Formerly dubbed the Island of Hell due to its specific geological features – the El Teide volcano being the highest mountain in the entire Spain, and still active – Tenerife has managed to become, in fact, a tourist paradise. And a paradise it is indeed, since the island is famous for its ecological diversity and for the numerous endemic species living on it.
In addition, the mixture of landscape and seascape, which is both spectacular – given the roughness of mountainous regions – and mild – once one reaches the gentle sandy beaches in the south of Tenerife – complements the already invaluable natural and tourist assets of the island.
Despite its present day Iberian population, Tenerife was originally inhabited by a group of people called Guanche, the physical traits of whom resembled more to the ones characteristic of the Scandinavian man. Their first settlements are known to have been founded around 200 BC. However, it was not until the 15th century that the history of Tenerife started to become a part of the glorious history of Spain, when Spain gained dominion over the island. However, several attempts from the part of other political powers of the world have been made in order to conquer the island, of which the most significant is that of England, during the 18th century. Nowadays, Tenerife shares, by its Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the entire autonomous community of the Canary Islands, together with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
In spite of the fact that the island is divided, from a tourist point of view, into north and south – the northern side being popular among visitors who expect a rather ample experience of nature, and the southern part being chosen by those who want nothing but sun, beaches, sand and waves – one should know that accommodation knows no differences in terms of efficiency and quality. Given the fact that tourism is the main economic branch on which Tenerife thrives, accommodation is very unlikely to become an issue, since lodging services represent a paramount element of tourism itself.
Being world renowned for its lush natural display, Tenerife also features an overwhelmingly rich gastronomical offer. Certain dishes are of Spanish origin, such as tapas or tortilla; however, it's not an overstatement to say that Tenerife has a solid culinary identity, consisting of fish dishes – in this respect, it must be mentioned that the island is extremely significant as the main fishing grounds in the entire Spain – but meat is also a favorite among locals. Thus, pork tacos is worth noting. But Tenerife comes forward with a local specialty called wrinkly potatoes (Papas Arrugadas), and with an impressive production of cheese. Mojo and salmorejo are two of the most popular dips and sauces. Finally, wine should not be overlooked, since Tenerife has a 5-century tradition in the production of the Bacchic delight.
The capital of Tenerife, namely, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is partly a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the ecological diversity and uniqueness; thus, a visit to Santa Cruz will definitely prove paying. The El Teide mountain is also a must-see, since it is a quasi dormant volcano and, while at it, the entire mountainous offer – the Anaga massif, the Teno massif, the Adeje massif, for instance – of Tenerife should be checked: no tourist will be disappointed. However, natural richness is paralleled by the generosity of human work built in time: the Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Laguna, the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria or the Church of Conception of Santa Cruz. The archeological sites dating from the guanche age and the Guimar Pyramids round up the picture of objectives, but, far from being complete, the list should also comprise the Museum of Nature and Man, the Museum of the History of Tenerife, the Archeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz, or the Museum of Anthropology of Tenerife.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is undoubtedly an event which is worth attending to, since the manifestation is deemed a Festival of International Tourist Interest: it is extremely looked forward by the locals, and it draws a large flow of tourists. However, tourists should know that most of the local events are religious in their nature. Easter, for instance, is the most important moment of the religious calendar, and it should be attended to by visitors who want to get in touch with the local culture.
Tenerife might be the largest of all the Canary Islands, but contrary to a first impression, it is not an epitome of the archipelago.
In order to make a proper impression of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria should undoubtedly be visited. It is, after all, the Miniature Continent of Spain, which is no ungrounded surname, but an expression of what Gran Canaria really is.
Lanzarote is paradoxically a place of idleness in the sun and of challenges when facing the untamed rich nature for which Lanzarote has been ascertained as an UNESCO biosphere reserve.
As far as Fuerteventura is concerned, it is bettered in terms of dimensions only by Tenerife. However, from a tourist point of view, it is one of the highest rated, which speaks enough about the kind of opportunities all visitors are likely to be welcomed with once in Fuerteventura.
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