Dan Regan, Sendmeaway Vacations & Quest Travel Adventures 2019
If you are an avid traveler to Europe and have “done” the big spots like Rome, Paris and Athens, the island of Tenerife may not be unknown to you. For the normal traveler this is a gem hidden in the Mediterranean and a world away from its Spanish mainland.
Known as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’, Tenerife isn’t your typical island getaway. Busier than it’s neighbors, this unique European island is a captivating destination with remarkable geography from desert landscapes to lush green mountains and stunning seascapes. (And did we mention 75 degree year-round weather?) Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a solo traveler, Tenerife is a must to add to your 2018 bucket list.
1. It has the perfect climate and weather. The largest of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife is one of the few places you can visit in Europe year-round and still expect some great weather. With an average temperature of 75 degrees year-round and more sunlight than Miami, the sun is almost always guaranteed to be shining on your trip.
Imagine this: the volcanic landscapes, boardwalks and resorts of Maui, combined with the food, wine, port and Spanish colonial architecture of Barcelona, and the white & black sand beaches and nature of Costa Rica on one little island. Whatever your preference, you’ll be sure to find the climate you’re looking for on Tenerife.
2. It’s home to a huge festival.
Every year, crowds of people come to experience Carnival: the biggest fiesta bash of the year in Tenerife. The Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish Carnivals, and it is known around the world for its popular ambience.
Carnival takes place in towns all over Tenerife during February and March, but the biggest celebrations take place in Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz. For fifteen days, thousands in fancy dresses, wigs and face paint fill the city with sequins, feathers, music, and non-stop fun. Here’s the key to experiencing an unforgettable Carnival: put on your costume, dive in and party all night.
3. You can indulge in luxury hotels. Whether you’re looking for a hotel full of luxury, music, authenticity, easy accessibility, or a resort that is family oriented, Tenerife has it all. With more 5 star hotels than Madrid or Barcleona, the island has a wide range of accommodation options that will make your stay extraordinary no matter your budget. Indulge your family in luxury at the Gran Melia Palacio de Isora and the Bahia del Duque or leave the family at home and experience romance at the Hotel San Roque.
4. Or in the #1 Spa in Europe. For those looking for the ultimate luxury experience, the Oriental Spa Garden at the Hotel Botanico in Puerto de la Cruz should be next on your list. Ranked the #1 spa in Europe by Conde Nast, the 5-star facility gets its thermal spa water from the volcano, Mt. Teide. The spa not only has thermal pools, saunas and steam rooms, but also gives you the option to indulge in specialized treatments such as chocolate treatments, wine therapy or volcanic body wraps.
5. The beaches are breathtaking and unique. With 250 miles of coastline and 43 miles of beaches, Tenerife is the perfect place to sit back and relax with your feet in the water. The bonus? The temperature climate allows you to enjoy the beach along with all the other adventure and excursion activities. Whether you decide to surround yourself with palm trees and stretches of golden sand at the Playa del Duque or volcanic black sand in the southwest coast at Playa de la Arena, the options are endless.
6. Authentic food and wine is a hallmark. Unique flavors, colors and aromas: Spanish wines. In Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, wine holds up to this promise. Internationally recognized, this area is home to two of Tenerife’s five destinations of origin: Icoden Daute Isora and Abona.
And for all you foodies out there, cuisine is another great hallmark of Tenerife’s culture. Traditional food in Tenerife is rustic but simple, and the favor combinations and rustic ingredients are worth trying. Just as the terrain of the island significantly varies, so does the produce. Traditional marketplaces in towns and villages across the Island offer wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, often grown on organic farms.
7. Guilt-free shopping is actually possible. With no VAT IGIC (local tax), treating yourself to a shopping trip is a lot less guilt-free. Generally at 7%, shopping in Tenerife means everything is cheaper – plus you’ll find all the top boutiques and fashion houses here. Compared to 18% in the rest of Spain and Europe.
8. Tenerife is home to the #1 zoo in the world. While many islands claim to be family friendly, Tenerife takes it up a notch. Not only is Loro Parque a stunning wildlife park and aquarium, but is also regarded by some as the best zoo in Europe. In fact, it’s even ranked the #1 zoo in the world by Trip Advisor in 2017. See dolphins perform right before your eyes, watch the Orcas show or stop by and say hi to the Penguins in their frozen habitat.
9. And the #1 waterpark in the world. Siam Park is one of the biggest and best waterparks in Europe for those seeking an adrenaline rush. So good in fact that it was rated as the #1 waterpark in the world by Trip Advisor in 2016 and 2017. Set in a Thai-themed paradise, the lush, green and tranquil environment makes it great for any ages to enjoy. Thrilling rides like the Tower of Power, The Dragon, and the Mekong Rapids will set your heart racing. If you’re in the mood to relax, visit the bars or restaurants on the white sandy beach. It’s also great for kids and corporate receptions.
10. The Sunset and Stars Experience is something you can’t miss out on. Experience all Teide has to offer at 12,198 feet during this unforgettable sunset and stargazing experience. As you watch the sky transform into different shades of red and pink, relax and sip on chilled wine from Altos de Tevejos, the local winery. Then, enjoy a Canarian dinner created by Michelin Star Chefs before you behold the stars and go on a journey to explore the night sky like never before. With a guide and licensed astronomer, it’s easier for anyone- they set up telescopes to gaze galaxies and planets tens of thousands of light years away.
You can trek to Spain’s highest peak. Feel on top of the world on Mt. Teide. A UNESCO World Heritage site that more than three million people visit yearly is on Spain’s highest peak at 12,198 feet above sea level. To get there, you’ll take a three- hour hike along Teide’s winding trails, which lead you to Altavista, located at a height of 10,728 feet. After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll have an hour hike remaining before you reach the summit. If hiking isn’t up your alley- you can always take the cable car, which runs every day. When you make it to the top, the view is unlike any other- it leaves you surrounded by the entire landscape of Tenerife and the perfect pyramid like reflection of the volcano over the “Sea of Clouds”.
11. It’s home to some of the best island golf.
With nine original golf courses sprinkled across the island, there’s something for every taste and skill level in Tenerife. From Buenavista Golf situated atop cliffs overlooking the azure Atlantic with the dramatic Teno mountain range as a backdrop, to the stately and exclusive Real Club de Golf, the second oldest golf club in Spain with breathtaking views of Mt. Teide, you’ll find it all on Tenerife.
12. Oh, it’s also home to the ‘Hidden Village’. Don’t let its small size fool you. The tiny mountain village Masca is one of the most striking parts on the Island of Tenerife. Located in the northwest at the foot of the Teno Mountains, it is known as the famous “hidden village” and is a must-see for sightseers. With rocky ravines and foliage and flora, the beautiful town is the perfect spot to take a photo-shoot. Or, hike down the ravine to the secluded beach where you’ll pick up your boat taxi back to the local port next to Los Gigantes.
13. Tenerife Islanders are some of the nicest people. On Tenerife, the Islanders live life with a passion and always have a smile on their faces. They welcome all visitors with open arms and their friendly disposition. Yes, drivers do stop at pedestrian crossings and give directions. After visiting, many have decided to make their short stay permanent. And most of them also speak English as many UK tourists flourish to the island year round in search of great weather and family activities to choose from.
14. It’s closer than you think. The island is a 2.5 hour flight from mainland Spain and many flights depart for Europe each day. With two airports with flights to 150+ cities around the world. Never has there been an easier commute to discover an unknown paradise.
15. You can travel around the island easily. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands but you can still easily travel from the north to the south of the island in one day. In fact, it only takes 45 minutes to go from the North to the southern side.You can travel around the island on public transport or by car if you are looking for more flexibility. Tenerife’s relativity small size has one definite perk: its impossible to get lost on the island.
16. And visit the famous lava pools. Cobbled stones, beautiful Churches and a Canarian vibe is not all that Garachico has to offer. What you really need to see is along “El Caleton”, where you will find the famous natural salt-water lava formed pools, great for the whole family. The ponds vary in depth and shape, have a lifeguard in the summer, restaurant set on the lava, parking facilities and a beach nearby. Need we say more?
17. It’s also a safe destination. A Spanish, European and family destination, Tenerife is known as being a very safe island, which allows you to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. Despite frequent UK tabloids that talk of a pending volcanic eruption, the island continues to be monitored by scientists and the real geologists agree that all is safe.
18. There’s something for everyone. While other destinations make you choose between beaches, watersports, or the mountains, on Tenerife you don’t have to –it has it all! Go whale and dolphin watching, play golf, go hiking and diving, stargaze or party all night. There’s not much the island of Tenerife doesn’t have to offer.