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Tenerife - Spain

Tenerife is the largest of all the Canary Islands, with about 850,000 inhabitants, of whom about fifty percent live in the capital Santa Cruz. The island is visited regularly by tourists primarily from England, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, France and many other European countries, but also some visitors from South America, Asia and Africa. Around five million tourists are visiting Tenerife each year and the main income of the island comes not surprisingly, from the diverse tourism.

It is slightly more expensive in Tenerife than on the mainland. Since the island does not have any large export industry, they must import most of their food and consumer articles, which naturally provides some higher cost.

Beaches and Climate in Tenerife

Playa del Camisón, TenerifeTenerife has many excellent sandy beaches, and naturally it is around the major tourist resorts in the south, where the best beaches are located. The southern part of Tenerife is often a little warmer than the north. The big difference comes from the volcano Teide which parts climate into two zones. It can be about 5 degrees difference from north to south, and often it rains more in the north, because the clouds stop up at Teide, so the rainfall comes in the northern part of the island, while often the rain escapes in the southern part.

You can find all kinds of beaches in Tenerife, ranging from black lava sand beaches to beaches with golden sand imported from the Sahara. The popular Las Vistas beach located in the south, between Los Christianos and Playa de Las Americas, has been named one of the best beaches on the island and has also attained a Blue Flag.

Nightlife and Entertainment in Tenerife

Tenerife has a good selection of evening entertainment and nightlife. You can find everything from lively nightclubs to concerts or cozy cafes. There are countless bars, clubs and discos to choose from.

In Playa de Las Americas the possibilities to party are great! At the bar strip Veronicas there are over 100 bars and discos, where the party continues till the early morning hours. El Faro Chill Out in Costa Adeje is a stylish center, shaped like a boat and have live bands, DJs and a Zen terrace to enjoy the beautiful sunset on.

In Puerto de La Cruz you can find for example Azúcar, which looks like a normal house from the outside, but as soon as you enter there are Latin rhythms and locals who like to show their salsa skills, as in many other night clubs in town.

In Santa Cruz you'll find the hottest night clubs and the hippest bars and La Laguna has a busy and varied nightlife, because of the many students who live in the city.

If you want good entertainment for the evening, you may visit the culture hall Magma in Adeje. Here are this year's musical, History of Music which should be experienced!

Every night one can also go to the Carmen Mota show Evolucion, where you can experience Latin-inspired dances like tango, flamenco and ballet. Theatre at its best in Playa de Las Americas!

In Santa Cruz there is an elegant Auditorium, home of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra. The building was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The building is inspired by the Danish architect who designed the Opera House in Australia. Here is the place to enjoy opera and dance! In Puerto de La Cruz there is also the Casino Taoro, which most likely is one of the best casinos throughout Europe. ATTENTION! Passport is required at the entrance.

Restaurants and Food in Tenerife

There are not many places in the world where you can eat so good and as healthy as in Tenerife. For expats the local food is quite exotic, but far from over seasoned. What defines the food here, is the simplicity of the ingredients and the preparation that each ingredient receives.

Tenerife is a lush green island for being volcanic, and a lot of fruits and vegetables are being produced here, such as oranges, pineapples, figs, mangoes, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes.

The Canarian banana is small and thus can not be exported to other EU countries. It is about 9 centimeters long, yellow and often has black dots or spots. However the taste of the bananas, is delicious and must be tried!

One of the most traditional dishes or entrants and / or accompaniment to the main courses in Tenerife are Papas Arrugadas, which translates to wrinkled potatoes. They are small, and boiled in very salty water. Often accompanied with the Canarian Mojo sauce, which is available as both red and green Mojo. The Red Mojo sauce is made of chili while the green Mojo sauce is made of coriander. These flavors also taste pretty well for both meat and fish!

Since Tenerife is located in the middle of the Atlantic, the island is self contained of excellent sea food! Fresh fish is available in almost all restaurants in the cities by the sea. Popular among the locals are sardines, mackerel, tuna and squid.

Of course there are international restaurants too. There are plenty of pizzerias and Chinese restaurants are also well liked by the Tenerfeñas.

Hotels in Tenerife

There are not hotels everywhere in Tenerife. The hotels in Tenerife are mainly located in the larger cities and around the tourist resorts, which in return are quite many. It may be a good idea to book your hotel quite a while in advance, especially in peak season and during the carnival, when prices are rising. Peak season is from November to February and in July and August. Teide, Tenerife

Attractions in Tenerife

Teide is the biggest tourist attraction in Tenerife. Not only is it the highest mountain in all of Spain, but it is also the world's third largest active volcano. The road up to Mount Teide is fantastic when driving through several clima zones and seasons, from summer to winter, through fall and spring. To start down in summer and then come up to the reminiscent of a north European winter, with a temperature of about zero degrees and then return down to the sun and heat and a temperature of about 25 degrees is also an experience itself!

In the pumice desert, or La Piedra Pommes, you'll find a landscape that is reminiscent of the moon, according to Neil Armstrong. Astronauts come here when they are trying out their new spacesuits, to test out how it feels to be wearing them on the moon. For us normal people, we can get some great superman pictures when lifting pumice stones that weigh much less than conventional stones.

You may take the cable car up to a height of 3555 meters above sea level, and on a clear day you can enjoy the sight of several of the Canary Islands, such as La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and Gran Canaria.

If you want to climb the last 163 meters, you need to apply for a permission, as the area is in a national park. The application process often takes several weeks and even months during peak season. But you can easily do it on the internet and it is completely free.

ATTENTION! It is often cold up here. Temperature is often around zero degrees, and during winter it can also be both freezing temperatures and snow.

The Dragon's Blood Tree
The town Icod de Los Vinos on the northern coast is well marked on the tourist map of the dragon's blood tree El Drago Milenario. With a height of 17 meters and 6 meters wide, it is the largest and oldest tree of its kind, on the whole island. It is unclear how old the tree is, but it is said that it might be over 1000 years old!

Near the tree you will also find the small park Mariposario del Drago, which is a tropical garden full of butterflies from around the world!

Outside the city Güimar, is Parque Etnográfico Pirámides de Güimar. The park is a work of an extraordinary man, the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who lived on Tenerife from 1994 until his death in 2002. During this time he discovered the Guanche's flat topped pyramids, with stair-like sides, which many had only thought were rock piles. The Norwegian ship owner, Fred Olsen, bought the land to create the park and helped to develop it into a research center.

Through Heyderdal's expeditions on the balsa tree raft Kon-Tiki and the reed raft Ra, he discovered what he had so long believed: That there must have been contact between the Egyptian civilization and Mexico.

Activities in Tenerife

Loro Parque
Meaning Parrot Park was founded by Wolfgang Kiessler. He was a German business man who came to Tenerife, through his work. He fell in love with the island and wanted to settle here. He initially thought of making a safari park, but this came to be a lot of work with the import of animals, not to mention all the food they needed.

Wolfgang consulted with his father, who was a wise and practical man, who gave him the advice to start a parrot park. Parrots are cheap, they eat very little and they live for many years. Loro Parque has the world's largest and most diverse collection of parrots.

In addition they have today a huge dolphinarium, several aquariums, a shark tunnel, gorillas, tigers, meercats, penguins and every kind of animal you can imagine. Every day there are performances where you get to see Orcas jumping in the air and turn three times, dancing dolphins and entertaining sea lions. There is a beautiful tropical garden with orchids, hibiscus and some of the island's over 400 endemic flowers and plants.

Siam Park
Siam Park was built by the same creative and wealthy man who opened Loro Parque. The park opened in 2008 in Costa Adeje. The park has a Thai-inspired theme, and is one of the largest and best water park resorts throughout Europe. This is also where you find the absolute best beaches on the island and many of the local purchase a yearly pass here. Ther are sun beds at the beach and various other places around the park. If you are looking for more action, there are water slides such as Tower of Power, which with its 28 meters nearly vertical drop, provides a kick without equal. The slide also passes through a tunnel with tropical fish and sharks! There is a free shuttle service from Los Christianos, Playas de Las Americas and Costa Adeje to Siam Park.

Transportation in Tenerife

The island has a good bus network, and you can easily get around to street markets, the Teide and most small and large cities. Visit the web site for more information and bus routes.

If you want to visit some of the other Canary Islands, the boat company Fred Olsen, has good boat connections to La Gomera and Gran Canaria. There are regular flights, to the other islands and to the mainland. Binter has good prices on the domestic flights!

Car hire in Tenerife

There are countless car hire companies, such as Avis, Hertz, Oasis, Goldcar and Cicar, to name a few. Many car hire companies have offices at the airport and are well available in the major tourist resorts and cities. The easiest way to hire a car in Tenerife is through the web site where you will find rental cars to the best price. The advantage with is that they compare prices from several car rental companies at the same time, so you can choose the one that suits your wallet. Their website is

Find rental cars in Tenerife here...

Some useful tips when hiring a car in Spain...

Festivals and Holidays in Tenerife

Fiestas are an important part of the Canary Islands', and there are great opportunities to experience some celebration while on the island, regardless of when it would be. 30 days a year are officially allocated for festivals, based on the church calendar.

Karneval på TenerifeThe greatest is the carnival, here on Tenerife is one of the largest in Europe, competing with Rio de Janeiro to be the best in the world. The Carnival for 2015 takes place between 11th and 22nd of february. In Puerto de La Cruz and Santa Cruz the carnival surpasses most parties, and lasts for almost two weeks. Everything begins with the selection of the carnival queen, while the highlight proably is during the coso, the big parade where different groups have different themes and everyone are dressed in rich and colorful dresses and clothes. The queens' clothing costs around 13,000 euros. There is transvestite element throughout the parade. There is plenty of entertainment and party, with both dance, song, music and a properly festive mood on the entire island.

Corpus Christi
One of the most celebrated religious holidays in Tenerife, is The eight days of Corpus Christi (Octavo), in late May or early June. The best places to see the celebrations is in La Laguna and La Orotava. The cobbles are coated with carpets of flowers and volcanic sand in all colors. When the procession walks over these flower decorations, the flowers are crushed and the air is filled with fresh flowers fragrances.

Corpus Christi marks the beginning of the Romería season, where local festivals include good food, wine and dancing. Religion, tradition, history and culture, mixed together constitute the island's biggest celebration. Again it is in La Laguna and La Orotava where the biggest shows are taking place, with respective Romería de San Isidro in mid June and Romería de San Benita fourteen days later. Arico, Granadilla, Güimar and Icod also have large romerias during the month.

Ascension day
The biggest pilgrimage takes place at Ascension day (15th of August), in Candelaria. This is where the statue of Our Lady of Candelaria, the island's patron saint, is located. The day before there is a play that recounts the story of how the Virgin Mary appeared to the Guanches' shepherds.

Shopping in Tenerife

Many designer shops can be found in the major tourist areas, but also local talents are represented. Spain is known for good quality leather at a good price. You can find everything from belts, bags, jackets and coats. Shoes are especially cheap, but well designed.

Crocheting & Embroidery is a tradition on the island. Placemats and pillowcases with good detail are a specialty! It is best to buy it from a traditional store, such as Casa de Los Balcones in La Orotava, rather than from street vendors, whose products are often made in Taiwan. Silver Jewelry and accessories are worth taking a look at, and pearls are a specialty. Tenerife Pearls has four stores on the island, and a main building with a beautiful exhibition in Armenime, located right on the main road between Adeje and Los Gigantes.

If you want to go shopping that can be compared with Barcelona, London and Copenhagen, you should take a trip to the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Here you will find many designer shops, ranging from Hugo Boss, Guess, Armani, Rolex, Prada and so on. They also have other known chains here as such H&M, Mango and Ikea, which might fit better for most peoples wallets.

If you want a slightly more local way of shopping, you can also find daily good markets around the island: Monday - Alcalá, at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday - Los Abrigos, at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday - Playa San Juan, at. 9 to 2 p.m. Thursday - Costa Adeje, at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday - Gulf de Sur, at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Rastro San Isidro, at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday - El Medano, at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Costa Adeje clock 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday - Los Christianos, at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Living in Tenerife

Many people choose to move to Tenerife because of the good economy the tourism industry provides. There is a good mix of people from both South- and Central America, Europe, and North Africa, the Sahara, India, Korea and Russia.

In 2010 one of four of the island's residents were born outside Spain.

Arona Faro TenerifeArona Faro, Tenerife.
Photo: Wikipedia

Plaza de España TenerifePlaza de España, Tenerife.
Photo: Wikipedia
Playa las Teresitas, TenerifePlaya las Teresitas, Tenerife
Photo: Wikipedia

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