Instant expert: Tenerife
Tenerife is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the known world (or unknown for that matter). You might think you know all there is to know about it, but do you? Do you actually? Here's some info to impress your friends with when you head off on your next Tenerife holiday...
Tenerife at a glance
Capital: Santa Cruz
Official language: Spanish
Flying time from the UK: 4.5 hours
Visas: No visa required for British citizens
Tipping: Around 10 per cent
10 things you need to know
1. Mount Teide, Tenerife’s very own volcano (and one of the biggest in the world) last erupted in 1909. Its summit is the highest point in all of Spain.
2. The Carnival of Santa Cruz, which takes place in February/March each year, is said to be up there with the Rio Carnival, so it’s perfect for fans of dancing in feathery outfits.
3. Tenerife is famously known as “The Island of Eternal Spring”, averaging 18-24 degrees in the winter and 24-28 in the summer.
4. Nelson lost his right arm in Tenerife, courtesy of a cannonball, after he’d launched an attack on the island.
5. The Guimar pyramids on the island have long since baffled boffins as to how they got there. Like our own mystical pile at Stonehenge, no one can quite agree on it.
6. Siam Park is reckoned by many to be the best waterpark in the world. It boasts slides with names such as Viper, Volcano, and Cobra.
7. The Tenerife flag is pretty much identical to Scotland's, with both countries also sharing St Andrew as their patron saint.
8. Teide National Park is, quite rightly, a World Heritage Site. Fans of the 1966 Raquel Welch film One Million Years BC may recognise bits of it – much of the movie was filmed there.
9. The canary (the bird version) was named after the islands rather than the other way round.
10. More than 40% of the Canary Islands' population live on Tenerife.
When to visit Tenerife
Boasting its own microclimate, you can confidently travel to Tenerife all year round. With over 40 miles of beach on the island, you’ll never be short of a sunbathing spot. Brits flock over in their droves (around 1.5 million every year) mostly during the peak summer months, so if you’re looking for a slightly mellower buzz, you might be wise to look at going between September and November. See our in-depth guide on when to visit Tenerife.
Tenerife is best for…
Beach lovers. There is so much beach to enjoy, from the black sands of Playa Jardin in Puerto de la Cruz, to the 2km stretch of white sand on El Medano.
Families. Make no mistake, this is an island that thrives on tourism, so all of your needs are catered for. And you can have some wonderful days out at the truly breathtaking national park around Mount Teide.
Adventurers & active types. If you don’t fancy lolling around in a pool or on the beach, you can take to the seas from the port at Los Cristianos and go looking for whales and dolphins. For active types, kitesurfing at El Medano is a must.
Fans of classic literature. Shakespeare was known to reference the local plonk in his plays The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. And Agatha Christie wrote The Mystery of The Blue Train while staying on the island. Granted, it wasn’t one of her best.
Anyone who adores potatoes. The local speciality papas arrugadas are potatoes boiled in water with a lot of salt, until the water evaporates – thus forming tiny, wrinkly spuds. They're tastier than they sound.