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Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is a great place to travel. British and German tourists come in their tens of thousands every year to visit its spectacular beaches and lively nightlife.
It is also very popular among holidaymakers from the Spanish peninsula, especially during Easter time. Tenerife is probably one of the last European paradise isles. It offers lush forests, exotic fauna and flora, deserts, mountains, volcanoes, incredibly beautiful coastlines and spectacular beaches.
Many of the young tourists hang out on the south of the island with older and family tourists choosing Puerto de La Cruz and its environs.
On the north side of the island you will find more green and vibrant local culture. There is a more Spanish year-round springtime feel. The weather fluctuates a bit more here, but is also mostly pleasant though not as hot as the south.
In between the north and south of the island sits Spain's tallest peak, the barely dormant volcano El Teide (3718m above sea level). Tours previously allowed people into the crater, but tourists are no longer allowed into the crater for safety reasons.
The native language is Spanish. In the south English is spoken by everyone with German and Italian common too, but in the north English is spoken by fewer.
As an island the usual way to arrive is by air. There are two airports, Tenerife South (Reina Sofia) near Los Cristianos and Tenerife North (Los Rodeos) by La Laguna. Buses run from both airports to other towns, though you may have to change routes.
Trasmediterranea run a weekly ferry from Cadiz in Spain which takes two days.
What to see
From the car park, tourists can take the 10 minute cable lift to 3550 m. To climb to the summit (the uppermost 168 m) special permission is essential by request to the National Park Office in Santa Cruz. From the top there is an amazing view all over the island.
The ascent by foot starts at the base of the “Montaña Blanca”, at an altitude of 2200 m. Don't underestimate the short walk as the gradient and low oxygen levels make it challenging even for experienced walkers.
WARNING: At 3718 m (12,198 ft) El Teide is the highest mountain in Spain. The rapid ascent by cable car can lead to altitude sickness, in even the strongest climbers.
Parque Rural de Anaga
Fantastic place to go hiking. There are some routes that you can do. In Cruz del Carmen you can find the visitor's center where you can get information about the park.
There are some wonderful drives all around the island. Popular destination is Masca village located about 1 hour drive north of Los Gigantes.
Cycling is hard to do casually although bikes are available to rent, the coastal roads are busy and there is little room for bikes except often in the gutter.
There are good attraction parks.
Loro Parque Zoo is in just outside the northern city of Puerto de la Cruz, which is an animal protection foundation as well as a huge animal park.
Jungle Park close to the area of Los Cristianos is well worth a visit, the bird of prey show is a must.
Siam Park which is a water park in Costa Adeje created by the owners of Loro Parque, 2 metre high artificial waves, several cafes/bars.
What to do
Tenerife is a favoured destination for scuba divers, with numerous dive operations of all qualities and nationalities. Go around the harbour wall in Puerto de la Cruz for fantastic volcanic rock formations, or feed the stringrays at Las Galletas for something a bit different.
Water sports are available in the south including surfing, wind surfing, speed boat parascending and jet-ski. Nowhere seems to rent canoes.
Santa Cruz has a big market by the station on Sunday mornings. Las Americas has one Thursday and Saturday and Los Cristianos on Sundays. Santa Cruz has a number of museums and an art gallery. Also a space museum and planetarium on a small scale near La Laguna.
Visit the beautiful old towns of La Orotava and La Laguna, the latter being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the world class botanical garden just above Puerto de la Cruz.
The most western point is Punta de Teno with excellent views.
Of course, many visitors just want to spend their time on a beach or by the hotel swimming pool. Playa Americas beach is black volcanic sand, but Los Cristianos is yellow imported sand. The black sand feels the same as the yellow, but can be much hotter when sunny and is not as pleasing to look at to many.
In February there is a huge fancy dress parade by locals which is said to be third in size after Rio and Notting Hill carnivals.
Fish is a large part of the local diet with restaurants that allow you to choose a fish from their selection which they will cook for you. Black potatoes called papas arrugadas are served unpeeled and covered in rock salt, ready to be dipped into a local sauce.
As in the rest of Spain, tapas are eaten a lot with local specialties including garlic sauces, refried beans and squid. Typical Spanish meals such as tortilla and paella are common too.
Lots of Chinese Restaurants are also available in Tenerife. You can eat as much as you can (buffet) paying fixed price.
In the tourist spots, there are also many up-market restaurants, such as the Thai Botanico and Bianco's in Playa de las Américas.