Travel to Tenerife: Canary Islands
Try Tenerife for an Exotic, Unusual Vacation
Looking for an exotic, unusual travel destination? Consider traveling to Tenerife. Off the western coast of Africa, this Spanish island contains plenty of culture and sunshine to fulfill all your vacation dreams.
Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. Lest you think its sounds too far to visit, consider that flights are a mere 4-6 hours from Europe. Visiting Tenerife is one way to both explore Europe and enjoy that exotic island vacation about which you've been dreaming. In fact, I love it so much, I've included it in my 12 Best European Islands for Vacation hub!
Even though Tenerife is a Spanish territory, Spain's influence is fleeting, at best. Tenerife is its own autonomous region. Traditions and culture on the island showcase a variety of European influences. In many ways, Tenerife is a European melting pot!
If you want to experience one of Spain's wackiest festivals, the Burial of the Sardine, book your ticket now. The celebration, which coincides with Mardi Gras, is an unusual take on the annual pre-Lenten tradition. Where else do you parade a dead fish through town on a throne?
Where is Tenerife?
Tenerife, also known as "the Island of Eternal Spring," is located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the northern African continent. Its location is horizontal with the border between Morocco and Western Sahara. Its time zone is set to UTC (coordinated universal time), the same zone as the UK, Ireland and Portugal, except for during summer months when an hour is added.
The island is a little over 785 square miles in size and his home to close to 900,000 inhabitants (overall, the Canary Islands host over 2 million inhabitants). Tenerife is within 100 miles off the coast of Africa. The capital is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Its located within a sub-tropical region, with a hot climate during summer and warm during winter. Any time of the year, Tenerife's gorgeous landscapes and temperate weather makes it a perfect destination for your holiday travels. The average annual temperatures in Tenerife are between 15C in winter and 24C in summer.
Quick Facts About Tenerife
- Tenerife is the largest of seven Canary Islands off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean
- Its population is approximately 900,000
- 5 million tourists visit Tenerife annually
- The island is about 2035 square kilometers in size
- There are two major International airports
- Tenerife is home to one of the world's largest carnivals: the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- The island includes the highest elevation in Spain -- the 3rd largest volcano in the world: El Teide.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island, as well as of the autonomous community of Canary Islands
What are the Canary Islands?
The Canary Islands are an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean ranging from 70-100 miles off the western coast of Africa. They consist of the Spanish provinces of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in addition to the insular councils of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, and Ferro.
Since 1982, the community has been autonomous.
In case you were wondering, the Canary Islands are not named after the golden-hued bird. Rather, the name comes from the latin term, Insula Canaria , which means Island of the Dogs. When ancient Romans first discovered the isles, there was a hearty population of wild, fierce dogs. The name was applied then, and has stuck through thousands of years.
According to Wikipedia, the sea currents that depart from Canary's coasts used to lead ships away to America.
But you'll want to stay!
Inspiration to Travel to Tenerife
Best Sights of Tenerife
There is so much to see when you visit Tenerife, you'll want to plan things out before you travel. In order to maximize your trip, consider these best sights so that you can be sure to hit the highlights of Tenerife and still have time to relax!
In Puerto de la Cruz, the second largest city on the island for tourists, head to El Puerto for spa treatments and relaxation. Accommodations are more like apartments than hotel rooms, so you should feel even more at home. When you venture out in the evening, take a stroll through the streets near the Plaza del Charco and select one of the many open air restaurants at which to enjoy a leisurely meal. With the temperate climate, dining al fresco is enjoyable year round.
Other top picks for tourists to Tenerife include:
- Teide National Park
- The Cliffs of Los Gigantes (the Giants)
- Beaches - black sand, volcanic beaches!
- La Orotava
- Lunar Landscape (natural rock formations create a lunar landscape that really make you feel as though you are walking on the moon)
- Pyramids at Guimar
- Anaga Mountains (bring your camera to capture the amazing botanical samples among the most beautiful of all the Canary Islands)
- Los Cristianos - a popular, well-known resort on the island
- La Laguna
- Loro Park (botanical gardens)
Siam Park in Tenerife
Tourism to Support Tenerife
Given the limited resources on the island of Tenerife, its not surprising to learn that tourism is the main industry. And it's a good thing for many reasons. The Canary Islands are a major tourist destination worldwide, drawing more than 9 million visitors each year!
Many tourists come from the UK and Germany. Other European countries (the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland) also send thousands of visitors annually to Tenerife.
Lest you worry about the impact of all these visitors on beautiful Tenerife, recent legislation prohibits additional hotel development unless they are 5-star quality or above, and include unique services such as golf courses or other facilities.
Guess that isn't going to help lower vacation prices any time soon!
Fortunately, there is ample natural beauty on Tenerife. When you climb into the amazing mountains to take in the vistas, you might just forget you're visiting one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world!
Tenerife: Part of the Canary Islands
© 2010 Stephanie Hicks
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