Tenerife is an island of contrasts
A sunny mix of Spanish hospitality and a little North African spice, with a pulsating coast and rugged inland, this is a jewel in the Atlantic, with lazy beach days, long, leisurely evenings and a passion for fiestas.
The retail scene in Tenerife is split into two halves; one catering for visitors with souvenir shops and mega malls and the other offering a mishmash of colourful street markets and backstreet boutiques favoured by locals. The traditional stripe-roofed stalls of Costa Adeje’s market and the atmospheric Los Abrigos Night Market combine both worlds. Find everything from handmade jewellery to cut-price CDs at Rastro (Calle José Manuel Guimerá), the bustling Santa Cruz flea market – then head to the capital’s main shopping street, Calle Castillo, which hosts an incongruous collection of electronic shops, chains and designer boutiques. La Isla Bookshop (Calle de Robayna 2) is good for holiday reads and guidebooks.
Food & Drink
An impressive range of Canarian tavernas, Brit-centric eateries and fine dining spots has given Tenerife a well-deserved reputation for culinary diversity. Gourmet restaurant Las Aguas in the Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort (Avenida de Bruselas) in Costa Adeje attracts the island’s VIPs and serves delicious grub. El Faro (Avenida de las Americas, Parque Santiago V) in Playa de Las Americas combines a party atmosphere and killer cocktail menu with international gourmet fare. Meanwhile, La Cupala in the Hotel Jardines de Nivaria (Calle París) in Playa de Fañabé offers classic French dishes. Brits will appreciate the scrumptious takeaways on offer at Scampis Tenerife Fish and Chips (Paseo Tarajal, Compostela Beach) in Los Cristianos.
Festival de Música de Canarias
This classical music festival is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, attracting top orchestras and classical musicians from around the world. Concerts take place in the Auditorio de Tenerife concert hall in Santa Cruz, and tickets sell out fast.
Santa Cruz Carnival
February is carnival month in Tenerife, and most of the island’s larger towns put on their own processions. Capital Santa Cruz has the biggest and the best, however, with 10 days of parades, events and street entertainment.
Día de la Cruz
Tenerife’s ‘Day of the Cross’ sees the island hark back to its traditional roots. Locals dressed in Canarian costumes flock to Santa Cruz’s Plaza de España to decorate crosses with creative floral displays.
Heineken Jazz Festival
This epic event runs for around three weeks every year, taking over the north side of the island with a series of concerts, workshops and fringe events. The biggest bands play in the Plaza del Auditorio, with folk, world music and of course traditional jazz all strongly represented.
Tenerife Wine Festival
Centred around the towns of Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava, this annual celebration is known locally as the ‘Festival of San Andres’. Wine tastings, talks and live music combine to make this one of the biggest events of the autumn.
Tenerife’s accommodation range has gone upmarket in recent years, with hotels now offering everything from infinity pools to butler service. Red Level at Gran Meliá Tenerife (Avenida Los Océanos) in Alcalá is a sophisticated, adults-only venue with a lagoon pool, hydromassage loungers and Balinese spa beds – the island’s ultimate retreat. If you’re after a buzzier atmosphere, then the urbane Hotel Taburiente (24A Calle Doctor Jose Naveiras) is right in the centre of Santa Cruz and specialises in elegant, mid-range accommodation. Hikers and nature lovers should book into the budget Parador de las Cañadas del Teide (Las Cañadas), an idyllic hideaway in Las Fuentes, part of the Teide National Park.