Situated just off the North-West African coast, Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, conquered by Spain in 1495. Like all the Canary Islands, Tenerife is the product of volcanic activity, and small earthquakes and tremors have been recorded as recently as 2002. The island’s volcanic past has created some interesting features, including the Teide Mountain which is the highest point in Spain (3718m) and the black-sand beaches of Los Cristianos. Blessed with a consistently warm climate, the island has undergone a tourist boom in recent decades, especially in the Southern Coastal area of Arona, which now possesses a number of well-developed resorts, catering mainly to British and German tourists.


Tenerife boasts many miles of sun-drenched sandy beaches, especially along the Southern Coast around the tourist resorts of Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Americas and Costa Adeje. The Northern city of Puerto De La Cruz has the recently regenerated dark-sand beach of Jardín, surrounded by palm trees and hotels, as well as the series of pools known as the Lago Martianez.

With a climate that remains sunny all year round there is plenty of scope for avoiding the high-peak summer season, when the beaches are particularly crowded. The southern tourist resorts are especially well developed, catering for families and possessing a range of facilities.

Near the Costa del Silencio lies the seabed of Punta de Rasca, a nature reserve for whales, which along with the protected natural area of Malpais de Rasca offers scuba divers an engaging experience. Various dive centres offer PADI training courses, and the underwater volcanic rock formations and marine life make Tenerife a good spot for scuba divers of any ability. The South coast is also a good place to watch the orca and pilot whale colonies which can be seen any time of year, in boats from Los Cristianos.

Golf courses are spread out across the island, and the warm climate has helped make Tenerife a top golfing destination. The courses are very tourist friendly; none require membership and all are happy to rent out clubs. Many are located close to tourist resorts, and offer beautiful views and easy access to hotels and beaches.

The northern city of San Cristobal de la Laguna, previously the island’s capital, was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1999 in order to protect the well preserved historical buildings dating back to the 15th Century. This pretty university town, with its museums and exhibitions, is one of the most diverting cultural and religious sites on the island.

Tenerife’s natural beauty continues away from the coast, with 48 protected areas including the Mount Teide National Park. Here Mount Teide provides a backdrop for glorious views over the volcanic landscape that has made this the most visited area in Spain. Tenerife’s volcanic past and different altitudes mean the island posses a wide range of landscapes and ecosystems that are well worth exploring, including the four nature reserves of Ijuana, Pirajal, Roques de Anaga and Pinoleris.


Like all the Canary Islands, Tenerife is partly tax free, meaning that items like tobacco, alcohol and perfume are cheaper than in other EU countries.

At Armenime the Palace of Pearls (open 7 days a week) has a vast range of pearls and jewellery. Across the south the usual tourist shops complement the local craftworks in pottery, embroidery and sculptures made from volcanic rock.

Several of the larger cities have shopping centres, like the Corté Ingles in Santa Cruz. The capital also has boutiques selling high fashion clothes, and a flea-market on Sundays.

Nightlife and Eating Out

At night the island comes alive, offering a range of entertainment to meet every taste. There are many restaurants serving local cuisine, based mainly around fresh sea-food, vegetables and fruit, but one may have to leave the main tourist resorts to find them.

Local fish specialities include octopus, vieja sea bream, prawns and sardines. For an interesting side-dish, try papas arrugadas, a buttery potato dish often served with garlic sauce. A good way to try the local cuisine is in a tapas bar, where an array of small dishes allow you to sample a range of flavours.

Tenerife’s many bars and clubs open in the evenings and go on until late. In the South there are numerous clubs ranging from jazz and Spanish dance shows to the many raucous discos that clutter the resort of Playa de Las Americas. Alternatively, the Casino Taoro in Puerta de la Cruz offers a more upmarket experience. The elegant surroundings make for a refined atmosphere in this century old establishment, with a fine restaurant and bar to distract you from the tables.

For the homesick tourist, there are the inevitable 'English' and 'Irish' pubs, located mostly around the resorts. Though normally filled with Brits, other nationalities are welcome and the atmosphere is generally enjoyable.

Tourist Information

Tourism and Transport officePlaza de los Derechos Humanos.Edificio de usos multiples 6ª and 7ª Floor35003 Las Palmas de Gran CanariaTel: +34 928 384 248

Information BureauSanta Cruz de Tenerife (Plaza de España) – Tel: +34 922 23 95 92Reina Sofia Airport (Granadilla - Abona) – Tel: +34 922 77 30 06Puerto de la Cruz (Plaza de Europa) – Tel: +34 922 38 60 00

Additional Information: Language: SpanishCurrency: EuroEmergency Number: 061


Reina Sofia Airport (also known as Tenerife South) receives flights from many European destinations, and is located 64km from the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife which can be reached by Route 341. The large resorts of Los Cristianos and Las Americas are easily reached by regular bus and taxi services, and by car along the Tf-1 motorway.

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