Tenerife – Canary Islands

The largest of the Canary Islands is a fabulous world of contrasts. The idyllic combination of sun and sand, nature and leisure, have made it one of the most popular tourist resorts in Europe.

Its 269 kilometres of coast offer a wide variety of places to enjoy the sun and the sea.

In the north, where the countryside is steep with cliffs, you will find small bays and natural pools, whereas in the south, such as in the municipalities of Adeje and Arona, you will find numerous beaches, most of which are volcanic in origin.

You can swim and sunbathe all the year round thanks to the abundance of sunny days and moderate temperatures which range between 18 degrees in winter and 26 degrees in summer.

The high quality of its hotel infrastructure and the wide range of leisure activities and complimentary services are just a couple of the reasons which bring thousands of people every year to Tenerife for their holidays.

However, there is much more to discover on the island. Besides the Teide National Park and the Corona Forestal Natural Park, there are other beautiful natural areas on the island.

Diving in the waters around the island is also a spectacular experience as the volcanoes have given Tenerife an original sea floor.

Cycling, golf, hiking, surfing or hang gliding are just a few of the sports you can practice here.

Together with the famous Carnival, there are other feasts in the different towns of the island where you will be able to get to know typical handicrafts like openwork and cockade; the gastronomy, especially fish dishes, potatoes and cheeses; and other popular and traditional customs of the islanders.

 

Adeje

Situated in the south of the island of Tenerife, between the foothills of the Teide and the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean, is the Canary Islands town of Adeje.

Here, architectural heritage blends with highly contrasting natural landscapes, where visitors may indulge in whale-watching of follow trails through the ravines leading to the highest peak in Spain.

Luxury housing developments, with their own swimming pools, golf courses and all kinds of facilities, line the coast, combining tourism quality with respect for the environment.

Tenerife’s exquisite cuisine and the excellent temperatures for which the Canary Islands are famed accompany visitors throughout their stay.

The Teide, which at 3,718 metres is the highest peak in Spain, dominates the whole of Tenerife. Towards the south of the island, the volcanic aridity of this landscape gives way to ravines and lush vegetation.

As a result, the municipality of Adeje boasts the magnificent scenery of the protected space comprising the Adeje Massif and the so-called Barranco del Infierno (“Hell Ravine”). Numerous footpaths traverse this mountainous landscape, affording spectacular views of the Teide and the Atlantic coastline.

Meanwhile, the Adeje Coast boasts excellent waters, many of which have been awared the Blue Flag quality distinction.

Long sandy beaches fringe a coastline that offers not only a varied range of nautical sports but also deep-sea diving facilities. Sailing, windsurfing, submarinism and big game fishing provide a complement for other activities such as golf and paragliding.

Similarly, there are numerous companies specialising in the hire of sailing and fishing boats, as well as dolphin and whale watching trips.

The island of Tenerife is situated on a route frequented by these animals, the contemplation of which provides yet another of its attractions.

Beaches and housing developmentsAmongst a wide range of accommodation including hotels, apartments, villas and rural houses, an important role is played by large luxury housing developments such as San Eugenio, Playas del Duque and Fañabé.

After all, this municipality encompasses both the famous Las Américas beach and the Puerto Colón marina.The night life is provided by restaurants, night clubs and pavement cafés with non-stop entertainment overlooking the ocean.

This is an excellent time to sample the local cuisine, based above all on fish and seafood.

“Mojo picón” (a sauce made from oil, garlic and paprika) is served with most dishes, including the famous potato dish “papas arrugadas”. “Gofio canario”, flour made from wheat, corn or chickpeas, is also a typical ingredient of many tasty dishes, its origins dating back to the Guanches, the Pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the islands.

Recommended desserts include “huevos moles” (made with egg yolk and sugar), “bienmesabe” (sponge cakes made with “huevos moles”) and the so-called leche asada.(caramel milk).

The province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in which this island is located, produces numerous Label Guarantee wines, such as Abona, El Hierro, La Palma, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güimar, Valle de la Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.

These wines, the most outstanding of which are the Malvasía variety (made from muscadine grapesl), are all served in Adeje.The town of AdejeSituated a few kilometres inland, the town has an interesting historic quarter in which the essence of colonialism blends with the indigenous essence of these lands.

The so-called Casa Fuerte is a good example of the town’s rich history. This fort was constructed in the 16th century to combat attacks by pirates and corsairs.

For more than three hundred years it was the centre of the city and housed the important historical archive that is now kept at the Canary Islands Museum in Las Palmas.Also worthy of mention is the parish church of San Úrsula the simplicity of which is unusual for the 16th century when peninsular architecture tended to be much more elaborate.

Its two aisles, two doors on the main façade and the steeple are amongst its most emblematic elements, as are the choir and baptismal chapel.

The coffered ceiling is Mudejar, whilst the the reredoses are designed in the colonial Baroque style.

The Museum of Religious Art contains a magnificent collection of religious objects dating from the period between the 14th and 19th centuries, as well as several Gobelin tapestries from the French Royal Factory of Louis XIV.To gain a real insight into the traditional Canary Islands architecture of the 17th and 18th century, a visit to the Granero, a rural construction, is an absolute must.

Stone walls, wooden elements and a hipped roof form part of the structure of this old granary, which nowadays houses interesting exhibitions.Adede may be used as base from which to tour the southern part of the island of Tenerife and explore the Teide National Park, on the ravines of which is situated the magnificent parador.

In Vilaflor visitors may admire the so-called Lunar Landscape, whilst a tour along the coastline takes in beaches such as Las Américas, Los Cristianos, La Caleta and the Los Gigantes beach situated at the foot of the cliffs of the same name.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a beautiful port situated in Tenerife, the largest of the western islands in the Canary archipelago.

Around its important port are wide avenues, squares and exotic landscaped areas, not forgetting some beautiful examples of modernist architecture.

Every year, the island capital dresses in its best to welcome the Carnival, declared to be of international tourist interest and one of the most spectacular in Spain.

Its privileged setting allows you to enjoy beautiful beaches such as las Teresitas, get to know the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, declared World Heritage, or visit the Teide National Park, the symbol of the island.

The history of Santa Cruz de Tenerife stretches back just over four hundred years.

In fact, in spite of Alonso Fernández de Lugo disembarking on this coast in 1494, the city did not begin to develop until a century later, with its port being the motor for growth which has made this city into the second most populated in the Canary archipelago.

Around the port area is an urban route structured into boulevards and wide avenues marked out by a prominent legacy of modernist architecture.

In the nerve centre of the city, near the sea is the Plaza de España, built in the middle of the XX c. over the former site of the San Cristóbal castle (XVI c.)

Facing the square is the Tenerife Island Council building, the seat of the main Tenerife municipal corporation.

The building, an example of rationalist architecture, began to be built in the Neoclassic style in the mid-1930s under the direction of the architect Marrero Regalado.

Inside, its rooms stand out due to them housing a series of mural paintings by the Canary painter José Aguiar.

At this point several of the busiest streets and squares of the capital meet, such as the Plaza de la Candelaria.

Located on the site of the former fortress of San Cristóbal, its centre is presided over by the monument to the Triumph of Candelaria, a Neoclassic style sculpture in Carrara marble and attributed to the Italian Pasquale Bocciardo.

This enclave is overlooked by the eighteenth-century façade of the la Carta palace, a splendid example of baroque with Neoclassic touches. Not far from this palace are other important examples of civil architecture.

The Casino, built in the first thirty years of the XX century following the eclectic trends of the era, houses in its interior an important collection of works by Canary painters.

The Guimerá Theatre has been existence for over one hundred and fifty years, after it was built on the site of the former convent of Santo Domingo.

The theatre, which was started in 1849 and inaugurated in 1851, combines in its outward appearance a mixture of classicist and Romantic styles, while its interior is decorated with frescoes and gold leaf.

The oldest part of the city retains several religious monuments. The church of San Francisco, one of the most beautiful examples of Island baroque, consists of three naves and consruction began on it in the XVII c.

The church of El Pilar, from the XVIII century, was built on the ruins of a former hermitage. Of major historical interest is the church of la Concepción, the basic construction of which dates from 1500.

The church, initially called the church of la Santa Cruz, was restored in 1653, while the present tower was constructed in 1786.

On the outside, the Canary colonial style construction stands out due to its wooden balcony typical of the island.

The church has a Latin cross plan and is structured into five naves. Inside it houses an important collection of religious art.

It is also worth mentioning the gothic image of the Virgen de la Consolación, and the Cross of the Conquest, brought to the island by the conquistador Fernández de Lugo, as well as various processional thrones.

The city also has several green areas filled with exotic species of trees. García Sanabria Park houses an important Museum of Open-Air Sculptures.

This is an original enclave in which the works of contemporary artists are exhibited alongside palm trees and other tropical plant species.

Here you can admire creations by Spanish and foreign artists such as José Guinovart, Óscar Domínguez, Joan Miró or Henry Moore.

Another place you must visit is the Maritime Park, an area for relaxation designed by the Canary architect César Manrique and situated on the former commercial dock.

In la Caleta de Negros, extremely near this complex, yoou can see the castle of San Juan, one of the best-preserved castles on the island.

Also known as the Black Castle, this circular defensive bastion was built in the first half of the XVII century, using blocks of volcanic stone for its construction.

To enjoy the seaside, it is worth a visit to San Andrés, a neighbouring seaman’s quarter located beside the beach of las Teresitas, with fine golden sands.

Culture, gastronomy, and the outskirts of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is famous for its Carnival, one of the most spectacular in Spain.

This fiesta, which has been declared of International Tourist Interest, is characterised by the spectacular costumes and the performances of the murgas (satirical singing groups), rondallas (musical groups) and comparsas (dance groups).

There is a wide choice of hotels throughout the island, although it is advisable to book early for Carnival.

The capital of Tenerife serves as a showcase for the typical gastronomy of the island. Pork is the base for preparing rancho (a typical stew).

Also, it shares with the rest of the archipelago the famous papas arrugadas (potatoes boiled in their jackets) and mojos (spicy sauces).

The sea provides fish such as jack mackerel, vieja sancochada (typical fish stew), sardines, mackerel, grouper, as well as various shellfish.

Desserts include delights such as pastel de cabello de ángel (a dessert made from pumpkin) frangollo with honey (a typical dessert made from sweetcorn) or truchas de batatas con almendras (pastries filled with sweet potato paste and almonds) to accompany your meal.

Choose between any of the five Designation of Origin wines produced in Tenerife: Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güimar, Valle de la Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.

Once you have finished your stroll around the city, a good option is to go on an excursion to discover the outskirts.

A few kilometres from the capital is San Cristóbal de La Laguna, whose historic quarter has been declared World Heritage.

The cathedral, the modernist Leal theatre and the church of la Concepción XVI c.) are worth a visit. One of its jewels is the Bishop’s Palace (XVII c.), built in the baroque style with a beautiful interior courtyard.

From the nature point of view, Tenerife is an island of contrasting landscapes. The extensive beaches in the south of the island give way in the north to lush vegetation.

And in the centre of the island is Mount Teide which, with its 3,718 metres, is the highest point in Spain.

This volcanic peak gives its name to the Teide National Park, a protected area which contains abundant endemic species of Canary flora and fauna. In the Park is also the Parador de las Cañadas del Teide.

Arona

The municipality of Arona boasts more than 15 kilometres of beaches with excellent views of the nearby mountains.

Meanwhile, the town itself offers interesting examples of popular architecture combining colonial and Pre-Hispanic elements.

The spring temperatures enjoyed by this region throughout the year are ideal for touring the southern coast of Tenerife and the nearby Teide National Park.

The excellent Canary Islands cuisine provides visitors with an insight into the islands’ culture.

Situated a few kilometres inland from the Atlantic coastline, in the south of the island of Tenerife, is the town of Arona.

Its historic quarter contains a wide repertoire of important examples of popular architecture integrated with the rural environment.

Meanwhile, the beaches of Las Américas and Los Cristianos, as well as fishing villages such as Las Galletas, combine the traditions of the Canary Islands with leisure spaces and luxury housing developments.

Similarly, the magnificent waters of the area and the sea bottom are perfect for practising nautical sports and submarinism.

Situated in the town of Arona is the hermitage of San Antonio Abad, which gave rise in the 17th century to this municipality on its separation from the neighbouring Vilaflor.

Its parish church contains interesting carved images, the work of local image makers. These images include the carvings of the Virgen de la Concepción, San José and the Cristo de la Salud.

Whitewashed streets extend from this area, whilst the outlines of the volcanic mountains serve as their backdrop.

Natural spacesIn addition to the spring temperatures of the Canary Islands coastline, this municipality also boasts protected natural spaces, such as the Montaña de Guaza, and the magnificent natural scenery of the Montaña Amarilla (“Yellow Mountain”) and the Valley of San Lorenzo.

Impressive views of the Teide, at 3,718 metres the highest peak in Spain, and the various volcanic features (petrified lava flows, pitons, domes, etc) are just a few of the attractions of places like Roque de Jama, the El Centinela mirador and the Malpaís de la Rasca.

In the old fishing villages along the coast, traditional charm blends successfully with the luxury housing developments constructed on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. These developments include Playa de Las Américas.

Costa del Silencio, Palm-Mar and Ten-Bel, the latter offering the added attraction of a salt-water swimming pool. The village of Las Galletas is another excellent spot for hiring vessels and deep-sea immersion equipment or signing up for boat trips and other leisure activities.

Canary Islands cuisineWhilst tranquillity is guaranteed on the small beaches and coves, the tourist resorts provide visitors with non-stop amusement.

Restaurants, bars and pavement cafes overlooking the ocean are just a few of the options on offer for enjoying the night life of the Canary Islands.

The traditional cuisine is another such option. All kinds of international cuisine can be sampled in Arona, but trying some of the area’s more typical recipes is an absolute must.

Vegetable stews, fish casseroles and charcoal-grilled meat all form part of the local cuisine. “Mojo picón” (a sauce made with oil, vinagar and paprika) and “papas arrugadas” (a potato dish), both extremely tasty, are examples of other products typical of the island.

With regard to wines, visitors may choose from a wide range of Label Guarantee bottles produced in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, such as Abona, El Hierro, La Palma, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güimar, Valle de la Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.

Arona may be used as a base from which to tour the southern part of the island of Tenerife and explore the Teide National Park, on the ravines of which is situated the magnificent parador.

In Vilaflor visitors may admire the so-called Lunar Landscape, whilst a tour along the coastline takes in beaches such as San Juan and la Caleta, as well as the Los Gigantes beach situated at the foot of the cliffs of the same name.

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