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For a start forget everything you think you know about Tenerife if at the mere mention of the name your first thought is ‘yeeuch’ accompanied by visions of of an island developed purely for tourism that is full of Brit bars packed with sunburnt, beer-bellied blokes in football shirts.
Tenerife was formed around 7 million years ago and was originally inhabited by a primitive race, the Guanche, whose origins are still the topic of heated debate even though it’s generally believed that they came from North Africa.
Tenerife’s history runs parallel with America’s. Columbus passed this way en route to discovering the Americas but the natives were revolting and Mount Teide erupting so understandably he didn’t bother stopping. However, Tenerife occupied a strategic position and it wasn’t long before a conquering army of international mercenaries ran roughshod over the Guanches and claimed Tenerife in the name of Spain in 1496.
The island’s new settlers were a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Flemish, Italians and British which over the years created a cultural identity that remains aloof from mainland Spain’s. This cocktail was spiced up when many Canarios emigrated to South America during hard times to return in the second half ofthe 20th century as rich ‘Indianos’ bringing a sexy slice of South American influences with them. These influences have fashioned much of the culture of modern day Tenerife – at the countless fiestas the music played is Latino and the dancing salsa.
Similarly, the landscape defies pigeon-holing as well as it is characterised by great swathes of pine forests, surreal volcanic plains, ancient laurel forests, arid badlands, deep ravines, sub-tropical valleys and of course that iconic volcano and Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide.
The rise of mass tourism in the 1970s clearly had a profound affect on the island’s fortunes…but not its culture. Ironically, the area craved by tourists for its almost guaranteed sunshine and lack of rain was the area that was of little or no use to farmers – the arid badlands. Historically few people lived there, so the development of purpose-built resorts occurred away from where most Canarios lived anyway. In many ways it has been a win-win situation with the new and, geographically speaking, much smaller tourist face of Tenerife existing symbiotically with the traditional Tenerife even though they often have little to do with each other.
The real Tenerife is a land whose micro-climates have created a diverse and breathtaking range of scenic delights populated by a people whose culture is a mix of Spanish and South American with a soupçon of African. The real Tenerife is exciting and unique…and yet many visitors don’t come close to experiencing it.
Ten Fascinating Facts About tenerife’s History
Much of Tenerife's history is the stuff of adventure stories – legends, pirates, epic battles between primitives and a European army, adventurers, sea battles, eruptions, beautiful princesses... [Read More...]
A Brief Guide to Towns, Villages & Resorts on Tenerife
To get to know Tenerife it's important to understand the types of towns and villages that exist on Tenerife. To do that we need to break the island into geographical sections....[Read More...]
- The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in May 2013It is the Mes de Canarias which means that there is loads of events put on for the locals which also means that there's loads for the discerning visitor... […]
- Going Underground on Tenerife, the Cueva del VientoAnyone who has visited the Cueva de los Verdes on Lanzarote will find the Cueva del Viento quite a bit different... […]
- Paying the Price for Tenerife’s BeachesThe impact of the signs has lead to some people thinking that they'd have to pay to use the beach and others declaring they'd think twice about coming to Tenerife... […]
- The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in May 2013
Tenerife Holiday Search
The Real Tenerife Guidebook – in paperback & Kindle
For visitors to Tenerife who want to experience the best of Tenerife:- The 'Real' Tenerife guide to Tenerife's resorts, towns and villages is written with insight and passion by travel writers who have spent years treading the streets of every town and village, trekking along goat trails in the mountains and revelling at fiestas until dawn... [Find Out More]
Real Tenerife Island Drives on Kindle – UK Version
What Makes The Real Tenerife Different?
We’ve watched sunrise from the summit of Mount Teide and bathed in midsummer waters at midnight; belted out This Sex is on Fire in bars in Las Américas and cried to Ave Maria at fishermen’s fiestas; downed mojitos in Cuban bars and shared vino del pais with caballeros in the mountains; slept in palatial hotels and under canvas in the pine forest; cross-dressed at carnaval and been spellbound at silent, religious parades; trekked to remote hamlets and followed tapas trails galore.
Real Tenerife Knowledge Comes from Experience.
Town & City Walking Routes
Tenerife has some fascinating towns, yet many visitors miss out on the best bits of them. But not those who have our Town & City Guides. With routes to our favourite sights, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, restaurants and more, these guides are your key to Tenerife towns & Cities. Routes for Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz now available.
Real Tenerife Island Drives
People in over 30 countries have discovered the best of Tenerife by car with our glove compartment friendly glossy guidebook Real Tenerife Island Drives. On sale in book and PDF format. [More Information...]
Real Tenerife Island Walks
And many more have discovered verdant valleys, plunging ravines, sweeping forests, remote corners and vistas galore with our series of detailed walking routes, Island walks . On sale in handy PDF format. [More Information...]
Real Tenerife Island Drives on Kindle – US Version