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Overview

Lushly green on the northern slopes and almost desert in the south, the Canary Island of Tenerife is divided at its center by the cone and crater of the volcano El Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain. Bordering the ocean below, and often within sight from the lofty mountains that form a spine the length of the island, are beaches separated by a rocky coastline. At either end of the island, these mountains end abruptly, often in sheer cliffs that drop straight into the sea. Especially in the south, the beaches are backed by row on row of holiday flats and hotels in all price ranges. Long stretches of the northern coast are rimmed with rough ...

Lushly green on the northern slopes and almost desert in the south, the Canary Island of Tenerife is divided at its center by the cone and crater of the volcano El Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain. Bordering the ocean below, and often within sight from the lofty mountains that form a spine the length of the island, are beaches separated by a rocky coastline. At either end of the island, these mountains end abruptly, often in sheer cliffs that drop straight into the sea. Especially in the south, the beaches are backed by row on row of holiday flats and hotels in all price ranges. Long stretches of the northern coast are rimmed with rough black rock, and the beaches between are of black sand. Beautiful golden beaches on the south coast have been built from sand brought by barge from the nearby Sahara.

Gracious old towns founded by the Spanish, who colonized the island in the 1500s, are marked by carved wooden balconies and the graceful spires of churches, among the island’s oldest buildings. Gardens are everywhere in the north, from groups of overflowing window pots to a world-class botanic garden and stunning hanging water gardens in Puerto de la Cruz.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, fall, late winter, although in the spring the Calima, a hot wind carrying dust from the Sahara, can last for days.