Image by Philippe Teuwen via Flickr
Located in Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife’s rising popularity as a year-round holiday destination is only rising. That is hardly a surprise, the island is home to otherworldly volcanic landscapes, beautiful hikes through nature reserves, scenic golf courses, vibrant festivals, and beaches so picture-perfect, that turning into a beach bum is not just expected but highly encouraged. While there’s a whole lot of things to do in Tenerife, here are five incredible reasons why you’d want to go, so start planning your trip this year. After all, you don’t even have to wait for the right season!
Climb the Third Highest Volcano in the World
Image by andy via Flickr
Experience the adventure of a lifetime by climbing Mt. Teide, the highest peak in Spain at 3,718m, and the third highest in the world. Drive through the jaw-dropping scenery of Corona Forestal Natural Park and into the volcanic landscape of Teide National Park. Then take a cable car to enjoy dramatic views over the island, lava flows, and caldera. A short hike takes you through the moonscape to the crater of Mt. Teide, the highest point of Spain, from where you can see as far as some other islands and the Atlantic Sea. Time your visit so you can enjoy the sunset and watch the sky light up with shifting hues of rose and gold.
To see the Pyramids
Image by Colin Moss via Flickr
I assure you I don’t have Tenerife confused with Egypt but the pyramids I’m talking about are of a different kind. Tenerife’s Güímar Pyramids have long puzzled researchers, step pyramids that were earlier believed to be agricultural stone terraces but are in fact step pyramids such as those found in Peru. Visit the Ethnographic Park Pirámides de Güímar to see them and learn about the various theories that have sprung up around these unique archaeological structures.
Visit History in La Laguna
Image by Miguel Ángel García via Flickr
Take a walk through the pages of history with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife. The old town is full of character from the architecture dating to the 15th century such as the Cathedral of La Laguna and beautiful squares around which much of social life was centered. It’s worth trying to visit so you can see the festival of Semanta Santa and religious processions where men in pointed hoods and cloaks parade through the streets carrying a huge cross.
Image by Philippe Teuwen via Flickr
Did you think you had to get that expensive flight to Rio to finally experience this larger than life celebration at least once in your life? The good news is that you can time your visit to experience Carnaval in Santa Cruz de Tenerife when the capital of Tenerife comes alive with colorful dance shows, street shows, Latin American dancing and traditional music, fireworks, and grand parades. The Carnaval in Tenerife is second only to the celebration in Rio, so you know you’re in for the ultimate celebration. Bring out your finest feathers, stones, and glitter, and join in the fun.
Sample the Cuisine
Image by Secret Tenerife via Flickr
One of the highlights of a trip to Spain is definitely the food. Surprisingly, the cuisine can differ widely depending on which part of the country you’re in, whether it’s the delectable dishes of Costa Brava or the unique flavors of Basque Country, but it is truly difficult to come across a terrible meal when in Spain. While in Tenerife, it’s worth walking the extra mile to skip the touristy food and sampling the authentic cuisine at simple, no-frills, and often family run restaurants. Here you can expect simple fresh fish, meat, potatoes, and maize, and a greater use of spices, with influences more from the Caribbean than the rest of Spain. For a more contemporary take on the cuisine, head to restaurants where local chefs are passionate about showcasing the best of local flavors, places such as Los Roques and El Rincón de Juan Carlos.
Have you been to Tenerife in Spain? What would you add to this list?