The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife has long since been a firm favourite of British holidaymakers – attracting over 10 million people per year. But, as I discovered, after my first visit a few years ago, there is more to Tenerife than just sun, sea and sangria. The island is full of dramatic landscapes, from the snow-covered peaks of Pico del Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain, to tropical white beaches that stretch across miles of coastline. It’s even home to the second largest carnival in the world, where revellers party all night in the famous Carnaval de Santa Cruz.
Why Visit Tenerife?
One of the main reasons why so many tourists flock to Tenerife is because its temperate climate means the island enjoys sunshine all year round. While summers are hot and dry, winters can be mild and pleasant, and the chances of rainfall are slim. So you can go any time of the year!
The Carnaval de Santa Cruz
When you think of carnival, Rio instantly springs to mind, but Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s capital city hosts a glittering party every February and it’s the second largest in the world. With parades, dances, street performances and costumed dance parties, the festivities go on for days and are awash with colour, rhythm and fun, and end with a traditional closing ceremony of the burial of the sardine or the “chicharro” fish, which is a symbolic creature for the locals. During this ritual, thousands of people dress as widows and mourners, as well as ghosts and other spirits, as they bid the dead body of the festivities farewell…
Tenerife has 15 prestigious Blue Flag beaches, and is a beach lover’s paradise. From volcanic sand to white sand, there are beaches to suit everyone. Many have excellent facilities as well as opportunities to indulge in watersports. With the Atlantic coast bringing in strong currents, it means great conditions for surfers, while there are plenty of family-friendly options, too.
There is no shortage of family-friendly activities and attractions in Tenerife. For thrill-seekers, there’s Europe’s biggest water park, Siam Park, with it multitude of dare-devil slides, as well as aquariums, restaurants, a sea lion cove and even a floating market. Meanwhile, you can watch marine life on a submarine safari, or visit Loro Parque, where you will find the world’s largest collection of parrots.
Teide National Park is a must-see. A UNESCO world heritage site, the park is situated right in the middle of the island, and covers some of the world’s most dramatic volcanic landscapes. From hikes to the summit of Teide, gentler trails or the cable car, you can immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery. However, Teide is just one of many natural wonders, as Tenerife boasts numerous parks, as well as outdoor water pursuits such as caving, cycling, scuba diving and sailing. The choice is endless.
Canarian food is a real mix of Spanish dishes with African and Latin American influences. From Michelin starred restaurants such as M.B at the Ritz Carlton in Abama, to tapas bars, and seafood a plenty. Traditional fare includes meat stews, papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and sancocho Canario which uses salt fish in a spicy sauce. Meanwhile, there are four wineries where you can sample the best tipples the island has to offer.
* This post was written in collaboration with Web Tenerife
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