Tenerife, in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, belonging to Spain, is a popular destination for holidaymakers worldwide. Tenerife is the largest (2034 sq km) and highest (3718 m) of the Canary Islands. Mount Teide is Spain's highest mountain. The South of Tenerife, particularly Playa de las Americas, is famous for its nightlife scene. The south has both superb dark and golden beaches attracting many tourists, whilst the north of Tenerife is built around the thriving capital city of Santa Cruz. Tenerife has an estimated population of 655,656.
Tenerife is an island with a real 'north-south' divide in more ways than one. Party animals head south for sizzling beaches and the hottest nightlife in the Canary Islands, while in the north of the island even the sun takes it easy! The resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos have all but merged to form one big tourist destination. Puerto de la Cruz is more lush, quieter and cooler and popular with the older crowd. Golf courses, yacht marinas, conference centres, theme parks, beaches... Tenerife offers a complete range of leisure activities to satisfy all kinds of tastes.
There are lots of beaches in Tenerife. The most popular are along the South coast: 'Los Cristianos' and 'Las Américas' with grey sand and surrounded by hotels and apartments. Going up along the east coast is 'El Médano,' a long bay beach preferred by windsurfers because of its strong winds; and more to the north, the 'Teresitas' beach with white sand imported from The Sahara.
The Orotava Valley serves as an example of the north's fertility extending to the limits of 'Las Cañadas' Park on the west shore of the Island. It's completely covered with banana plantations and orchards.
There are also many golf courses on the island such as Golf del Sur, Amarilla Golf and Country Club, Abama Golf Resort. Mt. Teide is Spain's highest peak and the most visited tourist attraction; you can take a cable car to the top of the dormant volcano.
Situated just above The Tropic of Cancer, about 200 miles from the North African coastline; Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, an archipelago that was formed almost six million years ago when the earth was still being formed from constant volcanic action. Tenerife was itself the result of three land masses being fused together and thrust up from the seabed over eons, and Mount Teide, the highest point in Spain has become the focal point of this island.
There is very little modern history relating to Tenerife, and most that is recorded covers the most recent five hundred years. Tenerife is well documented in naval battles history, and has connections with Christopher Columbus, the Malmsey wines that were once produced on the island and exported throughout Europe during the 15th century, and the Guanche race that lived on Tenerife about this time.
The Spanish Crusades brought Christianity to Tenerife, before continuing onto South America, and it was the Italians who first introduced The Carnival to the island. The Carnival that is celebrated each year on Tenerife is now the largest in Europe and only second in size to the one in Rio de Janeiro.
The island of Tenerife has long been known as a holiday retreat, but since the construction of the Reina Sofia airport in the south of the island, and the development of Playa de Las Americas, Tenerife has become the European winter holiday playground for millions of Northern Europeans. With almost 8 million tourists visiting Tenerife each year, it is not surprising that there is a massive self-catering holiday market, and with the majority of tourists choosing the south and west coasts of Tenerife for their holiday. Los Cristianos and Playa de Las
The local Town Councils have ensured that tourist needs are considered when making planning changes, and together with new pedestrian streets and wide roads, several beaches have been formed during the past few years.
Making new beaches on Tenerife is no easy operation, and the Los Cristianos "Las Vistas Beach" was formed over a two year period with sand literally hovered off the ocean floor. The Island of Tenerife with 7 championship golf courses has become a winter hot spot for many golfers, who are only too pleased to swap three jumpers and an umbrella, for a summer shirt, plus- fours and a factor 50 sun cream. Within 20 minutes drive of Playa de Las Americas; there are 5 superb championship golf courses, plus a 9-hole course at Palm Mar.
At 3,718 metres high, Mount Teide is without doubt the focal point of Tenerife. It is at the centre of one of Spain's great National Parks, and if you are arriving on the island by air during daylight hours, it is impossible to miss this spectacular volcano. Mount Teide is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island of Tenerife, and during the winter months, thick snow sometimes covers the mountain, while the beaches on the south coast are crowded with sunbathers.
With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, it is no small wonder that Tenerife has become known as the Fortunate Isle. Tenerife is full of colour nearly all year round, with bougainvillea and hibiscus splashing a variety of reds, yellows, purple and orange, and when coupled with all the aromas that you associate with tropical climates, words like paradise are often used to describe Tenerife and the other Canary Islands. For many tourists, lying on a sun bed by the pool or on the beach reading a book is their idea of a perfect relaxing holiday.
Los Cristianos & Playa de Las Americas; Los Cristianos has matured during the past 40 years, and what was once a small fishing harbour with a few houses that served the local hillside communities, is now a major holiday resort with an international flavour in shops and restaurants.
Los Cristianos is some 18 km from the airport and there is a new dual carriageway that connects the town centre with the TF1 motorway. Many of the streets close to the beach have been made pedestrian friendly, and wheelchair access ramps are at most junctions. The Fred Olsen fast ferries that connect Tenerife with the neighbouring islands of La Gomera and La Palma, leave Los Cristianos at regular intervals throughout the day, and on occasions, some cruise liners drop anchor in the bay and arrange excursions for their passengers. There are two very good beaches that serve the residents and tourists, and the promenade is lined with gift shops, restaurants and bars. With safety in mind, there are first-aid posts and regular police patrols, plus toilet and changing facilities.
The Los Cristianos harbour is the starting point for many sea excursions, and there are two large beach areas lined with sun beds and parasols. The beach promenade is quite level and where there are steps; ramps have been formed for pushchairs and wheelchairs. In the town centre, there is the usual church square with several tapas bars and other shop units. Playa de Las Americas has risen from a desert waste 40 years ago, into the most popular winter- sun holiday destination in Europe. Playa de Las Americas has something for everyone, be it sandy beaches, luxury shopping malls, 5-star golf, all night discos or simply a McDonalds' beef burger. At only 10 minutes drive from the Reina Sofia airport, Playa de Las Americas is to sun and fun seekers, what Las Vegas is to gamblers. There are excellent beaches with safe swimming zones, and from the Puerto Colon Marina, where there are some superb ocean going cruisers, there is a variety of boat excursions and water sports that can be reserved.
Fañabe is the most recent area of Playa de Las Americas to be developed. Only a few years have passed since the last bananas were harvested, and now multimillion Euro hotels like the Bahia Del Duque and the Sheraton La Caleta hug the Adeje coastline. Hollywood style shopping malls with luxury goods and fine restaurants await the millions of tourists who flock here every year; 5-star golf is close by at the Adeje 18-hole championship golf course, or the Las Americas 18-hole course, plus the wide avenues abound with pavement cafes that serve a variety of cafes and liqueurs. So book your flight and join Bill Clinton, Robbie Williams and Jennifer Lopez in holidaying in Tenerife.
Tony Riley has 15 years experience in the Tenerife property market as Managing Director of
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