Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. Sun-kissed beaches and exciting resorts promise good times for party-lovers and families alike. But away from the usual tourist haunts is an island of infinite natural beauty.
The snow-capped summit of Mount Teide -- Spain's highest mountain at almost 4,000 metres (13,100 feet) above sea-level -- rises from the centre of Tenerife, providing an unforgettable backdrop. In Teide National Park (the most visited national park in Spain), the Corona Forestal Nature Park and the Anaga and Teno Rural Parks show off Tenerife's remarkable diversity. More than 600 types of flora and fauna are unique to this part of the world.
A wide variety of wildlife and terrain calls Tenerife home -- from rugged rocky coves and lush greenery in the north, to warm, dry beach resort areas in the south. Visitors will also find a cosmopolitan experience in the thriving capital city of Santa Cruz, a haven for bargain shoppers looking for tax-free merchandise.
The Canary Islands are known as the islands of eternal springtime and Tenerife is no exception. There is little difference among seasons here in terms of temperature. It’s rarely lower than 15 C (59 F) even December through February and hovers around 27 C (80 F) June through August. But if you venture inland to Teide National Park, the high altitude provides an average annual temperature of only 9 C (48 F).
When to fly to Tenerife
There are two busy seasons in Tenerife: December through February when many older tourists descend on the island, and May through October when families and young people come looking for a good time. The world-famous Tenerife Carnival also brings additional crowds in February.
March, April and November are considered to be the off-season in Tenerife, and these are probably the best times to find a travel bargain. The temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year, so you can still enjoy some warm water with fewer beach crowds.
Getting around Tenerife
There are two airports on Tenerife. The smaller northern airport mainly handles inter-island flights; you can easily fly between the Canary Islands. Another easy way to island hop is via ferry. Various companies run routes throughout the archipelago. It’s also possible to catch a ferry to the city of Cadiz on mainland Spain.
Taxis are reliable but very expensive. Consider getting a car from one of the many rental agencies around Tenerife. Rental cars are plentiful so it’s easy to find one, even for a same-day rental.
Bus service throughout the island is also excellent – it’s referred to locally as guaguas.
Tenerife’s main airport is Tenerife South Reina Airport (TFS).
Tenerife insider information
- February is carnival time on the island. The Tenerife Carnival takes place mainly in Santa Cruz and is held in the weeks leading up to Lent, rivalling Rio in terms of size and spectacle. The party culminates in a parade through town when the ritual of the Burial of the Sardine takes place. For this tradition, a huge model sardine is carried through the streets followed by weeping mourners, and is eventually burned, marking the end of the festivities.
- Tenerife’s capital city of Santa Cruz boasts a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and visitors are spoiled when it comes to the variety of activities at their disposal. This is one of Spain’s largest ports, with plenty of leafy parks, tax-free shopping, historical theatres, and both white and black sand beaches. The Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa is definitely worth a visit. This Artistic Historical Monument features merchant galleries of all varieties surrounding a central courtyard and clock tower.
- Catch the cable car up to the top of El Teide, one of the world’s largest volcanoes and the highest point in the Atlantic Ocean. The peak of the volcano offers spectacular views over Tenerife and the rest of the archipelago. And the high altitude dictates the volcano is snow-capped for much of the winter -- a stark contrast to the warm sunny beaches below.