for booking terms.
We also recommend taking at least one guided tour. Our favourite place for booking tours in Tenerife is GetYourGuide.
Top 3 excursions on the island:
- A whale and dolphin watching (pick by location: Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes).
- Stargazing in Teide National Park
- Kayaking and Snorkeling with Turtles
The best hotels for families with kids (in our opinion):
Luxury: GF Victoria (Costa Adeje) or Bahia Principe Fantasia (Golf del Sur)
Mid-Range: Spring Hotel Bitácora (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Bouganville Playa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: GF Isabel (Costa Adeje) or Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel (Los Cristianos)
The best adults-only hotels:
Luxury: Iberostar Grand El Mirador (Costa Adeje) or Gran Melia Palacio de Isora (Alcalá)
Mid-Range: Tigotan Lovers & Friends (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Selection Sábila (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Barceló Santiago (Puerto de Santiago)
Top hotels for everyone:
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton, Abama or Bahia del Duque (Costa Adeje)
Mid-Range: Hard Rock Hotel (Playa Paraiso) or Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Alexandre Hotel Gala or Olé Tropical Tenerife (both Playa de las Americas)