Follow LLm author Janice Horton’s adventures as she ‘snap gaps’ around the world in this unique and informative travel feature based on Janice’s own personal travel experiences.
The island of Tenerife is a popular destination for many European holiday makers. Temperatures are comfortable all year round, particularly so during the winter months, when it’s possible to sunbathe on the beach or lounge around the pool when it might be snowing at home. If spending all day on a sun lounger isn’t quite your thing however, then be assured that Tenerife also offers the more energetic snap-gapper lots of alternative fun and exciting activities. If golf is your game then Tenerife hosts nine golf courses, each with its own unique style, terrain, and exceptional views. With its National Park, it is also a great place for nature lovers and for hiking and trekking. For those who are interested in water sports, Tenerife is an excellent place to go scuba diving. Then, when the sun goes down on your day there are restaurants, bars, and a vibrant nightlife scene – if that’s what you are looking for.
How Did We Get There? My husband and I booked our seven night ‘snap gap’ to Tenerife with lowcostholidays.com and we flew from the UK with Ryanair from Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The flight time was just over four hours.
On Arrival: Tenerife is the only island in the Canaries with two airports – Tenerife North and Tenerife South. Like many who come to Tenerife, we flew into Tenerife Sur (south) airport and, as we had booked a package holiday deal, this included return transfers to our accommodation by coach. However, if you are doing things independently, as we often have in the past, there is a taxi rank conveniently outside the arrivals areas, a regular bus service, and the option to hire a car.
Travel Tip: Look to arrange your car hire or transfers between the airport and your accommodation online in advance for the best deals and to avoid waiting in queues upon your arrival.
Where To Stay: Whether you rent a self-catering apartment, stay in a five-star hotel, or choose anything in between, there is accommodation to suit all requirements and budgets on Tenerife. As to which area you choose to stay in, the island is made up of thirty-one counties or municipalities, commonly grouped in three categories: the metropolitan area, north area and south area. The most popular beaches can be found on the south coast of the island. We often choose to stay in the Golf del Sur or Costa Adeje areas in the south.
Travel Tip: Decide what type of holiday is important to you and then spend time online checking out the latest deals with providers like Thomas Cook, Thomson, First Choice, or Low Cost Holidays just to name a few, in order to get your best holiday price. If you are booking your flight and accommodation separately, websites like Booking.com will offer information regarding the many and varied accommodation options in Tenerife.
Best Time To Go: The weather in Tenerife stays moderate throughout the year, with temperatures averaging 20°C – 22°C in the winter months and 26°C – 28°C in the summer, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a winter holiday hot spot as well as for those travelers planning trips which coincide with spring and summer breaks from school and work. On our last visit, my husband and I went in December. We left sub-zero temperatures behind us in Glasgow and it seemed delightfully strange to see Christmas decorations going up while it was still warm enough for us to eat our meals outside. In the past, I’ve also enjoyed visiting Tenerife during the months of January, February, March, May, July and October. Can’t you just tell that I love Tenerife?
What to Pack: Light holiday clothes year round. Footwear to suit your lifestyle. At this time of the year, in the winter months, a cardigan, a sweat top, or a light jacket might be needed for after the sun goes down when it can feel a little chilly.
Money: As part of Spain, Tenerife is very firmly within the EU and its currency is the Euro. However, the island has VAT free status which means it falls outside of EU Customs allowances, which is something to bear in mind when buying duty free goods. Do bring Euros with you but your credit and debit cards are by far the best way to organise your funds. That way there are no large amounts of cash to worry about carrying and you have access to money at all hours. Banks do charge for each cash advance and ATM transaction so bear this mind if you are withdrawing small amounts often.
Travel Tip: Authorise your credit and debit cards for use in Tenerife before you travel, so that your bank is aware that you’ll be using it outside of your normal location. This can avoid those embarrassing card authorisation refusals.
Interestingly: The flag of Tenerife is almost the same as that of Scotland (the only difference being a slightly different shade of blue). It was originally adopted in 1845 by the navy at its base in the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Some hypothesise that the similarity in the flag lies somewhere between Spain, Scotland, and an alliance with the whisky trade – but who really knows…?
Top Things To Do In Tenerife
Teide National Park: Go there for the lunar landscape and take a cable car to the top of the magnificent Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the third largest volcano in the world. In the winter it can be covered in snow while on the coast the sun shines as usual. Mt. Teide is a live volcano, the last eruption being in the early 20th century.
Spot Whales and Dolphins: The waters between Tenerife and La Gomera are one of the few places in the world where you are pretty much guaranteed to spot the resident population of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins.
Loro Parque: If exotic jungle parks are your thing then one of the best dolphin shows this side of the Atlantic is to be found amongst the eight thousand palm trees, the bicycle riding parrots, the flamingos, the gorillas, the killer whales, and the sharks. I’m not usually a fan of animals in captivity but the animal facilities at Loro Parque are (reported to be) a huge technical achievement built on expert and caring knowledge. There is an option to see behind the scenes for yourself. Why not check it out?
Siam Park: Not a natural attraction but still one that shouldn’t be missed. Named as one of the best ten water parks in the world, if you like your thrills and spills wet, you have just got to go to this Thai-themed water park with loads of scream-inducing rides and slides, a gigantic wave pool complete with gold sand beach, and a mini-aquatic park just for kids. Sounds like fun to me!
Play Golf and enjoy Tenerife’s unique golf experience. There is a challenge for every golfer and every handicap. The fantastic scenery of mighty mountain ranges before the Atlantic Ocean provides for an exhilarating golf holiday. Check out: www.golf-in-tenerife.com
Scuba Dive: There are many scuba diving centers on Tenerife. We have always used and would highly recommend Amarilla Divers – a multi-award winning PADI Five Star IDC Dive Resort that invites you to see a different side to Tenerife. Situated close to all the major tourist areas in the South of Tenerife, Amarilla Divers offer to pick you up free of charge from Golf Del Sur, Costa Del Silencio, Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Adeje. Whether you are a newbie or have lots of dives under your weight belt, discover a new world, full of new and wonderful things – with over fifty scuba dive sites – they always have something fresh for you to see.
My favourite places: I love drinks, tapas, and entertainment, and so would highly recommend Volares Cabaret Bar and Tapas and Chill in Golf Del Sur for evenings. I also recommend Indian food at Taj Indian Tandoori at San Blas Plaza. I positively swooned at the fresh seafood when we dined by candlelight at Perla del Mar at Los Abrigos; I had the mussels and my husband had the shrimp and it was divine. At lunchtime I would highly recommend El Mirador at Los Abrigos for the views and for the hot smoked fish salad and jug of Sangria. Actually, I would recommend all restaurants at this authentic fishing village, where most have their own fishing boat. But, if it’s capturing that perfect moment while the sun goes down with a glass of wine then it has got to be La Marina, Golf del Sur. Cheers and happy holidays!
Useful Facts of Tenerife:
Area: Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It has an area of 785.47 sq miles or 2,034.36 sq kilometres.
Tenerife is known internationally as the “Island of Eternal Spring” (Isla de la Eterna Primavera).
Population: Around 900,000 but more than five million tourists also visit every year, making it the most populated Spanish island.
Capital: Santa Cruz, located in the north.
Government: The island is part of a Spanish province named Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Electricity: The electric current used is 220 Volts AC 50Hz, which is the same all over the Canaries. Plugs have two pins, identical to the European mainland.
The Essence of Tenerife: Situated just 200 miles off the northwest coast of Africa, Tenerife is bathed in a reported three hundred days of sunshine per year so you can Feel the warmth of the Tenerife sunshine on your face and body whatever time of year you choose to visit. You can See the third largest island volcano in the world, Mount Teide,which is also the highest peak in Spain, as you fly onto the island and you can Marvel at the volcano that can be covered in snow during the winter months while down on the coast the sun shines as usual. Tourist attractions are Fun and plentiful on the island, so organise your snap-gap carefully to allow time for Relaxing on the beach while you plan to Experience the lunar landscape of Mount Teide National Park.
My Conclusion? Tenerife is and has been for many years my go-to island in the sun for any time of year. I’ve been fortunate to have visited the island during both its hot summer months and its mild and balmy winter months. Sometimes for just a couple of nights, more often for a break of week or so, and occasionally for a full two-week snap gap. Flights are frequent and regular from the UK and from Europe and most of the budget airlines come here, making the Canary islands a perfect escape. The island has so much to offer and caters for all tastes and budgets. The choice is yours. I really enjoy Tenerife and would highly recommend it to you as a tried and tested ‘snap gap’ travel destination.