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The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands

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General presentationGeneral presentation
Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands is a fabulous land of contrasts: the idyllic combination of sun and sand, nature and leisure, have made ​​one of the most popular European destinations.
EtymologyEtymology and toponymy
Tenerife is an original place name Amazighe (Berber) “Tin Irifi” which means the place of thirst. Moreover, many of Amazigh names in Morocco and North Africa in general have the same grammatical form (prefix “Tin” + name). Examples: Tinghir, Tinouchi, Tindouf...

Early in the first century AD, the historian Pliny the Elder called the island Nivaria (from the Latin word nix, nivis: snow) or Ninguaria.

The name is sometimes spelled Tenerife in French. The spelling with two “f” is also available in German, English and Swedish but, usually, the name of this island is spelled “Tenerife” on the Spanish model.


The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Satellite Image. Click to enlarge the image.Tenerife is in the middle of all the other islands of the Canary Islands, 1 300 km from the Iberian Peninsula and 300 km from Africa.


IslandThe island of Tenerife
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Map of the island of Tenerife (Canary Tourism Office author). Click to enlarge the image.How not to mention the sea when we think Tenerife. The island has rich natural treasures, many of which are born with volcanic activity which makes them unique and magical at once. Along its 350 km of coastline, Tenerife surprises with its colorful seabed where there are an amazing variety of plant and animal species: giant turtles, stingrays, anemones, and so on. These crystalline waters have been shaped by volcanic activity resulting in caves, sandbars and steep areas that form a surprising rocky bottom. The beaches of Tenerife are a curiosity to discover as they alternate between white sand, black and natural pools created by the meeting between the lava volcanoes and the sea. Finally, we are seduced by its wild coves and rugged coastline where cliffs fall impressively vertically into the sea. These natural phenomena give another view of the sea and can discover places in the singular and exotic beauty.

Its 269 kilometers of coastline offer a great diversity of sites where you can enjoy the sun and the sea. In the north, relief, more abrupt and steep, drew small coves and natural pools, while in the south , particularly in the municipalities of Adeje and Arona, you expect many beach areas, most of which are of volcanic origin. You can swim all year round, thanks to the abundance of sunny days and mild temperatures ranging from 18 degrees in winter to 26 in summer. The hotel infrastructure, quality first, and the wide range of leisure and complementary services, also add to the reasons why thousands of people choose this island to spend their holidays. The “roasting” of Tenerife are grouped in the southern tip of this island in the shape of duck, including Los Cristianos and Las Américas. As in the case of Gran Canaria, the interest of this island lies mainly in its protected natural areas, forests and charming villages.

The island is characterized by a huge variety of landscapes providing a striking contrast between the north, the lush green vegetation, and south, arid and dotted with cactus. Not to mention the black sand beaches north and south of white sand and the diversity of animal and plant species ... With almost half of its area classified as protected areas, Tenerife offers something for everybody looking for a Nature destination!

Walking through the island of Tenerife, we discover panoramas and striking contrasts between landscapes. The island contains a nature to astonishing beauty. One discovers a lunar landscape of volcanic rock formations unimaginable, black and white sand beaches and natural pools formed by volcanic activity and the exuberant laurel forest, forest composed of laurel and ferns home to many endemic species.

In Tenerife, nature changes in a snap. We pass the fertile valleys of La Orotava in the semi-desert areas through incredible mountain ranges that give way to stunning ravines more one approaches the coast. Tenerife is a concentrate of nature remained in the wild gathering a beautiful range of natural diversity of the world!

But Tenerife offers much more to discover. The environmental richness is represented in the center by the National Park Teide and the Natural Park of Corona Forestal, but there are other natural areas of great value in the whole island. The scuba diving is also a spectacular experience as the volcanoes have given Tenerife a seabed of great originality. Cycling, golf, hiking, surfing and paragliding are among the sports that one can also practice there. Apart from the famous Carnival, the many festivals that take place in its different villages give you the opportunity to discover crafts typical, as calado or roseta (types of embroidery), gastronomy, dominated by fish, potatoes land and cheese, and other popular customs with strong traditional component.

KnowledgeHistory, geography, arts, traditions, flora ...

The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Satellite Image. Click to enlarge the image.The Canary archipelago lies 115 km west of Morocco’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Tenerife, the largest of the islands (81 km by 45 km), is of volcanic origin; the main volcano, the Teide, is in the center (elevation: 3,718 m).

The island has 2,034 km² and has the shape of a triangle.

The north of the island is occupied by the massif of Anaga and its primary forest of laurel forest (one of the last in Europe) and the south consists of the foothills of the Teide and a rather desert part. The peak of Teide is located in the valley of Orotava, in the National Park of Las Cañadas del Teide.

Originally, Tenerife, like all the Canary Islands, was inhabited by the Guanches, the kingdom of Anaga and the king was Mencey Beneharo. One of the most powerful leaders of Tenerife lived in the fifteenth century and was named Tinerfe. After his death the island was divided between his new son.

1483: the inhabitants of Gran Canaria, the neighboring island, went to the Spaniards.

1492 after the discovery of America, the Canary Islands are of strategic importance as the last European stop before crossing the Atlantic.

1494: Castilian Alonso Fernández de Lugo landed on Tenerife and founded an outpost that will become Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Unlike its previous landing, a year earlier, on the island of La Palma, he suffered a crushing defeat against the Guanches in La Matanza de Acentejo.

On 25 December 1495 the Guanches are definitely conquered by the Spanish in La Victoria de Acentejo. Now the archipelago is under the Spanish crown. The surviving Guanches mingled with the conquerors and disappeared as an ethnic group. La Laguna became the capital of Tenerife.

From that moment, Tenerife became an important base of the waterway between Spain and the Americas.

England, who also had interests in the new world, also began to covet the Canary Islands. In 1657 the English Admiral Robert Blake won April 20, 1657 the last victory of his career by defeating a Spanish gold convoy during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

1706 under the command of Admiral John Jennings the British tried to conquer the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but in vain.

1778 Charles III of Spain gave Santa Cruz de Tenerife the privilege of doing business with America.

1792: creation of the single university in the Canary La Laguna.

1797: British Admiral Horatio Nelson lost his right arm during a new unsuccessful attack against Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the main defeat that gripped Nelson during his military career.

1822 Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the whole of the Canary Islands. She will retain that status until 1927.

In 1936 General Francisco Franco launched his coup from Tenerife. The war in Spain did not reach the Canaries but economic isolation under the dictatorship had very negative consequences. At that time, only bananas were exported to the mainland.

1975: after the return to democracy, Tenerife and other islands of the archipelago obtained greater autonomy and tourism become more and more important.

In 1982 the Canary Islands were granted the status of autonomous community of Spain. The cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria share the seat of government of the province. They take turns every four years in this position.

Originally mainly based on agriculture and fishing, the island’s economy took the turn mass tourism from the 60s. The first urbanisations were conducted on the north coast (Puerto de la Cruz).

Agriculture accounts for more than 10% of the island’s GDP, but its role is much more important in maintaining the social fabric and traditional landscape structures.

Traditional cultures, terraced almond, citrus and banana plantations have mostly given way to the resorts and their associated services. This real estate frenzy, boosted by the popularity of British and German tourists continued on the south coast with rare lulls until the 2000s. A new push programs benefited from the housing boom that has sustained the Spanish growth in the early twenty-first century. Many buildings but also complete sets thus emerged on theoretically protected sites, slow administrative classification decisions that can not compete with the efficiency of the promoters.

Irrigation canalIrrigation and water management
Tenerife has a particular river system consists of 1,700 km of tunnels for the filtration of groundwater, ending pumping reservoirs. Distribution and collection of water are left to the responsibility of private owners and the landscape is crisscrossed with pipes, installed along roads and ravines, to power homes and crops. This management, adapted to the low initial settlement of the island, turns around new housing developments in a landscape worthy of a refinery.
The gofio
The gofio Canary is made ​​from the grain of various cereals, which once roasted and ground, constitutes a complete meal with a very fine texture. The gofio most consumed in Tenerife is the gofio of wheat, but there are also the gofio corn and occasionally perhaps gofio pea. The mixture gofio wheat and corn is also appreciated. The gofio was the basic foodstuff in the diet of the Guanches in pre-Hispanic times. The Guanches used stone mills to grind. Today, we use the gofio as a supplement in various dishes, but also very successfully in new creations of desserts and ice cream. It turned out to be essential in years of scarcity and the Canarian emigrants brought to America. The year 1990 saw the creation of the Association of Producers of gofio Canary, who got a specific designation of origin “Gofio Canario” for this food, very popular today.
The papas arrugadas
The papas arrugadas are cooked potatoes without being peeled, with a lot of salt, so they keep all the flavors of the island varieties to taste hardly comparable with those of other latitudes. Their size, texture and color are varied, although the most popular belong to the variety called bonita, and above all, black potatoes, tiny, with very dark skin and yellow flesh, as creamy and flavourful.
The fish
Fish is usually prepared just in court bouillon or as we say here sancochado, that is to say, seasoned with oil, vinegar and pepper little, or accompanied by Canarian sauce or mojo. The mojo is a sauce prepared in different ways, which is always present on the good tables of the islands. It can be green, made ​​from cilantro or red, also called mojo picón. Fish quintessential most appreciated by Canary Islanders is wrasse, parrot fish vieja (Sparisoma cretense) to the delicate white flesh, but many others are recommended as the red porgy (bocinegro) (Pagrus pagrus) the common dentex (Dentex dentex), the saupe (Sarpa salpa). The thunidae abound in the waters of the archipelago. Very tasty, they are served fried, grilled or marinated: mackerel, sardines and horse mackerel especially (chicharro) (Trachurus trachurus) which is also the nickname given to the capital of the island and, by extension, to all the island of Tenerife. They are called the islanders Chicharreros. If there is a fish that must taste is the moray eel, fried and crispy, the favorite dish of Roman Emperors strangely forgotten by the great contemporary gourmets. In wetter areas and cooler of the island, it is very pleasant to taste a fish casserole - grouper or amberjack (cherne) (Seriola dumerili) usually - accompanied by a escaldón de gofio: a ground corn meal porridge and grilled mixed with broth.
Regarding meat dishes, we must mention the carne de fiesta, the feast of meat, these little pieces of pork stew. The name of this dish is that it is traditionally prepared during popular festivals and is served in the kiosks and bars at dances and other fiestas. The kid, prepared in different ways, is served, as most fish with papas arrugadas.
The mojos, and fresh cheeses made ​​from goat’s milk, often served as appetizers at a good meal. The Canarian cheese recover gradually today their former prestige and obtained important prizes at recent international exhibitions of dairy products. In the past and up to about 1950, when there was still a large herd of dairy cows, cheese Tenerife could be made ​​from cow’s milk, mixed with milk from goat and sheep. Today is goat cheese predominates, made exclusively from goat’s milk or goat’s milk and sheep makes them creamier because fatter. They also sometimes include cow’s milk. Although they are sometimes refined or even smoked, most cheeses of Tenerife are fresh cheese taste good and very soft on the palate, which gives them an own personality, quite different from that of some European goat cheese.
The honeys of Tenerife
The climate and terrain of Tenerife give flora absolutely unique characteristics. Floral combinations as there are for these reasons, together with the existence of so many endemic botanical explain the diversity and originality that have honeys Tenerife. Honeys of Tenerife are obtained in nearly 10,000 mobilistic type hives spread throughout the island territory. 500 beekeepers spend such craftsmen, all their care and their willingness to these apiaries small dimensions. The native bee of Tenerife is the black bee. It is this which produces roughly 150,000 kilos of honey on average per year, 50% of all honey obtained the Canaries. The transfer of hives in search of the most appropriate blooms at any time, provides very special honeys, which offer a wealth of flavors and colorings quite unusual in other production areas, ranging from light tones and less intense flavors broom honey and viper to the dark color and strong flavor of banana honey and avocado, through the whole range of amber and golden hues.

Honeys multi-Flowers in Tenerife, one can find excellent multi-flower honeys or “thousand flowers” whose characteristics are rather surprising, because the possibilities of floral combinations are many, without there being a one definite botanical species predominate. Tenerife Honeys are classified according to the altitude where they are produced in honey peaks, mountains and the coast.

Honey summits: those products at an altitude above 1,200 meters, mainly in Las Cañadas del Teide, on the basis of plants such as broom, viper and edelweiss bushy Canaries. Most notable of these is probably the broom honey Teide, which is developed over 1500 meters.

Honey mountains: these honeys are produced in apiaries installed between 450 and 1200 meters. Among these include, in particular, multi-flower honey from the mountains, and also single-flower honeys from chestnut, heather or viper. Their taste is more intense when it’s heather, fennel or chestnut predominates, whereas if the predominant plant is oregano, eucalyptus or Scotch broom, flavor is slightly sweet and aromatic.

Honeys from the coast: it is at an altitude below 450 meters that are developed honeys from the coast. They combine orange blossom, soda, balo, avocado, banana and other species. One of the most remarkable of these honeys is that based avocado and banana. Honeys single flower on the island also produces single flower honeys quite special. They have, at their base, the nectar of a single plant or a very limited number of species.

Broom honey Teide: it is developed during the spring - summer, at an altitude of over 1500 meters, in the National Park Teide. This is honey whose production is the oldest and most traditional in the entire sector, to Tenerife. It is light amber color and its delicate flavor makes it particularly suitable to accompany tea or at breakfast.

Bugloss honey: honey is obtained on the basis of various species of viper existing on the island, basically on the heights Arafo and Arico. He has a very clear tone and a sweet, floral aroma, making it the perfect accompaniment to food which is not desired to retract the taste.

Avocado honey and banana: This is a spring honey, produced in the island lowlands. It is very dark, almost black, and has a characteristic and intense aroma, reminiscent of candy and ripe fruit. Because of its color and aroma so intense, it was traditionally used to knead together with gofio (toasted flour) and dried fruit, to develop the “pellas” so exquisite.

Chestnut honey: this honey is a summer - autumn, the time when blooming chestnut trees that stand on the heights of the north side of the island and those of Arafo and Candelaria. This honey is a very dark amber color, and is characterized by intense and persistent aroma. It goes well with desserts, gofio kneaded, and it is also a perfect condiment for many dishes of meat or poultry.

Heather honey: it is developed in areas where heather scrubland is accompanied by thyme, oregano and holly in the Canaries, where begins the forest crown. This honey is produced in very small quantities. It is amber-colored and has a medium intensity aroma, and intense astringency.

Wines of Tenerife
The largest of the Canary island is also the wine tradition, the production area and variety of the most important wines of the archipelago. There are many wine regions and occupy the island almost completely. Today, five of the ten designations of origin for Canaries are in Tenerife.

Abona: this designation of origin, approved in 1996, includes the wineries of the municipalities of Adeje, Arona, San Miguel de Abona, Granadilla de Abona, Arico, Fasnia and Vilaflor, where the Teide and the highest vineyard of Europe, at over 1600 meters altitude. Production is reduced, but very good. The varieties used are listan blanca and listan negra.

Tacoronte: the wine region with the largest production and the oldest of the Canary Islands. The appellation of origin Tacoronte-Acentejo includes nine municipalities: La Laguna, Tegueste, Tacoronte, El Sauzal, La Matanza de Acentejo, La Victoria de Acentejo, Santa Ursula, El Rosario and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. To develop these wines are used: listan negro, negramoll, white varieties gual, malvasia, listan blanco and marmajuelo.

Guimar: the region Valle de Guimar, includes the municipalities of Arafo, Candelaria and Guimar, and produces wines that are characterized by their high contrast and temperature. The most used varieties are listan blanca and listan negro.

Orotava: the valley of La Orotava begins under the Teide and extends to the coast. This designation includes the municipalities of La Orotava, Los Realejos and Puerto de la Cruz, about 1 000 hectares of vineyards and over 20 wineries.

Ycoden-Daute-Isora: more than 2 000 hectares, most with listan blanca and listan negro. Includes the municipalities of San Juan de la Rambla, Guía de Isora, La Guancha, Icod de los Vinos, Garachico, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, El Tanque and Santiago del Teide.

Practical informationPractical information

Useful informationUseful information
The southern region of the island, near the international airport Reina Sofia, includes the most important stations. Playa de Los Christianos and Playa de las Américas alone account for 65% of the hotel potential of the island.
Tourist OfficeThe tourism office
Plaza de España, s / n - 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife)

Phone: 00 34 922 239 811; 00 34 922 239 592; Fax: 00 34 922 239 812

Jet lagJet lag
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
AdministrationAdministrative information
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Town halls. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Tenerife is divided into 31 municipalities:

Adeje, Arafo, Arico, Arona, Buenavista del Norte, Candelaria, Fasnia, Garachico, Granadilla de Abona, La Guancha, Guía de Isora, Güímar, Icod de los Vinos, La Matanza de Acentejo, La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz, Los Realejos, El Rosario, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, San Juan de la Rambla, San Miguel de Abona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the capital), Santa Úrsula, Santiago del Teide, El Sauzal, Los Silos, Tacoronte, El Tanque, Tegueste, La Victoria de Acentejo, Vilaflor.

The climate is tropical Tenerife according to the classification of Köppen, with an annual average temperature of about 22 °C, in winter the thermometer rarely drop below 15 °C.

Because of its location, Tenerife has a great climate and orographic diversity between the south and north of the island separated by the Teide and the ridges chain. The climate is changing on the island has tropical and wetlands north, swept by the trade winds, and dry areas almost desert and sunny south. This fact gives him a wealth of ecosystems and flora and fauna.

particular phenomena: calima / wind / snow in winter.

climate dataJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
Sunshine hours / Day5.
Air temperature [° C] (day)212223242526282928262422
Water temperature [° C]201919202021212223232120
Rainy days555310011356
MeteorologyWeather and forecasts
The weather in Tenerife at the moment
Air transportAir transport
In Tenerife there are two airports: the airport Tenerife South (IATA code TFS) or Reina Sofía located in Granadilla de Abona to 64 Km of Santa Cruz; and the other is the airport of Tenerife North (TFN code ITA) or Los Rodeos located in La Laguna, 13 km from Santa Cruz.
AirportTenerife North Airport
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Tenerife North Airport. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. North Airport, Los rodeos. Click to enlarge the image.Plane crash: the worst accident of global civil aviation history occurred on the airport TFN - Los Rodeos March 27, 1977. A crash on takeoff of 2 Boeing 747 of KLM Dutch companies and US Pan Am, partly due to fog, caused 583 deaths.

The north airport, still in service, has reduced activity in a mainly Spanish clientele.

AirportTenerife South Airport
The accident of Tenerife is known as the Tenerife disaster name, and led to the construction of the airport TFS Reina Sofia in the south of the island, with a very dry and pleasant climate all year round. The inauguration of this large-capacity airport in 1978 and TF-1 highway contributed to South tourism development.
CoachRoad transport
Website of the bus company:
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Map. Click to enlarge the image.

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Interactive map of the island of Tenerife
The island of Tenerife - Map of bus lines (PDF)
The northern coast of Tenerife
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The interior of the island of Tenerife
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Tourist information on the Canary Islands
The geography of the Canary Islands
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The island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands
The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands
The island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands
The island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands
The island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
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