Largest and most populous of the Canary Islands, as well as the most visited in tourism terms, Tenerife is landmarked by its vast central volcano of Mount Teide. At 3718 metres, Mount Teide is Spain’s highest mountain, the third highest volcano on the planet and the iconic symbol of the Canary Islands. Set within a 17km crater, Teide National Park is a UNESCO World heritage site.
Born of volcanic eruptions between 7 and 12 million years ago, Tenerife is shaped like an anvil and is 86km in length and 56km at its widest point. The extraordinary ratio of land mass to height gives Tenerife a diversity of landscapes rarely seen and the island contains three impressive mountain ranges, laurisilva forests which pre-date the Ice Age, great swathes of volcanic fallout, verdant pine forests and desert-like malpaís.
Coupled with the varieties of terrain come a multitude of climate zones and the presence of Mount Teide at the centre of Tenerife prevents rainfall in the south and east of the island for much of the year which creates desert-like conditions with a near-constant breeze. In contrast, the north and north west experience adequate rainfall in winter, and cloud brought by Trade Winds in summer creating tropical conditions.
The first place in Spain to be developed for the holiday industry in the 1960s, Tenerife has since seen exponential growth in tourism, particularly from northern Europeans who flee winter temperatures to spend their vacations on its sun-soaked beaches. The most popular tourism resorts on Tenerife are Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas, Costa Adeje and Los Gigantes in the south and south west, and Puerto de la Cruz in the north west.
Buzz Trips Opinion
For 50 years Tenerife has been the number one destination for millions of visitors annually, most of whom think they know it like their own back yard and most of whom don’t know it at all.
Tenerife’s notoriety reached a peak in the early 1990s when the island was vilified in a UK TV documentary showing the very worst of Brits-abroad behaviour. Since then, multi-Euro investment and endless makeovers have sought to move the island’s destination image to a more upmarket slot, resulting in the development of Costa Adeje with its four and five star hotels and designer label culture.
Ultimately, Tenerife has always been a predominantly sun and sea destination but a small and growing market is currently emerging for a more rounded experience with cultural highlights and rural activities coming to the fore. Many visitors are now looking for what has become known as The Real Tenerife and when they find it, it exceeds and confounds all their expectations.