"Popular for it's fabulous hotels, great beaches and excellent nightlife. Tenerife is the perfect, short-haul holiday destination for every type of holiday-maker..."
Tenerife attracts more than 10 million visitors for a reason, offering a gorgeous yearlong climate, stunningly beautiful beaches and a bubbling nightlife. This is largely situated in the southern part of the island, with resorts like Santa Cruz and Adaje, renowned for offering everything that a visitor could ever want from their beach holiday. Yet it is also a land of contrasts, with the volcanic area that surrounds the now dormant Mt. Teide, a beautiful and isolated area, crammed full of interesting geology and unique wildlife. A great place for family holidays as it is for couples or those on group holidays, you will find everything from beachfront resorts and lavishly appointed hotels to volcano adventures, impressive national parks and lively nightlife. This means that Tenerife offers something for everyone, making it ideal for anyone who loves, sun, sand and spectacular natural scenery.
Tenerife Travel Guide
At A Glance:
As the largest of the Canary Islands it is situated off the northwest coast of Africa. Its skyline is dominated by Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano that is the highest in Spain and means that the island has both black and yellow sand beaches. Its capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a harbour city situated in the northern part of the island. It has a population of around 900,000, making it fairly large and busy.
Tenerife has a pleasant yearlong climate, which is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is August, when the temperature averages 24 degrees and a cooling breeze blows off the Atlantic. However, the temperature generally remains above 20 degrees from April to late October, meaning that it is excellent throughout the year. The coldest month is January which boasts an eminently bearable 17 degree average temperature.
History & Culture
The original inhabitants of Tenerife were known as the Guanche people, who probably inhabited the island in around 200 BC, they were typically fair haired unlike Spaniards and their descendants can still be seen on the island. Local historians believe that the name of the island most likely originates from one of their kings, who was called ‘Tinerfe’, who had nine children and divided the island into nine municipalities, a state of affairs that persists to this day. The island was isolated from the world for over a millennium, until it was discovered by Spanish Conquistadors in the 15th century. It was the last of the Canaries to fall and put up a fierce resistance, eventually capitulating in 1496, more than 100 years after the first Canary fell. The Spanish then cut down many of Tenerife’s forests, to make way for sugar cane, which became the principle crop on the island. Following that, Tenerife lived a largely unremarkable existence, save for a few invasion attempts by buccaneering British seaman, including both Nelson and Walter Raleigh.
The Canarian island has a rich culinary history that blends Spanish cuisine, with more traditional cuisine. The most popular dish is known as papas arrugadas, which are small potatoes that are cooked in seawater, so their skin becomes wrinkly. These are best enjoyed with the ubiquitous ‘mojo’ sauces, which come in either green or red and are eaten across all the Canary Islands. The most common cheese on the island is known as Almagrote, a crumbly and creamy goat’s cheese that migrated from the Spanish mainland and is now a staple of the Tenerife diet. Locals are also partial to Morcilla a blood sausage that is similar to Britain’s black pudding. They also enjoy ‘conejo en salmorejo’ a rabbit soup that is stewed in tomatoes, wine, vinegar, garlic and spices, along with ‘Cherne’ a large white fish that has a meaty flavour.
The great thing about Tenerife is that it has an exceptional range of family activities that are perfect for people of all ages. The Siam Waterpark in Adeje, is a Thai-themed waterpark that is widely recognised as being one of the best in Europe, if not the world. It combines a great range of features, including a wave pool that generates 3-metre-high waves, the biggest in the world. The Aguilas Jungle Park is a zoological centre that offers wildlife shows, showing animals from around the world, making it the perfect place for an educational and fun family day out. No family holiday to Tenerife would be complete without some time spent on the beach, with an incredible variety of jet-black volcanic beaches and more traditional golden beaches, Tenerife will not disappoint.
Tours & Attractions
No trip to Tenerife would be complete without enjoying the island’s many incredible beaches, the best of which are: Adaje, a coastal resort with a sheltered sandy beach; Puerto de la Cruz, a unique volcanic beach with incredible reddish-brown sands; and el Medano, a gorgeous beach that is renowned for the quality of the watersports on offer. Tenerife is also excellent for people who like to get out and about with the otherworldly Teide National Park, ideal for hiking and exploring nature. Adventurous visitors can climb to the summit of Mt. Teide the large dormant volcano that dominates Tenerife’s skyline.
The busiest area for nightlife tends to take place in the ‘Playa de Las Americas’, which is regularly frequented by young people, who generally head to bars in ‘Las Veronicas’. If you prefer to hang out where the locals like to, then Puerto De La Cruz or Santa Cruz are the places to go. They have an amazing selection of salsa and Latino bars, where live music and live dancing are the order of the day. San Telmo, in Los Cristianos is a more British area, with a large number of bars that are especially popular with British tourists.
A shopper’s paradise, and with the additional bonus that it is duty free, many of the things on sale are significantly cheaper than in other countries. It has a number of shopping centres selling brands at discounted prices, the best of which are the San Eugenio and Benetton outlets in Playa de las Americas and the CC Safari Shopping Centre in the same location. Tenerife also plays host to a number of local markets, including the Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos markets, they sell a variety of local goods including food items, jewellery and handmade things. The capital, Santa Cruz, holds the ‘Mercado Nuestra Senora De Africa’ Tenerife’s version of a bazaar, where local traders open more than 300 stalls and there are plenty of bargains to be found.
The capital is certainly not to be missed – be sure to visit the Auditorio de Tenerife arts venue, Playa de Las Teresitas Beach, Plaza de España for beautiful architecture and Castillo de San Cristóbal.
This beautiful beach town is the perfect place to relax. Beaches include the luxurious Playa del Duque, the lively Playa la Pinta and the golden beach of Playa Fañabe.
Teide National Park
Teide National Park is the gateway to exploring the grand and imposing Mount Teide; there are a number of tours and walks to explore the unique landscape of craters, volcanoes and rivers of petrified lava.
Foodies will love exploring the town of Garachico. This small municipality sits along the northern coast of the island and offers a great choice of restaurants and wineries.
To go off the beaten track, head to Los Realejos, a small town in the north with interesting landscapes, secluded beaches and great coastal walking / running routes.