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Nearly half of the islands natural spaces are protected, and Tenerife offers something for everyone, with the world heritage site of the Teide National Park, picturesque villages and historical centres.
It's no surprise that Tenerife, the largest and most popular of the volcanic Canary Islands, has been attracting visitors for more than 50 years. Lying only 160 miles from the coast of Africa, yet part of Spain, the island offers a fabulous year round sub tropical climate. Tenerife is one of the most complete destinations anywhere in the world, with 3,000 hours of light to enjoy its sun soaked beaches, pine forests, lava covered luna landscapes and unspoiled villages.
Nearly half of the islands natural spaces are protected, and Tenerife truly has something for everyone, both on land and sea. From the warm south coast with its beaches and banana plantations, through the world heritage site of the Teide National Park. Picturesque villages and hamlets, historical centres, breathtaking natural spaces, and beautiful gardens and parks, there is plenty to explore.
Enjoying seaside life is very easy in Tenerife, with whale and dolphin watching an absolute must, there are many diving centres, marinas and long promenades to take a stroll or enjoy a drink, and most of the seafront areas offer an array of water sports on the south coast.
Tenerife also has a playful side, with plenty of leisure parks, golf courses, and a number of busy resorts offering lively nightlife, from live music bars, to chic nightclubs, cafes and casinos. Restaurants are plentiful; whether you prefer to experience the local cuisine or take a cosmopolitan approach you can find a restaurant from almost any continent.
Whether you are looking to relax, explore, or enjoy activities, the only difficulty you might find is fitting it all in, which is why many people return, at any time of the year.
Tenerife is the perfect year round destination. From sunbathing to surfing, fine dining to shopping, and whale watching to general sightseeing, tourist attractions are plentiful around Tenerife.
The main resorts on the island are Playa de Arena, Playas de Las Americas and Calleo Salvaje, all located along the west coast of the island, all offering a variety or shops, restaurants, bars and villas, as well as some of the most impressive beaches on the Island.
Often mentioned as a Siamese twin to Los Cristianos as they lie next to each other, Playa de las Americas is the largest resort in the south of Tenerife, located 20 minutes drive from the south airport. Las Americas has certainly seen some changes over its short history, and is split into key areas. Parque Santiago area (closest to Los Cristianos) is home to the Safari Centre. The resort is littered with sparkling fairy lights, upmarket shops, bars and restaurants, and horse drawn carriages taking trips up and down the main street and the main fountains in the centre. There is also the Park Troya area, known for its huge black sandy beach and the new pedestrianised walkways, San Eugenio area, which is a quiet residential area nestled behind Las Americas, above the Aquapark, overlooking the large array of boats in the marina at Puerto Colon with fantastic views to La Gomera. Central Las Americas is well known for its young lively nightlife with lots of live evening entertainment in its many English bars and pubs.
Candelaria's significance stems from its religious connections.
Most importantly - especially for the tourists who flock here by the coach load - it's the home of the Basilica and the Black Madonna. The shady streets and squares exude a quiet dignity and are brimming with historical artefacts and architecture.
In particular, the renowned Italian sculptor Antonio Canova's "El Triunfo de la Candelaria" (Triumph of the Virgin of Candelaria) creates much interest in its central location overseeing the town's main plaza.
The forgotten village.
The rural Park of Teno, in the municipality of Buenavista del Norte (the Isla Baja region), is where one can find the deepest ravines of the island. Here, surrounded by amazing escarpments, lies the hamlet of Masca.
This picturesque hamlet is one of the examples of the Canary Island's natural architecture and in principle has been preserved due to the sheer difficulty in gaining access to the hamlet until recent years. The oldest building in the Masca valley is the Casa de los Avinculados, in Caserio de la Piedra. Masca's small 18th century church is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Masca ravine is one of the most spectacular in the island. Its descent, down to the sea, is stunning. Many of the organised excursions end at the beach at the bottom of the ravine, where a boat collects trekkers to take them back to one of the coastal towns.
Chirche is a historical village in Tenerife.
The village of Chirche is three kilometres from the town of Guia de Isora, in the district of Guia de Isora. Chirche preserves the typical traditional architecture of the south and nearby are the old ovens where they made roof tiles. These ovens burned wood collected from the pine forests of Mount Tagara, some of the oldest forests on the island. From the high point of the village you can often see the islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro.
Every year the small village of Chirche, in the southern district of Guia de Isora, celebrates a peculiar festival base on the daily customs of the village from the first half of the twentieth century. The locals carry out jobs, do household chores and play children's games typical of that period. Craft workshops, exhibitions, Canarian wrestling and a street market selling local products complete this living museum.
In the fertile lowlands of Tenerife's North West tip stands the historic village of Garachico. The village square is surrounded by gardens and historic buildings: the town hall, the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, The Museum of History and Natural Sciences, the House of the Marquis of the Fifth Red, the Former Convent of San Fransisco, The Palace of the Counts of La Gomera and the Church of Santa Ana.
The main square is host to many events and craft fares, well worth a visit.
In its short history Garachico has endured Bubonic plague, floods, storms, fires, plagues of locusts and volcanic eruptions, the worst of which in 1706 destroyed a large part of the town and the source of its wealth; the harbour.
What remains is one of Tenerife's prettiest destinations with cobbled streets, two fabulous hotels, coastal sea water swimming pools hewn from volcanic rock and a steadfastly traditional Canarian character.
The sea water rock pools are an absolute must for visitors to Garachico, and at their best when the sun is shining. Wander their paths spotting all sorts of tropical fish under rocks and darting under the surface. In autumn and spring, avoid the high tides as the pools are cordoned off for safety.
La Gomera is one of the smaller Canary Islands, based just off the south coast of Tenerife, the main attraction is the breathtaking nature. Wild and fractured landscapes have imprinted the island's picture. The central mountain massif of the Garajonay measures 1487m at its highest peak. Magnificent gorges (barrancos) run through the whole island from here, reaching down to the sea. Moist and evergreen laurel forests, tropic valleys with plantations of bananas and citrus fruits, dry landscapes of rocks with thousands of cacti add up to form a unique vegetation. There are a number of organised coach and jeep excursions that run from Tenerife, alternatively you can hire a car and catch the ferry from Los Cristianos port.
La Hoya, in the district of San Miguel de Abona in the South of Tenerife, is a small village that is almost deserted these days. It was one of the first settlements in this area following the conquest and was originally a village inhabited by the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the island. In La Hoya, the traditional cottages are next to covered plots of land used to produce "tosca" (a type of clay).
La Laguna is Tenerife's second most important city. It is the old Capital of the Island (until 1723) and situated just inland from Santa Cruz in the Aguere Valley amid a beautiful countryside. It is also the cultural and religious Capital, due to the fact that it lodges the San Fernando University and the Bishop's Palace. The whole city is full of outstanding architectural monuments, palaces and traditional houses of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Among its religious buildings the most outstanding are the Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Church and the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion - this latter one has a fine Mudejar carved wooden ceiling and an exceptional Baroque wooden pulpit from the 18 century. One can also find the Church of the Holy Christ and the San Miguel Chapel.
History and art in La Laguna are to be found in the Casa Ossuna Museum, the Friends of the Country Economic Society Museum, the Concepcion Church's Museum and the Cathedral's Museum.
On the North West coast of Tenerife, in the valley of the same name, the town of La Orotava was home to many of the island's wealthiest and noblest families who settled here after the Spanish conquest.
The valley's fertile slopes were the perfect growing medium for firstly sugar, then vines, both crops yielding fortunes for the wealthy landowners of the town.
Today the slopes of the valley are carpeted with Tenerife's current cash crop - bananas, and the town of La Orotava is still Tenerife's most aristocratic. The streets of the old town are lined with Renaissance mansions and awash with architectural treasures. There are beautiful churches and convents; independent and exclusive shops; elegant restaurants and beautiful gardens. Leave yourself plenty of time to explore.
The highest peak in Spain standing at 3718 metres, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, is an absolute must. Beautiful and grandiose, it will make you feel very small.
The Teide National Park in the centre of the island of Tenerife, shelters the best example of the supra-Mediterranean vegetation level. The Mount Teide National Park offers one of the most spectacular examples of volcanism in the world. This National Park, is the largest and the oldest of the National Parks of the Canary Islands. This natural area is surrounded by the Corona Forestal Nature Park, the largest protected natural area of the Canary Islands.
Part of the route can be done by cable car allows anyone, no matter what their physical condition is, to make the scent. The more adventurous can ascend on foot by the path that leaves from the area on Montana Blanca, next to the road. The cable car service, which runs every day if the weather conditions allow, reaches the area known as the Rambleta. The rest of the ascent, must be made on foot. Access to the peak (along the Telesfero Bravo path) is restricted and you need to apply for a permit to reach the summit whether you are on foot or going by cable car.
Permits can be applied for in person, by post, fax or email to the Administrative Office of the Teide National Park, located in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (permits cannot be granted in the park itself).
If you do not have a permit, you are allowed to go in the direction of the viewpoints for the Fortaleza and the Pico Viejo using other paths that leave from the Rambleta. These offer excellent views.
Year after year, this small city of roughly 30,000 habitants is a favourite amongst Tenerife's visitors; yet the influx of tourism has not chipped away at Puerto de la Cruz's easy-going, small town personality. Its port village heritage is still easily seen in the little blue and white fishing boats bobbing in the sea as well as in the traditional Canarian aesthetic - colourful stucco homes, vibrant potted flowers, airy balconies - gracing its picturesque streets.
Situated along Tenerife's fascinating northern coastline and at the foot of Mount Teide, Puerto de la Cruz's natural environs - rolling hills, natural parks and banana plantations - provide the stunning backdrop to this unique urban gem. Puerto de la Cruz was declared a city of Tourist Interest back in 1955, and with one visit to this traditional yet modern town you'll see why.
The capital city of Santa Cruz is one of Tenerife's best kept secrets; a bustling, vibrant port city, set at the foot of the stunning Anaga Mountains. With its roots steeped in history and its outlook resolutely on the 21st century, this is a city that has everything for the discerning traveller.
Santa Cruz offers beach, plazas, parks, museums, shopping, theatre, art, fine dining and a lively nightlife. It's large enough to provide an endless variety of things to do and see, yet compact enough to explore on foot and by tram and with all year sunshine and a balmy average annual temperature of 22° Celsius in the shade, Santa Cruz offers the perfect combination of city and sub-tropical island.
One of the main resorts in the south of Tenerife, and one of the most popular, only 15 minutes drive from the South Airport. Los Cristianos, originally a quiet fishing village is centred around the original harbour area. The harbour is still home to a number of small fishing boats, which sell their daily catch amongst a few small stalls. Popular daily excursions to go Whale & Dolphin watching also leave from here, and it is the main port for the ferry to the neighbouring island of La Gomera. Los Cristianos boasts 2 of the best long golden sandy beaches in the south, with a pretty coastal promenade that stretches around to Playa de las Americas, with a view to La Gomera. Los Cristianos has always been well known to families, with children welcome everywhere. A wealth of Spanish and international bars, restaurants and cafes line the streets, and you can head to the main square for the local fiestas and traditional entertainment. Los Cristianos is also a popular place on a Sunday due to the very large market held here, or you can head into the cobbled back streets where you can find many small shops selling everything from handmade jewellery, local crafts, clothes, household items and perfumeries as well as liquor stores to make the most of the duty free shopping.
Nestled in the southern hills overlooking Los Cristianos you will find the village of Chayofa, a quiet residential area of villas and bungalows. The area in general is well known for its fantastic restaurants. Enjoy a quiet drink in the Regency Club located in Chayofa, venture down to the resort of Los Cristianos, or go exploring a short distance away in the neighbouring villages for more traditional cuisine and a taste of the Spanish life. Chayofa is also home to the Parque Las Aguillas, a well known animal adventure park, specialising in birds of prey.
The smaller, family friendly resorts next to Playa de las Americas are Torviscas and Fanabe, both belonging to the area of Costa Adeje, connected along the coastal promenade that starts in Los Cristianos. From the coast both resorts stretch back towards the hills, both these resorts offer large sandy beaches, with plenty of family activities on and off the beach. An array of shops and centres, cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets, can be found throughout the resort. The local market comes to the area on Thursdays and Saturdays, and the most prestigious and beautiful beach of Playa del duque is also in this area.
La Caleta is a beautiful quiet fishing village, set in a secluded bay, and one of the smallest resorts in south Tenerife. Located 25 minutes from the south airport, just below Costa Adeje Golf course, La Caleta is the last resort in the area of Costa Adeje, offering a peaceful and tranquil setting for a relaxing family holiday, but within walking distance to plenty of amenities.
The coastal promenade that starts in Los Cristianos ends just a few metres from the village of La Caleta. Not surprisingly there are many well known fish restaurants in the bay of La Caleta, and some excellent international ones too, a perfect place to watch the sunset or wander down to the quiet crushed pebble beach at the start of the village, just before the fishing bay.
Located off the main coastal road, on the West coast of south Tenerife, is the resort of Callao Salvaje, 30 minutes drive from the South airport. Callao Salvaje is a self contained resort, with a mix of residential properties and a few hotels. The coastal area is very rocky in this part of South Tenerife and there is a newly built, man-made beach with traditional dark volcanic sand. The resort is a friendly one, popular with English residents and tourists, and has plenty of bars restaurants and mini markets. Its' location, being between the main resorts of Costa Adeje and Los Gigantes, makes it an ideal location for exploring.
Located just 10 minutes drive from the south airport are 2 resorts offering fabulous golf courses. The main resort of Golf Del Sur is the larger of the 2, Amarilla Golf being the other, smaller resort, with a new marina situated between them. There are plenty of amenities in the resorts, and a natural coastal walkway provides a perfect area to stroll from Amarilla Golf to the Golf del Sur. The area doesn’t have any sandy beaches, however the large natural beaches of El Medano can be found a short drive away. The area is a perfect base in which to explore the many traditional and small villages that dot this part of the island and the local market can also be found on a Friday in between the 2 resorts.
Playa La Arena resort is approximately 12 miles from Mount Teide National Park, Tenerife’s inland natural wonder. Reina Sofia, Tenerife’s south airport, is under 19 miles from Playa La Arena.
Playa La Arena on the west coast of Tenerife has a stunning natural beach formed of black sand. The resort behind it is a growing tourist centre. It’s a quieter spot than some of Tenerife’s more lively resorts, so would suit those in need of a relaxing holiday.
From Playa La Arena you can enjoy the stunning black cliffs, black sandy beaches and little coves that characterise this region of Tenerife. Clear weather permitting, you can see across the water to La Gomera.
For watersports, wind-surfing and diving lessons and equipment are available, while there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby to amuse the family between beach sessions.
The Music Hall Tavern is a comedy dinner show staged at the Colliseum, Castillo San Miguel, in the south of the island. The show is on every Wednesday night but from May changes to every Sunday night.
The entry price includes a three course meal with drinks included during the service and is suitable for families. After dinner the sequin clad cast then take to the stage with live singing, dancing and side splitting comedy routines.
This hilarious comedy show will have you entertained from start to finish.
On the south coast of Tenerife, Playa de Fanabe is a well established area with plenty of facilities to suit all tastes and budgets.
There are 3 separate beaches in the area: Playa Fanabe, Playa Torviscas and Playa Del Duque, all being home to a range of watersports, deep sea fishing and dolphin and whale watching boat trips.
Playa Fanabe also has a diverse range of restaurants including fish restaurants serving fresh fish caught in the area that day. For those who enjoy a bit of retail therapy, there are 3 large shopping centres including the Gran Sur Shopping Centre as well as a local market on a Thursday and Saturday. The sea front promenade can be joined from anywhere along the coast and continues in either direction where you will find a host of bars, shops, beach cafes and restaurants.
For a great family day out, Playa Fanabe is also located close to the bustling resort of Las Americas which is home to the popular Siam Park.