Tenerife is not only the largest island in the Canaries with a surface area of just over 2,000 km2 but it also has the greatest population of the islands with around 900,000 inhabitants. And out of all the islands it has the most visits from holiday makers (around 5 million per year), so tourism is hot!
It is an island which, in part due to its size, is one of the more diverse islands with the north being greener and more commercial (finance and industry) and the south being more touristic with kilometres of beaches.
However, throughout the island, Tenerife has a total of 67 km of beaches, which is the most in the Canaries apart from Fuerteventura.
What’s great about Tenerife? It’s an island full of funshine!
The north of Tenerife
The capital of Tenerife is the sea port city of Santa Cruz, located in the north east of the island. The north of the island is also home to the second largest city on the island, San Cristóbal de La Laguna (usually known as simply La Laguna) and this is where the University of La Laguna, is located.
There are numerous large (and small) shops particularly in Santa Cruz and clustering along the TF5 motorway. Despite the more rugged coastline than the south, there are still various beaches and coves.
The airport of Los Rodeos, the smaller of two airports on Tenerife, lies to the west of the capital and is a hub for inter-island and Madrid flights.
Further along the north coast is the Orotava Valley and the old port city of Puerto de la Cruz. There are two golf course in the north of the island, one in the north east and one in the North West.
The south of Tenerife
The south of the island is probably best known for its beaches and the ‘funshine’ – this is where the two largest tourist resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos are located. However, there are numerous other resorts, towns and fishing villages each with their own charm.
The main Tenerife airport, Reina Sofia (Queen Sophia) is located in the south along with the ferry port of Los Cristianos.
The south of Tenerife is also where you will also find seven golf courses, many of them world-class and along with La Gomera, Tenerife is a significant destination for golfers. The bulk of water-based activities take place in the south but are certainly not confined to the south! There are also various theme parks and tourist attractions.
In the middle!
More or less in the centre of the island is Mount Teide, the highest mountain in the whole of Spain at 3719m above sea level. From its base, it’s the third largest in the world. It is also a World Heritage Site, declared by UNESCO and home to the Canarian Institute of Astrophysics and various observatories.
Tourism is a huge contributor to the Tenerife economy as the island continues to be a major tourist destination in the world rankings. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in 5 Star hotels turning Tenerife into an island for quality tourism.
With so many diverse types of leisure activities including hiking, surfing, shopping and sky-diving, it would probably be easier to say what you can’t do on Tenerife. Water lovers will be completely spoilt for choice, but there is also an enormous amount for the culture lover and those who are into trekking through forests and gorges.
Tenerife is famous for the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, one of the largest carnivals in the world and which has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest. Celebrated around the island but predominantly in Santa Cruz, it is an extravaganza of the greatest proportions!
However there are fiestas around the island throughout the year, just as in the other Canary Islands as there is nothing more that the Canarian people love.
There is an excellent fast and efficient motorway system which covers much of the island apart from the North West corner. The TF1 motorway connects the north and south along the east coast whilst the TF5 runs along the north.
The extensive, frequent and reliable bus service is operated by TITSA – the buses in the Canaries are known by the name ‘guagua.’ There is also a tram which runs between Santa Cruz and La Laguna and is operated by MTSA. Bono cards (pre-paid cards) are available and can be used on both the tram and bus.
There are two main hospitals on Tenerife, both with specialist facilities which are used by all the islands and are both affiliated to the University of La Laguna. In addition, each small town has its own medical centre.
There are several English schools in Tenerife, the latest to open being the Callao Learning Centre www.callaolearnoing.org in Adeje. There is also the British School Tenerife http://www.britishschooltenerife.com, The Wingate School in Arona and St. Andrew’s school in Sauzal http://www.saintandrewstenerife.com/
Flights to Tenerife
Happily, there are many direct flights to Tenerife from the UK and a whole host of other countries both inside and outside of Europe. In fact, there are flights to Tenerife from 112 destinations around the world!
There are two airports in Tenerife, one is the International Reina Sofia airport (airport code TFS) in the south and the other the inter-island airport of Los Rodeos airport (airport code TFN). On both of the links to airports you will find information on the times and price of buses from the airports, parking, car rental and lots more useful information.
If you are looking for cheap flights to Tenerife and the Canaries Islands, check out Skyscanner which is a fantastic comparison website for all flights.
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