The island of Tenerife (2,034 sq km, 890,000 inhabitants) is the largest and most populated of the Canary archipelago. This island is located north-west of the island of Gran Canaria and north-east of the island of La Gomera. Its capital is the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. While the ancient center of San Cristóbal de La Laguna is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The island was inhabited since the second century by the Guanches, an indigenous population perhaps native to Africa. Tenerife was discovered by European navigators in the 14th century and was the last Canary Island to be conquered by the Spanish in 1496. After the Spanish conquest, the indigenous population was assimilated or swept away by the diseases brought by the Europeans against whom they had no immune defense.
Tenerife is an island of volcanic origin. The island is in fact dominated by the majestic peak of the Teide volcano (3,718 meters), the highest mountain in the Canaries and all of Spain. This mountain is today among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tenerife has a great variety of landscapes and geological formations. In the south of the island there are semi-desert areas. While in the north-east is the green Anaga Massif, and in the north-west is the Teno Massif with the wild coast of the Acantilado de los Gigantes, with precipices of 500 meters.
ONE OF THE MAJOR TOURIST DESTINATIONS OF SPAIN: BEACHES AND NIGHT LIFE
The island is one of the main tourist destinations in Spain. The most touristic area of the island is located at the southern end in correspondence with the beach resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos. Another very tourist area is that of Puerto de la Cruz which is located along the northwest coast. The beaches of the island are all of black volcanic sand. The only yellow sandy beach is that of Las Teresitas, but its color is due to the fact that it was artificially formed by built-up sand. The most beautiful beaches are those of Puerto la Cruz, Los Cristianos, San Agustin, and Playa de Las Americas.
THE HISTORICAL CENTER OF SAN CRISTOBAL LA LAGUNA
In addition to the beaches and sea life, Tenerife has interesting historical and artistic references. The historic center of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, is the most beautiful in the whole island and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient capital of the island, here are a series of colonial-style buildings of great beauty. Among the most valuable religious buildings: the cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios), the Church of the Conception (Iglesia Matriz de la Concepción) and the Real Santuario del Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna. The historic center of La Orotava also has valuable colonial-style buildings.
On the southeast coast are the mysterious Pirámides de Güímar. On the island there are also some archaeological sites from the Guanches era, the ancient inhabitants of the Canaries. Generally they are cave paintings that are found in different locations scattered throughout the island, but the greatest concentration is found in the southern part of the island.
For those who want to deepen the history of the Guanches, a visit to the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a must, where the famous mummies of the Guanches are also visible. For those with children, in Puerto la Cruz is worth visiting the Loro Parque, a park with marine and terrestrial animals, including dolphins, orcas, tigers, alligators and parrots.
HOW TO GET TO TENERIFE
FLIGHTS: The island of Tenerife is served by two international airports: Tenerife South international airport (Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur) and Tenerife North international airport (Aeropuerto de Tenerife Norte). The most important of the two is Tenerife South Airport which is also known by the name of Reina Sofia Airport, almost 9 million passengers land at this airport every year.
At the other airport of the island, the North one, also known by the name of Los Rodeos Airport, almost 4 million passengers land every year. The two airports are connected with most of the European nations.
FERRIES: Another means of transport to reach the island is the ferry. The port of Santa Cruz is connected by ferries to the port of Cadiz. A ferry network connects Tenerife with the other islands of the archipelago.
The climate of Tenerife.
Pages of the Canary Islands Government.