Before we get into these great reasons why you should visit Tenerife, let's start with a couple of facts you probably did know already but we find are important to remember.
First of all, the Canary Islands are an archipelago off the western coast of Morocco in Africa. This chain of islands actually belongs to Spain and not to Morocco as you might expect if you looked at them on a map. Out of these islands, Tenerife is the largest, and home to one of the territory's co-capitals, Santa Cruz. Most visitors to Tenerife are familiar with its holiday resorts and beaches, so let's try to dig deeper and find some more things that make Tenerife a fantastic place.
The Canary Islands are a very popular tourist destination, and Tenerife is perhaps the most popular destination within the archipelago. It is the most densely populated of the islands. Most of the tourists that flock to the island every year are content to enjoy Tenerife’s fantastic beaches and weather. Fewer enjoy its immense natural beauty and a smaller number of visitors get to know many of the hidden gems the island offers.
The Canary Islands and Tenerife in particular enjoy a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times and is more ancient and mysterious than you can imagine. At the same time, Tenerife is home to some modern amenities that you might not expect from a relatively small island in the middle of the Atlantic, and of course, its idyllic weather and natural setting give the island some unique characteristics you can't find anywhere else on this spinning blue marble we call home.
So, without any further ado, let's jump into the 10 great reasons to visit Tenerife that you may not know.
Tenerife Is One of the Best Places on Earth To Go Whale Watching
The Canary Islands enjoy a unique geographical position at the conversion point of the warm water currents of the Mediterranean Sea and colder water of the Atlantic Ocean. This particular mixture makes the waters off the coast of the Canary Islands extremely fertile for critters that whales munch like plankton and schooling fish. This of course attracts whales and dolphins to this great feeding area in droves, and of all the islands of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is the best choice to get up close and personal with these enormous aquatic mammals.
In Tenerife, you will find many excellent whale watching tours, and the Island of Tenerife attracts a large number of cetaceans that are commonly found in this area. There are several species that are permanent residents of the waters off the coast of Tenerife, but you can also run into species that pass through the archipelago as they migrate or chase prey.
Tenerife Is Home to Ancient Pyramids
A related fact to this one you may not know is that the Canary Islands were once inhabited by an ancient tribe of humans, known as the Guanches. The Guanches colonized every island and had a complex political system under which they operated. The Guanches chose a head chef whose seat of power was located in the south of Tenerife, where the city of Adeje is now located. Adeje has been known since ancient times as “heaven on earth”, so it seems fitting that this would be the home of the leader of the Guanche people.
It is important to know about the ancient Guanches because, also on Tenerife, on the eastern coast, you can find the Pyramids of Guimar.
The exact origins of the Pyramids is disputed. Some people believe that they were built during the 19th century, with discarded rocks from agricultural developments in the area. But, some historians also believe that they were constructed by the ancient Guanches. The structures are not immense, but share many characteristics with the other great pyramids from around the world. You will have to visit to decide for yourself.
Tenerife Celebrates the Second Largest Carnival in the World
Everyone knows about the Carnival of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil, but you may not know that the second-largest Carnival celebration is actually held on the Island of Tenerife, in the city of Santa Cruz.
The Carnival has been celebrated ever since the first settlers landed on Tenerife during the 1600s. The celebration has evolved over the centuries and incorporated different pagan traditions meant to undermine the status quo and ridicule societal conventions.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz has always been a popular party to attend, among Spaniards and other Europeans, but in recent years it has begun to attract more international crowds. If you can believe it, in 2019 over 400 thousand people took part in the celebration, flocking to the island from all corners of the globe.
Tenerife Has a Canyon That Is a Portal to Hell
Kinda. The Barranco del Infierno is actually a spectacularly beautiful nature park in Adeje, in the south of the island. The park features waterfalls, a huge amount of endemic biodiversity and there are a large number of ancient caves that the old Guanche people called home.
Now for the spooky facts. The walk can actually be quite dangerous. Several people have died over the years traversing the steep canyon, so many in fact that access to the area is controlled by local authorities, and only 300 people are admitted at any given time.
This area was also home to the biggest number of Guanches mummies on the island. Guanches mummified their dead, and the Barranco del Infierno housed a large amount of the mummies discovered on Tenerife.
Lastly, there is a legend told about the Barranco del Infierno involving murder vengeance and a portal to hell (Infierno means hell in Spanish). The bloody legend also suggests that the volcanic island was created as a way for Satan to get to and from the land of the living.
Tenerife Is Home to One of the Best Zoos in Europe and High-quality Theme Parks: Loro Parque and Siam Park
Adrenaline-inducing roller coasters probably aren't the first thing that pops into your head when you are thinking of a lush tropical island, but Tenerife is home to one of the best theme parks in the world.
The famous Siam Park is consistently selected among the best amusement parks in the world, and with good reason. This park features half a traditional amusement park, half a water park, and each features breathtaking attractions.
If you prefer nature and animals then Loro park is your place. What started as a small bird park developed into an impressive park where you can even admire the amazing killer whales
Tenerife Produces Amazing Wine
Spanish wine, in general, is wildly underrated, and wine from Tenerife is a particularly underrated Spanish wine region.
The Island has been producing wine for centuries. Ever since the first European settlers arrived on the island in the XV century there have been wine cellars on Tenerife. There are 5 different wine regions on the island, all influenced by the unique volcanic terroir that the island enjoys.
Malvasía wine is perhaps the most well-known wine from Tenerife, has been extremely popular during the XVI and XVII centuries in England. Both William Shakespeare and Walter Scott mention the excellent elixir in their works.
Tenerife Has the Best Valued All-inclusive Hotels in Spain
If you are looking to spend a relaxing, worry-free vacation in Europe, Tenerife is most definitely the best option available. You probably knew this already but you may not know that its hotel networks have been awarded as Spain´s top-level for all-inclusive accommodation.
Hotel developers decided a long time ago the Canary Islands was a place to build. Many detractors claim too much has been built. This may be true, but those same detractors easily forget the island hosts yearly millions of Europeans that seek the sun in its tropical weather (the only tropical islands in Europe). Islands like El Hierro, Gomera, or La Palma have preserved their villages and lands as they were. In Tenerife, this is the case only in parts of the island where natural beauty and mountains make it impossible to build. But the South, almost a desert before, was transformed thanks to is excellent weather into an impressive hospitality industry.
Many of the hotels including all-inclusive programs, resorts, and services in Tenerife are world-class and value for money is very good too. You will find hotels with Michelin Star restaurants, hotels with unmatch spas and treatments, live music, all types of organized activities, … you name it, Tenerife has it. There really is no place better for a no-hassle getaway. But to say all-inclusive Tenerife is not a "one size suits all" formula. The island offers resorts for all different budgets. Quality of food, distance to the beaches, and overall resort quality set the price.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna in Tenerife Is a Unesco World Heritage Site
We jump from all-inclusive holidays and relax by the pool to cultural tourism. Not bad! San Cristobal de la Laguna is the second largest city of the Island of Tenerife. It is located in the North East of the Island, and it is a city of great cultural and historic importance.
The city was declared a Unesco World Heritage in 1999 site as it is the only remaining fully colonial city with no defensive wall. On top of that, the city’s old quarter was the birthplace of many artistic movements that were then exported to the surrounding Islands. San Cristobal is often called “the Florence of the Canary Islands” for it’s great artistic importance and for the high concentration of churches and historical buildings that the city is home to. Beneath the city, they have also discovered intricate tunel systems and crypts used by the city's residents over the centuries.
Tenerife Is One of the Best Locations in the World for Paragliding
Tenerife is home to the largest mountain in all of Spain, the Teide. The Teide is the dormant volcano that created the island of Tenerife. It stands 3,715 meters tall and it jets out impressivly from the center of the island. It is easy to understand, therefore, why Tenerife is such a great place for paragliding.
The combination of the tall mountain ranges and the uniform, excellent weather of the island make it a prime destination for paragliding enthusiasts. The amazing views you get to enjoy, and the fact that when you land you do so on a tropical island, is just gravy.
It is at least an anecdote that Spain's highest mountain is not located geographically in Europe, but in Africa in the Canary Islands. Being massive, we could not describe the Teide volcano as a “hidden gem”. Nevertheless, it strikes us that so many visitors stay at the beaches and do not pay a visit to this amazing national park. Yes, the Teide is part of Spain's National and protected parks and the Canary islands is the region with more parks in the list! As a matter of fact, in the list produced by the Guardian with Spain's top 10 parks, 3 of them were in the Canary islands, the Teide being one of them.
We trust you find good reasons to pay a visit to Tenerife amongst this list. Enjoy!
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