Holidays on the island of Tenerife, Spain

What you need to know before a trip to Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean.

In winter the temperature on the island never drops below +18 ° C, and in summer never rises above +29 ° C, so Tenerife is called the island of eternal spring. Tourists come here all year round.

The island is divided into two parts, the southern and the northern part, by a volcanic ridge. The sparse landscapes of the desert south differ from the north, where everything is green and in bloom.

My parents and I went to Tenerife in 2018. To admire the unusual scenery, we rented a car and drove around the entire island. In two weeks we had time to sunbathe on black sand, climb to the top of a volcano, pet lemurs, and eat a lot of seafood. The plan is to go back to Tenerife again. There is so much to see there that it is impossible to explore everything in one trip.

I will tell you about the main attractions, resorts and beaches of Tenerife. The article has a lot of useful information about food, lodging, and rental agencies, so it’s easy to navigate your way through the trip.

What you’ll learn

Introduction

Country : Spain.

Where is it : Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

How long is the flight : from Moscow on average 7,5 hours.

Difference with Moscow: 2 hours in summer and 3 hours in winter.

When is the season: All year round.

Average temperature : summer +27 ° C, spring and autumn +24 ° C, winter +18 ° C.

Language : Spanish.

✈️ Travel

From Russia to Tenerife directly fly Aeroflot and S7, as well as the Spanish Iberia. Ticket prices from Moscow start at 22 000 R round trip. There are no direct flights from St. Petersburg.

In my experience, it is more profitable to fly to Tenerife from Europe. For example, in 2018 the flight Helsinki – Tenerife with a connection in Barcelona cost 11,000 P round trip. On the way you can drink sangria and climb the Sagrada Familia.

Tenerife has two airports – South and North. Planes from Russia arrive in the south, at the airport Reina Sofia. European flights most often land in northern Los Rodeos.

️ The resorts and beaches of Tenerife

When I vacationed on the island in 2018, 12 of Tenerife’s beaches were awarded the Blue Flag. This means that the coast has crystal clear water and developed infrastructure. The award is given once a year: each season, the commission again checks the beaches for high standards.

Playa de Las Americas is the most popular resort on the southern coast. It is always warm there because the mountain range protects the city from the winds and vagaries of the weather.

In my opinion, Playa de Las Americas is a branch of Turkey in the Canary Islands. There are tall, modern hotels and entertainment for all tastes: rowdy parties, catamaran rides and hanging out with compatriots at the bar. This resort may also suit tourists who prefer group tours with a guide in Russian.

From the port of Los Gigantes runs pleasure boats to the famous “walls of hell. This is the name of the powerful steep cliffs of Los Gigantes, formed from basalt volcanic rock. On a boat ride you can meet dolphins and whales. Still from the water there is a view of the picturesque Masca Gorge, where the mountain settlement is located.

I did not swim in Los Gigantes because our goal was to take a boat ride and take pictures with whales. I didn’t get to take selfies with them, but meeting a flock of dolphins gave me a real thrill.

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Playa de la Arena is a small cozy beach with volcanic sand. I really liked it there: there are fewer tourists in the area, so you can comfortably sit and meditate. But the beach has a minus: on a hot day, the black sand gets so hot that you can burn your heels.

Puerto de Santiago. Because of volcanic activity in Tenerife, many open natural pools were formed. This is a part of the ocean off the coast, which is enclosed by solidified lava.

One of these pools is El Tancón, it is located in the town of Puerto de Santiago. Swimming in the pool is allowed if the ocean is calm. During waves, the pool is hidden by water.

Puerto de la Cruz is one of the largest northern cities in Tenerife. We walked through the narrow streets of the old town and admired the mountainous landscapes of the island. There’s always a fresh breeze from the ocean, so the resort will be comfortable for those who can’t stand the heat.

Even Puerto de la Cruz will suit those who like a quiet holiday. Locals live here, and among the tourists few Russians. Most of the rest in the town are Englishmen. The highlight of the resort – “Costa Martianez”. This complex of 7 outdoor pools with sea water directly on the ocean.

Los Gigantes, Puerto de Santiago and Playa de la Arena are located close to each other – the boundaries between them almost erased. It’s quiet there: few tourists and no high-rise hotels. But there are cozy taverns and picturesque promenades. Pictured – Los Gigantes

What I liked most in Tenerife was swimming in the ocean pools. The water in them is calm and warm, even though the ocean is raging nearby.

San Andrés is a cute village at the foot of Mount Anaga. At the eastern end of the village are the ruins of the fort of the same name, which protected the residents from pirates since 1706.

San Andrés is famous for Las Torresitas beach. The sand for it was specially brought from the Sahara. The beach is comfortable to swim on: the rocks protect the village from the wind, and the waves break on a specially built stone dam.

Benijo beach is considered one of the most beautiful wild beaches on the island. There are black volcanic sand, strong waves, and rocks that resemble crocodile teeth. There are no changing rooms or showers on Beniho. The only infrastructure is garbage cans. But it is worth going there for the most incredible sunsets on the island.

Before you go, I advise you to pay attention to the tide schedule. The beach is gentle, so at high tide it is almost completely hidden under the water.

Sunset at Benijo Beach. Romantics note: this is the perfect place to propose to your girlfriend

Attractions in Tenerife

There is a lot to see in Tenerife. For example, in the cultural capital of the island, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, stands the main cathedral. In Santiago del Teide, almond orchards bloom, and in La Orotava, there are preserved buildings from the 16th century. Near Icod de los Vinos, an 18 km long volcanic cave was formed. There are also several parks and nature reserves on the island where animals roam. It was there that I fed lemurs from my hand for the first time in my life.

These are the main attractions of the island that I remember.

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Dormant volcano Teide. It last erupted in 1909. The scenery on the way to Teide is called Martian because of the reddish hue and relief created by the frozen lava.

The volcano is located in a national park. There you can walk hiking trails and climb to the summit of Teide. Compared to the coast, it is very cold on the volcano: maximum +10 °C. I prepared myself and brought a jacket and a hat. In the cable car cabin, other tourists looked at me with curiosity and at the top with envy.

“Loro Park is the most popular park on the island. Thousands of parrots once lived there: “loro” in Spanish means parrot. Today it is a whole entertainment complex. The park area resembles a tropical forest, where in addition to birds live crocodiles, chimpanzees, jaguars and other exotic animals. Every day in the park put on a show with the participation of orcas, seals and dolphins.

The dragon tree is the largest tree I have ever seen. It is 20 meters tall and 10 meters in girth. The tree grows in the town of Icod de los Vinos. Scientists argue about its age: some say the tree is 1,500 years old, others say 3,000. The exact age cannot be determined because the Dragon Tree has no annual rings.

Garachico is a northern town rebuilt on solidified lava after the eruption of the Trevejo volcano in 1706. There are many El Caleton lava pools here. When the lava flowed out of the volcano, it collided with water and solidified, so all the baths are unusually shaped.

Money.

The currency in Tenerife is the euro. Cards are accepted everywhere except in markets and public transport. ATMs are plentiful, but local banks charge a fee. The exact amount of it I do not remember.

If you take cash, I advise you to change it into small denominations – 10, 20 or 50 euros each. Otherwise the vendor may not have change.

Cafes and restaurants. It is better to try local food in small cafes away from tourist spots. Good and inexpensive fish restaurants in Tenerife are in the fishing town of Los Brigos and the village of Tachao. A dinner for three with appetizers, grilled fish and a liter of house wine cost us 38 € (2812 P ).

In restaurants at the request of customers leftovers are put in a container and given away. Some tourists are embarrassed to take away the food, and for good reason: in this way Spaniards understand that the client liked the dishes.

Options for a homemade dinner in Tenerife. Cooking with local products is a pleasure. A kilo of fresh mussels in the store will cost 3,5 € (259 P )

Transportation

The best way to explore the island is to rent a car. I advise you to book it in advance online, because it’s better value for money. You will also be able to choose a good car instead of settling for what’s left in the fleet.

Public transportation in Tenerife includes a streetcar that runs between Santa Cruz and La Laguna, as well as buses and cabs.

Buses are called “gua-gua” in local slang. They are well connected: comfortable bright green buses pass through the island’s most popular beaches and attractions. Check the schedule and ticket prices at the official website.

Lodging.

Instead of a five-star hotel, we chose an apartment overlooking the sea and palm trees near Playa de la Arena

Internet.

WiFi works in cafes, hotels, and entertainment venues. At home, there can be problems with it. For example, nominally there was wifi in our apartment, but in fact it was constantly turned off. The speed was also very low.

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Souvenirs

⚠️ Safety rules

In general, Tenerife is safe and friendly, but in popular resorts there are petty thieves. When leaving the car, I advise you to put all things in the trunk. Insurance won’t cover broken glass if someone is attracted to your jacket or iPhone charger.

If something happens.

There is no Russian embassy in the Canaries, only an honorary consulate of the Russian Federation.

Phone: +34 928 49-22-22.

Mobile: +34 637 83-17-73.

We are looking for people who travel independently. If you have organized vacation in Russia, CIS countries, popular resorts or more exotic places – share your experience with us.

Tours in Tenerife.

The volcanic island of Tenerife c mid-century has become one of the most popular resorts in Europe, and this love is justified – this unique climate and natural beauty is nowhere else. The island is rich in both natural and man-made attractions, and you can swim here all year round.

GEOGRAPHICAL REFERENCE

Tenerife is one of the seven islands of the Canary archipelago, washed on all sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and is part of Micronesia. The island is separated from Morocco by about 300 km, and from Spain, to which Tenerife belongs, by 1,500 km. The area of Tenerife is 2,057 square kilometers, the coastline is 342 km. The island was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption approximately 12 million years ago, and since then volcanic activity has repeatedly influenced the island’s topography. A large mountain range stretches across Tenerife, dividing it into southern and northern parts. The unique geography of the island could not but affect its climate. There are 30 micro-climatic zones, such a variety of weather, and as a result, the flora and fauna, can not be found anywhere else.

The highest point of Tenerife and the whole of Spain is peak Teide, its height is 3718 meters. The territory of the island is one of the most protected in the Spanish Kingdom, there is a record number of national parks, the largest of which is the Teide National Park.

TABLE OF DISTANCES:
Table of distances between Tenerife South airport and resorts
Tenerife South Airport (Reina Sofia) El Medano Playa los Cristianos Playa de las Americas, Arona Costa Adeje Playa Paraiso Guía de Isora Los Gigantes Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Tenerife South Airport (Reina Sofia) 10 15 17 25 30 35 40 90
El Medano 10 25 27 35 40 45 50 80
Playa los Cristianos 15 25 2 10 25 30 35 95
Playa de las Americas, Arona 17 27 2 8 13 18 23 97
Costa Adeje 25 35 10 8 5 10 15 107
Playa Paraiso 30 40 25 13 5 5 10 110
Guía de Isora 35 45 30 18 10 5 5 115
Los Gigantes 40 50 35 23 15 10 5 110
Santa Cruz de Tenerife 90 80 95 97 107 110 115 110

CLIMATE AND SEASONALITY

Tenerife’s climate is a warm and sunny subtropical spring, which is why it is called the “island of eternal spring”. There is almost no change of seasons here, so bathing and sunbathing are available all year round. The only thing you might need is a light sweater for an evening stroll or a trip to the peak of Mount Teide.

The mildness and consistency of the weather on the island is determined by the Atlantic Ocean. Warm underwater currents warm the atmosphere in the winter and trade winds cool the island in the summer. The mountains divide the island into two parts, with the north being quite different from the south. The north is wetter and cooler, so there is a lot of tropical vegetation. In the south, it is warm and dry, but at the same time there is no extreme heat. The resort season lasts all year round. The average air temperature in summer is about +24 ° C (maximum +40 ° C), in winter – about +18 ° C. The water temperature fluctuates around +20°C.

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TABLE OF TEMPERATURES:
Average daily annual weather statistics for Tenerife
January February March April May June
Air 21 21 22 23 24 24
Water 19 18 19 19 20 20
Humidity, % 66 66 62 64 60 59
Precipitation, mm. 37,3 35,5 24,3 15,2 3,8 1,3
Sunny hours a day 6 7 7 8 9 10
July August September October November December
Air 25 26 26 23 21 19
Water 20 21 22 21 19 18
Humidity, % 56 58 63 65 67 66
Precipitation, mm. 0,6 8,5 18,5 38,9 51
Sunny hours a day 11 11 9 7 6 6

TIME DIFFERENCE

The difference with Moscow is minus two hours.

The state language is Spanish (Castilian). In the villages and small towns, a dialect of Canary is spoken. On the island of Homer is a true linguistic artifact – Silbo, the whistling language of the ancient Guanches. A large part of the population employed in the service sector speaks English, and often Russian.

CITY

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital, owes its name to the Spanish conquistadors who settled here at the turn of the 14th and 16th centuries. Over time, the small settlement has developed into a modern, beautiful city with its own port, historical center and business districts. The brightest event in the life of the capital is the annual Carnival in February, which is considered one of the most colorful feasts of Europe and is almost on a par with the scale of Brazil. However, the rest of the time the city has something to surprise travelers.

The coastline of Santa Cruz stretches for nearly 60 kilometers, so there are some of the most beautiful and landscaped beaches on the island. First of all, Las Teresitas, covered with atypical for local golden sand – it was specially imported from the Sahara in the 1970s. The “black beaches” of natural volcanic origin, such as Taganana and Playa de Las Gaviotas, are no less picturesque. Surfing, windsurfing and other water sports can be practiced in the surrounding area.

There are also several diving centers for all levels of training. The underwater caves of interest are the Grouper’s Cave and La Cueva Del Roquete, as well as the sunken 70-meter ship Carbonero, favored by sharks, rays and barracudas. Santa Cruz does not have many official historical monuments, but there are picturesque streets, cozy churches and, of course, the famous facades of houses in the Canarian style. The city has a lot of shopping malls, as well, because Tenerife is a duty-free zone.

The Canary Islands are part of the Kingdom of Spain. For citizens of the Russian Federation a Schengen visa is necessary, because Spain is a member of the European Union and is a member of the Schengen Union.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Tenerife is over 20 million years old. The first mention of the island can be found in the works of ancient historians and philosophers, Plato, Homer, Pliny the Elder spoke about it. The origin of the indigenous people of Tenerife, the Guanches, is shrouded in mystery. They lived in caves hollowed out in the rocks, were engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and hunting. It is noteworthy that the Guanches were distinguished by their tall stature, blond hair and eyes.

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The modern history of the island began with the conquest of the Canary Islands by the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century. Tenerife was granted free port status in 1852. Until recently, the main sources of income for the locals were fishing and agriculture. Today the island’s economy is based on tourism. Modern Tenerife is the largest tourist center in the Canaries and one of the best in Spain.

Today, there are about 906.8 thousand people, or 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. The most populous cities are Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristobal. More than 90% of the residents of Tenerife consider their religion Catholicism. Important Christian holidays are reflected in the official calendar, which means that these days are usually a day off on the island.

MONEY

The currency unit is the euro (EUR). Currency exchange is done in banks. They are open from 9.00 to 14.00 from Monday to Friday and to 13.00 on Saturdays. Also exchange offices are located in most hotels, but it is not very profitable to exchange currency at the airport. Visa and Mastercard holders can get money from ATMs or use their cards to pay at stores and restaurants.

PHONE CALLS

To call Russia, you need to dial the Russian code (007), then the code of the desired city and phone number. To call from Russia to Tenerife, dial the code of Spain (+34), then the code of Tenerife (822 or 922).

CUISINE

The traditional cuisine of Tenerife is a symbiosis of several cultures. From the Guanches came the love of fish, meat, fruit and cornmeal, from the Spaniards – potatoes, wine, jamon and spices. The most popular dishes are potatoes baked in jacket or boiled in seawater, all kinds of vegetable stews, fried fish of all varieties, a variety of sauces and special recipes for cooking rabbit.

HOLIDAYS

The most important holiday in Tenerife is Carnival, which takes place in late February – early March and is one of the brightest events not only in the Canaries, but also in the world. It takes place in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz. Each year, the event is attended by about a million tourists from around the world. The Carnival in Tenerife is considered the second largest and most popular after Rio de Janeiro.

SHOPPING

Due to the fact that in the Canaries there is no import tax, the prices for non-food items are much lower than in the stores in continental Spain or in Russia. On the island you can buy clothes of famous brands, especially Spanish, perfumes, alcohol, household appliances. There are seasonal and holiday sales: the winter one starts on January 6 and lasts till the end of February, the summer one – from July 1 till the end of August. At this time, discounts can reach 70-90%. In addition, the island has a large number of stock stores of famous brands, where you can inexpensively buy things from the old collections.

As for souvenirs, then usually tourists as gifts bring local sauces, jamon, goat cheese, palm honey, local wine, pottery, embroidery, various jewelry and jewelry.

TRANSPORT

The island has a wide network of bus routes. Buses are comfortable, most of them have air conditioning. They connect the resort points of the island with not only the major population centers, but also with the sights. Armed with a map and bus schedule, you can travel around the island with a minimum amount of money.

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