The unadulterated skies of Tenerife are so clear and devoid of light and air pollution that is regarded as a premier global site for stargazing by professionals and amateurs alike. Come find yourself beneath a blanket of stars.
Of the world’s 79 species of dolphins and whales, 21 live near Tenerife, including permanent colonies of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. All live just three miles off the coast year-round.
The crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean around Tenerife are filled with a rich diversity of marine life, making for an undersea paradise for the veteran diver to the first-timer. But Tenerife is not for submariners alone.
Blessed with dramatic mountain and seascapes and enhanced by a near-perfect climate, Tenerife is a year-round golfer’s paradise. Novice players can take part in beginner’s courses or clinics led by professionals to learn the basics.
One of Tenerife’s national treasures is Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Looming large over this surreal landscape is Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak at 12,198 feet above sea level.
Visit Tenerife’s world-famous vineyards to learn the vintner’s art while enjoying a meal in an exceptional setting. A volcanic territory may not seem ideal for agriculture but it is, in fact, extremely fertile land.


Adventure #34: Fore! Golfing in Tenerife

If you’re a golfer, what could be better than feeling the warmth of the sun as you tee up on a terraced hillside that was once a banana plantation, gazing out over a sparkling sea, with mountains rising majestically all around you? On Tenerife, you might say that’s, well, par for the course. Nine idyllic, high-quality golf courses dot the island, offering a variety of terrains, conditions, and challenges to suit golfers at all levels of skill.

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Adventure #16: Canarian Wine

What a difference a few centuries make! Wine production on the Canary Islands is a perfect example of that.

Dating back more than 500 years, Canarian wine production flourished after the archipelago’s 15th-century conquest by Spain. Because of the islands’ position as the last port of call before the vast Atlantic crossing, local wine was in big demand here: the explorers needed to stock up and fortify themselves for the voyage!

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Adventure #9: Adventures in Gastronomy

One of the great luxuries of travel is the opportunity to experience other cultures—and a great component of any culture is its cuisine. The Canary Islands are a wonderful example of the pleasure of opening a window to another land through its food. When you vacation on Tenerife, you’ll find a cornucopia of delicious, fresh ingredients prepared in many traditional dishes, often with a creative, contemporary flair.

In a way, the island’s cuisine is a reflection of its history. In the late 15th century, Tenerife became the last of the Canary Islands to fall to the Spanish conquistadores, and by the early 17th century, this island just 60 miles off the coast of Morocco had become a popular destination for settlers from Europe and for explorers venturing back and forth to the New World. The island cuisine reflects this history, blending Spanish, African, and Latin American influences with a distinctive Canarian twist.

The Canary Islands’ Not-So-Secret Sauce

The not-so-secret sauce of the Canary Islands is mojo, which is as important a pairing with food as wine. Although every mojo sauce is unique to its creator, the basic ingredients are olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and spices. There are two standard varieties of mojo sauce: green mojo, the milder version that is usually made with parsley or cilantro and served with fish dishes, and the spicier red mojo, which is usually made with red peppers and paprika and often accompanies meat dishes.

Mojo sauce is an important condiment with another signature dish of the Canary Islands, papas arrugadas, or “wrinkled potatoes.” It is generally believed that potatoes arrived in the islands from Latin America in the late 16th century and that it was the Canary Islands that introduced the tuber to Europe. Many of the potatoes you’ll find on Tenerife today are descended from the Andean variety and have a distinctive flavor and wrinkly appearance. Papas arrugadas are made by boiling the potatoes in heavily salted water, then serving them in their skins with mojo sauce. Another vegetarian dish of the islands is potaje de berros, a chickpea stew.

Of course, given the island’s tropical climate, fruit and vegetables are abundant, fresh, and delicious, as a stroll past the colorful displays of food stalls and markets will tell you. Feast your eyes—but don’t forget your palate. The vitamin and mineral salt content of the fruits and vegetables is greater than you’ll find most anywhere else, resulting in a riot of delicious flavors.

So fertile are the valleys here, Tenerife alone exports more than 165,000 tons of produce to Europe alone each year. Potatoes, grapes, and tomatoes are popular, as are Tenerife’s distinctive bananas, whose long ripening season produces a unique balance of sugars. Other fruits grown here include figs, mangoes, papayas, lemons, avocadoes, pineapples, guava, custard apples, and more exotic varieties, such as carombola (starfruit), lychee, and paraguayo peaches.

The Bounty of the Sea

Of course, Tenerife being an island, the fish here is also fresh, abundant, and delicious. Tuna, swordfish, sea bass, parrotfish, moray eel, cuttlefish, and vieja are among the saltwater species that find their way to the grill, while sardines and chicharro are popular freshwater varieties. A favorite local fish dish is sancocho Canario, salted fish in mojo sauce. Or try cazuela de pescado, with boiled or fried fish, potatoes, onion, tomato, and peppers. Escaldón is an opportunity to sample another local staple: gofio, a cereal flour attributed to the Guanche people that is mixed into fish or meat stock. While you’re on the island, you might discover its fishing heritage by visiting some of the colorful fishing villages that dot the coast.

Travel tip: If you’re in the town of Garachico, on Tenerife’s north coast, we recommend you try Restaurante Ardeola, an intimate and stylish restaurant with superb food, excellent service, and delightful sea views. Our favorite course when we were here was the Canary Grill, featuring two different types of fish with squid, octopus, limpets, and sea snails—and a dramatic presentation. Click here [link] for a video feast for the eyes.

Put Pork on Your Fork

Meat lovers, never fear! There is plenty on Tenerife to appease your appetite. Beef, rabbit, and goat’s meat all have a place on the menu. Meat is also often the tasty basis of traditional soups and stews such as puchero Canario, made with garden-fresh vegetables including corn. But no protein can match the popularity of pork here, both on its own and as an ingredient in soups and stews. You’ll find pork prepared in myriad ways, from hams, sausage, salami, and chorizo to pickled pork, pulled pork, and suckling pig. One signature pork dish is carne de fiesta (literally “party meat”)—fried chunks of marinated pork.

And no great cuisine is without its hallmark cheeses. In fact, the cheeses of the Canary Islands are so respected, the World Cheese Awards competition was held in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, in 2009. It was the first time in history the competition was held outside the British Isles.

The cheese most identified with the Canary Islands is majorero, a goat cheese from the island of Fuerteventura. An island heavily dependent on agriculture, Fuerteventura is known for its goats, which that produce high-fat milk that results in a creamy cheese with a mildly nutty flavor. Tenerife also produces high-quality cheese from sheep and goats raised by the Guanche people.

A Honey of an Ending

While you’re on the island, don’t skip dessert—after all, these islands were once known as the “Sugar Islands”! The most traditional dessert is bienmesabe, a confection of ground almonds, eggs, sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon, and perhaps rum. Try it, and you’ll see why its name literally means, “Tastes good to me.” Or sample the tropical fruits; fried bananas; huevos mole, with egg yolks and syrup; or frangollo, made with flour, sugar, butter, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, and honey.

And speaking of honey … another specialty of the Canary Islands is miel de palma (palm honey), a sweet syrup produced from native palm trees. Thinner and darker than bee honey, palm honey is produced from the sap of trees that must be at least 20 years old. By Canarian law, miel de palma can be made only on the island of La Gomera—and the island’s 19,000 residents are fighting to preserve the right to call its product palm honey, over objections from the European Union that “honey” should be reserved for the product of bees. Regarded by many islanders as a folk remedy, this unique Canarian ingredient also finds its way into many pastries, desserts, and drinks.

You Can Have It All

Like mainland Spain, Tenerife is famous for its tapas—a “must” when you vacation here. Served as a small plate or appetizer before lunch or dinner—often with a glass of beer or wine—tapas are popular in this warm climate because they are lighter and easier to digest. They may be popular with you because they allow you to sample more of the delicious wonders of this multicultural islands!

Buen provecho! (Bon appetit!)

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Adventure #36: Hollywood on Location

Sometimes it’s hard to tell truth from fiction—especially when Hollywood is involved. With its stunning coastline, glamorous beaches, lunar-like lava fields, lush interior, and iconic volcano, Mount Teide, looming in the background, Tenerife is an idyllic setting for everything from rom-coms to action adventures. So it’s no wonder rumors abounded (some say promulgated by enterprising tour guides) that films such as The Ten Commandments, The Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars Episode III were filmed here. But that is not the case … or so it seems.

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Adventure #40: Carnival Spectacular

Around the world, Christians prepare for the solemn season of Lent with a kick-up-your-heels, no-hold-barred festivals. The ones you’ve most likely heard of are New Orleans’ Mardi Gras and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The most famous one you may never have heard of is Carnival on the island of Tenerife. Yet it is second in popularity only to Rio’s.

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Adventure #1: Mt Teide

Rising majestically from the center of Tenerife is the icon of the Canary Islands, the highest peak in Spain, and the crown jewel of the island: Mount Teide. At 12,200 feet, this peak is the third-largest ocean-island volcano in the world and a spectacular sight to behold. You can do much more than gaze at Mount Teide from afar, however. The mountain was meant for exploring!

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