Monday, April 14, 2014

Tenerife for first-timers (Part I)

With the days getting warmer and warmer and Easter just upon us it seems only right to start thinking of holidays. Even I am thinking of a nice holiday and I might just happen to book some tickets soon for a week of doing nothing in my home island before I start working full-time this summer again (weird to be thinking of holidays when I've actually had a gap year without wanting it). Anyway, if you are also daydreaming of an unforgettable holiday somewhere warm, let me tell you that Tenerife has everything it takes to make a perfect holiday. Good weather, great beaches, nice people, many hiking possibilities, interesting bars and amazing food. So, in case you are ready to dive in and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime in Tenerife, here's a small guide to help you decide and plan your first steps towards that dream holiday.

I wanted to put together some practicalities plus some personal advice on what to see and enjoy. My first thought was to do only one post but when I realised how lenghty it got I decided to split the information on two posts. This is the first part of a humble travel guide to my home island. You can find here practical information about how to get there and around. The next part will cover what to see and do. Hope you find all this information somewhat useful!


Tenerife El Teide

ABOUT

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, an archipelago consisting of seven big islands and six smaller ones in the Atlantic Ocean. The Canary islands are opposite Morocco, with Lanzarote being only 100 km away from the African shores. The Canary Islands enjoy a mild weather all year round, though Tenerife and the other western islands have a more varied climate that can changed drastically from one town to another despite the short distances (to give you a broad idea, winter in the northern part of Tenerife can be chilly with temperatures around 10C while the south is always sunny with temperatures above 20C. It often snows in winter, if only in the mountains, and this year has been particularly snowy - it has just snowed again last Saturday!). The Canary Islands are part of Spain, hence the official language is Spanish and the local currency is the euro (€). The capital and biggest city of Tenerife is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.


Tenerife La Laguna

HOW TO GET THERE

Tenerife has two airports, Tenerife North (Aeropuerto de Los Rodeos) and Tenerife South (Aeropuerto Reina Sofía). The first one serves mostly national and domestic routes, while the latter one is the international airport and main entry gate in the island. Ryanair and Easyjet both offer direct conexions with many European countries and other less-well known companies have charter flights. The Canary Islands are far but most people only realise how far they actually are when they are sitting in a plane for hours with only the Atlantic Ocean beneath. As an example, it takes 2 hours 45 minutes to get there from Madrid (Spain) and approximately 4 hours 30 minutes from Basel (Switzerland). 


Tenerife

HOW TO GET AROUND

Tenerife has a bus network linking most places in the island, though not all connections are direct. All bus services are provided by TITSA (with the exception of the La Esperanza region, which has its own independent bus services, but this not a really touristy place and I myself have never taken those buses). There is also a tram line connecting Tenerife's two biggest cities, Santa Cruz and La Laguna, a very popular and reliable service, though it usually takes longer than a bus ride. It is possible to buy a pass valid for both the tram and all TITSA buses. Still, one of the best ways to see the island and some of its best attractions is by car, so renting a car at least for a day is highly recommendable.

In case you are interested in visiting other islands, Gran Canaria and La Gomera are the nearest ones and they can be reached by boat in less than a hour with Fred Olsen fast ferries. Naviera Armas is the other main ferry line in the Canary Islands, serving more or less the same routes but with cheaper fares (and longer travel times). All Canary Islands have an airport and can be reached by plane from Tenerife. Binter has flight connections to all islands form Tenerife with most routes available from Tenerife south and north airports. Flights within the Canary Islands take less than an hour.

Tenerife Candelaria


WHERE TO STAY

Tenerife has two main touristic regions. The south of island is probably the most popular place to stay and it is specially popular with British, Russian and young people. In the last decades dozens of new hotels were built in this part of the island, some of them being real state-of-the-art properties. It is not difficult to find a week stay in an all-inclusive five star hotel for €400 or €500. There are also many resorts of self-catered appartments. Los Cristianos, Playa de las Américas or Adeje are some of the towns in the south of Tenerife bursting with hotels and appartment towers.

Tenerife El Medano

In the northern side of Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz has been a popular holiday resort town since the 19th century (even Agatha Christie lived there for a while). Unlike the south of the island, Puerto de la Cruz has remained the same since the 60s and 70s when several skyscraping hotels were built to boost the tourist industry. It is a much more tranquil town than the resorts in the south of the island and nowadays a big share of visitors are Germans, Scandinavian and Spanish. It is also a favourite for elder tourists who seek quietness and a mild climate.

Santa Cruz and La Laguna also have a number a modern hotels more aimed for business trips (especially those in Santa Cruz). They can be a convenient option due to their location, though pricier than their more touristy counterparts.


Tenerife Puerto de la Cruz


Do you have any suggestions for a fine vacation in Tenerife? Any question?

Have a lovely week!

10 comments:

  1. This is so awesome Irene. Tenerife has a fabulous transportation system by air and on land. The hotels sound awesome as well. One day! HaHaHa I would love to see it. Great post!

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  2. Ooh I know all about these young people visiting Tenerife - I think it's become a bit of a party island these last few years! Do you like the wildness and young custom as a local, or is it not to your taste? I can't imagine how you must feel when it gets to summer season. I have been to Tenerife before and I just can't imagine living there. I bet you don't feel like it, but to me, it's like a holiday all year round! Ahhh want to be back there soon - I'm shocked at how long it takes from Madrid! I didn't know that! Rosemary x

    rosemaryofelephants.blogspot.com

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  3. I would love to visit Tenerife someday if given the chance. It would be nice to see the north and south of the island and see the contrast of tranquil and touristy. Have a great week!

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  4. Tenerife sounds like an ideal vacation spot. I haven't heard about this until I found your blog. Perhaps one day I can go there.

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  5. Those views are simply breathtaking, I even can't believe those amazing landscapes are real:) The Canary Islands seems to be a perfect place for people who just love to enjoy beautiful nature and gorgeous views, I have never been there, but I'd love to!
    Have a fabulous time!

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  6. Tenerife looks absolutely beautiful! I'd love to visit it one day... :) Some of my friends did go there on vacation almost every year (not to party, but with their parents haha) and it sounds amazing.

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  7. What a great post! I have never been there which is kind of sad but my parents traveled there and they loved it so much! The pictures are so beautiful and I really hope I can visit someday! I did not know that there are two airports on the island! Can't wait for part 2!

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  8. What a post it is?Its really great one.All the places of Tenerife was mind blowing to see and looks great one.Thanks for sharing the information with us.
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  9. Such a beautiful place. I'd love to visit someday!

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  10. I've been talking to Cory about making Tenerife one of our travel destinations next year, maybe for Lexie's February break from school. Reading your blog has been my inspiration to go! How will the weather be that time of year?

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