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Why Tenerife in the Canary Islands is such a popular holiday destination

Updated on September 11, 2015

Mt Teide

Snow on the peak of Mt Teide
Snow on the peak of Mt Teide | Source

First choice for holidays in the Canary Islands

Tenerife is the first choice of many holiday-makers who fly to the Canary Islands and this is not surprising. The island has everything most tourists are looking for.

Tenerife and the other Canary Islands are off the coast of North Africa and have a subtropical climate and this means plenty of sunshine and good temperatures all year round. In fact Tenerife has been called ·”the island of eternal spring.”

Mt Teide - highest mountain in Spain

This is a bit of an exaggeration because Mt Teide often has snow on its peak for several months from late autumn onward, but in general there is enough sunshine and warmth for visitors to the island to enjoy sunbathing and going to the beaches while they are on holiday.

Actually Tenerife has many micro-climates and is also very different in the north and south, to such a degree that it is like two islands in one. Tenerife’s south is generally much warmer and sunnier and a lot of its countryside resembles semi-desert, while the north of the island tends to be much cooler, greener and gets more frequent rainfall. This means that you can get very different weather by simply travelling from one region to another.

Tenerife is dominated by Mt Teide which is the highest mountain in all of Spain, and this includes the Canary Islands where Spanish is the first language for very many people. Mt Teide’s mighty peak can be easily seen from lower ground all around the island. The higher parts of this mountain are really like another world and the scenery spectacular. It is one of the places on the island that should be on any tourist’s lists of what to see.


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Tenerife mountains

There are other mountain ranges in Tenerife and they are covered in many places by ancient evergreen laurel forest. The mountains of Anaga and Teno, both in the north of the island, are a paradise for walkers and have plenty of tiny hamlets where the traditional Canarian way of life can be experienced. In the remote village of Teno Alto, for example, most of the farmers keep goats and you can expect to see herds of these animals on the green pastures and hillsides there.

The Dragon Tree in Icod de los Vinos

The Drago Milenario in Parque del Drago
The Drago Milenario in Parque del Drago | Source

The Drago Milenario

Those who love nature will delight in the wealth of wildlife to be seen in Tenerife, such as the beautiful monarch butterflies. There are strange endemic species of plant too like the dragon tree.

There is a mighty specimen of this tree that stands in its own little park in Icod de los Vinos. The “Drago Milenario” is said to be at least 1,000-years-old.

A Tenerife beach

Playa San Juan
Playa San Juan | Source

Tenerife's main resorts

Of course, most tourists come for the bars and the beaches and the south of the island has the main resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas. Many are happy to spend their holidays there and these places are conveniently near to the Reina Sofía airport or Tenerife South, as it is often called. There is another airport in the north of the island known as Los Rodeos, but most flights bringing tourists to the island arrive at the south.

There are plenty of well-stocked shopping centres on the island but also markets where you can browse for all sorts of goods. The capital city of Santa Cruz has a Sunday market that has to be experienced!

Green Tenerife buses

A Titsa bus
A Titsa bus | Source

Tenerife buses

A regular bus service runs to most parts of the island making it easy for those who want to explore to be able to do so. The green Titsa buses are cheap to travel on if you buy a Bonobus voucher which allows up to 50% discount on longer journeys.

Travelling by bus will take you all around the island and there is so much to see and do. There are beaches with black volcanic sand and sheltered by rocky cliffs, there are long beaches of golden sand that was brought from the Sahara Desert, there are miles and miles of pine forested mountains, there’s farmland given over to growing bananas in vast plantations, there are tiny villages where it is like stepping back in time, there are Spanish towns, there are bustling cities.

Historic buildings of Tenerife

If you are interested in historic buildings and enjoy looking at architecture you will be spoiled for choice. Every town and village has at least one main square and a church, in many places there are old mansion houses with Colonial style balconies. La Orotava has many cobble-stoned streets and combines the past with the present. One of its most well-known buildings is the House of Balconies.

House of the Balconies

A historic building in La Orotava
A historic building in La Orotava

Tenerife's pyramids and caves

If you are looking for something very different to see and get holiday-photos of then the Pyramids of Güímar might be well worth visiting. There are six mysterious pyramid-style constructions in the Ethnographic Park of Güímar, and the world famous explorer Thor Heyerdahl gave them his seal of approval by claiming they were just like stepped pyramids he had encountered on his world travels. So impressed was he that the adventurer actually decided to set up home in Güímar in the south of the island.

Tenerife also has extensive cave systems. Cueva del Viento (“Cave of the Wind”) is said to have the longest volcanic tube caves in the world. It is possible to visit these caverns if you book in advance at the visitor’s centre there.

Pyramids of Guimar

A Tenerife pyramid
A Tenerife pyramid | Source

Something for everyone in Tenerife

There really is something for everyone in Tenerife if you know where to look and searching for what you want can be a very enjoyable experience in such an unforgettable island. This is why so many people flock to Tenerife each year.

Tenerife Holiday Guide -- MyTravel

© 2013 Steve Andrews


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    • Tenerife Islander profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you, jabelufiroz and Iammattdoran, for your comments!

    • Iammattdoran profile image

      Matt Doran 

      5 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Hi Tenerife Islander. Some good points there and useful information there. For people from the UK, holidays to the Canaries remains popular (although much less popular than they used to be) is because it's pretty much guaranteed sunshine all year round and it's still relatively cheap to fly there.

    • jabelufiroz profile image


      5 years ago from India

      Informative hub on Canary Islands. Voted up.


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