Tenerife Holidays: Travel Guide
You don't have to go to the other side of the world to experience a dream holiday! Just off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, lies the spectacular volcanic archipelago that is, the Canary Islands. Amongst the seven Spanish islands, each one different from the other, is Tenerife with its iconic Mount Teide. The island's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the co-capital of the archipelago, a distinction that it shares with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the island of Gran Canaria. Tenerife breaks all records in the archipelago, it is the largest, the highest, and also the most populated island in Spain.
Far from the Iberian Peninsula, it has retained many elements of the aborigines who populated the island in the past, the Guanches. Today, this identity can still be found in the customs, traditions and cuisine of Tenerife.
When is the best time to visit Tenerife?
Tenerife is also known as "the island of eternal spring" due to enjoying a temperate climate all throughout the year. The regularly strong winds that sweep across its coasts make it a popular destination for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and catamaran sailing. Whether for a long weekend, or a week-long holiday, your stay in Tenerife promises to be an adventure you will not soon forget! Here are our tips for make the most of your stay.
The best seasons to enjoy Tenerife
With the climate in the Canary Islands being pleasant throughout the year, there isn't a wrong time to visit. With that in mind, winters are mild with an average temperature of 20°C, making a great destination to enjoy a unique Christmas in a temperate climate, and otherwise, anytime between April and October allows for visiting the island and swimming, with August being the hottest month.
Experience Tenerife during Carnival
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is an unmissable event during a February trip to the Canaries. Carnival celebrations last for days all over the island, though the brightest carnival festivities of all are those of the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Street parties full of rhythm, vibrant colour, incredible costumes, and parades attract people from all over the world.
The best time for whale watching in Tenerife
Tenerife is an ideal destination for whale watching. Sightings are easiest in late spring and early summer, in particular, during the months of May and June. It is at this time of year that the ocean is at its calmest, with plenty of plankton and fish. Head to Los Gigantes, from where you can embark on a day cruise to see the dolphins and whales.
What is there to do in Tenerife?
One thing is for sure, the largest island in the Canary Islands is sure to please everyone! If you are looking for nature and adventure, head west and north, away from the crowds and other holidaymakers. From Los Gigantes to Garachico and La Orotava, this is the most charming and authentic part of the island. For city lovers, it's best thing to spend some time in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island's capital. Finally, if you're looking for great nightlife and relaxation, then opt for the south, near Los Cristianos or Playa de Las Américas.
What is the most beautiful landmark in Tenerife?
The island of Tenerife is known for its desert landscapes and its volcano, Mount Teide. Rising to 3715 metres above sea level, it is the highest peak in the Canary Islands and the highest mountain in Spanish territory. An impressive and dramatic sight, it is a must-see on a trip to Tenerife. Climb the mountain by cable car, on foot, or by bike, and enjoy spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the island. To reach the peak on foot or by bike, you will first need a permit. The hike is around 9 kilometres and takes 5-7 hours to reach the top. As there are so many requests for authorisation, we advise you to make your request in advance! At the top, look to the west of the island and watch the sun set over neighbouring La Gomera for a truly magical moment.
What is the most beautiful beach in Tenerife?
Tenerife is also famous for its long black or golden sand beaches. Among the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife is the volcanic sand beach of El Bolullo, to the north of the island. Another beautiful volcanic beach is that of Los Gigantes, to the west, overlooked by huge sea-beaten cliffs. To the southwest of the island, surfers will be right at home on the beach of Las Americas, which is ideal for experts and beginners alike.
Eat like a local in Tenerife
Learn more about Canarian culture and its cuisine at one of the famous "guachinche", a typical Canary Island eatery which is more commondly found on the island of Tenerife, and to a lesser extent in Gran Canaria, where a locally produced wine is served alongside traditional homemade food. Their history is strongly linked to the history of Canarian viticulture: as wine producers set up shop on the roadsides to sell their wine to English traders, their wives took on the task of cooking to make them stay longer. Today, these small local restaurants are a must for discovering the local gastronomy.
Try the papas arrugadas, small potatoes boiled in very salty water, and accompanied by mojos, green and red sauces with delicious flavours. Morcilla dulce is an amazing blend of black pudding and sweet flavours such as almonds and sultanas. End your meal with a taste of the almagrote. From nearby La Gomera, this crumbly and creamy cheese is flavoured with tomato, garlic, olive oil and paprika and is sure to delight the taste buds!
The real guachinches have to respect several rules, notably, that they only sell wine from their own production, that they only offer three dishes on the menu, and that they only operate as a restaurant for four months of the year. You'll find the best guachinches in Tenerife around La Orotava, in the north of the island, including the Guachinche Los Gómez or the Guachinche El Ramal. Enjoy!
Swim in one of Tenerife’s natural pools
Ancient lava flows on the island have given rise to numerous natural pools, known as charcos, in which you can enjoy a peaceful swim. To the north of the island for example, you will find the Charco de la Laja and the Charco de Mareta, which can be reached via a small path or staircase. Or try the Charco del Viento, located to the west of Puerto de la Cruz, protected from the waves by the natural dykes formed by the lava.
The must-sees of Tenerife
Go on a tour of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the island, and admire its colourful streets and typical balconies. Don't miss a visit to the colonial-era San Francisco de Asis church, a stop at Garcia Sanabria Park, and a tour of the Tenerife Auditorium by architect Santiago Calatrava.
Just 10km to the north of Santa Cruz is the beautiful town of San Cristobal de la Laguna, also known as La Laguna. The former capital, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and remains the religious and cultural centre of the island. It is home to the very first university in the Canary Islands, which is still attended by 30,000 students.
Finally, head to Masca and its picturesque little village perched on the heights. Authentic dining and breathtaking views await you. For the more motivated, head for the Gorges de Masca, for a breathtaking hike that could take you all the way to the ocean.