Introducing Tenerife

Introduction.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary islands, of which there are 7 major and 6 Smaller islands.
The westerns Islands of Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro form the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, whilst the eastern Islands of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura form the province of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The Canary Islands lie between 96 and 304 km ( 60 -90 ) Miles off the North West Coast of Africa, but they are a part of Spain.

The island of Tenerife covers an area of 2057 sq km ( 794 sq miles) and is shaped like an Isosceles triangle with Mount Teide, The Volcano in the centre rising to 3718 m ( 12,199 ft ) with The Caldera de las Canadas ( a gigantic collapsed grater )  surrounding the peak.

Population
The population currently stands at approximately 1,000,000 inhabitants, this obviously is not counting the tourists.

Climate
Tenerife is fortunate to have warm temperatures all year round, rarely falling below 18 degrees C in the coastal areas, the norm being in the mid 20's, rising to the 30's + in the summer months.
Temperatures are on average around  3 degrees cooler when going in land away from the coast.
The north side of the Island is cooler than the south.
Rain fall is generally confined to the  winter months October through to March, there is very little and even less on the South Coast, but when it rains it tends to be heavy, it very rarely lasts long and all is normally back to the normal sun the day after, again the north coast getting more rain than the south.

Language
Spanish is the main language on all the Canary Islands, although if you ask a Canarian, they will tell you they speak 'Canarian', which is a version of Spanish.
In the tourist areas you will be understood speaking English or German along with a few other languages.

Currency
Being a part of Spain, the currency is the 'Euro' (€).
There are plenty of banks, even away from the tourist areas, all having cash machines, so the normal cards can be used to obtain cash.

Driving
In Tenerife you drive on the right .
Cars are readily available for hire, you normally get the best deals by booking on line before you leave home.
If you need transport form the airport to your accommodation, it's worth considering booking a car from the airport.
All road signs etc. are the same as any other European Country. Speed limits and Alcohol Levels are very similar as well. It is best not to have a drink when you are going to drive, they are very hot on breathalizing.

Opening Hours
In the tourist areas shops, restaurants etc. are open all day from  9/10am until late.
Offices, Banks and official places open 8/9 am until 1/2pm.
In some areas they still work the siesta hours this being 8am - 1pm then 5pm - 8pm. It all depends on which area you are staying in, just check on arrival.

Transport
The Titsa bus service is excellent and covers almost all of the Island, even going up to Mount Teide, the fares are reasonable and  'Bono' cards can be purchased if you intend to make use of the service on a regular basis,    these offer good discounts.
There are ferries to all the other main Canary Islands as well as inter island flights from the north and south airports.
There is a tram service running from Santa Cruz to La Laguna every 3 minutes or so.
Taxi's are always available.

THE EMERGENCY NUMBER IS 112.
This number will put you in touch with the emergency services, Police, Ambulance and Fire.
There should be someone there who can speak your language.

Hospitals
The health care on the Island is excellent, but you do need insurance, if you qualify for an E111 in your country of residence, you will be able to use it.

Dentist
There are numerous dentists on the Island, you will be able to find one that speaks your language.
They are all private. So check to see if your holiday insurance covers this.

Communication
There are a lot of cafe's and bars even shopping centres with free WiFi connections, some of the cafe's you have to buy a drink and they will give you the pass word.
There are lot's of internet cafe's in all areas.
Mobile phones operators are - Movistar, Vodaphone, Amena.
There are a few phone kiosks with banks of phones in some of the tourist areas, the receptionist puts a line through to a booth and you pay when you have finished the call, they are cheaper and it saves you having to keep feeding change into the payphone.

Airports
There are two airports - Tenerife South Airport -  Reina Sofia (TFS)
                                    Tenerife North Airport   -  Los Rodeos (TFN)

Accommodation
There are some very nice 5 Star hotels on the Island for those of you who enjoy a bit of luxury, at certain times of the year they offer some good deals.
All inclusive Hotels are also very popular, plenty of 4,3 and 2 star accommodation is readily available.

Rural Hotels - These tend to be traditional Canarian buildings which have been converted into small hotels, under strict guide lines to keep the character of the buildings and surrounding intact, they are normally found in land away from the coast, ideal for people who want to see the real Tenerife ie. The villages, scenery etc.  

Pensions - These can be found all over the Island, normally the cheaper end of the market, basic, but clean, ideal if you want one night in a place and move onto the next.

Beaches
There are 8 Blue Flag beaches on Tenerife along with many more superb beaches.Some of them like El Medano are natural black sand, some like Playa de las Teresitas, Santa Cruz were made with imported sand from Africa and others have been created from the sand on the sea bed.

A few of the beaches have been designated as nudist beaches.

In Puerto De La Cruz and Santa Cruz there are superb Lido's.

Best Time to Visit
It is said, that you can find a Fiesta on any day of the year in Tenerife, I don't think that's far from the truth, they love their fiestas and fireworks and the all year round weather doesn't interrupt them too much.
The main ones being:-
  • January -  5th/6th Three Kings processions
  • Feb/Mar - Carnival -  The parade falls on Shrove Tuesday, but that is the last Tuesday of Carnival month. It's the second biggest Carnival, the biggest being Brazil.
  • April - Semaña Santa - Easter Celebrations - Good Friday being the main day when The Easter Story is played out theather style, a famous one being in the town of Adeje.
  • May - May Celebrations - all kinds of activities in the City of Santa Cruz and other towns, to celebrate the coming of Spring.
  • June - Corpus Christi - The Famous Sand Carpets of Oratava and other towns on the Island.
  • July/August - The Main holiday season, all kinds of Fiesta and Events.
All the villages on the Island have their own Fiesta, everyone is always welcome.

Types of Holidays -Tenerife has a lot to offer 
  • You can  just crash out and enjoy the beach and the sun or just lie around the pool, .
  • Explore the Island by car or public transport.
  • Walking holidays are very popular, with many ancient and historic paths to explore.
  • Rock climbing and bouldering.
  • The month of the Carnival.
Main Attractions
Teide National Park
  • Masca the Hidden Village
  • Loro Park
  • Piramides de Guimar
  • 1000 Year Old Dragon Tree in Icod
  • The Old Town of Oratava- Famous for the Corpus Christi Carpets and Wooden Balconies.
  • Vilaflor - Highest Village in Spain