Aah, Tenerife! Who doesn’t love this wonderful part of Europe with the climate of Africa? This Canary Island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and shaped by the mighty Teide, a volcano that towers impressively above the island.
With year-round temperatures of 21 to 23 degrees, eternal spring beckons in Tenerife. The paradise beaches, stunningly beautiful nature – half of the island is protected – and good food and drink do the rest. Tenerife is the perfect location – not only for a dream vacation that will make the family jealous for years to come, but also for a second stay.
Meet … The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands may belong to Spain, but they flank Morocco. At its closest, only a hundred kilometers of ocean separates the islands from the African continent. That strategic location meant that the Canary Islands were historically a hinge between four continents – Europe, Africa, North and South America. No voyage of discovery from Europe that did not stop on the islands, in order to get the trade wind in the sails from here towards America.
But even anno 2022, with planes replacing the ships of yesteryear, these regions remain in demand. And all because of its beaches, natural beauty and benevolent subtropical climate – one of the best in Europe. About 2.15 million lucky bastards may call the Canary Islands home, nearly half of whom live in Tenerife. This is the largest, most popular and most populous scion of the archipelago. Other islands are called Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa, in addition to several smaller islets and rocks in the sea.
Tenerife in figures and facts
- 2034 square kilometers – a little less than Flemish Brabant.
- 950,000 population.
- Spanish – official language.
- Euro – currency.
- Time zone: GMT – one hour earlier than Belgium.
- 5 to 6 million foreign tourists a year – the most visited Canary Island and one of Spain’s main tourist destinations.
- Top-8 foreign visitors: 1/ United Kingdom, 2/ Germany, 3/ Sweden, 4/ Norway, 5/ Netherlands, 6/ France, 7/ Ireland, 8/ Belgium.
- No place in Europe has more endemic species – plant and animal species found nowhere else.
- 48.6 percent of Tenerife is protected nature reserve.
- 3718 meters – height of the Teide, the highest mountain in Spain and the fourth highest volcano in the world, measured from the ocean floor to the summit.
- Stargazing – the high peaks of the Canary Islands are ideal for astronomical observations.
- Blue finch (
) – official animal of Tenerife, found only in the highlands of Tenerife.
- Dracaena draco (
) – official tree of Tenerife that can live for thousands of years. The name refers to the red resin, which early islanders thought was the blood of dragons.
These assets make Tenerife heaven on earth
By far the archipelago’s most important asset. In Tenerife, the sun shines all year round and the temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees. Thanks to its location, in other words. No wonder lyrical souls christened this the “island of eternal spring.” Even NASA calls this one of the best climates in the world. Note that there is a difference between the north and the south. In the north, rains regularly splash down, so that side of the island is also greener and more lush. The south is warmer and drier.
Sun, sea and beach
All year round, Tenerife is a dream setting for sunbathers and beach bunnies. No other Canary Island has so many beaches. Indeed, the island treats three times: to sun, sea and beach. This is especially attractive in the winter months, when the rest of Europe deals with an acute lack of vitamin D. In Tenerife, however, you can still enjoy pleasant temperatures and steel-blue skies at that time.
Volcanic activity in times gone by has shaped this island into what it is. Rumbling under the Earth’s crust, solid thrusts of tectonic activity. As a result, many beaches now still turn black, the natural color of lava sand. The sand of the beaches that conform more to the cliché image of paradise – you know: golden and lined by palm trees – comes from the Sahara. Those beaches were built especially for tourists. Rough and rugged or perfectly clean, plenty of choice. In southern Tenerife, Playa del Duque, with its yellow sand and crystal clear waters, is considered one of the best on the island.
The purifying influence of the sea
Do you automatically feel at ease when you get the sea in your field of vision? Do your stress levels go down immediately? This is not a coincidence. The sea relaxes and takes away stress and worries. And it doesn’t stop there. The presence of the sea has a purifying effect on cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure. The minerals in seawater, such as iodine and magnesium, relax muscles, soothe joint injuries, reduce rheumatism and heal wounds.
In turn, a sea breeze on your skin is not only relaxing, but also unclogs the airways. By tanning in moderation, you maintain your supply of vitamin D, which is good for bones. Vitamin D also produces endorphins, the hormones responsible for a feeling of happiness. Finally, a brisk walk on the beach is a great workout for young and old alike. So proximity to the sea has nothing but advantages.
You can play golf at any level
Tenerife’s nine golf courses allow you to play all year round under bright sunshine. Beautiful views, in the woods and among the mountains – a fantastic setting, in other words, to work on your drive. Afterwards, you jump into the ocean to cool off.
Children never get bored there
Loro Parque is one of the largest animal parks in Europe, including Europe’s largest dolphin show pool and the longest shark tunnel. Children will also feast on the shows. Sea lions juggle balls and jump through hoops, dolphins perform tricks and orcas do leaps. Don’t forget that raincoat. Those who prefer to view animals in a natural setting can board a boat with the children for a trip. Along the way you will spot pilot whales, a species of out-sized dolphins, and in some cases time is provided for snorkeling.
Kids with lots of energy will have fun at Siam Park, the best water park in the world according to TripAdvisor. Here, too, records abound, including the highest artificial wave and a 28-meter slide on which speed demons hurtle down at 80 kilometers per hour. The whole thing is dressed up in a Thai theme. In addition to Siam Park, there are several other water parks, such as the Aqualand Costa Adeje.
At sea there is plenty to do
We already talked about boat trips in search of pilot whales and dolphins. But it doesn’t stop there. Jet skiing, snorkeling, parascending, wakeboarding, (kite/wind) surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, flyboarding, going loose on a banana boat: there is no activity on the water or you will find them in Tenerife.
On a two-hour jet ski safari, explore the ocean and marvel at pilot whales and dolphins again. Along the way, you can snorkel. This activity can also be done in winter, with a wetsuit. You will discover the beauty of the sea floor – with more than 500 species – while deep-sea diving. In Tenerife, you can take lessons, book excursions or buy or rent equipment at one of the many diving centers. Or visit El Médano – or “the dune” – world-famous among wind and kite surfers for its excellent conditions for their sport. Even championships regularly crash here.
Nature makes one gasp
Like the other Canary Islands, Tenerife excels in cleanliness. Here no waste, no pollution, no dumping in the middle of nature, no factories choking the cities. Nothing of the sort. More than half of Tenerife is protected. For good reason, here beautiful nature beckons around every corner. Every kind of habitat is encountered, from lush greenery to desert.
Laurel forests in the north, vast lava fields and dramatic cliffs – you never have to go far to enjoy nature. There is the Barranco del Infierno, the ravine of hell – a gorge decorated with caves and waterfalls where the Guanches once lived, the original inhabitants of Tenerife.
Although the real eye-catcher remains – literally and figuratively – the volcano Teide. In fact, you cannot leave the island without standing on the summit. Those with lots of gravy in their legs hike from the foot all the way to the top. A lot of hiking trails wind all the way up. By cable elevator is also possible, in which case you only need to cover the last 600 meters. Or with bicycles, quads or baby carriages. No matter how you get there, you will feast on the view anyway.
No, you will not sit still
Being active in Tenerife goes beyond just training. Here you will contend with the elements, the mountains and gorges, the ocean that is never far away. This island invites training bike rides, long hikes in the mountains. Perhaps you want to learn to surf or improve your golf handicap? In Tenerife, that surfboard or set of golf clubs will never gather dust.
Though feel free to take it easy. Rent a tuk-tuk and cart from Duque Castle through the market to the beach. Challenge yourself to a tandem paraglide – take off on the mountain, land on the beach, a 40-minute dream. Or wriggle into a helicopter for a flight over the island. Not cheap, but during this unique experience you will be presented with views to remember.
Island life comes with it for free
Island vibes! Who doesn’t dream of living near the ocean? The light breeze that dances into the house every morning. Being able to breathe the warm salty air. Surrounded by the sea, the rhythm of life is different anyway – slower, more sedate. A rhythm that does body and mind good. Tenerife is a very creative island, whose otherworldly landscapes have always attracted many artists. Although the pleasant climate may be in between for something.
Somehow life is more colorful here. Because even though the Canary Islands belong to Spain, there is a very different atmosphere here. Each island has its own lifestyle, its own traditions. Think traditional food, wine, crafts like lace and pots, live music and folk dancing. And fiestas all year round – every village and hamlet has its own reason to celebrate. Tenerife’s carnival, in the capital Santa Cruz, is widely considered one of the largest in the world.
It is a culinary paradise
Avocados, figs, bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, kiwis, guavas: a lot of goodies grow in Tenerife. And it’s all organic and healthy. Add to that the great availability of fresh fish, seafood and octopus – you can see the fishing boats sailing in with their loads – and you realize: few places to eat better than Tenerife.
The island is equally famous for
(flour made from toasted grains), goat cheese and honey. Native grows include coffee, the most northernly grown in the world. Not to mention the volcanic wines. A wine tour definitely pays off. Go out on your own in the countryside or visit wineries in groups.
Fancy something different? No problem! Thanks to tourism, you will find all the cuisines your heart desires. Japanese today, Mexican tomorrow, then Belgian, French and Indian? On this compact island, you will eat in a different continent every day of the week if need be.
Famous dishes from Tenerife
= stew of salt fish, sweet potatoes and parsley.
Cazuela de pescado
= fish stew.
= “wrinkled” potatoes, the local way of making potatoes, cooked in their skins and served with a traditional sauce.
Vieja guisada con papas arrugadas
= Mediterranean parrotfish with “wrinkled” potatoes.
Conejo al salmorejo
= rabbit with peppers and garlic.
= Meat marinated with herbs and white wine.
= “old clothes,” a dish made from leftovers: broth, chickpeas, potatoes, shredded beef.
= also known as zaperoco, a layered coffee cocktail of coffee, Licor 43, foamed milk, preserved milk, lemon zest and cinnamon.
The strategic location of yesteryear, between Europe, Africa and the Americas, remains useful. Tenerife’s two airports serve more than 150 destinations in Europe, Africa and the Americas. In just over two hours you fly to mainland Spain, in four hours to most of Western Europe’s major cities. Flights to Tenerife depart daily from Belgium.
The southern airport focuses mainly on international, while the northern airport provides flights to Spain and between islands. Tenerife is smaller than Flemish Brabant and relatively compact. From one end of the island to the other, you never drive more than two hours. Traffic jams hardly exist here, and in such a landscape it is always pleasant to travel.
In a beautiful setting in the balmy south of Tenerife, near the center of Callao Salvaje, lies the brand new residential complex Iconic. Leonardo Omar, a renowned architect, outdid himself with this gem, your home away from home.
Iconic is more than a place where you lay your head on a pillow at night. No, this place is all about enjoyment. From the beautiful view of the sea, the endless horizons. Of your own pool, in which you and your loved ones can splash and swim to your hearts content. And of your private terrace, where you might as well host a barbecue for your neighbors than quietly read a book.
Iconic is less than a half-hour drive from Tenerife South Airport, where daily flights from all over Europe land.
Do you want to be part of that fairy tale? Learn more about Iconic.
The south of Tenerife in keywords:
- Sunshine every day.
- A vast coastline.
- Sturdy walks along miles of walking dikes and boulevards.
- Rocks, sandy beaches, lava beaches.
- The soundtrack of churning waves.
- Pure luxury – Adeje has the highest concentration of five-star hotels anywhere in Europe.
- Blood orange sunsets.
- Spotting dolphins and pilot whales.
- The Bohemian atmosphere of La Caleta – historically a draw for hippies, those vibes are still there.
- Siam Park, one of the largest water parks in Europe.
- Views of the Teide.
- Swimming with turtles.
- Enough restaurants to eat something different every day of the year.
- Golf courses overlooking the ocean.
- Local wines of excellent quality.
- Family Friendly.
- Plaza del Duque – an upscale shopping center where you can go for all the designer brands, but equally for a pancake on a rare rainy day.
- Cocktails à volonté.
- Beach clubs with lounge chairs, Jacuzzis and infinity pools.