If you’re considering setting off on a Tenerife holiday this year then read on for need-to-know tourist information including the best tasting dishes to try, the island’s unique geography and an overview of its colonial history.
Where is Tenerife?
Tenerife is the largest and most populated island of the Canaries, a group of volcanic islands found in the north Atlantic ocean, south-west of Spain and north-west of Africa.
What’s the landscape like in Tenerife?
Tenerife has a varied volcanic terrain. You can expect everything from white-and-black sand beaches to dramatic desert-scapes, snow-capped mountains and luscious, fertile hillsides.
Visitors to the island can get up close and personal with the landscape by soaring to the summit of the mighty Mount Teide volcano by cable car. The highest point in Spain, Mount Teide’s peak stands an eye-watering 3,715m above sea level. Above the clouds, you can enjoy panoramic views of Teide National Park framing the brilliant blue Mediterranean Sea. Traverse the hardened lava passing Teide’s lava tongues, giant craters, bubbling caldera and volcano caves – all the result of turbulent magma rising and spilling from the Earth’s crust.
What’s the weather like in Tenerife?
As you can imagine, the diverse topography here lends itself to a unique microclimate of distinct weather zones. In this sub-tropical atmosphere, temperatures rarely drop below a toasty 20 degrees Celsius, guaranteeing sunshine almost all year round.
Similar to other islands in the Canaries, Tenerife’s weather is clearly defined between the north and south. Mount Teide divides the two halves, with the north being distinctly wetter and cooler than the south which has more sunshine and hotter temperatures.
What’s the history behind the Island?
The island as we know it today was formed in a process over three million years ago. The volcanic land mass appeared as the result of three separate islands fusing together after a turbulent shift of tectonic plates underneath Mount Teide volcano.
In the late 15th century, Spanish forces serving the Crown of Castille conquered Tenerife, intent on using the island for strategic purposes. Because of its ideal location between Africa and the Americas, Tenerife was a key trading port for ships embarking to the New World. The island's grape production was by far its strongest commodity, helping to fund Tenerife’s economic development.
British forces tried, and failed, to claim the island for themselves during the Revolutionary Wars. Tenerife is the spot where Nelson’s arm was infamously chopped off as he battled in vain to conquer the isle.
What’s the food like in Tenerife?
Tenerife’s cuisine has had plenty of outside influence over the years due to the island’s mercantile history. Recipes, spices and cooking techniques were brought over from Latin America, Africa, Spain and beyond to create unique recipes distinctive to the Island.
Here are some of our favourite picks to try:
Papas arrugadas with mojo sauce
Mojo comes from the Portuguese word, Molho, meaning sauce. There are two varieties found on the island – green (made from coriander) and red (made from red bell peppers). Both can be found as condiments in nearly every traditional restaurant.
The sauce best complements locally grown, waxy potatoes, cultivated on the island since the 1600s when they were brought back by Spanish conquistadors. These are boiled to make papas arrugadas, and smothered in the hot, garlicky sauce famous on Tenerife.
Queso asado translated is fried cheese, and what could be better! Order this dish as a light bite or an accompaniment to a small tapas selection. Goat cheese is the most popular variety in Tenerife, and you’ll find wild goats roaming all over the island’s rocky hillsides and ravines tended to by loving herdsmen. Local dairy farmers cover some of their specialty cheese with pepper or Gofio (a type of flour made from roasted grains).
Smother with runny honey for a touch of sweetness and a little of the island’s mojo for a truly authentic taste of Tenerife.
Arroz a la Cubana
Bananas are Tenerife’s main crop, and unsurprisingly, the locals have some delicious recipes to showcase the freshly grown fruit. Arroz a la Cubana is said to originate from Cuba, but is now much more popular in Tenerife. It’s essentially a spiced rice with diced meat, served with a golden-yolk egg and one or two fried, caramelised bananas.
With such spectacular beauty, a captivating history and delicious cuisine to experience, why not book your getaway today and explore this magical Island on foot? Browse our handpicked holidays to Tenerife and book today.