60 Second Geography: Tenerife, Canary Islands – Spain’s Tropical Getaway

With almost perfect temperatures the whole year, the Canary Islands are a popular getaway for travelers. Particularly Tenerife, the most populous island in the chain. Picturesque sand beaches stretch along the coasts surrounding cloud-covered mountains, and small villages once lost to volcanic explosions have been born anew. A flourishing culture with art, delectable food, and tasty wine… the Tenerife life is rest and relaxation immersed in naturally stunning views with a healthy helping of adventurous views and perfect beaches.

The capital of Tenerife, Canary Islands is Santa Cruz de Tenerife, commonly shortened to Santa Cruz. Located on the eastern tip of the island, Santa Cruz is the center of culture and population on the island. A stop by Plaza de España, the Canary’s largest public square, shows the local lifestyles and day-to-day activities. Fish and other seafood are a mainstay in the cuisine, as well as mangos, bananas, and avocados. And, like mainland Spain, small tapas are the way to snack on delicious foods throughout the day—after a day of relaxing or adventuring around the island.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife at night. Canary Islands, Spain
Santa Cruz de Tenerife at night. Canary Islands, Spain

If you’re looking for relaxation, Tenerife has 16 beautiful golden and dark sand beaches spread across its volcanic terrain, covering almost 50 miles of its nearly 250-mile coastline. Costa Adeje, along Tenerife’s south coast, is the popular spot for the best golden sand beaches as well as home to some of the best water activities on the island. If you want to try your hand at sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, or just plain snorkeling, this is the place for you.

The path of the enchanted forest Park of Anaga, tenerife island
path in the forest of the park of Anaga, nicknamed enchanted forest, UNESCO heritage, tenerife island

For the adventurous traveler,  Tenerife offers hiking scenery that will amaze the traveler. In Tacorante, the subtropical Canarian laurisilva forests are lush blankets along the rising mountains and dipping valleys. Las Cañadas National Park is an entirely different view. Here, the sparseness of desert terrain is dotted with unique plant life. One can also find the site of the most recent volcanic eruption, Chinyero in 1909. And the star of the show is Mt. Teide, rising to 12,188 ft, and even has a cable car to the top (on days when the weather allows).

Outside of the capital, secluded and off-the-track villages sit in exotic locations. Masca is one of these. In the mountains and surrounded by panoramic views of valleys and other mountain tops, it sits 2460 ft above sea level and features small villas layered on the elevation.

Landscape with Garachico town of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Landscape with Garachico town of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Perhaps, a visit to the larger Garachio beside the ocean. It was once the main port of Tenerife but was met with destruction when Montaña Negra erupted and destroyed the harbor and large parts of the city. Today it has risen from the ashes as a colorful, quaint village built around natural saltwater pools created by that old lava flow, and uses the motto ‘Glorious in Adversity.’

Tenerife Island is an all-around getaway where travelers of all types are welcome. From mountainscapes seemingly jutted up from the ocean to museums and local festivals, to lovely villages hidden away—not to mention the proximity to all the other Canary Islands.

stars at night in el teide tenerife
A view above the clouds of the stars in El Teide National Park, Tenerife, Spain