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Bus routes 8 and 9 serve the airport from the city centre and services run every 15 minutes. The 15-km journey could also be made by taxi.
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Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. The southern part of the island is famous for its fantastic holiday resorts and beaches. In addition to the sand and sea, the island offers rugged natural adventures, a vibrant night scene and plenty of family-friendly fun. Tenerife’s sunny climate and diverse attractions and activities entice romance-seeking couples, families looking for something to suit everyone and groups of friends of all ages. Make the most of your vacation with this Finnair travel guide to Tenerife.
Sights in Tenerife
The capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the cultural hub of the island, with an atmosphere that is quite different from the southern parts of the island. The natural history museum and planetarium are often of interest to children, and the nearby botanical garden is peaceful and pretty. Visit the Auditorio de Tenerife, a unique modern structure that hosts music and theatre performances. The most anticipated event of the year in the city is definitely the Carnival of Santa Cruz. Near Santa Cruz you can also find the beautiful old towns of La Laguna and La Orotava; the former is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most prominent feature of Tenerife is El Teide, the world’s third-largest volcano. If you’re up to the ascent, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view over the entire island. Loro Parque is a good place to see wildlife; boasting, for example, 350 different species of parrots.
The island also offers great opportunities for water sports, with surfing, swimming, windsurfing, parasailing and jet-skiing among the options. The waters are also ideal for year-round diving. Keen anglers won’t be disappointed by the excellent fishing opportunities. Hiking and mountain biking are also popular ways for visitors to get active in nature. If you simply want to spend your days basking on sandy beaches, Tenerife has plenty to choose from. Most of the island’s beaches have black volcanic sands, but if you really want yellow shores, head to Los Cristianos; the sands there have been imported. The best beaches around Tenerife include the greenery-backed Playa Jardin, the picture-perfect Playa de las Teresitas, the exclusive El Duque and Los Gigantes with its towering cliffs. Playa de las Americas has a long strip of bars and clubs and people here know how to keep the parties swinging until the early hours of the morning.
Things to See and Do Near Tenerife
- Boat trips – Take a boat excursion to look for whales, dolphins and marine birds, join a lively booze cruise, enjoy a fishing expedition or sign up for a scuba diving adventure.
- Gran Canaria – Another popular island in the archipelago, Gran Canaria offers more beautiful beaches, golf clubs, outdoor adventures, water parks and more.
- La Gomera – One of the smallest islands in the archipelago, La Gomera makes for a pleasant side trip from Tenerife. The World Heritage Garajonay National Park is home to the world’s biggest laurel rainforest, and other highlights include Hermigua with its agricultural roots, Valle Gran Rey with its alternative vibe and the Count's Tower and Church of La Asunción in San Sebastian de la Gomera.
Shopping in Tenerife
Tenerife offers anything a tourist may want to buy while on vacation, with shopping centres and markets selling an assortment of items. Tenerife is a duty-free island, meaning that you can pick up some terrific bargains on alcoholic products, tobacco, perfume and similar; do note that customs limits still apply, though.
- El Corte Ingles – Located in the heart of Santa Cruz, this large shopping centre sells a wide selection of high-class products, with Spanish brands and internationally known names.
- Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa – This permanent market has a commercial centre as well as a traditional market with diverse stalls and an array of shops. Prices are generally reasonable here, and you’ll find clothing, beach items, trinkets and souvenirs galore across the 300 stalls. It’s known in English as the African Market.
- Plaza del Duque – This is one of the best places for high-end designer shopping in Tenerife.
- Mercado del Agricultor de Tacoronte – This weekend farmers market operates in the mornings only. Whether you want to simply browse the goods on sale, stock up for a picnic or do a larger shop for a self-catering vacation, it’s well worth visiting this large and lively traditional market.
- Playa de las Americas – This beach and party resort also boasts a large number of shops, with the Golden Mile home to the designer-focused CC Safari shopping centre and San Eugenio a great choice for high-street shopping. The Siam Mall offers even more choices.
Food and Drink
- Fish – Fresh fish is readily available around the island. There are plenty of seafood restaurants with tanks from which you can choose the exact fish that you want to be caught and cooked—you couldn’t get much fresher than that!
- Papas arrugadas – The volcanic soils and the climate mean that the local potatoes are somewhat different to those grown in other parts of the world. Unpeeled potatoes are boiled in salty water, drained, and left to dry. More salt is added and they are served with a spicy sauce called mojo picón. The sauce contains garlic, olive oil, chilli and peppers, plus salt, vinegar and cumin to season.
- Tapas – Tapas bars can be found all around the island, perfect for trying a wide variety of dishes and sharing a meal with a group.
- Conejo en salmorejo– This is a traditional rabbit stew. The meat is marinated in a flavourful coriander sauce. It is sometimes served with salted potatoes.
- Rancho canario – A hearty and warming comfort food, this soup is made from thick noodles, meat, potatoes and chickpeas.
- Barraquito – A popular local drink, this is a liquor coffee with espresso, hot milk, sweet condensed milk, Tia Maria, cinnamon and a dash of lemon rind.
- Wine – Several wines are produced on the island. Local wines are readily available in Tenerife’s bars and restaurants, and the prices are generally a lot cheaper than wines brought from off the island.
Transport in Tenerife
The large island is well served by public transportation; you will need some form of transport in Tenerife if you wish to explore beyond your resort. Renting a vehicle is the best way to get to the more remote parts of the island and fully explore the dramatic natural landscapes. Alternatively, several tour operators offer a range of island tours if you don’t wish to drive yourself but want to head away from the main roads and tourist centres.
- By foot – Walking around the individual resort areas is generally the best way to cover short distances and move between your accommodation, the beach, restaurants and local attractions.
- Buses – Bus services connect most major towns and resorts, and services are frequent and reliable. You can pay the driver for individual journeys. Alternatively, a local travel card can help save money on bus transportation in Tenerife, cutting the cost of each trip by up to 70%.
- Trams – A tram runs between Santa Cruz and La Laguna. It is great for avoiding traffic jams on the road. You can use local travel cards or buy single-journey tickets at the station.
- Rental vehicle – Several hire car companies operate on Tenerife, providing a choice of vehicles to suit all budgets and preferences. There are various makes, models and sizes. Road conditions are generally very good, even in the mountainous areas. Do watch out for fallen rocks, sharp bends and other hazards, though.
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